Friday, October 15, 2004

Living Large in Fontana!

There are days (not enough of them) when I just look around and realize what a lucky guy I am.

I love being back in Fontana. To the numerous escapees from my high school days, that's gonna sound stupid. But they're wrong. At least, it would be wrong for me.

All the best things in my life happened to me right here in good old Fontana. I met the love of my life, my high-school sweetheart, my beautiful wife here, at FoHi. All of my kids were born, baptized, and go to school here. Mary's family (which is to say mine) is here. Life is good.

Every now and then I just walk around the house and revel in the dreams realized. Our house is a classic of 50's architecture - ranch style with a big front yard and an even bigger backyard. I've got tangerines, oranges, peaches, blackberry's, plums, avocados, nectarines, mangos, and limes all growing there. Year-round, I can pluck fresh fruit for free. Where else could I do that? In the summer I grow tomatoes, basil, cilantro, garlic, and (of course) white sage. You can't eat white sage, but it has such a soothing aroma that I use it as incense. The smell of it really takes the stress out of the day and after a particularly hard day, I'll take a couple of leaves and crush them under my nose. Sound strange? Don't knock it 'til you've tried it!

The house itself is rock-solid, walls of concrete and chicken wire. The architect (who also built my in-laws house) had a definite style. Most of the door slide into the walls, the garden-wall is put together in what I'm told is Italian-style masonry, and is just, well, solid.

There's a funny story about that. When I first moved into the place, I went out into the garage to setup the dryer and, only then, noticed there was no gas outlet. Further there was no dryer vent outlet. Of course, there wasn't - there was no such thing as dryers when this house was built! Ya had a perfectly good clothesline, didn't ya?!

So Frank and I ran a black-line pipe tap off of the hot water heater, ran a new electrical circuit from the panel, and then went to carving the hole in the wall for the vent. That was when we discovered how strong this house is. We'd rented a saws-all from an equipment place and wore out three blades. Between the stucco, concrete, and reinforcing wire, the wall was like something that should be keeping Charles Manson in Alcatraz. If I ever go postal, the Fontana PD will have to contract with the Air Force for a bunker-busting bomb just to open the front door!

I love it.

I've got a redwood deck, a tool-shed, and a den/library with floor to ceiling bookshelves, dark paneling and an open beam ceiling. One wall is a twenty-foot long driftwood fireplace big enough to cook in. Christy uses the hearth as a stage for her impromptu rehearsals!

We've filled the house with custom woodwork. We paid experts for it at first, but eventually Mary bought me a top of the line miter saw and now I do it myself. I spent last week building a desk for my girl's room. What fun! I love the feeling of taking raw wood and making something useful out of it. It doesn't get any better than that.

Like I said - I'm a lucky guy. I need to remember that more often

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