Further Reflections on California Living

I recently posted some initial thoughts about California living based on my first couple of weeks as a repatriated Californian. Some further observations from the past few weeks:

* In Milwaukee, the local paper ran a traffic column once a week. The San Jose Mercury News runs a traffic column every day. It’s that important.

(Admittedly, I can’t complain too much. My commute is routinely less than 20 minutes, and I’ve hit bad traffic only a couple of times).

* My office has no air conditioning. It would have never occurred to me to ask about air conditioning–I just assumed that every law school building in the US has AC. Sadly, no. The good news is that AC is needed in Santa Clara only a few weeks out of the year. The bad news is that the last couple of weeks have been hot and sweaty. My fingers keep slipping off the keyboard….

* In Milwaukee, we had a 3/4 acre lot. It was so large and wooded that I couldn’t see my neighbors. More importantly, I couldn’t smell my neighbors. In Mountain View, we have a generous (by CA standards) 0.2 acre lot. Nevertheless, I can see my neighbors on all sides…and smell them too. The neighbor behind us (i.e. upwind) fires up the grill every Saturday and Sunday afternoon. The last few weekends haven’t been too bad because we’ve kept the windows closed and blasted the AC. But otherwise, when I open up the window in my home office on the weekends, as I sit at the keyboard, all I can think is….TERIYAKI CHICKEN. Talk about a nuisance, especially for a vegetarian.

* In Milwaukee, people experienced general malaise in late January and February as the omnipresent cold and darkness took its toll. I’ve been told that in California, people experience a similar malaise in mid-December and mid-April…when property taxes are due. Property tax due dates are like days of reckoning–have we been good enough savers during the year to stash away the cash to write a check large enough to feed a small city in China? I for one am panicking already.

* BTW, I never shared the final stat–our Mountain View house was exactly 5X more expensive than the sales price on our Milwaukee house. And, get this–the seller of our Mountain View house had benefited from 3 decades of Prop. 13, so our property taxes are over 10X what he was paying. No wonder why everyone in Mountain View was so excited to see us–we just dramatically increased the tax rolls!