Thursday, September 10, 2009

Things I’ve Learned in the Last Year

Okay, it’s been a year and four days since we moved in to Carlsbad. All three of us have learned a lot during the past 369 days. Some obvious, some that took time to discover. What follows below are random ones that came to me this afternoon, including (but not limited to)…

1) There’s no need to check the weather. It’ll always be pretty much the same as it was yesterday.

2) Locals can’t drive worth a shit when it rains. Since it rains so infrequently, every car’s dry-rotted wiper blades and bald tires are finally put to the test, delivering opaque windshields and slip-n-slide performance leading to plenty of cars crashing.

3) It’s expensive to live out here, more expensive than we thought it’d be. This probably goes without saying, based on real estate costs alone, but food, insurance and gas all take a bigger bite out of our monthly budget. At least utility costs are less. No A/C to use and we barely run the furnace in the so-called winter.

4) Fish tacos are universally good. Especially from Kotija Jr. in Leucadia.

5) Don’t head north on the 5* late on a Sunday afternoon. All the Orange County and LA residents are returning home. Just like I-90 or I-94 south from Wisconsin in the summer. *There, I called it “the 5”, like a local, not “I-5” as someone from out of state would.

6) The main reason to wash the cars is to get the brake dust off the wheels and to remove a thin film of dust.

7) A perfect climate + no major household projects = lots of free time to play.

8) A perfect year-round climate means that I don’t get cranky starting in September when I think about all cool of the things I didn’t do over the summer (versus thinking of all of the cool things I did happen to do).

9) Mountain biking on the local trails on Christmas Eve is pretty cool.

10) Only visit the local beaches in the summer after about 3:30 in the afternoon.

11) North County is a pretty special place to live. Not nearly as crowded or high-pressure as LA/OC and pretty darn laid back.

12) Pizza Port’s Laguna pizza on a whole-wheat crust is sublime. It’s no Chicago thin-crust (cut into squares as is the proper function), but darn good for California pizza.

13) San Diego-area riders are wimps when it comes to the “cold” (note quotations). I’ve gone on rides when it’s been in the upper-50s and encountered riders wearing cycling jackets, ear warmers, leg warmers and toe covers. I have yet to wear anything warmer than arm and knee warmers on even the coldest mornings (low 40s)

14) It’s quite possible to wear flip-flops almost year-round.

15) Jumping into the ocean for some saltwater therapy always reinvigorates.

16) Putting up Christmas lights and trick-or-treating in shorts is odd, but oh-so-right.

17) Very few neighbors put both of their cars in the garage. Without basements, the garage becomes the work-out-room, kiddie play room, storage facility and the like. We get one car in the garage, the other half filled with bikes and other toys.

18) The hills are steep here. Steep enough that I sold my fixed-gear road bike after only riding it twice in the first six months of living here. Fixies are no fun when you’re either riding 12 MPH uphill or 40 MPH + on the downhills.

19) The people are much nicer than we had anticipated. Our neighbors are all super-friendly and great to be around. Even random people on the street or in a store are friendly.

20) Earthquakes (mild ones at least) are pretty cool phenomenon to experience.

21) Renting ain’t so bad. Especially with our nomadic lifestyle.

22) California is cool, but Wisconsin is still my favorite state.

23) Moving is good, change is good. It keeps you on your toes and makes it easier to remain comfortable in difficult situations. But I kinda knew that already from past moves.

24) Bee poop is on everything that's left outside.

I know that Most of these are trite, stupid and rambling, but no one's forcing you to read my blabbering.

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