Friday, May 25, 2012

Uniquely CA

It's another "big day" today. All my stuff arrives within the hour. Then the litany of decisions start all over again ... where to put it, and even after having it shipped across the country, do I REALLY need it? Storage is at a premium. There are NO basements in CA. Which brings me to the idea I had for this post ... things I've noticed that are decidedly different from MN.

Like I just said, no basements. Everything is built on a slab, and most of the houses are stucco or brick. Very little in the way of lapped siding.

And the grass is different. I'm not sure of the varieties yet, but they're not Kentucky bluegrass, that's for sure. One type gets mowed about 1/2" long, like a putting green. Looks like astroturf but I guess it survives the climate better here than what I'm used to. The plant material is also completely different. All the shrubs and flowers and trees are tropical varieties that can take the heat in the valley here.

Which brings me to ... water. It's a precious commodity here. There are lots of restrictions on it's use. And this has been a dry year so it's in particular short supply. You can only water 3 days per week depending on whether your address is odd or even and there is no watering between 10 AM and 8 PM and no hosing off anything, etc. It's highly agricultural here and the farmers really need water. There are fields everywhere outside of town ... either dairies filled with cows (but here, they're not pastured they're in feed lots), or fields/groves of citrus, stone fruits, nuts (walnuts, almonds, pistachios). The produce supply is wonderful and prices are great. I bought 2 pounds of strawberries for $1.48 and they're delicious. Actually, I bought 6 pounds!

The air is noticeably drier as well. My skin is dry and the humidity is very low. Yesterday was an extremely pleasant day. The thermometer in the shade said 85 but with the air dry, it was so comfortable. So unlike the humidity we suffer through in MN in the summer.

Gas prices. Definitely higher. Nothing I've seen under $4.15 and that was cash price. Credit is 6 to 10 cents more per gallon. It took me literally a half hour on Wednesday to fill up my tank. I was so frustrated. Two of the four pumps at this little old station weren't working. I paid inside and the clerk kept telling me to pick up and replace the nozzle. I did that 3 to 4 times and went inside to tell her it still wasn't working. After doing that 3 times, she said to "go to an other pump". Went to another one. Same story. She said to go to pump one. Well, cars were continuously arriving and leaving cuz it was the cheapest gas around and I was afraid someone else was going to get to the pump before I could get my car there and get my $60 worth of gas. Well, I got my car there RIGHT QUICK and started filling. The pump shut off at $51.49. Oh fudge! I went back inside and was prepared to ask for a refund as I thought my tank was full and I'd miscalculated how much it could hold. She said it was OK and she'd accidentally shut the pumps off. So I went back out for the fifth time and got the rest of my gas. WHAT AN ORDEAL. Live and learn I guess.

All in all, things have gone very well. Hope today continues with more of the same. Running with the Visalia Runners at 4:30 AM (to beat the heat and get to work). We're training for the Santa Rosa marathon in August. And I'm trying to get into shape. Track work on Tuesday and tempo on Thursday. Tomorrow, I might run a 5K in the middle of our long run and totally embarrass myself. We're running Rock Hill on Monday morning. My friend Angelica has a Swedish friend Anna-Karin Berg that wanted to meet me as I'm 100% Norwegian. I met her and she wants to have lunch to get better acquainted. So nice! Actually, everyone has been very nice here. Greet people with a smile and/or a pleasant word works wonders.

Well, it's time to watch for the truck. Have a wonderful weekend!

The back yard

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