All that glitters is not cold
This is the frantic time of year for us. Geoffrey is always slammed with huge projects and crazy deadlines and I have to turn away job after job. I thought I had everything under control because we bought all our gifts early and sent off the ones that needed to be delivered, the rest being wrapped and under the tree that now sits in our living room. The old Christmas room is now a guest room/office and our lights are all up and on a complicated network of timers.
But, I am somehow still behind in cleaning. The troops are about to land and I still have days of cleaning to do in shrinking time. Hence this late posting that should have been Friday. Uh, so, consistency is the … of little minds, which must be me normally, LOL.
One of the things I loved about Valencia was its being close to the main artery that zips people (in 4.5 hours if you get on the conveyor belt where everyone goes 90mph the whole way) to San Francisco. We had lived in the East Bay up there and then Deanna and Al went to school up there, so I wanted to be able to hop to the Bay area whenever I had the time. I also liked the fact that Santa Clarita is a valley at a higher elevation. Our house is at about 2000 feet, which used to mean getting snow occasionally. Now it almost never happens.
It still gets cold. It has been in the 30sF for two weeks solid, at night and only gets into the 50s during the day. But, it is December, for heaven’s sake, and it was in the high 80’s right through the first week. I have to accept that we are not likely to get any moisture from El Nino, ourselves. As long as there is snow up north, it will help our water problem, so I cannot cry about it.
Deanna and Al are moving back to California, which means we will be much closer and they will not have to stay with us next Christmas. That should mean the same parties and fun being together but without the hosting responsibilities that I am getting lazier about in my old age. 😀
Strange happenings in this beautiful neck of the woods though. I had four separate dog incidences, one of which involved my neighbor’s dog (with whom I wasn’t familiar previously). I was out sweeping two weeks ago and a very large, very scary looking black dog trotted into the driveway. There I was with only a broom and this unknown mastiff. Luckily I had my phone and called Geoffrey frantically, asking him what I should do. The dog had a bright yellow collar and tags, but I was not about to go up to him. Geoffrey was in the middle of a project Downtown and simply told me do to nothing. What? Let this obviously valued pet get lost? I thought maybe if I got some water and put it inside my gate to one of our courtyards and then locked the gate, he could stay there until Geoffrey got home.
Meanwhile, a new neighbor saw me with the dog and asked if it was ours. I explained that it wasn’t and I didn’t know whose it was and he whistled to the dog, who immediately ran back in the opposite direction and barked at the guy, then turned and went into someone else’s open gate, into their back yard. The new guy said it might be the dog’s yard so we decided to run over and shut the gate, trapping the dog inside. Next thing we know, though, that huge black dog is in the house belonging to that yard. We ran over and banged on the door — no answer. Peering into their front window, something I would ordinarily never do, we could see this huge black dog barking like a maniac on the other side. There was what appeared to be a small-dog bed inside. It suddenly dawned on me that this stray dog might kill the dog that belonged to that bed. Now I really felt we had made a potentially catastrophic mistake.
The new guy, Tony, and I decided that we needed to put a note on the door. He had no paper as he had not unpacked, so I ran home, printed up a note on bright yellow paper, and put it on their garage and front doors, one each. Now I was a nervous wreck, because I felt they would hold me responsible if their dog was killed by this one.
Long story short, the big black dog was their dog, that tiny bed (inexplicably) was his and all was well in the end. Sheesh. Just what I needed. At least I met the new neighbor and the old one, whom I had never bothered with. Now I know all their names and the name of all their dogs. I asked them to lock that gate!
We have a community website now and every day people are complaining and warning about all kinds of things. Lost and found pets, strange vehicles in the neighborhood and break-ins. This was probably going on all along, as there are a total of 1800 homes in our spot and in the adjacent one with the lake, another 1100 or so, but I wasn’t aware of it until I joined this site, which started up this summer.
The upshot of all this is, we all ran out and got multi-camera security systems. Now there is a little monitor that sits in our family room, from which we can view each of the six exterior cameras. It is also hooked up to our computers and phones for remote viewing and reviewing the tape. What is truly hilarious in a contorted way are the reports of what people see each night on their tapes: neighbors allowing their dogs to evacuate on the manicured lawns, people opening their mailboxes and stealing or reading each others’ mail; possums, racoons, skunks, and other animals grazing in the flower beds; kids smoking on people’s porches; trash thrown in their construction dumpsters; workers eating lunch in adjacent backyards. Every single day is some infraction taped. But no one wants to confront the perps. The gnashing of teeth and angsting over what to do could make a great sitcom. For me, it is almost TMI.
And then there are the kids that race up and down some of the wider streets in the middle of the night. No one can agree on what to do about it and the security company patrols don’t seem to happen at the same time, so they are virtually useless.
To top things off, we got a huge package delivered to us by mistake last night. I opened it wondering if one of my visitors had sent it and discovered it was supposed to go to Minnesota. So now I have to figure out who to call to get it picked up and redelivered in time for Christmas. It is a child’s stroller, so someone obviously wants it right away. Sigh …
Ah well, these are problems to have, I guess. As we speak now, my guests are arriving and I will be dealing with all the logistics including meals and towels and access to all our computers (although they do bring their own) and having to change my schedule, which is getting less attractive the older I get, lol.
Not to worry. I am going to talk more about Valencia in the next post, probably in January. Meanwhile, I appreciate every one of you in this growing community of friends. All year long you keep me sane and real by reading and commenting and putting up with me. I do notice and I hope I have treated you just as well.
Images: Chez BeBe assets – Valencia Heights, taken with my three Nikons