July 1 - 10, 2009

Have you ever seen someone walk a bird? It's kind of a shock. The first time we saw that was in Hong Kong, where families take their caged canaries out on the street for some fresh air. In our Escondido RV park, our rig backs up to the dog walk. However, one fellow comes out every day with his parrot on his shoulder, giving it some fresh air, I suppose.


Some other little notes about the park. I think I told you that we use a leaf blower on our patio each day before we come out, to blow off all evidence that rabbits have been using it for their bathroom. (I got the idea for a blower from the fellow next door who must also have the same problem.) Now onto bugs.

You've heard that California has no bugs. Well, that's partly true, but they certainly have ants. Our park manager sent around notices that ant season is upon us and asked us to do two things: pour Comet around each of the tires (evidently they don't like Comet, or they do like it but it kills them) and put Vaseline on all of the hoses and electrical connections as they enter the rig. We did that. The park put out ant poison on the grassy areas and we've had no problem.

The weather continues to be spectacular. We have only used our A/C once since we arrived. In the morning it is in the low 60's, actually requiring a bit of furnace heat until the sun comes up, and then we have the ocean breeze mid-afternoon which cools us off. People say Escondido gets hot and maybe so, but we haven't experienced it yet.

Notes from Friends

Anne Lunghino and Jackie Pillsbury — friends from The Glenridge — both commented that the magical garden of Saint Phalle in Escondido was similar to Gaudi’s work in Spain. Turns out she saw his work there, and decided to do her own. Here is a link to a slide show of some of his work. You can see his influence. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glRHWCm8KvU

I know I promised to skip stories about pennies, but I couldn't resist repeating Irene Wise's poem that she sent:

I found a penny today just laying on the ground,

but it's not just a penny, this little coin I've found. 

Pennies come from heaven.  That's what my Grandpa told me. 

He said Angels toss them down.  Oh, how I loved that story. 

He said, "When an Angel misses you they toss a penny down,

just to cheer you up; to make a smile out of your frown." 

So don't pass by that penny when you're feeling blue,

it may be a penny from Heaven that an Angel tossed to you.

About the House

Let's see. On Thursday July 2 we learned that the house did not pass the termite inspection (so much for 'no pests' in California). It had both subterranean and dry termites. The bank reduced the price of the home by the amount the inspector said it would cost to fix, so it won't come out of our pocket. We hired another firm and it turned out to cost quite a bit less. I guess termites are a problem everywhere.

Friday we drove to the Coldwell Banker office to sign some papers. Wow! There must have been a thousand of them. California bureauacracy requires buyers to be notified of just about everything, from possible acts of nature through possible noisy traffic. There was a sixteen page brochure detailing all of the awful things that could happen (example: noxious smells from a mushroom farm). And you have to sign tons of papers saying that you have been warned. The closing process is quite different as well. Buyers and sellers don't show up together to exchange the check. Instead, it is sent to an escrow company who completes the work, and ownership transfers without a meeting. Not sure when this will be done.

The house has now been thoroughly inspected, and once closing occurs we will be able to fix the minor electrical and plumbing items. Some were simply that parts of the systems were not up to code — e.g. GFI's — since the house was built before the codes were established, . Some were curious. For example, how did someone live in a house where the A/C for the back part of the house was not connected? You can see from the attic picture below that it was either put together with scotch tape of sorts and fell apart, or was never connected. Well, they say that you seldom use A/C or heat, so I guess they didn't notice.

Our Laurel Oak friends will remember our story about pinhole leaks in copper plumbing and that we had an underground leak that required ripping up the wood floor in the kitchen and dining room. We subsequently used a system that sprayed a lining (silicone?) in the inside of all pipes so there would be no more leaks. The other option was called "re-piping," and it would be done by a plumber. Anyone who had a kitchen island and who chose that route would be faced with having to rip up floors. It also meant having new pipes run through the attic, producing extra warm water at all times. We chose the other system, although it was more expensive.

Why am I telling you this? Well, our Real Estate agent (a really nice person named Debi Vail, who lives in our soon-to-be community) told us that they had had leaks in the older homes, that a lawsuit was placed against the builders and that each home was given $7,000 to pay for re-piping. Some homeowners just pocketed the money and didn't do the work. I'm sure you're about to guess that our previous owner didn't get the work done. Now, there's no sign of a leak, but we're not going to take any chances and we will have the unit repiped right after closing.

At this point there was only one thing that might stand in our way: we decided to have a mold inspection (just in case there had been leaks that were not apparent). We sat on pins and needles for three days until the word came back that the house was mold free.

We've been going to stores to see about furnishings (you may remember we gave away or sold most of our worldly goods). We've just about decided that Lowe's has the biggest selection of reasonably-priced appliances. Since the area is set up for natural gas, we can get a gas dryer and hopefully have gas brought to the kitchen for a gas cooktop, and to the patio for perhaps a fire pit. The furniture and stuff we put in storage will arrive anywhere from 14 to 27 days after we say "go." And GO can't happen until closing.

Here's the link to the area where the house dwells. Even though we think of it as Leisure Village, it's really known as Ocean Hills Country Club. You can read about it if you wish, at:


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