Friday, July 02, 2010

things i'll miss about san diego #7

I'm sure I don't have the story entirely correct, but this is how I understand it...

Charlie's maternal great-grandfather was an electrical engineer and he helped to develop a little something called an electric meter. In 1899, he started a company in Illinois, where these electric meters were produced. Charlie's maternal grandfather, followed in his father's footsteps and pursued a degree in electrical engineering before going to work for his father's company.

Soon thereafter, he was married and started a family.

Their first born, Jeanne, was Charlie's mom.

lovely jeanne

Meanwhile, to the north, in Canada, Charlie's paternal grandfather, who was also an electrical engineer, happened to work for the same exact electric-meter producing company. And he too, was married and beginning to start a family. His first born son, Alex, who years later would also pursue a degree in electrical engineering, was Charlie's father.

dashing alex

Alex and Jeanne didn't know anything of each other. Until, years later when Alex came to work in the electric meter producing factory in the United States.

When they met, there was chemistry.

Or, more appropriately, electricity.

jeanne and alex

And soon, Alex and Jeanne fell in love and went on to have their own brood, including my Charlie, aka: the Little Guy.

the little guy

If I took (or had?) the time to read one of the books about what exactly happened next, I'm sure I'd better understand the fate of the electric meter company. All I know is that approximately 35 years ago, the company was sold off and the family involvement was no more.


It was June of 1997 that Charlie and I first started to 'seriously' look to buy our first home. Because that was the first year that we both had stable full time jobs.

Before that point, we certainly walked through any and every open house that had a sign out front, but whenever we admitted to the realtor hosting the event that we were still in graduate school and living off of financial aid, they'd immediately lose interest in us, and focus on sprucing up their fliers and refreshing their cookies and lemonade.

We looked at a lot of houses before we found our house. We looked as far north as Carlsbad, and as far east as Alpine. We hadn't even considered living in south San Diego County, until one of our co-workers told us that if we bought a home in his community, and indicated that we'd been referred by him, we'd both score a $500.00 gift card to the Home Depot.

So, we looked to the south. And we found a great new house, in a great budding community. And then, because we knew a lot of young people who had also recently graduated from college and were now employed and looking to buy a home, we referred an additional three people to this community, and wound up with $1,500.00 to the Home Depot. And with that money we bought 500 miles of PVC for sprinklers and sod and plants and assorted foliage to spruce up our totally barren back yard.

And we seriously thought about setting up a lemonade stand directly outside the sales office and referring every single person that walked through the model homes ... until we were informed that if we referred one more person, our "referral earnings" would be reported to the IRS.

So that promptly concluded our essentially free-money to the Home Depot referral ride. And, no surprise, at least not to us, home sales immediately plummeted. (Not really. They continued to soar until 2007.)

The fact is, we weren't even planning on buying the house that we're in. Although it was just the two of us and this 1,600 foot space was far more than what we could fill with our college-era futons and milk crate book shelves, we actually had our eye on a four-bedroom two-story house, across the street.

But then, in an odd twist of fate, this house which had been under contract - fell out of contract and the sales representative suggested that we take a look.



Not only was it on a corner, with a huge lot (the largest in the neighborhood), but the person who had signed the prior contract had paid a lot of money to have an air conditioner installed, rooms wired for ceiling fans, and the "upgraded" white total crap cabinets, that would fall clear off the hinges and nearly break my husband's collar bone.

(The "upgraded" cabinets were the only thing in this house we haven't replaced. But will next week, since all new doors and drawers are set to be delivered on Tuesday.)


They also had an electric garage door installed and the third bedroom was converted to a den. The house was a one-story, which certainly had it's benefits, and we'd only have one neighbor, so to speak.

The homes behind us, would all be one stories, and since we'd be on top of the hill, we'd forever and always have unobstructed views of the beautiful Mount San Miguel from our back yard. This would prove to be a particularly beneficial vantage point when the whole thing was engulfed in flames and we knew the precise moment to freak out and pack the car up for a speedy evacuation during the wildfires of 2003 and 2007.


Charlie and I were young and we'd never bought anything as expensive as a HOUSE before, so we sought parental advice. Charlie's dad, Alex, who at the time was living in San Diego, drove with us to the new neighborhood and he nodded his head in approval as he walked through the entire house. Then, he walked in the backyard and agreed that a hot tub in the corner would be a particularly nice addition.

(Or, perhaps in around seven years, a monstrous play structure!)


As he walked along the side of our house, he made a comment about wanting to take a look at the electric meter. It was in his blood, after all.

I'll never forget that he exclaimed, "Well, would you look at that! This must be a sign!" because right there, on the side of what would become our very first home, was an electric meter produced by the company that had brought Charlie's parents together.


We purchased this house on our third year wedding anniversary, August 6, 1997, and in those 13 years - we have looked at the electric meters on no less than 100 houses in our community. All of the neighbors that know us, have happily allowed us to inspect their meters. And for those that don't know us, we just pretend we're from the electric company. Before children, we would ride our bikes through the not-yet-occupied neighborhoods to check out the meters on the newly constructed houses.

As far as we can see, ours is the only one. Which means our meter, built 22 years before our home was even constructed - from the company that brought Charlie's parents together - was sitting in storage somewhere ... obviously waiting for us.


Although I've been known to complain - from time to time - about our small space, I really do love it. I love that it's small enough that I know where the children are, at all times. I love that I can clean the whole thing in a couple of hours. I love the neighborhood and community and I love what we've done with the place.


I especially love what we've done with our front and side yard landscaping.


Thankfully, we started our landscaping project a few months before we found out we were expecting triplets - and finished it the week I found out I was pregnant ... or this blooming garden never would have come to fruition.


(It should come as no surprise I have an abundance of Lily of the Nile. Oh, how I love those beautiful purple flowers! And the children have such fun playing in what they call, "The Jungle.")


I love the memories that we've created in our sweet home.

I especially love that our four children were born here.


There is a good energy in this house. A group of my mother's friends, who are in to metaphysics came to visit a few years ago, and they all commented that there is a healing peace that emanates from every corner of this place.

Funny, I thought Charlie and I were the only ones that could feel it!


We undoubtedly have an electric connection to this house and although we've called and asked if we could take the meter with us (and been told no), I just pray that whomever is blessed to move in to this home, loves and appreciates it as much as we have.

And ... equally important ... I really hope our little home loves them back.


  1. I could not find a link to post comments on the "snow angels". So here goes.
    My little one loves making snow angels. And sand angels, and just about any other surface that might conceivably move. So your paper shredder confetti snow pictures brought a big smile to my face.

    Good luck with the move.

  2. Great story! I loved it! You need to correct your typo though about beginning to look for a home in June 2007 as it should be June 1997. Wouldn't you love to solve the mystery of the meter? I don't know though, maybe it is better not to know!On to new adventures in VA or if the commute isn't too far, MD is better. LOL!


  3. First of all WOW! This story is cool! and I know your going to miss San Diego...I hope soon you will be writing about all the things you love about your new home.

    I have been doing a little blog catch up...I read the story about the wooden spoon...Let me tell you! Margaret had it coming!!! :) She stayed in the kitchen that day...I could tell our mother was ready to explode :) and I ran!

    Lastly, the Pumpkin post makes me cry too but you know...It was a beautiful weekend and I will never forget how you pulled me through that day. A hamburger, french fries and a choc. shake have taken on a whole new meaning to me:) not to mention mums and pumpkins :)

    Can't wait to see you, Charlie and the kids!


  4. What a nice true story and wonderful memories of that home.

  5. Amazing how fate brought Charlie's parents together and you and your house together. Your landscaping job turned out to be stunning.

    Charlie's mother was quite a beautiful woman and I think I see a little bit of Henry in the toddler Charlie picture.

    I'm sure your house will choose just the right replacements for you. After all no ordinary family lived and loved in that house.

  6. Handsome couple. The apple doesn't fall from the tree. Cute story.
    See you soon. Marg

  7. Beautiful pictures of your home! Love the colors in the kids' rooms and the green elsewhere...and that landscaping-wow! Sounds like you're pretty attached-hope you find something you like every bit as much! Can you tell me about the bunks-are those full size? Are you happy w/ them? And do you recall the brand/where you got them?

  8. Hi Karen - the bunk in the boys room is a twin over full. I bought it in ... 2008? ... from Pottery Barn Kids and we really love it. Although you may pay a bit more for PBK, I think the workmanship is really outstanding. This bunk is incredible sturdy and durable and I like that it has a flat headboard and footboard, which is typically what I stand upon to change the sheets & make the bed.

    Also, we took the ladder down, and William climbs up on the footboard for ingress and egress (in/out) to his bed, because after a risk analysis, we figured that was the safer approach than putting up the ladder which Henry would undoubtedly climb.

    Not that Henry would fall OFF the ladder (he's very stable, himself) but him having access to his BROTHER'S sanctuary might result in trouble.

    Funny enough, although Henry climbs just about everything else in this house, he hasn't yet attempted to access his brother's bed...