2018 Zev Family Newsletter

In November of 2018, all four Zevs were gainfully employed.  (Do you hear a “but” coming?)  Then, Marc, who was working from home went down to work one morning, and found a text saying the CFO of the company wanted to talk to him.  Oh-uh, that’s rarely good.  Plus his email wasn’t working.  Marc texted his boss, who said “yeah, me too.”  And also the other person on Marc’s team.  So, that was the end of that job.  We never found out what happened, but we think the company ran out of money.

The next few months were stressful, but by March, Marc had another job.  This job is with an internet startup in the home buying industry.  They are creating an internet app to handle the paperwork associated with buying a home.  The underlying idea is a good one, but the failure rate for startups is high, so we will see what happens.

Jackie’s life continued at its normal, frenetic pace.  She was still involved with AAUW and the Engineer’s Council, of course.  The first half of 2018 was the last six months of her Sisterhood presidency, and she had a co-president, but rather than sit back and relax, she decided she wanted Sisterhood to do a program on non-binary individuals, she and Kathy wanted a program on the Women of the Wall, and she had an idea for the end of year luncheon she wanted to implement.  Making these events happen consumed a great deal of time, so her life continued to be hectic.  Jackie’s advice to Sisterhood presidents is:  If you want a program to happen in a particular way, wait until after your presidency is over to make it happen. 

Of course, she’s done that, too.  After her presidency ended, she took on the role of technology chair, continuing the Sisterhood website that she started as president.  And she teamed up with Carol to bring Jewish Women’s Theater to the Temple.  And she has another fundraiser in mind for next year.

If she wasn’t working, things would be much easier, but she is, and that’s a good thing.  In October of 2017, she was moved from the work she had been doing for the last 20 years to a new project, working on displays for the H1 helicopter.   She likes that job a lot.  In November, she interviewed for a management position in Northrop Grumman and last February they offered her the position, which came with a big pay raise.  It took a few months before people to manage were assigned to her, but now she is managing 18 software engineers.  She was also assigned three small projects to manage.  To her great surprise, she is actually enjoying managing. 

Jonathan, Jackie and Marc went Square Dancing at the Bakersfield Fiesta in March again.  Benjamin missed it, because he did not come home for spring break this year.  However, he and Delaney came in two weeks later for Passover.  Passover was at Don and Sue’s house because we had planned to be under construction during Passover.  Of course, that meant construction had not started yet.  But first, the rest of the year.

Benjamin came home for a week for Mother’s Day, and let us know that he was planning to ask Delaney to marry him.  We like Delaney a lot and were very excited.  Their plan is for Benjamin to finish college (May 2019) and get a job.  They will figure out where they want to live, and then start planning the wedding, which will probably be in St. Louis.  Benjamin went back to St. Louis, moved in with Delaney, and started his summer internship.  He worked for the same company as last year, but this time in St. Louis rather than Virginia.  He proposed and Delaney, happily, said yes. 

The last Tuesday in June, Marc, Jackie and Jonathan flew to St. Louis.  We spent the night and then, with Benjamin, we drove to Kansas City for the 2018 National Square Dance convention.  I actually blogged about the convention (www.ityfaq.com) – one of my few blog posts for 2018.  Convention was a blast as always.  On Sunday, we drove back to St. Louis and flew home Monday morning.

Two weeks later, the Segals came to stay with us.  They were moving to Portland, their house had sold, but they needed to stay in LA for a few weeks.  So, of course, we invited them to stay with us.  Sharing our home with them was lovely, except for when Rachel tripped over the dog gate and had to go to the emergency room.  And knowing that they were staying with us because they were moving to Portland.  They left the day before Jackie’s birthday (boo hoo!) and Benjamin flew in to visit the same day (yea!)  Benjamin left a week later, and then Jackie drove up to San Francisco for a weekend with her mom. 

September was at least not crazy busy, but then October rolled around.  Benjamin and Delaney flew in for Fall break, and overlapped a day and a half with Rachel and Abby, who came down and stayed with us.  The day that Rachel and Abby left, Jackie drove to San Diego for a convention.

In November, Marc had the first outing of a group he started at the Temple, the TAS Exotic Food Experience.  We eat exotic food at interesting restaurants and learn about the Jews of that country.   The first restaurant we tried was Guatemalan and it was excellent.  The second was Siri Lankan, which was very good, but too spicy for Jackie’s tastes.    

About that construction project. We’ve always had cracks in the walls of our master bath, but in the last couple of years, the cracks had gotten markedly worse.  The master bath and balcony off the master bedroom are over one of the downstairs patios, and were supported by three pillars.  The pillars had deteriorated badly, and we were very concerned that they would not hold up in the next major earthquake.  But replacing the pillars involved bringing them up to code, which involved pouring a new foundation.  It was not going to be cheap.  So we decided to wall in the patio and take out the existing external wall, effectively doubling the size of the downstairs room.

We hired an engineer to draw up plans, submitted them to the city, and waited. And waited. And waited.  Months went by.  The city told us to spend more money and do more calculations, which we did. Finally the answer came back.  Can’t do it.  It violates the city’s anti-mansionization statute. WHAT!  We were not changing the footprint of the house; we were not going higher; We were only changing the size of the house by 10%.  In what sense is that mansionization? We got our city councilmember involved and the answer changed to: OK, we will let you do it.  We had submitted the plans to the city in January, and we finally got permission to do the work in June.  We found a contractor that came highly recommended by Marc’s boss and we started work the Monday after 4th of July.

Getting the permit was one thing.  Being able to pull the permit was another.  When it comes to construction, nothing is ever easy.  Once we were finally underway, we just had the normal construction headaches, like the workers leaving chicken bones where the dog could eat them (which made him throw up in the house) and stuccoing over one of the porch light sockets that they had put in, and not doing all the demolition they were supposed to do and getting the design of the steps to the living room wrong (multiple times.)  The source of the problems was that the contractor was never onsite to give directions to the workers, so they had to make things up as they went along.

One last headache.  When the city did the final inspection, they OKed the construction but required us to put an earthquake shutoff valve on the gas meter (which we were not touching for our construction.)  However, we lucked out in this case.  Our contractor gave us a quote on doing this without looking at our gas meter.  The plumber who came out to do the job was quite taken aback when he saw our meter.   The quote should have been about three times higher.

It was supposed to take three months, so given the permit problems, the fact that we were able to host Thanksgiving in the new room was not too bad.  There’s a couple of minor things that still need to be addressed, but everything is basically done.

Best wishes for a great 2019,

Jackie, Marc, Jonathan and Benjamin