Happy New Year!
We have finally landed. All of our worldly possessions are within the four walls of our new house in the Rockridge section of Oakland. We moved in about 2 months ago and have made a considerable dent in the boxes -- but still are unable to get the cars into the garage (though that eventuality is within sight).
We started this journey with a move last August into an apartment on the third floor of a twenty-six floor tower situated on Lake Merritt. The lake is about three and a half miles in circumference (large enough, but not huge), and is on the edge of downtown Oakland. Our apartment had large floor to ceiling windows looking over the lake and towards downtown. We had fabulous sunsets; the effect was like living in a luxurious hotel. We went both paddle boating and kayaking on the lake, and Lee took sailing lessons. As an added benefit, Lee's office is also on the lake and he (sometimes) walked to work.
In our first week back in California, we actively connected to the Berkeley/Oakland ("East Bay") environment. We carefully sampled six ice cream stores, with several trips to some of the six. We also have investigated a few local brands from the grocery. Besides local ice cream, we have enjoyed the great variety of good breads available -- someone described the East Bay area as bread heaven; we certainly second that opinion.
We spent our first week in the apartment unpacking what seemed like "billions and billions" of boxes. For a while, we weren't sure how it all would fit into the space we had, but order slowly emerged. There seems to be only a few things we wanted to have in the apartment that were in storage and vice versa.
Other important matters of infrastructure progressed. Karen, Helen and Lee passed their driver license tests (Karen's test, designed for teens, was substantially harder). We have California tags on both cars. One computer was assembled and Paul carefully played (and played and played and played) his favorite computer games. Lee assembled his stereo and was beginning to relax; unfortunately he began to be swallowed alive by a series of cascading crises at his office and is seldom seen by the family...
Karen and Paul started school in September; both seem to be settling in. Karen was on the varsity volleyball team; they made it to the North Coast Sectional Playoffs. She currently is playing varsity basketball with not quite the same prospects. Paul is especially enjoying his after school activities - he is taking chess, Odyssey of the Mind, a Roman history class, and a mythology class. Paul has also restarted piano and viola lessons. He is becoming quite good on the piano -- Lee particularly enjoys listening to his practices.
We have had our share of troubles with communications -- the phone company had a hard time connecting our phone lines in our apartment, but finally succeeded. The Post Office got our old address incorrectly entered in to their computer for forwarding, and so for at least 4 weeks in August/September all mail addressed to us there was returned as having no forwarding address. We seem to have (finally) straightened that out.
After what seemed like years of looking (largely by Helen), we finally found a new house. During the process, Lee suspects Helen spent more "quality" time with the real estate agent than with him.
Our house, new construction, is located in the area burned by the "fire storm" of 1993 in the Oakland hills. This catastrophe destroyed over 2,000 houses; the area has been slowly rebuilding. Our house is on a small ridge -- from the front we can see San Francisco, the bay, and most of the Golden Gate Bridge. From the rear, we look across the Hayward fault (life is not without its shakes) to a beautiful view of houses on a hillside.
The house is big, with a nice guest bedroom that someone needs to come and try out for us. It does have its quirks. The builder started to paint the entire interior with mustard yellow paint. We seem to be drawn to that shade; our Atlanta house, when we bought it had a mustard yellow exterior with ketchup red trim. Fortunately, only the bath rooms retain the yellow paint. Being a new house, we have a large, fancy kitchen; though we miss the details we built into our Atlanta home.
Beyond the enormous and traumatic experience of moving, starting new job, new schools, and learning a new community, life was fairly calm. Karen, for her sixteenth birthday, went to Hawaii with Lee's mom over spring break. As a consolation prize, Lee, Helen, and Paul went to Washington DC to see the sights. We saw Helen's family at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado in August.
We are enjoying slowly reconnecting with folks on the west coast and look forward to more as we settle down. As Karen in now in 11th grade, our next traumatic experience is her process of college selection.
If you are headed out this direction, please give us a call!
Yours in peace,
Lee, Helen, Karen & Paul
We have moved to Oakland letter
1996 Year-end Letter
1995 Year-end Letter
Helen's Chocolate Cake recipe
Last Updated 18-Jan-98 Lee Aurich