Tag Archives: Grass Valley

moving

It’s official. Sepi and I will be moving into her house in Brisbane in September. Despite my efforts to not accumulate ‘stuff’ there is a lot of ‘stuff’ in this apartment that I do not need.

I have three boxes of Zach’s ‘stuff’ that I have already decided I can let go of. He had looked at it all in 2014 and said he didn’t want any of it. I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away then and I hadn’t even thought about it at all until very recently. I’ve reached out to his siblings and to Ally but there is no interest. It’s possible his mother may want them. That inquiry is pending.

I sent out a message this morning to relatives about my furniture that I will not be needing in a couple of months. Perhaps in the coming weeks I will host visits where they can look through my things for ‘stuff’ they want. Meanwhile I will be accumulating boxes to put things in.

From 2004 to 2010 I moved three times. It doesn’t sound like much but I had been in the Grass Valley house with a family for ten years. There was a lot of ‘stuff’! Also, there was a lot of shuffling of ‘stuff’ back and forth between two houses for a while culminating in the foreclosures. Some things I thought had value I just left in the house for the new owners. I had no room for them where I was going.

I learned that I didn’t need most of that ‘stuff’ in my little apartment. There is a hardware store down the street that sells screws and things by the piece. I don’t try to work on my own car any more. Pacifica has a library.

Sepi’s house is comparatively big but we are both committed to downsizing in the long run. Ultimately our expectations are that we will move to a condo with a pool and an exercise room with shops nearby. Then we will have to downsize still more.

at Mom and Dad’s

I came down here yesterday because Mom had an issue with vertigo and was going to the doctor. I had the day off and didn’t want her to drive if it could be avoided.

The doctor said basically that there was nothing to be done about the vertigo except rest. Mom had taken some expired medicine she had for sea sickness and thought it had helped but the doc said no, don’t do that.

Anyway, she’s better now. She has an appointment with her dentist this morning to put a permanent crown on so I decided to stay and drive her there as well. Her original plan was to drive up to Jane’s tonight for a Pampered Chef party which worried me. Last night, though, she decided she was not going to go so I feel better.

The weather was warm yesterday, in the 80s, and it reminded me of the air conditioning battle I had waged and lost six months ago. It’s a little after 7 now and I’ve been up for about an hour. It’s beautiful outside but it promises to be warm again today. Mom and Dad close their house up tight every night religiously so this morning the first thing I did was go around and open up some windows and doors. (I had the window wide open in my bedroom.) The temperature in the house has gone from 73 down to 71 in that time. All the fans that were running last night were shut off during the night.

When I lived in Grass Valley, we would set the fans in the wide open windows running full blast at night. The house would be almost too cool in the mornings but we would button everything up by 8 or so including keeping the drapes closed and the house would stay at a reasonable temperature most of the day. I know Mom and Dad want their house to be secure but comfort is a thing too. I am going to try to convince them that there are not burglars going through the neighborhood every night looking for open windows.

Mom did say last night that she will be proactive about going to the library or the movies (for air conditioning) if it gets really hot. I’ve been in my coastal cocoon lately so it was good to get a reminder that it’s summer time in Santa Clara. I’ll watch the weather more carefully.

Jane is finished with school as of tomorrow so she’ll be able to come down more easily for a while.

Jeremy speaks

Jeremy sent me an email today and asked me to put this up on the blog. Here it is:

I’m having a tough day. It sounds disingenuous to say that I’m thinking about Zach today — I think of him every day, and I know lots of other people who love him do as well — but this week has been especially difficult.

Ashley, Rosalie and I were fortunate to travel to Michigan to celebrate my mother’s 65th birthday and my grandfather’s 90th. It was a nice (and too short) weekend spent in many places with many people familiar to Zach and filled with memories of him. Late in the day Sunday, as the festivities at camp wound down, I walked to the Outback by myself. Dad wrote a few days ago about how my relationship with Zach deepened in our teenage years and included a picture of the two of us standing by Stony Lake. After much discussion, I’ve figured out that the picture was taken in August of 2001 (the telltale sign is that ridiculous James Hetfield-style goatee I had at the time, which I remember trying to bleach that summer and sported for a few weeks as a freshman at college before cutting it off. Don’t act like you never made any bad grooming decisions at 18.)

Back to the Outback. I signed on to be a counselor in that particular teen camp program in the summer of 2002 after two successful years in the youth camp program. Zach made plans that summer to do a venture out trip at Storer that summer, but they fell through for some reason (possibly he wasn’t old enough to qualify for the trip??) so becoming an Outbacker was the fallback option. It was there that we truly grew close, bonded by the sharing of the program’s tremendous experience. He would return to the Outback the following summer, which would prove to be the final one at Storer for both of us. Last Sunday, I went out there alone thinking it would be a perfect time of reflection on my relationship with Zach and how much I miss him. It was weird…I sat in the fire circle, surrounded by the empty spaces where the hogans used to be, and all I could think about was my own experience at camp…the campers, the counselors, the trips, the laughs, the tears. After 15 minutes or so, I started the walk back to Ashley and Rosalie, feeling guilty because I didn’t spend the time intensely thinking of Zach. Am I moving on?

Fast-forward to Tuesday morning. I’m back at work at the fire station, and the first call of the day is a pedestrian struck by a vehicle. I’ll spare the gory details, but the only thing our crew could do for the victim was cover him with a sheet while police shut down Moreland Avenue for an investigation. It was way too familiar, right down to the pattern of the damage to the front of the pickup truck that hit him. This is the third time since Zach was killed that I’ve responded to a person struck by a vehicle, and it’s not getting easier. I keep my head down and work through it — I love my job, and emergencies don’t stop so I can recover from a personal tragedy. But I’ve spent the 24-odd hours since seeing that particular dead body in a state of numbness.

****

I remember a random conversation with Zach from one of the last times he came to visit us in Georgia. A song by The Airborne Toxic Event was playing on the radio, and he got really excited about the fact that the band name was a reference to a Don Delillo novel.
I brushed it off at the time, because I’d never heard of Don Delillo. Looking back, it’s one of many signs of how well-read and intelligent he was that I kind of ignored because we were too busy watching football or figuring out ways to integrate booze into cooking. It’s something I feel rather ashamed of.

Here’s a song and video that makes me think of him, not only in the lyrics but the words of singer Mikel Jollett on their inspiration:

“I feel very tied to this place and very resistant to its cliches. The SNL skit on Californians is funny and I wonder sometimes if that’s what the rest of the world thinks of us: dithering, spoiled people obsessed with their appearance. I understand it because most of what California exports (besides food) is the culture of white people who moved to Hollywood to get into films and yes many of those people are dithering, spoiled and obsessed with their appearance. But outside of maybe 10 square miles in the heart of Los Angeles, you don’t find many people like that here.”

By the way, if anyone has the time and skills to re-cut that video with scenes from the NorCal, that would be awesome.

Zach loved the state he grew up in, as did I. We talked a lot about how fortunate we were to grow up in Grass Valley; how that realization grew more and more stark as we built our adult lives in southern cities that we didn’t like.

TATE has become one of my favorite bands. I try to read more, to understand the world from an advanced perspective the way Zach did. I still have no idea who the hell Don Delillo is. But nothing makes me think of him and cry like these songs.

“i’ll write your name in stars across the sky/ And we’ll meet somewhere someday and I’ll ask you why…”