Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I Did It!

My goal of reading what became 85 issues of The Henderson Press online (as the months went on) before we move is complete....the day before the latest issue comes out.

I'll read all 5,432 issues of Henderson Home News (published from 1951 to 2009) from the Henderson Libraries website at my leisure. No rush on those.

Now back to our scheduled preparations for moving. See you after I get to Las Vegas!

The Wednesday Before a New Beginning

I thought I'd finish 10 Items or Less and watch all of King of California tonight, after the final shave and shower in Santa Clarita. I thought that tomorrow, when the movers come, I would unplug everything then, and watch them haul out my widescreen TV while I put all the necessary connectors for my DVD player to my TV and my VCR to my TV in a food storage bag, and then find a box for my two heavy-duty DVD binders, since I wanted to hold onto those until the very last minute because I wanted to watch those movies.

It's apparent that I haven't moved in eight years. None of that was ever possible. My 10 Items or Less DVD went back into its slot in one of my DVD binders, I unplugged my TV, my DVD player, and my VCR, and the DirecTV satellite boxes were taken to the post office in prepaid boxes sent by the company, and mailed. Dad didn't want to deal with their bullshit anymore, and where would we have found the time today to watch something anyway? Speaking of that, when Dad was on the phone yesterday asking for the service to be discontinued on Thursday (they discontinued it today instead, despite Dad saying repeatedly that he wanted it done on Thursday), I've no idea why he had to give our new address in Las Vegas, but the guy on the phone mistakenly thought he wanted those feeds right then, and for the rest of the day and into the late night, we got all the local Las Vegas channels, able to watch the news, to hear all the stories about the valley being flooded yesterday from torrential rains, which look even more torrential in the desert than they would in Florida without a hurricane. I finally got to know more about the current state of my home city without having to wait until we got there, save for this morning, before I went to bed, when I found that they had discontinued the service in the living room, but left the other boxes untouched because those were on a different satellite. Nevertheless, no more Dallas Raines and no more George Pennacchio on KABC 7 in L.A. became one of the best things about this move!

Yeah. Time for TV and time for two final movies in Santa Clarita. Sure. That was going to happen. Not with sweeping the patio of dead pine needles for the final time. Speaking of which, I've been sweeping dead pine needles from the patio for eight years and guess what happened today? They trimmed that pine tree, including shearing off some of the branches from which those dead pine needles fell. However, I see that as a good sign. Time to move on.

I also had to pack up the rest of my room, including my stuffed animals (which have in its ranks two Baloos and two King Louies from The Jungle Book, each a small and large size, assorted other DVDs (such as The Magic School Bus: The Complete Series, which I forgot to pack last night), and of course cords I need, such as the one I use to connect my MP3 player to the computer. Also my Johnny Carson and Zen Page-a-Day calendars, and I've forgotten what else, because it feels like we've done 72 hours worth of work in one day. I've also been cleaning most of our furniture with some spray we have under the sink so they look presentable when we get there and the movers bring them in. Best to leave the dust in Southern California than to bring it along to Las Vegas.

And I have only two issues left to read before I've read every single issue of The Henderson Press, except for Vol. 3, No. 32, which didn't download. It said "No File" the two times I downloaded it, so someone at The Henderson Press forgot to make sure the file was available to download. No matter, though, because by late tonight (depending on how much I still have to do tonight in cleaning furniture and whatever else needs to be done), I'll have reached my goal of reading every issue before we move. I'm not making any goal for the 5,432 issues available of Henderson Home News from 1951-2009 on the Henderson Libraries website. I'm going to read those at my leisure. After all, I've got decades to spend in Southern Nevada now!

I'm not sure when Internet service is going to be disconnected tomorrow, or if the main computer is going into a box or the trunk of our PT Cruiser when we leave early Friday morning (I think Dad will put it in the trunk. It's best to have it available right away), either 6:30 or 7 in order to get there by the early afternoon to meet the movers at our mobile home park. But chances are this is my last entry from Santa Clarita. The next one you see will be from Las Vegas, and I'll try to recount the four-hour drive home and moving in as best I can because I realized today, after that box had been sealed up, that I packed away all my composition books. Gee, I really could have used one for all that's coming up.

The only change on this trip is that I think we're going to skip Primm. If Enterprise or CarMax had accepted our aging PT Cruiser and we were driving to Las Vegas in a rental, I would have wanted to stop at the Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas there, on the California/Nevada border. But driving long distances in the PT Cruiser requires concerted prayer and loud chanting in the hope that it'll get us to where we need to go. Yet, Dad was at our mechanic yesterday while he checked over everything and adjusted whatever had to be adjusted and he's confident that we'll get to Las Vegas safely. I think we will. Plus, we'll briefly stop in Baker at the Grewal Travel Center rest stop, my favorite there, for the final time, and it'll probably be a little after 9 when we get there, so I'm sure it'll only be in the mid-80s by then. The high in Baker on Friday is going to be 102, but we'll be long gone by the time the temperature gets there.

And as for Las Vegas, a high of 91 and a low of 75 on Friday. Easy, welcoming weather. There's a lot to move into our new home so that's better for us. Better than the possibility that there once was of moving during the summer before that job didn't pan out for Dad. His new principal has been very understanding in it taking some time for us to get there. On Tuesday, he'll go to the school district offices to sign more papers, and then on Wednesday, he'll start at his new middle school. Not long after, it'll be time for me to pursue the job I want as a full-time middle school campus supervisor, once again tying into my love of school campuses, their pervasive peace, that is if you're not one of the students or the administration, because those front offices are busy enough as it is with so much to do on any given day.

So this is where I stop for now, anticipating lots more to write once our Internet service is installed, along with CenturyLink Prism, which will let us watch our shows on any DVR in the house, the first time we've ever had this. Plus, we're also getting Boomerang in our channel lineup, so I can record Popeye whenever it's on. Oh, and yesterday, when the DirecTV boxes were unplugged, the main one in the living room, the one that recorded everything, had Harry and Tonto and Neil Simon's I Ought to Be in Pictures on it, among other things. I have Harry and Tonto on DVD, but I liked to have it on the Tivo for a while in case I wanted to watch it again or fast-forward to my favorite parts while I was in the living room. Losing I Ought to Be in Pictures was momentarily disappointing, because it's not on DVD, and VHS copies of it are very pricey on Amazon Marketplace. But it aired on Fox Movie Channel, which we had as a free preview two months ago on DirecTV, and it's one of the channels we get through CenturyLink Prism. When it comes on again, I'm recording it and not letting go until it comes to DVD. According to the channel website, it's going to air on Wednesday, September 26, nearly two weeks after our arrival in Las Vegas. Our cable system will be well in progress by then, and I will have that movie back.

Ok, that's probably it. Here I go, finally heading home. First the movers and then the drive. And a lot more stories to tell to really fill up this blog again, a lot to see, a lot to know. And I want to see and know it all.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Las Vegas Phone Number History (Or Lack Of)

Before my TV and DVD player are unplugged on Thursday and hauled away by the movers who will meet us at our new home early Friday afternoon to move everything in, I was planning to watch Lucky You (mostly crappy script, but one of the great movies about Las Vegas because it gets the actual feel of the city right and not how Hollywood usually sees it), Swing Vote (for the election season), and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (symbolic of a new adventure in my life) again. I watched some of Lucky You before the week started, but I can easily watch Swing Vote and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy after we're settled in our new home and everything's hooked up again, including cable service with CenturyLink, which offers the ability to watch recorded shows on any TV in the house. That's going to be a godsend.

Anyway, instead of those movies, I watched most of 10 Items or Less, starring Morgan Freeman and Paz Vega, early this morning, to remind myself that I have to get used to finding good people all the time in Las Vegas, which is hard to imagine at first after nine years in Santa Clarita. Most of them in Las Vegas anyway, but the majority leans toward goodness, because living in Las Vegas, you're in the desert and you have to make your life work. People are more real there.

While I watched Him (Freeman) walk into Archie's Ranch Market in Carson to do research for a role as a supermarket manager that he hasn't committed to yet, I saw the pay phone that he uses to call someone to pick him up after the production assistant (Jonah Hill) for the movie doesn't come back after dropping him off an hour before, and my mind wandered to the news the day before that we got our new phone number. I've memorized it, just like I have our new address after changing many magazine subscription addresses.

After revealing our new phone number, Dad said that it had been out of service for three years, and I perked up at that piece of news. Once in Las Vegas, I want to know absolutely everything about my home city. I want to explore every inch of it, along with Henderson, Boulder City, Summerlin, and North Las Vegas, as well as the rest of Nevada. I don't necessarily want to become one of the foremost authorities on Las Vegas and Nevada; I just want to know enough for myself, that wherever I go, when I drive by various casinos, I know their histories, that when I walk through downtown Henderson and downtown Boulder City, I know how long those buildings have been there and what the lobby of the Boulder Dam Hotel in Boulder City looked like decades before, also knowing that Clark Gable and Carole Lombard once stayed there.

I wish I could know the same about our new phone number. Three years out of service before it was given to us. Who had it? Was it a business? Was it a resident? Was it a transient resident who had had enough of the city and moved east or back to California or maybe Arizona or New Mexico? Was it a resident who died of old age or died in middle age and their family took care of the arrangements to release the phone number? Or did the number just float briefly from place to place during those three years before settling down on us? I like to imagine that it was a resident who eventually tired of the city, who left room for us. Something like that. I know that I won't ever know the history of our new phone number, but the speculation to come out of it, those potential stories, are endlessly interesting.

Genetic Nose Hair

When you're preparing to move, and you're deciding what to throw out and what to pack, you discover a lot. You discover books you forgot you even had, magazine issues that you didn't read, but want to keep so you can later on (such as The New Yorker's Science Fiction issue from a few months ago, and their Food issue from last year), and DVDs to put with other DVDs in a huge binder in order to watch later, but not necessarily to keep (such as Blackthorn, starring Sam Shepard, one of my heroes).

It's preparation for a new life, new experiences, new discoveries. Surprising new discoveries.

Late last week, I noticed a nose hair hanging further down than usual from my nose. I could tuck it back in a bit so it wouldn't be so bothersome, but at the first opportunity, it always sprang back out. I had to do something about it. I had to cut it.

I went into my parents' bathroom during the night, into Monday, and got the scissors that are kept for such a task. I expected to only eventually aim the scissors correctly enough while looking in the mirror in order to clip the sucker. I had to sit down after I clipped the lone nose hair and looked up my nose. I was stunned by what I found.

I know that I'm going to get older. Everyone does. I know that my body will gradually change with every year. It happens to everyone. I didn't expect to find so soon the sheer breadth of nose hair I have in each nostril.

When my late paternal grandfather, and my paternal grandmother, used to visit, I'd always sit in the middle of the front of their car, with Dad next to me on the right, my grandfather driving on the left, and Mom, Meridith, and my grandmother in the back. While my grandfather weaved through traffic like a madman, defied the logic of wearing a seatbelt (he absolutely refused to wear one and we never said anything about it, because that's who he was), and told jokes, most of which were racist, I looked at him and noticed his nose hairs, how they seemed to be reaching out beyond his nose. Not that they were disorganized, since he seemed to clip them when necessary, but it looked like they were planning to invade at the first possible moment that no one, or me, was looking. I was younger, so I didn't think much about it beyond being amazed at how one nose could have so much nose hair.

Now here I am, 28 years old, and I have what my grandfather had, what my father has too. It's the least to worry about in a family line that's pretty much uneventful. All my ancestors died of old age, ranging from the 80s to the 90s. I'd like to go beyond that.

So I have to clip my nose hairs more often. That's fine. I'll do it. For now, though, I'm still surprised at seeing this change right now. Whatever happens in my body in the years to come, I'm not so concerned because I know my genetic line has always been stable. No family members with cancer in the past. Nothing that threatens one's health early on. Only an impending invasion of nose hairs on the world. But the battle is always easily won.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Things are Rapidly Changing for the Better

Mom and Dad and Meridith went out to Enterprise in Mission Hills first to try to get our PT Cruiser off our hands, in the hope that they would give us a rental for our move to Las Vegas and then in Las Vegas, we'd go back to an Enterprise there and seek a new car. No dice. The one who made the deal for us at Enterprise is no longer there (he began attending law school) and the one in the Mission Hills office who could have helped wasn't there. So they went to CarMax in Burbank, and they were no help either, not offering enough to end our payments on the PT Cruiser.

Meanwhile, back in Santa Clarita, I was home because I want to finish all the issues of The Henderson Press before we move. Right now, I'm on Volume 3, No. 27, with nine more issues to go to get to Volume 3, No. 36, the most recent issue. This is how I'm spending the rest of my afternoon. But on Saturday, I was on Volume 3, No. 20. Good progress.

We had three showings on Saturday, with the latter two latter in the day, and I was here for both. The third showing, which had a family with a teenaged daughter, was the best one. They're the ones who made an offer today that could very well go through because all the paperwork is in hand, and everything that needed to be done before the offer was made is done. They have the necessary cash to start. We're not going to make much of anything on this deal, but it's about time this house goes to people who could really enjoy it. We never did. I know this family will.

On top of that, we have our new phone number, which I've already memorized (I memorized the address yesterday when I was changing magazine subscription addresses, including The New Yorker and Saveur, and our gate code, since our mobile home park is gated.

Unfortunately, since we'll likely be driving to Las Vegas in our PT Cruiser, which we have to pray for when we drive long distances, we're going to skip Primm, since it's more important to get to our new home. We can always go back anyway, and I'd prefer to do it in whatever new car we eventually get.

However, the upside is that we'll be celebrating Rosh Hashanah at Greenberg & Sons, a Jewish deli at New York-New York. At the same time we're there, Meridith wants to go to the Coney Island Emporium to see the cotton candy vending machine that was installed there, and if Mom and Dad don't mind hanging around New York-New York a little longer (that is, if they don't want to go with us), Meridith and I want to pop across the street to M&M World to see I Lost My M in Vegas, the 3D short film that plays on the 3rd floor every half hour. I'm looking forward to it because David Ruprecht, the host of Supermarket Sweep, voiced the dealer. It's also interesting to know that J.K. Simmons is in Las Vegas every day, because besides the commercials, he also voiced the Yellow M&M for this short film.

Also, today was Dad's last day at La Mesa Junior High. A student that he had seven years ago found out that he's leaving and drove all the way from wherever he's living now during lunchtime to see him. I'm still amazed.

Yesterday, I spent most of the afternoon checking if certain books I have are also available in the Clark County Library system. Most of them are, so I put them in paper bags for donations, and for now, I'm keeping the ones that aren't, such as Vending Machines: A Social History by Kerry Segrave. Not only does the Clark County system not have it, but I paid nearly 30 dollars for my copy and I'm not giving it up so quickly, especially since I haven't read it yet.

It's all starting to move swiftly, and there's still lots to throw out and lots to pack, but the reward at the end is everything I've ever wanted. There's nothing better than that.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

We'll Be Home...

Friday, September 14th, any time after 7 a.m. Our new home, eight miles from the Strip, will be ready then. The Tuesday after, Dad has to sign further papers at the Clark County School District offices and he starts at his new middle school the following day.

This is our final weekend in Santa Clarita! Final moments to breathe before diving into the gargantuan task of moving, but it's easier this time, above all other times because first, we're going home, and second, it only takes four hours from here to Las Vegas as opposed to five days from South Florida to Southern California nine years ago. Same grouping as nine years ago: Us, our two dogs, and our two birds, with a moving company based in Las Vegas going ahead of us. Only one of the dogs and both birds have changed since then. Different dog, different birds. But all family, and all ready to live life as we should live it. Not an existence, as it has been. A life. A life we can love, can appreciate, can be happy all the time. I'm ready to get to know my home city intimately, and I'd like it to be where I am for the rest of my life.