Monday, December 26, 2016

A California Weekend

We picked up Roxy on Friday at San Francisco airport. She had been in her cage for 18 hours by the time we got her and all she wanted was to be out. We took her for a walk along the Bay and then took her on a three hour drive home to El Dorado Hills. It is wonderful to have her with us. She quickly adapted to her new life and has found a whole lot of new smells to enjoy.

A few weeks back we bought a pass to the local California State Parks which gives us access to some of the parks in the area. About five minutes drive from the house is Brown's Ravine, which is a sort of marina and recreational area, on the edge of Folsom Lake. There are many trails along the lake and into the hills around and Roxy and I went walking early yesterday (Christmas Day) and again this morning. She was overjoyed to be off the lead and ran around sniffing out appropriate sticks to carry. Yesterday, we went for a long walk along the lake edge. It was freezing out and there are a lot of frost and ice on the ground, undeterred Roxy jumped into the lake for a quick swim. It was very quiet and in all the time we were out walking we never saw another soul. The car stood alone in the huge parking lot. When we eventually got back to the car, I felt in my pockets for my car keys, but to my horror they were gone. I frantically emptied my pockets and dumped everything on the ground but nothing. So I tried to call bwo. Of course, her phone was not with her (or something to that effect), and after a dozen or so attempts I figured it was pointless and Roxy and I would just wait in the cold until we turned to ice. I decided that no matter how meaningless I would try retrace my steps and see if I could find my keys, reasoning that they must have fallen out when I took my gloves out my pockets. And there they were, glinting in the sun, not too far from where we started our walk. Our own little Hanukkah miracle.

We had 20 or so people over for a late lunch yesterday. A lot of the folks that relocated from the UK along with us did not really have anywhere to go so we volunteered our house for a Christmas pot luck. It was very nice. Huge amounts of food and everyone seemed to have a good time. Bwo outdid herself as usual and the place looks really nice considering we moved in two weeks back. The consignment store in Folsom can probably close down now that she bought out all their stock. I hate to think what will happen when our stuff eventually arrives from Israel. 

This afternoon bwo, Roxy and I went for a walk in the neighborhood. I have done some exploring and met some of the friendly people around. Initially I was quite disappointed as the only access to the lake from where we live seemed not only quite far but leads straight into a swamp. One big difference from the UK is that almost all land around is private property with no public access. I met a local, Roy, while walking Roxy and he pointed out that you can get to the lake through one of the houses. These lovely people have a sign encouraging people to use their path alongside their house to the lake. So bwo and I took Roxy down to the lake. All I can say is wow! It is really spectacular. The water and and hills, very pretty. While strolling around the water's edge we met another Border Collie owner who filled us in on all the lake accesses in the area. The land around the lake is all state owned with public access and it appears not too many people use it - especially not in winter. So we explored a bit more and found where the trails meet the road not too far from the house. Unfortunately there are steep hills in each direction, so if nothing else, I will get stronger just walking the dog.

It's been a really good weekend and we had a good day today cleaning up the house after the pot luck and exploring the area. Back to work tomorrow but it's a short week and it should be quiet with many a squint out on holiday.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Flip and flop

So we moved into our new house over the weekend. It's nice and all that, but more important news is the shocker that Tarek and Christina are calling it quits on their marriage.

Since we arrived in the US I have been having a hard time filling the evenings and weekends. See, we were staying in temporary housing and then the hotel. Being on the west coast means days start early, but they also finish early with no evening calls at all. So I would get home around 5pm (after starting around 5) have dinner with bwo and then look for something to do. I finished five books so was tired of reading, and found walking without Roxy very difficult. As soon as we put in the first offer on a house, I suddenly needed to do research and so HGTV became my occasional library along with google, YouTube and Home Depot. One particularly slow weekend I happened on "Flip or Flop" on HGTV and slowly started to become a fan. I liked how expensive the shitty houses they bought to flip were compared to what I thought was expensive here in Northern California. Christina's voice bothered me in the beginning but I really liked her taste and style. So I have spent many hours watching them turn really horrible houses into places I would be happy to live in.

I have to admit that I was never too sure of their coupledom. Tarek seemed a little too conservative and Christina well, she sure is cute, and all that money they were earning, definitely going to cause issues. But, I was still very surprised and saddened to read they are splitting up. Turns put they are not the only HGTV scandal, I just found out Jo and Chip Gaines belong to a church that is a against same sex marriage. Is nothing sacred in this country?

I have got to get a life! 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Hopefully it's happening.

It's hard to believe it's been nearly 45 days since I last posted. Looks like we will finally get the house we put in an offer for in El Dorado Hills. Our loan was finally approved on Friday and we are due to close on Wednesday. It has been a very nerve wracking time and I have been very stressed waiting for word from the bank. They really gave me a hard time, which I am led to believe is fairly typical for home loans these days. We are both excited to be finally on our way out of the Residence Inn and into our own place. This will only be the second time in our lives that we own property. I was always happy renting, but here in California it makes sense to buy what with interest rates where they are. 

We have visited our potential property each weekend and have explored the area a little. There seems to be a nice walk down to the lake, although the area is much hillier than Richmond. I think Roxy will be happy. We will send for her as soon as we are settled. Both Roxy and Jenny will be very sad to part as they are very good friends, but we need our girly. I certainly have been putting on weight like crazy without the walks. 

The house has a septic tank. This will be the first time that anyone in our families have not been connected to the sewers probably since my grandparents lived in Lithuania. So it's all rather exciting. More on the house in the coming days.