Busy Weekend In The Hills

OK, so we’re pretty much moved in now, and settling in to our new place in the Oakland hills. Sadly the whole excitement of moving to a bigger place has been tempered my some unnerving surprises about the property and the landlady, but we’re going to make a go of it, enjoy it, and if it doesn’t work out we can always move.

The weekend did show that we can really enjoy the area. Saturday morning I got up early and got to work making the back door close properly. I don’t know what happened, perhaps a little subsidence, but there was some terrible sticking, which meant you had to kick the door to both open and close it. The decades-old felt weather strip didn’t help either. I also got my new chisels out and the made the deadbolt and cylinder lock work properly – the metal catches were out of place by a good half-inch.

Like I said, unnerving – not very impressive maintenance. I’m keeping a list of stuff that I fix for the landlady, so if she gets sniffy about out deposit or something we can clearly explain how we fixed all this stuff that was her responsibility.

By the time I was done, the morning mist had been burned off and replaced with scorching sun, right on the deck. This is going to be very nice when we want it. Midday through about three, the sun hits the deck straight on, then drops below the trees and finally in the evening it streams into the living room. Very pleasant. But it did mean I had to stop work outside.

My sister-in-law and her sons George & Bennett came over from Orinda to check out the new place, bringing gifts. At the same time our dear friends Alex & Jason came over from their new place. They just moved up from LA, and we’re very very happy they’re around. They brought cheese from the deli, which did very well as a snack lunch.

In the afternoon there was more housework, and I took Gordon up for a walk on the trail above the house. Finally we met said sis-in-law and Cassie’s bro for a nice dinner at the Wood Tavern in Rockridge, which always makes me laugh because of the association with Blazing Saddles.

On Sunday I got up in time to spend all morning assembling the grill we bought. The box said it assembled in minutes. Cassie said, “Yeah like 800 minutes.” She’s so funny, I love her. It took about an hour. in between tea breaks and enjoying the morning breeze.

Then we walked down to the farmer’s market in the village, which is pretty great. The usual selection of seasonal stuff. I really must develop a taste for squashes. We picked up some local honey, and a bunch of peaches which are amazingly sweet, and a couple of empanadas for lunch. I think we’ll be regulars there.

In the afternoon we met up with our neighbor and her dog for a hike up the trail, with the purpose of getting the dogs to tolerate each other – they’ve been a bit agitated by the proximity. At first they were both barking like crazy, causing passers-by to wonder what the hell we were doing, but after we started walking, they both settled down and trotted along next to each other, ears back in trotting concentration. A few more hikes like that and we’re hoping they’ll the best of pals.

We had to make a trip to Target for a couple of things, and unfortunately, it was the day before school starts again, which meant gigantic queues at the checkout. Typical timing – last week we went to Bed Bath and Beyond, Home Depot and IKEA the day before college starts, with the same results.

After escaping from Target we met A & J to see Our Idiot Brother at the Grand Theater, which is on Grand Avenue in Oakland, and very grand, with Moorish mosaics, carpets on the walls, elaborate gilt work and so on. From an efficiency point of view not so great, because I’m sure some metroplex could squeeze ten screens in to the space taken up by three screens and the sweeping staircase. Not to mention the noise overlap between the climax of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the gentle opening scenes of the comedy. It’s great the way it is though.

The movie itself was pretty good – a cute little comedy with some adult themes and WORDS. Paul Rudd is charming isn’t he? After the movie Cassie and I went for Chinese at the Shan Dong in Oakland’s Chinatown, where we discussed whether Rudd had ever played a bad guy. The best we could do was when he told Michael Showalter’s character to fuck off in Hot Wet American Summer.