Zev Newsletter: June 2000

When we bought our house, we regarded it as far from a finished product. We intended to re-landscape, remodel the kitchens and re-do the bathrooms. We would have probably have done the kitchen first (and probably not for a couple of years,) except for one thing – Jackie managed to get an avocado pit to grow into a tree (over six feet tall!) and we wanted to plant it. Since we wanted to plant it in a place where it would grow, and since we don’t have a clue on the needs of avocado trees, and since we had hardscape changes we wanted, we decided to hire a landscape architect.

There were many hardscape changes that we wanted. We wanted a path from our front door to the street, so that people could visit us without walking up the driveway. We wanted to break our six steep steps leading to our front door into three steps, then a landing, and then three more steps. We wanted a path from the side yard to the street, so that we could keep our trashcans on the side without having to wheel them across mud to get them to the street. We wanted to take out some of the existing concrete to compensate for all the concrete we were putting in. We wanted to pave the side yard, since nothing grows there anyway. In the back, we wanted to get rid of the never-been-used firepit, and do something useful with the space. We also wanted some shade in the pool area, maybe a gazebo.

The landscape architect did an excellent job of turning our desires into a blueprint. We could not afford to do all the work at once, however, so we postponed the planned gazebo. At the beginning of June, we broke ground. We had been told that it would take three weeks. Of course, we did not believe that statement for a minute. However, it did surprised us, when after more than 4 weeks, the framing had still not been finished.

We were going to pay for the landscaping by selling our old house. However after we broke ground on the landscaping, we found that the market has not risen as much as we thought. So now we’re not sure how we’re going to pay for it all. Hey, what’s life without a little uncertainty?

Aside from the landscaping, what else happened in June?

June was amusement park month. We went with our nephew, Michael, to Legoland to celebrate his 7th birthday. We took a family vacation and went to the San Diego Wild Animal Park and Knott’s Berry Farm. We also went to something called the "Amazing Maize Maze" in Camarillo. It’s a field of corn, planted to form a walk-in maze. We really enjoyed it, despite having to carry Benjamin for a substantial fraction of the time we were inside (~ 2 hours). Other notable events: We went to a free concert put on by Kenny Loggins. Marc and Jackie really enjoyed it, but the boys were underwhelmed. Jonathan took and passed his second belt test at Tae Kwon Do. Now he is an orange belt.

Jonathan finished first grade at Beckford Elementary School with a glowing report card. We were very pleased with his performance. We are also very happy with the school. He has had excellent teachers, and we have been very satisfied with the material presented and the style used to present it. So we were actually taken aback when we learned that Jonathan had been accepted to Balboa Gifted and High Ability Magnet. Should we move Jonathan from a school that was familiar, that we trusted, to another that has the best test scores of any school in the Valley, if not the city? On the plus side for Balboa, our nephew Mitchell goes there, as did his sister Jordan. This gives us inside information about who the best teachers are. We decided to give Balboa a try. We can always go back to Beckford if we don’t like Balboa.

‘Til next month,

Jackie, Marc, Jonathan and Benjamin