Rick and I have lived in 11 homes since we got married many moons ago.  2 duplexes, 1 4-plex, 7 houses and 1 office apt.  When we decided to buy our first place, one of our ‘musts’ was ‘not a busy street’ and that has been a ‘must’ for every house we bought.

Well, guess what?  We failed to achieve that goal every time!  Why?  We didn’t pay attention to the details some of the time, other times we decided that goal wasn’t a ‘must’ after all.

3 houses were on a feeder street, meaning people took shortcuts via our street to avoid lights or traffic. 1 house was just down the street from a school, so parents raced down our street twice a day to pick up their precious babies.  We knew about the elementary school, loved being in walking distance from it.  But those reckless parents were aggravating. 

Living on a feeder street is a real pain in the patootie!  Cars screamed down the street at rush hour trying to beat a light at a big intersection.  When the kids were small, I would put a ladder and a bucket in the middle of the street to get drivers to slow down, they’d have to to get around the obstacles.  I only did that when we were playing in the front yard…it worked, too.

I can’t believe we lived in this duplex. 

Right on the freeway! No sound wall back then...

Our neighbor, an older lady, was a real sweetheart and Rick refinished and rebuilt pianos in the garage to help put himself through school.  BUT, it was right next to the freeway!  Only a chain link fence and bushes between us and roaring semi’s!  Unbelievable dust in the house – that was the home where Rick and I really worked out some kinks in our marriage, incidentally – also the place where we were robbed.  They kicked open the door and stole our quadraphonic stereo system that we’d bought for about $50 at a garage sale and our TV…but they missed the important stuff, Rick’s electric bass and my sewing machine!   Those two overlooked items were priceless to us and harder to replace financially.

I remember the policeman who came to take the report sat in one of our dining room chairs, leaned back and it crumpled beneath him…he fell flat on his butt.  We all burst out laughing although he was mortified, thinking he’s destroyed the chair!  It was an ‘heirloom’, part of a dining room set handed down from Rick’s parents.  Back in those days the chairs were put together with spit and glue, not nails…we fixed and refixed those chairs over the years, until there was nothing left to hold them together.

Funny, policeman and morticians tell us we make their jobs more pleasant.  True.  Weird.

Back to Location…

Website for tracking planes and noise http://www.sjc.webtrak-lochard.com

Living under a flight path was fun…never really thought about it when we bought the house, although when we were going to rent a house in SoCal, we were careful NOT to do so near an airport.  It was OK, generally, unless, due to weather, the planes took off in our direction, then it was loud.  At the cabana club – fantastic pool and staff and Rancho Santa Teresa in San Jose – my young niece would hold her hands up to see if she could touch the planes!

We rented a house on a cul-de-sac a few years ago.  We thought, finally! peace and quiet, no through traffic!

Surprise!  Guess what takes forever to accomplish once a week?   Trash pickup!!!!! 

Trash truck used as race car hauler http://www.use50.com photo by Jeff Paulson

The trucks come through once for the recycling, once for the trash and once for the yard waste.  3 passes in one morning – at 7am.  You’re thinking ‘big deal’, right?  But, there’s all the attempts to turn around at the end of the cul-de-sac with the annoying back-up beeping!!!!  And the yard waste is picked up by a little bob-cat-like thing which also does lots of backing up!  Then monthly, the street sweeper comes around and comes around and comes around and comes around, it sounds like its hangin’ in front of our house for 20 minutes!  Yikes!  That’s what we get for having a master suite at the front of the house, I guess. 

Now?  We live on a street with light-rail trains!  And buses!  And ambulances!  And police cars!  And sheriff’s cars!  And people who ignore the light and turn left in front of light-rail only to be hit and pulled 30 feet!  What were we thinking?  Oh, and there’s a sweeper that comes twice a night to clear the rails (there’s one going by right now and its daytime!) 

Actually, this place is fine, because its our office and the location is superb for that.  We live above the office (1500 sf apartment) and the commute makes it all worthwhile!  We live a couple blocks from Japantown, the boys take light-rail or bicycle to college.  We really like it here.  And they are slowly migrating from gasoline buses to hybrid ones, with better mufflers and the drivers can’t floor it (noisy) so the level of noise is gradually reducing, yay!

Looking north, notice the light-rail tracks in the middle of the street...

Home, sweet home

One day we’ll buy our next ‘project’, as we call it.  We’re thinking of a little 2 bedroom (if we’re empty-nestors) and adding onto it over time.  There are still plenty of things to do in our office building – a 3000 sf Craftsman house built in 1906.  But, Deferred Maintenance is a topic for another time.  😉