What is, An Oncoming Train?

Double Jeopardy Answer: Identify the light at the end of the tunnel.

On Friday, my dad and I took a little trip out to see what the Hemet area looks like. Being that I haven't been out in that neck of the woods more than 3 or 4 times in my life, and not once in the last 16 years or so, and being that my OC native father didn't think he'd ever actually been out there, we thought it imperative that it be looked at before being even vaguely considered as a future place to live. Going out the 91, 60, 215, and 74 we went through such "picturesque" places as Corona, Riverside, Moreno Valley, and Perris. It's not really that any of these places are so terrible - it's just that they are a cold hard look at what So Cal looks like without the influential hand of man and a bit of agua bendita. As a suburban girl I find it easy to forget, at times, that green is not a naturally occurring color here, unless you count cactus. And it doesn't help, of course, that it's been very dry and hot lately. Needless to say, I think I've cataloged a few heretofore undiscovered shades of brown - I expect a call from the folks at Crayola any moment. I suggest "Perris Tan" for their next crayon.

So, the whole ride out there, I'm looking out the window thinking - yep, this is just as scrubby, sage-brushy, and God forsaken as I remembered it being. I was filled with a sense of foreboding, a growing feeling that this was going to be one very long car ride to nowhere. By the time we got off the Freeway at Perris (which looked to be nothing more than the dusty earth and Eucalyptus trees it used to be) and onto the smaller highway that would take us out to Hemet, I was actually having to remind myself to maintain an optimistic outlook. I didn't really have a solid memory of Hemet, it was a just a nebulous sense that it had never been as ugly as anything on the way to it. But things change in 16 years, so this was a 50/50 proposition in my mind.

Now, for the record, I brought my trusty miniDV with me so that I could video everything to show my mom, and possibly to put up here on the blog (because I'm sure you're all dying for a glimpse of the hills and dales of greater Hemet). So, as we approached the outskirts of town, I pulled my camera out of my bag, and turned it on - but she no work. My camera simply refused to focus, even when switched over from auto focus to manual. It refused to see anything and wouldn't show me anything but a blank white screen. Long about the 57th time I swore at it, and whined that I was missing everything, my dad pulled over into a parking lot where he then took a stab at fixing it. Neither one of us could figure out what was wrong (which was scary since neither one of us is inept when it comes to cameras of any sort). After about a half hour, we gave up on the camera, so there is no video. *

We drove all around Hemet for probably about an hour and a half (it's not very big, so it doesn't take that long). Ladies and gentlemen ... I'm in love :) It's like a smaller, cleaner, newer version of the things I like about Orange County, without the things I don't like. And yes, it's in a desert, but the town itself is like a little emerald plopped down in the middle of the desert - ok, maybe not quite an emerald .. maybe more like a peridot. And behind it there are lovely HUGE mountains, so it's actually a very nice view. Palm trees, green grass, rocky/craggy mountains that touch the sky - how can that be bad?

Now, we didn't really go out there to look at any specific houses - none of the ones we like now will still be for sale when we're ready to move from here. This was just a recon mission to check out the town, the neighborhoods, the amenities, the hospital, etc., etc. But we sure wouldn't complain if by some miracle this one was still available (it's kitchen needs help, but it has excellent bones):

(if you click the pic it takes you to the listing where further pics are available)

Of course, no place is perfect. I stopped counting at 9, the number of houses which - rather than going to the trouble/expense of having a green grassy lawn, or doing the environmentally friendly/cheap thing and going with rocks, ornamental gravel, and cacti - had actually chosen to carpet their front yard in astro turf. Outside of scary resort trailer parks in Palm Springs I had never seen this phenomenon in my life. And, of course there were some houses that were simply not as well maintained as others - but that's not specific to Hemet. Overall, I loved it.

So when I got some online time that night I started looking up more Hemet info, and found there's a community college out there that offers several lovely courses of study, including the jazz that prepares you to take the Real Estate exam, complete with internships (one year of study prepares you to take the exam to become an agent, and two years prepares you to become a broker). I know, I know - when I think real estate agent, I think Glengarry Glen Ross, or Annette Bening in American Beauty - not exactly fantastic role models (and yes, in my head, everything becomes a movie reference). But I think I might like it - it would be largely like working for myself - which you must know by now is my preferred state of being - every day would be slightly different so boredom wouldn't sneak up on me suddenly, yet it would be repetitive enough that I could figure it out before having an aneurysm. And best of all, it would only take a year. True, it would never be my grand passion in life, but it could fund my grand passion, and do so over the long haul, and with only a year's worth of serious suffering.

In mulling it over I've caught myself smiling, for no apparent reason. That must be a good sign - but we'll see. My dad thinks it's a brilliant idea, but my mom is not impressed (she hates all my ideas). Sometimes I get the vibe from her that she would rather I go completely insane than actually have my own life. But I've gotten pretty good at not listening when she starts raining on my parade. She can still take me from 60 to 0 in 1.3 seconds flat, but I'm very good at shutting my eyes and going to "my happy place" where I never get sunburned, chocolate makes you thin, I win the lottery every week, and my real mother has only one response to everything I tell her I want to do: Oh, that sounds wonderful, I'm so happy you're happy.

But I digress.

Anyway, got to get to bed now - tomorrow is Mother's Day, and I still didn't get anything for my mom yet. She claims that all she wants is an enchilada dinner - but you can't take your mother restaurant enchiladas on Mother's Day, toss them at her and say 'Here, enjoy your special day.'

*[I brought the camera home, plugged it in (it's battery died while we were futzing with it, yes, futzing is a proper technical term), turned it on - only to find the same problem. I set it down to answer the phone, and within a few minutes it beeped at me and shut itself off (just like it was supposed to). When I got off the phone, I turned it back on, and bingo bango - it was fine! Now aside from the possibility that my favorite camera has suddenly become haunted, i have no explanation for this.]


La Yen said...

So, Hemet is the new Moreno Valley?
My Uncle Buddy will be glad to know.
FYI--that fake grass is hella expensive. People do it here, too. You know what else is expensive? The rocks and cactus. Figure about $400 to do just a side-yard, and that is if you get tiny palms or tiny cacti. Freaking rocks.

LuluBunny said...

LOL - freaking rocks, eh?

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