Friday, November 07, 2003

Good morning, from the Tree House!

We feel perched up here in our wood paneled nest with trees all around. Around the house is the amusing California variety of flora, including; a rubber tree, an oak, a Canary palm, apple and plum trees, a sweet gum, a huge euphorbia ( a cactus like member of the poinsettia family,) and several of the peeling paper-bark trees. The fit is somewhat snug, but our RV training has us conditioned to tighter spaces. Also, we might considering further purging of STUFF!

Feeling amused by the sensation of legitimacy in society since our phone lines were installed yesterday. We have a phone number, therefore we exist. Sigh. And internet too, which means even bolder evidence of our presence. William just walked in to the office and gave a rare gasp of awe, "We have internet?!" Yes, internet and email, cable television, propane, running water, trash service, a mailbox key, and the old microwave from Geoff's office. We are seriously settling in.

Speaking of settling in, the boys are happy here. Max likes the stairs and closets and the long driveway where he can peddle his bicycle. William likes the small and cozy feel of the house. He settles himself under the stairs with books to read. Alex wants to paint the utility closet and claim a corner of it for his own. Yesterday he used our camera to record last memories of El Rancho, but he is well on his way to enjoying good times here. We can't find our knives, forks and spoons. And many of the rooms are corridors with boxes stacked and wrapping spilling out, but we are progressing at a commendable pace. The boys had friends over last night, Adam and Jacob. The big boys were creating their own computer games upstairs, and downstairs, Max and I played Pokemon Sorry! Nice evening at home.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Missing Our Rancho

Gracie, evacuated and sheltered.

Though the Paradise fire is not 100% contained, it is well enough under control that the moratorium on new fire policies has been lifted. That was a lot of words to say "escrow will close!" I am here at the Rancho, meeting repairmen and packing mops and tools, and then last of all my computer. It's really time for lights out.

Meanwhile, out west, the evacuated Chicas are living in a sectioned off area beneath the back stairs. It's not home. We let them out the first day and Luna trekked down the road to the neighbor's rose garden, twice. Joan was amused and surprised and very friendly, but we have kept a much tighter rein on the adventurous Chicas ever since. Poor Chicas are not very happy penned in and without their usual spread to cruise. This morning we let them out for a brief bit of freedom. They have many options, but are most attracted to kicking all the wood chips out of the flower bed and on to the sidewalk. In a matter of minutes they mange to create an impressive mess. Don't let my brave front fool you. I am very sad about making the responsible decision to let them stay at the Rancho. I love them. They make me happy, and messy or neat, I never tire of their antics.

I have also discovered that I will miss our market. In two years I have never waited in line to buy groceries, because they always rush to serve. Manuel in produce knows us by name, and he always slices fruit for us to sample. We know the managers and cashiers, the baggers and the bakers. They are friendly and attentive, and even through the grocery strike, our local market has maintained astoundingly awesome service. Major Market deserves a poem or some sort of recognition for doing their job well. Though it's a long drive, I may continue shopping there, rather than suffer long lines and indifferent service at the local markets.

I will miss the view from here; the beautiful hills and sunrise light, the flocks of egrets crossing every morning and afternoon. Yesterday evening a great horned owl sat on the house antenna and looked down on Geoff and me. I will miss his soft "who," and the distant and distinct call of the ostriches. I will miss our neighbors, who have been kind and generous, and the wide open sky that has shared stars and storms, sunsets and breezes. It has been quieter, and slower here, and it has been hotter and colder too. There are many things we are leaving behind.