Sunday, March 3, 2013

Life Update (By Emma's Request)

Since I do spend quite a bit of time meandering on here about books and food, let's do a full update for the new year (well, new-ish now).

I am living in San Jose, California, and it will be two years (!) this month. We left Reno when the jobs dried up and moved into my grandmother's old house at the edge of a cute little town called Campbell. I have been working on the house and garden under the stern but tolerant eye of the landlord (my dad). Since we moved in he has been able to do most of the 30 years of deferred maintenance that he put off while my grandmother was here. So it has been painted and the windows have been replaced and the kitchen and bathrooms have been redone, and we have dealt with rats and termites both, and there has been quite a bit of plumbing. But thankfully the roof is good. I have taken out a large amount of lawn and planted fruit trees and geraniums and a lot of wacky succulents (welcome to California).
 So far this is just inspiration. But isn't it lovely? Probably from

When we moved down here, Matt got a job at a company that rented big vans full of games and video games for kids' parties. He liked it, he got to play games with kids and drive around so it was way better than unemployment and much healthier than a high-stress corporate cubicle job. And he discovered, having always lived inland, that it is great to be able to drive to the beach and just hang out there. Unfortunately, one day driving back from the beach on a drizzly afternoon, I hit a wet patch and flipped the car. No broken bones, but Matt lost a lot of meat from the back of his head and the next three months meant staying home, living off of savings from the last high-paying corporate cubicle job and changing dressings three times a day.

After three months, a couple of surgeries and a skin graft, and a lot of arguing with insurance companies, his head healed up and he started going for walks outside. I got a job as a Horticultural Technician, basically going to big fancy companies and taking care of their plants. It was awful, but slightly better than unemployment. And I couldn't sit around the house and watch Matt any more after three months solid. We started having a life and he got a job at a local guitar repair and consignment shop. He loves it there and can ride his bike to work but his boss is bonkers so it is a mixed blessing.

More inspiration, also from Sunset Magazine

After a year as a plant janitor, I finally got a job with Soil and Plant Lab, we test people's soil and give them recommendations for landscaping and plant care, working with everyone from homeowners, contractors and landscape architects to the San Francisco Zoo and Cal Academy of Sciences to nurseries and tree farms. Now Filoli is one of my clients! I am a Soils Consultant and I get to drive out to fancy gardens to take plant and soil samples and then I research them out and write up reports. It is a short commute and my coworkers are both smart, nice and interesting people. My boss is crazy too, but she is at the Anaheim office so it is not a terribly high-stress environment. Matt is looking for some audio engineer work again and we are enjoying living in the Bay Area. It is not a cheap place to live but we are not living a crazy expensive lifestyle so if we would quit having expensive car problems things would be going pretty darn well. So one thing at a time.

So there's your update Emma, sorry I'm not a punctual blogger but as much as this sounds like excitement, it has all happened very slowly. We miss Reno but there is a lot going on here, we are so close to the beach and the city and there is so much music here!

Believe it or not I'm in there, second tuba from the left!