Friday, July 25, 2008

The Universe Snaps Back

Alternate Title if this was porn: A Sucky Story with a Happy Ending

(Can't wait to see what kind of automated Google ads THAT brings up!)

Last night, I sent email to two people on craigslist that each listed a vacuum for $25. One was in Oceanside, the other in San Marcos. The San Marcos vacuum was red and a little older (but not more than 5 years), and looked like your normal modern-day upright that uses a bag. The Oceanside vacuum was a cool lime green, rounded like a Dyson (read: newer), it was bagless (read: better for the environment), and I got attached to the idea that I would refer to it as "The Green Monster" in honor of the outfield wall at Fenway (for the baseball-impaired, Fenway is the home of the Boston Red Sox - Go Saux!). I even planned to get a team sticker for it.

San Marcos called me back first, but I really wanted the green one from Oceanside so I stalled with an excuse and told her I wanted to check out some reports on the performance of her model before committing to it - can I call her back in an hour? Sure, she says.

A couple hours later Oceanside calls and I arrange to go get The Green Monster. I'm under the gun because I have to meet my landlady in an hour, and it would take just about that long to get there and back. I go anyway, but first I call San Marcos and give a lame excuse about saving gas and ask if I could come by Sunday on my way to Encinitas? Sure, she says. I also told her that if someone else was interested don't wait for me - I didn't want to be unfair - but I honestly didn't think anyone else would inquire because it was an older model.

The Jeep sucked down an entire gallon of gas going to Oceanside, much like I inhaled an entire bottle of Bolthouse Hazelnut Latte, my newest addiction (trying to replace Starbucks; the Mocha Cappuccino and the Vanilla Chai also rock). The guy brings Big Green outside to show me and it's this tiny little thing that looks like no more than the stick vac I already have (and the stick vac ain't cuttin' it, which is why I'm looking for another vacuum). It was like expecting a roar and getting a yawn instead.

I swear, in the picture it looked like a standard size, but I've been fooled this way before. Pictures are worth 1000 words, but they don't provide actual measurements. (Remember that next time you're looking at naughty things on the internet. You know who you are.) I even asked on the phone how many amps it had and he said 12 (which was the truth), so I assumed it had to be full size. It was certainly as loud as a full size. You'd think something like that would come with matching lime green, noise-canceling ear covers like landscapers wear so you can eliminate dirt and debris in style! What stick vac is 12 amps? That's like putting a 2HP motor on a blender! Oh wait, they do that.

Despite him promising that it worked just like a regular full size vacuum I said no thanks, that I couldn't afford to take the chance that it doesn't do the job as well as I need it to. So disappointing. I really wanted a Big Green Sucking Machine. Not a Small Lean Might Get It Clean.

So I pull around the corner from his house and call San Marcos to say, "Hey! Guess what? I found out I'm closer to your area than I thought and I was wondering if I could come by now to take a look at the vac?" But oops... someone else called about it [read: she had another person interested already and since I sort of passed, she called them] and they were on their way over. Crap. I so totally deserved that.

She promised to call me back and let me know if the guy took it, but c'mon... $25 for a decent upright? And it's a guy coming to look - guys aren't that picky. That thing is SO gone.

I headed in the direction of San Marcos anyway, hoping she would call in the 15 minutes it took to get to the exit where I'd have to decide to continue on or turn to go home. She didn't call. I argued with myself that she would call - maybe I should just pull over and wait. No, I had to go home and meet the landlady. ::SIGH:: I took the exit to head north.

Good thing, because my cell phone never rang.

Two hours later my home line blurts out its anemic summons (a whole 'nother story) and it's San Marcos saying she's SO sorry she didn't contact me earlier but her cell mysteriously erased my number so she didn't have a way to call me back! Ouch. Ok, I deserved that one too.

She was very helpful though, suggesting I check out a yellow vacuum currently on sale at Target for only $50. She said she bought the same thing and it's working great. I thanked her for the tip and we said goodbye.

Moral of the story: if you keep pulling the Universe's rubber band, eventually it's going to snap back and sting you.

The happy ending to this story is that I went back to craigslist (if they ever go public, I have to buy stock!) and found another vac for only $15 that looks like it will do the job well. And this time I'm not fooling around. I made an appointment and I'll keep it, and unless something goes horribly wrong, I will own it for less than either of the other two. Even when the Universe slaps you, at least it will kiss it and make it better after.

Oh, and this Mighty Hoover is teal colored - not exactly a Green Monster, but hey, it matches the Jeep! And I'll call it Edgar, even though I don't think my grandfather (who shares the name) would appreciate that too much. I'll have to use the J in front when I'm around him.

So J. Edgar Hoover will be in charge of digging up dirt and busting the floors as Finally Being Intolerable. (::giggles at her own joke::)


In other news... I was cleaning out the pictures on my cell phone and realized there are many I took to post here, but I forgot all about them! So here is what I've been saving up for you, my fellow Planetary Peoples.

Take a look at the store hours on this sign and tell me what's wrong with this picture:

If there are two extra days available for only 99 cents each, someone PLEASE point me to that aisle, because I can't tell you how many times I would've gladly given my last two bucks for an extra 48 hours!

And speaking of signs: Go Semper Fi! ...or not.

While we're on the subject of heroes, did you know Jewish carpenters fall into that category? Yes, folks, you too can own the Jesus action figure! He's poseable! He's inspiring! He saves... money! Available at Borders Book Store (no kidding). Cross not included. Mary Magdalene sold separately.

I've always said there were plenty of good prophets in our history, Jesus just had the best marketing.

(The Google ad algorithm is now having a melt down figuring out if it can list ads for porn and Christian products on the same page.)

Seriously though, I took this pic awhile back at Starbucks (sorry it's blurry) because I was thrilled to see two of my own heroes sharing space on the rack. Frank Sinatra and Jason Mraz. Both Fond of Hats. These guys are the best crooners ever to inhabit our fair planet:

And I had this pic on my phone too... the story behind this one is that every time I'd say organic food is better for you, Mark would scoff and say, "Boron's organic, but that's not good for you!" Well sir, apparently it is in select cases! :P

And this... this is why I'm here on the West coast... being here to witness scenes like this is what makes this place like paradise:

And this last one was also taken at the beach... apparently kicked off in a fit of joy: (Dane Cook fans will know EXACTLY what I'm talking about.)

I can't see a lone shoe lying anywhere now that I don't think of that line. God bless Dane Cook. He's one of the people that makes me laugh almost daily.

Dear Owner of This Shoe: Your property has been impounded by The Ocean. You can retrieve your missing footwear at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 4-6 months. Karma is the only form of payment accepted. Good luck.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Where Eagles Fly

Every time I drive around the area I live in, I am absolutely amazed by the beauty. I can't drink it in fast enough. I am SO LUCKY to live here! And it's always changing too - it still looks new and different to me even when I take the same road. People driving behind me must think I'm drunk the way I weave to the side because I'm paying more attention to the scenery than where I'm going.

Today I found myself with the hood pointed at the sky as I climbed to a house that was right out of the movies. It was a golden stucco with iron-scrolled balconies and fences, complete with a fountain in the courtyard. It was like the Southwest meets Tuscany or something. Incredibly beautiful. And the views... OMG! Had to be worth at least a couple million, especially considering the land it was sitting on. The drive up was not the first time around here that I was grateful to have a Jeep!

I was also thankful I had my camera with me this time. The pictures are nice, but they pale in comparison to the panoramic scenery I was inhaling with every Ooooo and Ahhhh. This is like living in Eden, but with coyotes. :D

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wisdom from the Shower

Just a short insight I had as a result of thinking about a new friend's comment about wanting to change the world:

Personally, I don't want to change the world. I just want to be myself and hope that I am an example others would want to follow. If your own choices will lead to your success or failure, and the only one you can control is you, it makes no sense to try to change the world because then you're depending on others to define your success. Could you be happy that way?

Update: More contemplation led to a thought-full footnote...

If everyone walks their talk, the world will change itself, thus you've accomplished the same goal as my friend, but you've done it with less effort. And the Universe loves the path of least resistance, right?

I guess this is really the same as saying "Be the change you want to see in the world," but it also explains why "being the change" works.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Manifest Destiny

So what about this great place I’ve landed in? "Far out" is exactly what it is, but in a "totally rad" California-good way. :D

The movers delivered my belongings the very next day, after I agreed to pay their full ridiculous price. The only other option was they unload everything into storage and we argue over it in court. Stuff is simply not worth all that negative vibe to me. At first I told the guy to just keep it all – I wasn’t paying, but I only half meant it. I probably would’ve gotten over the loss (I find my attachment to things is shallow – out of sight, out of mind, with very few exceptions), but I knew it would end up in court because they would want the rest of their money and who wants all that hassle? Not me. I will probably end up suing them in small claims for the difference because I can’t afford to be an extra $1600 in debt, but confrontation is so not my bag. In fact, I dunno why I’m even headed down that thought path because it stresses me out. I wanna write about the fun stuff.

In the Now, let’s check out my list of what I was hoping for in my new address, down to the silly (and sometimes unreasonable) details:

  • Washer/dryer – check
  • 2 bathrooms – check
  • Lots of space (including closets and storage) – check
  • Kitchen sink: double sided porcelain, not stainless steel (I’m weird like that) – check
  • Dishwasher – check
  • Gas stove – this one’s electric. I can deal.
  • Fireplace – check (I don’t care if I never use it, it looks cool. ☺)
  • Offstreet parking for 2 cars (the Universe is like, “does a garage work for you?” Uhh, YES!) – check
  • Tile or wood floors, but carpet in the bedrooms – check (they’re tile)
  • Individual owner, not a management company – check
  • Viewable stars in the night sky (the sky at Mom’s house in New Mexico spoiled me, but there’s at least as many stars here on a clear night as NJ had) – check
  • Small town atmosphere that’s still convenient to shopping and daily needs – check
  • Organic grocery – check check check (I think there are more organic stores here than “normal” ones)
  • Color in the vegetation – (is there ever NOT color here?) check!
In other words, I was blessed with EVERYTHING I wanted, including stuff I didn’t really expect, but wished for anyway. (Ok, except the stove. It still heats my tea water, so I'll survive.)

I was gifted with things I didn’t even think of as well: I’m surrounded by horse ranches and golf courses, which makes for a beautiful drive in every direction, and the energy of affluent people due to the nature of those businesses. There are Golden Eagles - EAGLES! - that fly around here all the time. I’ve heard their cries, and the other day I saw one circling the house. WOW. Talk about powerful energy.

What I didn’t get, but then I didn’t ask for it either, was central heat and air conditioning. This place is a little weird that way, but I chalk it up to the Cosmic Sense of Humor. I mean technically, I didn't ask for it, right? One should never assume.

The heat is radiant heat (not forced air), and Kathy told me it’s in the ceiling. Makes no sense to have it there since heat rises, but I guess back in the 80s when the condo was built, they were still learning. I’m not sure how warm downstairs will be in the winter (upstairs will probably be fine), but then it probably gets down to a chilly 60° on the worst winter day here, so I’m not anticipating much of a problem, even though I’m one of those people that’s always cold. I still have all my thick northeast sweaters and my space heaters. Perhaps I’ll get some use out of them.

I’ve unpacked most of the boxes and pretty well settled in. I’ve been abusing craigslist, replacing many of the things I sold before I left, enjoying the hunt for deals and driving around to pick things up. Turns out furnishing your home from craigslist is an excellent way to learn your way around a new city. It’s almost like living in a rat maze – if you take all the right turns, you get a treat at the end! Unfortunately, the people waiting with the treat don’t like accepting payment in rat poop. Shame that, because I’m RICH in rat poop thanks to my fuzzy brats.

A couple Sundays after I got here I went to Encinitas to pick up a rug for the dining room and passed a sign for Moonlight Beach. I’d heard of it before because Switchfoot (my second most favorite band ever) puts on a benefit concert there once a year, and I planned to go but then I chose to stay in New Mexico for that week instead so I missed it. (Ok, yeah, Jason was supposed to play too, but in this case it really wasn't just him I was going to see.)

After stuffing the rug in the back of the Jeep, I thought I would “just go check out the ocean, then go home.” HA. Two hours and a mile or so later, I came back with a wicked sunburn, but I don’t regret it a bit.

As expected, most people were within 100 yards of the beach entrance so I walked a little ways down the shoreline to admire the view in peace. However, something about the atmosphere fostered an otherworldly, dreamlike state and I was loathe to break it so I just kept walking. As I wandered down the sand, it was hard to decide whether to absorb the geology of the cliffs to my right with the wonder of the mansions sitting atop them, or the vast, commanding presence of the ocean to my left. I was walking between the perfect opposition of Earth and Water with a clear, blue Sky overhead. (I guess that makes me the Fire element – no wonder I got burned!) Time was easily suspended. Being in that space, one would be hard-pressed not to feel close to whatever name you lay on God.

In those moments, all my doubts about moving here were sucked into the undertow and I recognized it was that which drove me. The feeling I get when I know I’m completely in the right place, no matter what chaos happened in getting there or what chaos may lie beyond it – experiencing that connection was/is the reason for all the sorting, packing, leaving work/friends/family, driving through tornadoes and deserts, sneaking animals into hotels... When I started this adventure, I knew I would find it – I counted on it. I just didn’t know when or where it would show up. I certainly lost sight of it when I arrived, but I kept my faith in what I set out to do, and that unyielding knowing is what I was after. It was in that very moment, standing before Big Blue that I knew down to the cellular level: This was SO worth it.

I even snapped a pic and sent it to Jenn with those very words. ☺

Yeah, you know, that is such a powerful feeling I can’t even think what to write next, so I’ll leave it be until tomorrow. It’s 5 am anyway and I need to sleep a little before work. If you’ve ever had that feeling you know what I’m talking about. If not, you’ll get there with faith.

Trust in your Self.