Thursday, March 10, 2011


After three years, I still feel fairly new to life in California. Lots of things about living here still surprise me or strike me as odd.

For example, having grown up in Ohio and upstate New York, it's still a miracle to me that I'm not buried in 4+ feet of snow 9 months out of the year.

Also, there are basically no insects here except for a few spiders. (Yes, I know spiders aren't technically insects, but Webster promises that they fit under the "non-technical" definition of insects. Roll with me on this one.) And apparently termites.

Because we got a letter informing us that we have termites and thus the condo association was going to fumigate our building and we'd need to find alternate housing for three days.

Maybe I resided in a delusional utopia, but we never had a problem with termites when I lived back East. (I think this brings the score to: Cali 1,522 / Ohio: 77. I know, it's closer than you expected, right? Two words: deciduous trees. They don't exist out here. Also, have you seen the way people dress in SoCal? Ohio is not a bastion of haute couture, but SoCal is frequently a bastion of idiocy in clothing choices. Also, flat-brimmed hats are an abomination. And the kids here are all hoodlums. Wait, what was this post about...? Oh, right: fumigating our condo.)

If you've never had your house fumigated, you're missing out on the joy of double-bagging every food, beverage and medication (and anything else ingestible) in your domicile. That includes the 50 jars of mustard in your refrigerator, your extensive spice rack and baking supply stock, as well as toothpaste and Advil, and the huge collection of various liquors that you didn't even realize you own. (What kind of 20-something owns more liquor than she realizes? I think this means I need to throw a party. Hairy Buffaloes anyone?)

Also, you have to find foster homes for your plants. Because apparently they don't like poisonous chlorine gas or whatever any more than termites (or people) do. And have you ever tried to find responsible plant foster parents? Because I'm convinced they're about as real as unicorns.

Also, you get to do all of this after a mind-numbingly-exhaustingly-long work week made up of 12+ hour days. (Although maybe that last bit is just me...)

And did I mention that the eviction started at 8 AM? On a Saturday? So I had to get up at 6 AM, after said hellish work week, to finish preparing our house to be bathed in toxic fumes, only to be cast out by 8 AM with nowhere to go. (Oh, sure, friends and family say you can come over, but curiously no one actually answers when you start pounding on their door at 8:15 AM. On a Saturday. Maybe next time I should try showing up with Bloody Marys in hand or something.)

On the upside, you get to go stay at a hotel for the weekend.

On the downside, you have to pay for that hotel, even though it wasn't your idea to vacate your house to begin with.

Also, the tear gas they use to remind people that the building is full of otherwise undetectable poisonous chlorine gas (or whatever) lingers in your towels and bedding (no matter how many times you wash them) and your eyes swell shut every night for the next few days after you retake possession of your house until everything finally dissipates. (Although maybe that last bit is just me... Yet again...)

But did I mention that I got to spend the weekend at a hotel? Where someone made my bed for me every day? And they had 3 water slides? (Which I could actually enjoy because March in SoCal is about 50,000 times better than March in Ohio.)

All in all, I'm calling this one a win. How soon do termite populations take to re-infest a building? Because I could use another stay-cation next month...

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