Monday, July 8, 2013

California Girl

It's been three weeks since I last posted. There has been a lot going on.

We packed our things, packed a truck, sold our house and got on an airplane with our three cats. We flew to San Francisco and put the cats in a lovely kennel facility for cats only called Mission: Cats.

Then we stayed at a Staybridge Suites in Sunnyvale. The second day we were in California, I insisted that we tour some of the houses in the "outer rim." Just to see what the areas were like. The outer rim is not in the top five areas we thought we'd be in to be "close" to Apple.

As it turns out, one of them was a big surprise. It's called Morgan Hill and it's 20 miles south of San Jose, 10 miles north of Gilroy and about 15 miles from Watsonville on the Pacific Coast. That's right -- the beach.

Morgan Hill is only 40,000 people. So it feels a lot like Urbana. MacTroll and I got a hoot out of the fact that there is a winery right across the street from the high school. Farmers are everywhere, so there's no need for a weekly farmer's market. They have stores open year round, and there's always Upick options.

We toured three houses while we were down there. Two up in the Diablo Mountains. One down in the valley on the west side of the town next to the Santa Cruz mountain range that is right next to a city park with a playground, tennis courts, a small lake, a dog park and the local Community Center which has partnered with the Y. We can walk to the grocery store. It also turns out that the Specialized bike company is headquartered there so the bike lane situation is phenomenal all around the city. There's a small downtown area about a mile and a half away with lots of independent restaurants. And driving is easy. It also turns out that Apple runs buses with Wifi down and picks up employees three times in the morning at the Caltrain terminal and then drops them off in the evening.

That was really hard to beat.

So was the fact that one of the houses we found was 14 years old and had been totally redone and kept up. It's beautiful and a lot more room. It's the most inexpensive house that we put in on (under $1m) and the largest in size. It also comes with a hot tub and a swimming pool. We put a bid in and it was accepted.

The only draw back, is that the Diablo mountains on the east side of town are home to native tarantulas. Tarantula bites are not fatal to humans. But they are creepy looking and from time to time in the fall (how appropriate for Halloween) a tarantula has been known to be seen in the yard. Morgan Hill celebrates the tarantulas with a festival and BBQ every year.

I'm not deathly afraid of arachnids. I totally appreciate what they do (eat bugs and rodents). But I don't like to look at them and I certainly don't want to go to clean the pool filter and find one hiding there (which is, according to some online research, is the female tarantula's favorite spot because she burrows).

The other thing I learned is that the native predator of the tarantulas is a giant wasp, called a Tarantula Wasp. Seriously. And if I thought the tarantula was creepy, the wasp is way worse.

It stings a tarantula repeatedly, but the venom does not kill it. Instead, it paralyzes it. Then the wasp drags it to safety and puts an egg on it. The egg hatches and the new baby wasp literally sucks the life out of the tarantula, while it's still living. However, it avoids eating any vital organs to keep the tarantula alive longer until it's able to fend for itself.

That's just nature being really quite brutal.

It also says that wasps primarily go after fat and happy, larger, female tarantulas because during mating season in the fall when the most tarantulas are exposed, the men are all bony and gross because they starve themselves while trying to find a mate.

Ain't that a load of fun? Anorexic, sex-crazed, male tarantulas.

Sorry, I digress.

We close on the new house on August 7. This week we've been in Willow Glen in a VRBO. On Thursday night we spend one night at a Kimpton Hotel in downtown San Francisco. Then we go up to spend a week on Stinson Beach north of Muir Woods. On July 19, we'll be heading down to Morgan Hill to live in an Extended Stay America Hotel.

And thus ends, Looseyfur's Midwest Adventures.

Thank you for being a part of my life for so long, and I wish you nothing but good luck and a lot of love.



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