So many witty sayings about how hindsight is 20-20, and how only fools rush in. When the hell hounds are at your heels, mistakes can prove fatal. Have I made a fatal mistake? Fatal being a strong, permanent word, the answer is no. But, ‘detrimental’ is absolutely a fine substitute. I know where my mindset was the day I chose Eastgate (my nickname for it) as my new abode in San Diego, and maybe I get points for having my heart in the right place. When it comes to my kids, I will always put their needs ahead of mine – even if it proves painful, and maybe even fatal if the situation were to arise. In many respects, this location seems ideal, particularly if you view it from the perspective of what my kids need in this phase of their lives. It’s unpretentious in a very pretentious neighborhood, and thus the size to price ratio is acceptable, but still pricey for a working slob like me. The grounds are dog friendly and probably as safe as any place I’ve lived in the last 10 years. The neighbors seem to be quiet. Wholefoods and Trader’s are nearby. Familiarity. Transit and bike friendly. An enormous shopping mall (and jobs) within walking distance, and new parts under construction. A lovely beach is but a short car ride away. For me, there is the absolute lack of a commute, something necessary for lowering my blood pressure which had recently begun to spike after 8 years of exhausting 5/405 traffic; and the walk to work contributes much-needed exercise for my stressed, aging body. Sounds like nirvana if nirvana could exist, right?
What could possibly be wrong?
The problem is me. We lived in south OC for 8 years, and I remember the very first Santa Ana winds event. I called it devil wind, because it felt like it blew straight from the depths of hell. Preceding our move to OC, we had lived in the Del Mar Heights area of San Diego and there was a (too) brief stint in Brisbane, Australia during their fall/winter. Nothing I had experienced up to that point prepared me for the ungodly Santa Ana wind and the accompanying dry heat. I never imagined that I would be bothered by heat.
Case in point: As a kid in the 70s, I grew up near Lake Texoma in north Texas. I worshipped the sun and hated the cold. We had only a brief 3 month summer, so I grabbed onto the lovely summer days as tight as I could. There was that one summer though, somewhere around 1977, we had a heat wave of 105 for many long days, and our A/C died. That was maybe the omen to which I should have paid heed. Apparently I can’t take the heat. Years later, in OC, I swore, as each summer became increasingly hot (sorry, folks, global warming is real), that when I moved I would go back to cooler San Diego. (Reminder that I can’t immigrate to any other country.) And it’s true that this part of San Diego is on average 10 degrees cooler than OC. But, here I am, face to face with the reality of my own particular level of privilege – and have only myself to blame.
We are sweltering in a not-upscale condo in an upscale neighborhood full of posh people and posh cars, and sweltering because there isn’t an A/C and the condo has inadequate insulation (or none) and crap 1970s asphalt shingles, and other construction nightmares that were born in the 70s and should have died in the 90s, and that cause the upstairs bedrooms to be 20 degrees hotter than outside. The same way your car gets boiling hot inside while you’re parked on the huge black parking lot of Wal-Mart.
And I picked this place.
I’m hot. Apparently that is a big problem for my stupid body which seems to freak out, swell up, and magnify the menopausal symptoms that I didn’t quite realize I had until now.
So, we bought a couple fans [insert Valley Girl Voice]. Then a very expensive third fan. Then black/grey room darkening curtains to cover the 12 feet of East-facing windows in the upstairs master bedroom (architectural stupidity). Now the room looks goth. Not a fan of goth. But you can’t have your melted-in-the-sun cake and eat it too.
I apologize because I’m not normally a whinger/whiner/baby. I’m a pretty tough broad – and I’m uncomfortable with my pettiness. There are plenty of people who would kill for my first world problems. So, what I won’t do is go down without a fight. I’m working on remedies that don’t involve a bulldozer or flagrantly breaking my Two Year Lease.
And summer has only just started. Welcome to Hell.