Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Heat, quakes and dust

How Southern California feels  (Photo source)

It is damn hot right now. So hot, that even the notorious LA smog has retreated from the sun.

Fahrenheit is something I've yet to master interpretation of, but I know one thing without having to reach for my conversion chart - triple digits equals serious heat. It also sounds far more dramatic in fahrenheit.

101ºF versus 38ºC... see?

The heat has been fairly consistent over the last few weeks. I can't really complain - I'll take heat over cold any day, and we're lucky to have access to a swimming pool. We also have air con in our apartment, but I'm not a big fan (sorry for the pun).

The air con is usually switched on as a last resort to cool our place down. I hate having to keep all the windows shut, and I hate having to forever nag the Faery and her playmates to close the door - again - as they run in and out.

Anyhow, we've not had much choice lately. It's air con, or roast to death.

Spending the days inside - what feels like - hermetically sealed quarters has had its advantages, though. I've finally been able to tackle some DIY projects I've been wanting to do for a while. Well, one project.

That project was to start a photo wall. I've wanted one for the longest while, and J is able to get a lot free photo printing done through his work - perfect for showing off some of my better photos of us, the girls, and travels.

Having rented for so long, I was never able to build a collection of framed photos for the wall, because our leases usually prohibited us from putting hooks or nails in the walls. However, our current place seems to be a little more lenient about that, so I decided to go for it.

Last week, I began the process of selecting from the stacks of photos I asked J to enlarge and print for me, and sorting them into different frames. Only a dozen pics for now, but it's a start until I get some more frames. It's a convenient excuse for another trip to IKEA.

Despite recommendations in California to not hang anything above sofas and beds (earthquake safety), I thought to hell with it, and sprawled some photos above our sofa. My reasoning was that if an earthquake does strike, and we do happen to be on the sofa, we'll just get off it - how hard could that be?

Last Thursday, I hung up two more frames in the morning. In the late afternoon, I switched on the TV to catch some news, and saw that there had actually been an earthquake at 1.47pm. It was 4.3 on the Richter scale, so apparently somewhat noticeable... but, nope. I didn't feel a thing (J informed me that everyone who was sitting down at his work felt it, and that's only a five-minute drive away). I'm hoping this means our apartment building is exceptionally sturdy.

The framed photos on the wall didn't so much as wobble a millimetre.

I've been admiring my handiwork ever since but this week, it just occurred to me that there's a downside to having a lovely collection of moments framed on a wall - dusting.

I've never been particularly diligent when it comes to dusting. I've never had big collections of pretty knick-knacks that collect dust, for two reasons. One, I hate dusting. Two, small chubby hands of destructive toddlers. It's a system that's worked fairly well for me in recent years.

Not any more. I've gone and put up the biggest damn dust-collecting collection of all on the wall...


  1. Good for you, getting that job done. And good for the landlord, letting you do it! I know the frustrations of renting myself, having been unable to hang any pictures except on the hooks already in the walls for years. It has made for some interesting portrait placement, I can tell you.

    Like you I also abhor dusting (and it's a losing battle for us at the moment still with the heater going although not as frequently. Sorry, I mentioned heat ... didn't mean to. Kick me now). But it is amazing how being able to personalise the space a bit makes you feel a little better.

    I didn't know they don't recommend putting pictures up over beds etc but it makes perfect sense really.

  2. This place is unlike anywhere I've ever rented in Australia. It's run as a company and has apartment complexes all over the US - each one has a leasing office (so, no idiotic real estate agents involved who resent being in the rental sector instead of sales), gardeners, and a maintenance crew ready to come and fix anything in the apartment ASAP. The entire complex is rented - no one owns their apartment. When tenants move out, the crew sets about cleaning, repainting, replacing carpet etc so it's completely fresh for the next lot of people.

    Keeping all that in mind, it made it a lot easier to go ahead and put nails/hooks up... but I still wince when I think about just how many holes are in the wall now! Can't help it - I've been conditioned over so many years of renting.

  3. Photo walls are ace. I dream of doing my ultimate Pinterest porn - photos lining the staircase. Ha! Because one day I'll buy a house with a staircase. Yeah, and a maid to clean two damn storeys.

    Was that the first quake since you've been in La La? And you missed it? I love that.


  4. It's actually the third quake since we've been here - that I know of. I've not felt any of them! J's felt a couple while he's been at work. A silly part of me feels a little ripped off - stupid, huh?

  5. I know - bad, bad, bad! It's not like I'm wishing, though...