The L.A. Report – Part 6



Hi Everybody,

(warning:  this is another long one)

My week in
Minnesota was, in a word, busy.  In a better word, stressful.
The weather was absolutely perfect most of the time and everything was in
spring bloom - with apple trees and daffodils blooming and lilacs and
peonies very close.  I saw most of my dance friends Saturday night.  I drove
to my hometown Sunday and saw my Dad and brother and his family. I even
helped my nephew mow the lawn at my boyhood home!  That was a strange
feeling.  After that we all watched the episode of the X-Files that I was

As nice as it was, though, I never felt lured to stay.  That surprised me.
I thought I'd see my nice house, yard, lake, neighborhood, city and family
and friends and say, "this really is home, this is where I belong, I'm
staying".  But I just didn't feel that way.  I really was ready to move on.
It just felt right.

Packing was a hell worse than I had even anticipated.  I gave myself three
days, which, like everything else I do, was a major underestimation.  On the
first day, I realized what an immense task I had before me.  I packed 11
boxes of books alone.  I consider myself less of a packrat than most people
but I have so many hobbies, most of which require lots of "stuff".  There
were a lot of things I just didn't want (or want to move, at least) so I
just gave them away.  I wanted to get rid of a lot of my photo lighting
equipment so I just left it behind in the hopes I could get my friend JoAnn
to do something with it.  Bless her heart - she was able to sell it to a
professional photography store - certainly not for the price that I might
have been able to sell it for if I had unlimited time yet for much more than
I expected (or deserved).  She even kept a few things (I insisted) and I
gave her a commission.

I sold my laptop computer to John Bauer but I had trouble offloading some of
the files (that cost me about three hours) so I took it with me to deal with
later.  Another friend bought my exercise machine but we had to partially
disassemble it to get it out of the basement (there's another couple of
hours).  In the midst of all this, several friends stopped by to say goodbye
and I just didn't have time to give them a proper farewell.  To you I say, I
am so sorry; I will be back and we'll do it right.  I promise.

During the day I had prospective buyers of the house coming through and I
just had to apologize for the "war zone".  When I realized how much more
work I had to do I stayed up very late Monday night.  Tuesday night I got 5
hours of sleep.  Wednesday I didn't go to bed at all and I was supposed to
drive Thursday.  My allergies (or a cold) were buggin' me so much I was
blowing my nose every 10 minutes and I had a raging sore throat.  I was such
a wreck I just wanted to cry but I didn't even have the strength, energy or
wherewithal to do that.  The movers came at
10:30 Thursday morning - two
and a half hours late, which was okay because I was only about 60% packed.
As I expressed my dismay with my ill-preparedness, they reassured me, saying
that they were used to going into houses where people hadn't done anything
at all!  That made me feel marginally better but I just forged on,
organizing and packing furiously while they did the same.  They finally left
at about
9:00 p.m.

At that point, Mary Maule (speaking of angels) and I put some stuff out on
the curb (which was snatched up in about 10 minutes), loaded the five litter
boxes and other cat stuff, my computer, some patio furniture, my sleeping
bag, a couple of old pillows and that's about all, into a Budget
delivery-type van.  Then it was time to load the most precious cargo:  the
cats.  Rusty went fine, Ebony went fine,
Casper went fine, Emma fussed only
a little.

Then it was Spooky's turn.  Remember, he is deathly afraid of strangers and
he had only met Mary for a couple minutes from the security of the bedroom
closet.  Mary was in the van to prevent the others from escaping so as I
approached the van with Spooky in my arms he went ballistic, turning my arm
into ribbons.  He even bit me which he has never done before.  I dropped
him and he took off and I thought, "oh, great, he's going to run to
Rochester", but luckily he just went up to the porch.  I brought him back to
the van and somehow managed to toss him in.

I jumped into the van and drove off.  The cats predictably started crying
but not as badly as they do when they're going to the vet and, surprisingly,
stopped crying after just a few miles. 
Casper, Rusty and Ebony took turns
riding on the dashboard on the passenger side.  They actually seemed to
enjoy it!  Sometimes they would sit in my lap or Mary's lap.  In the
meantime, Spooky hid.

This was Thursday night about
10:00 and I hadn't slept since my five hours
Tuesday night.  I must have been really pumped, though, because I just
wasn't feeling tired.  When we got to Story City, Iowa, I still wasn't tired
but I knew I had to be and didn't want to fade suddenly, so I had Mary take
over.  I went back into the very crowded cargo area and into my sleeping
bag.  I also thought this would comfort Spooky a little.  Instead, it had
the opposite effect; he just started wailing and cried for most of the next
6 - 8 hours.  I don't know if he thought I must be captive, too, or what.
At that point I was so tired that I slept like a rock for maybe 5 or 6
hours.  Mary and I then alternated driving, sometimes while the other slept
but most often while the other co-piloted and shared the sights of the
incredible scenery. 
Colorado and Utah were absolutely incredible (I'll
e-mail some pictures next time).  Even
Las Vegas was fun to see; we drove
though it at night and had a great view of the whole strip.

There was snow in the upper elevations of
Colorado but not on the roads, and
except for some light rain the first night, we had excellent driving
conditions the whole way.  We made it to my apartment at 7:30 a.m. (Mpls.
time) Saturday, roughly 34 hours after we left, including a total of about 4
hours that we stopped.  The van worked out very well and got about 15 miles
per gallon.  The cats faired very well, too, although somebody peed on my
sleeping bag and pillow.  Spooky was obviously still upset after we got to
my apartment.  He spent about the first eight hours sleeping in one of the
litter boxes, the way kittens do at the humane society.  Very soon after
that, though, he seemed back to normal (for him).

That was almost three weeks ago and the damned movers still haven't arrived.
Today they said it will be three more days - tops.  We'll see.  They've lied
to me twice before.

Last Wednesday morning I said goodbye to all the cats before I left for work
but I couldn't find Rusty.  I searched the entire apartment but he was
nowhere to be found.  I couldn't imagine how he could have gotten out but I
had to leave for work so I couldn't look around much.  When I got home that
evening I searched the neighborhood and a few people said they thought they
had seen him by the garage gate.  Apparently he had jumped off my balcony

(about 12 feet up) and I didn't even know it.  I finally decided to check in
the garage and I found him lying on a box.  When I took him up to the
apartment and set him down, I noticed he was limping.  I figured he probably
had broken his leg so I called the emergency vet and they told me to bring
him in.

The x-ray showed that he had broken two metacarpals in his left front paw.
One was just a crack but the other was sheered right off and the ends of the
bones were overlapping.  They thought they may have to do surgery but wanted
to wait to talk to an orthopedic surgeon the next day so I left him there
overnight.   The next day they concluded that they could probably fix it
with a splint.  So they sedated him, set the bones, wrapped a splint around
him and I picked him up that night.  They wanted to re-xray it four days
later so I took him in tonight.  When I saw the x-ray I couldn't believe it:
after just four days I couldn’t even see where the breaks were; they almost
looked completely healed.  That was very encouraging.  He'll have to have
the splint on for 4 - 6 weeks but I'm very encouraged that he'll be
completely back to normal in a few months.

As if that weren't enough, my dad had a heart attack a couple weeks ago and
was in such pain from his blocked arteries they had to use morphine on him.
They've finally moved him to a nursing home at least until he gets his
strength back.  Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot more they can do for
him.  He's 88 years old and his heart and arteries are in such bad shape
they can't do angioplasty or a bypass.

A few weeks ago I went to the
Getty Museum, an incredible art museum.  The
art is very good (if not outstanding) and the buildings are almost
indescribable  They kinda made me think of the Taj Mahal, in a way, because
of their beauty, with marble everywhere, fountains, immaculate landscaping,
warm woods, open buildings and a view of the ocean.  The J. Paul Getty Trust
Fund runs it and it has so much money they don't even seek contributions,
commissions or gifts and you can't even get a membership - they don't have
any.  Admission is free, except for a nominal parking charge.

Last Sunday I went hiking in the
Santa Monica Mountains with a dance friend.
The park is a completely wild area about 5 miles square (even bigger than
Griffith Park yet still in the heart of Los Angeles county).  There's a
narrow, rugged hiking trail through it and you'd never guess you were in an
urban area except at the edges you can see homes (incredibly expensive ones)
and the ocean.

I'm starting to feel a little more settled, but getting my clothes, dishes,
files, furniture, etc. would help.  There are still so many details to take
care of in an out-of-state move.  My new driver's license and plates are on
the way.  I was going to get "J BLAKE" plates again (it was available) but I
decided to go with something more fun:
"JAY ACTS".  There were 1,958 other plates with the word "ACT" in them.

Speaking of acting, I had the wrong week for Mad About You; the episode I
was in was May 17th.  I missed it.  Did any of you happen to tape it?  I
don't know when the Felicity episode was.  At least I got to see myself in
The X-Files.

I have sold my house.  I reduced the price from $175,000 to $170,000, then
to $165,000 and finally accepted an offer for $160,000.  I could possibly
have gotten a little more for it but I just didn't want to do a lot of
screwing around and decided to take my bird in the hand.  Still a nice
profit considering I only paid $88,900 for it 13 years ago.

Sorry that was so long.  I had lots of news and it had been quite awhile
since my last report.  You may have to read it in shifts.

Take care.