Saturday, June 4, 2011

It Doesn't Feel Like a Coincidence

Normally, I'd save details like these for the next morning, as has been the case the past few mornings (Except for tomorrow morning, since I may post later than usual, being that I got a movie called "Jolene" from Netflix that I've been curious about for a while, and since a movie this morning wasn't possible because of the dogs being picked up to be groomed, tomorrow morning will be it, also because I just got in the mail from Amazon Auntie Mame and Sweeney Todd, starring Angela Lansbury and George Hearn), but this should be known now. Three times in one day cannot be just a coincidence.

The plan today was for Meridith and I to go to the library, but first to stop at Pavilions to see if they had my Wall Street Journal Weekend, and then to Jamba Juice for smoothies to have on the long walk to the library from that part of Valencia. We found my newspaper at Pavilions. $2.19 there, 19 cents tax, instead of $2.20, 20 cents tax at the newsstand. No big difference, and when I can get there, I like the newsstand more anyway.

I looked at the stories above the fold as always, and also finding out that the Off Duty section had a write-up and recipes about the best burgers. Below the fold, I was stunned at the article at the bottom. The headline is "Residents of Old Mining Town Want Gold to Star in Them Thar Hills." The sub-heading says, "In a Nevada Historic District, Tourism Prospectors Don't Dig Plans for a Real Open Pit". The dateline is "VIRGINIA CITY, Nev." At the time we were at Pavilions, Mom and Dad were looking for viable apartments. No news yet on the result of the job interview, but it will take some time. And if it does happen, we want to make sure we have pinpointed where we would want to live, what's good for Mom and Dad. Better now than rushing through it like we used to and ending up where we didn't benefit, like here, right now.

About 20 minutes ago, we got home and there was a box from Amazon at the door, containing those aforementioned DVDs. The return address is Fernley, Nevada.

When I started writing this entry, I looked again at the paper, and pulled out the Off Duty section to see what burgers and recipes were profiled. On page D2, one of the burgers is called "House-Ground Steak Burger". The introduction to the recipe begins: "Chef Bradley Ogden of the namesake restaurant in Las Vegas..."

These are not coincidences. These are strong signs. It's going to take a little more time, but the good and the great that we have waited for in our lives is going to come. I'm ready for true happiness.

The Run of the House: Day 5

In and near Las Vegas, within a day or two, fantasy gives way to reality. If you gamble big, you might lose big. Or your vacation ends and you have to go back to wherever your house is. Or, in my case, time to get to know another potential place to put my stuff.

Mom and Dad decided not to pursue that condo (house, I know) in Boulder City for three reasons: First, there are some cracks they saw that we would likely have to have repaired. Secondly, the walls of the house have some kind of design we have in Florida that Mom apparently didn't like, though I don't know what kind, since I wasn't really paying attention during that part of the conversation with her on the phone, though Meridith was listening. I was really tired at that point in the evening, having not stopped moving the entire day. Third: condo. That means that whatever might have to be repaired there, we shoulder the cost. That's the same as here in Saugus. Mom and Dad don't want that anymore because we had enough of that experience mostly with the plumbing and though part of it was covered by dint of using whomever was in the home warranty plan (All useless because they didn't actually fix the problem and we had to go to someone else and hope that they would do the work required), we still had to pay. There was enough hassle with that, and an apartment would be better because whatever needs to be fixed, there's no cost. I liked the condo, the balcony, the space that would have allowed me to finally put in bookshelves. But there's also another consideration: It was right near the highway in Boulder City. There were no supermarkets, no daily-living stores around that we would need. To get there, we'd have to drive some. We do that already from Saugus to Valencia, and we want to be connected to somewhere, not isolated.

I wasn't as broken up about losing that porch-like balcony and that space, because of where Meridith and I had been yesterday. My plans had been simply to put Mom and Dad's bedsheets in the wash, shower, and wash the dog's bowls. I figured we would stay home yesterday because we planned to go out today. One day would seem to be enough. But Mom was on the phone with us in the late morning, telling us that we should do something. And considering the dust I encountered with sweeping out the garage, and the usual crud that gets tracked into the house that was sucked up into the vacuum when I did Mom and Dad's room and the hallway that connects my room and Meridith's room, I could have used some fresher air. And that's what I got after Mom said that we should go to that Italian sub sandwich place to get two of them for later, especially since the free sub that she was to get would still stand. They had made four sandwiches for us last time, but one of them was the wrong one. Not that they made it wrong, but someone else had ordered it for us and they put it into our bag, so Mom called them the next day and was told that we'd get a free small sub next time because of it.

We started out at 11:50, since the bus would come at around 12:01 p.m. I brought the anthology Man with a Pan with me, but ended up not reading a lot of it throughout the day. I still like to have a book with me, and it'll be easier today when we go to the library, because I'll have my bag with me, so I can put it in there.

Our first stop was the bank, because we had an assortment of nickels, dimes, and quarters to be turned into $31.50, and I had to deposit my latest paycheck into the ATM machine. Meridith also had to get some cash out of there from her and Mom's account.

Next was lunch at McDonald's. I had forgotten that it was Friday, thought that it was Thursday, and tried to order the 20-piece Chicken McNugget special, which came with two medium drinks and two medium fries. I figured that if I wanted more fries after that, my brain would pipe up with, "You've had enough. Get up and start walking, fatass." The two medium drinks would have been useful because Meridith needed one, so that was taken care of without having to order another one.

But since it was Friday, after we had ordered what I thought was the special and a Quarter Pounder with cheese and bacon for Meridith, I had to order two medium drinks and a large fry, which we both shared, and which was enough. Later, I was keen on part of the peach pie they have now (It's a lot better than their apple pie), and Meridith wanted to try a Rolo McFlurry. So I split the peach pie with Meridith and ended up finishing off the McFlurry. Nothing to worry about, since we had a lot of walking ahead of us.

We started at the intersection near the Ralphs we were going to later and passed the senior housing, 1 and 2 bedrooms available, as the sign says. Then we crossed another intersection because we'd get right to the intersection near Meridith's old high school, Valencia High, and we wouldn't have to cross the street a second time. But I was taken by rows of houses, collectively called Creekside Valencia, and I was entranced, and wondering why we didn't move here. There was a pattern to the houses, you'd see the same design of a balcony railing three or four times, but it was so peaceful, and there was an out-in-the-country feeling about it, away from the traffic in Valencia, away from what usually frustrates people about this kind of life, what wouldn't be healthy for any other creature but one residing in Southern California who doesn't notice it all that much. I was miffed by the number of SUVs that passed us as we walked by these houses, looking at those porches, imagining rocking chairs of our choosing there, of just looking out at the scenery, relaxing, reading, whatever we'd want to do that would contribute to the peacefulness of the area for us. SUVs and soccer moms, I get that for reasons of temporary storage and how many kids can be stacked into it, but all the time? Some choice.

On our way out, we found a cluster of benches surrounded by plants, including a big round pot on a square pedestal and the dirt seemed to have a mix of sand. It was nicer than the benches that were near our old apartment behind the shopping center that includes Pavilions and Peet's Coffee and Tea.

As we passed Meridith's old high school, I pointed out the auditorium we had seen her perform at with the orchestra and she said she had pretty much faked her way through the entire performance, since she wasn't entirely sure of the notes for the music they played. I told her that she would make a perfect Southern Californian then, if we had stayed any longer, like years longer, and thank god that's not happening.

Past the parking lot that faces the various sports fields on the campus, I noticed the building across the street from the school that contains ice skating rinks and hockey rinks. It's called Ice Station, and I figured that here we were, and we should take advantage of it, see what's going on. I thought we would have to pay to get in, but that's not the case, only when games are going on. The most you'd have to pay for is skate rentals on days like that one. But we had no intention of doing that.

We went in, not so much winded from the walk, but pretty warm from it with the slight heat during the day and the wind that had been blowing steadily, and went upstairs where they have an arcade. We first went to where hockey players were practicing, and then to the ice skating rink where many people were skating. It wasn't that cold for us because of the walk, but in an ice skating rink, you definitely notice the temperature change, but it was a relief, and I imagine that Ice Station will have a lot of visitors during the summer, or whatever's left of the summer when the temperature decides to go up because it's not as hot as previous Junes have been.

I loved the arcade. There was an air hockey table, so Meridith and I had to do that (It has become her favorite air hockey table, because there's multi-colored lights that spin on the top whenever someone scores a goal, and she scored nearly all the goals and won), and they had a machine with Ms. Pac Man and Galaga, but Galaga only for me. It's not played that much because I finished with a score of 56,000+ and I ended up in 2nd place on the "Galactic Heroes" high score board. Meridith took a picture on her phone.

The restrooms are the nicest-smelling and the cleanest in all of Santa Clarita. And the faucets, when you push the top down, actually remain on for a few seconds. It's not like you push it down and then a second later, it shuts off. That's not easily found around here.

Then the Italian sub place, a cold cut sub for Meridith and a vegetarian sub for me, and then back to Ralphs, but not before stopping at Creekside Valencia for a second time, and sitting on one of those benches and just taking in that blessed peace. Rare are those moments in Santa Clarita when you feel completely at peace. That was one of them.

Ralphs was a great pleasure because Dad wasn't with us. He strives to rush us through the store every single time, questioning what we need, and usually with a look that says he wants to leave already, even though we just got into the store and we need a few things. This time, I only needed bananas because I had run out, we needed another gallon of water for the dogs because the only one we had was running low, and I wanted to see if Blue Diamond almond milk in that aseptic container was still available. It was, at 2 for $4, but I settled on one, and decided to try the original this time, though I'm very much attached to the vanilla flavor.

Then back to McDonald's to get a plain double cheeseburger and a small fry for Tigger and Kitty for later, but since we had gotten to McDonald's at 4:40, and the bus wasn't coming until 5:56, we had some time. So I ordered a frozen strawberry lemonade for Meridith, heavy on the strawberry syrup, and a Reese's McFlurry for me. That's my once-in-a-while McFlurry, because once in a while is enough. I had some time to read as well, so I skimmed through the Southern California Gaming Guide that I had picked up at Ralphs and read a bit of my book.

We got home, and I was bushed. But we had more to contend with because Kitty, not happy at us having gone out and certainly not with Mom and Dad still not home, ripped all the stuffing out of the kennel mat we keep in her cage. I didn't know there was that much Shamrock Shake-colored stuffing inside that mat. It filled up most of the white garbage bag I put it in.

The mat is completely flat now, but we're putting it back in because she needs something in there (The only other option is that nothing goes in there), and we're hoping that she doesn't do anything else to it.

There was some time on the phone with Mom afterward that led right into dinner, since we had put the sandwiches from the Italian sub place in the fridge to get colder, and then in went the bedsheets and the pillows into the wash, and I decided to wash the dog's bowls. Better then, after they had had their cheeseburger and fries.

After all that, I didn't quite feel like a zombie, but I think I was getting there. I started Bottom of the 33rd by Dan Barry, but didn't get too far into it yet, and TV was limited to that evening's episodes of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. I didn't have the desire for anything else.

Right now, the dogs are being groomed by Shannon, who picks them up and brings them back. I've got to figure out what library books I'm going to return today, enough so that I have less to return during the week, and I've also got to write a list of those books so I can look for them after we move to Vegas and I sign up for library cards in Henderson and with the Clark County system. Those are the ones I want to start with, as a link from Santa Clarita to Las Vegas, and then I can burn that bridge with each book.

Oh! One more thing that didn't really fit with anything here: Mom and Dad had quite a busy day yesterday, going to Chinatown, driving the Strip, keeping tabs on the PT Cruiser, but while they were on the Strip, just before the Wynn Hotel, Steve Wynn's Rolls-Royce cut them off. They weren't sure if Steve Wynn himself was in it, but his driver sure was, and it was definitely Wynn's Rolls-Royce, because the license plate said "WYNN1". Mom tried to get a picture, but her cell phone wasn't acting right in that moment. Even so, only in Vegas. And more evidence that that's where I want to be.