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58. My Sweet Home

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My Story

2021. 4. 8.

Grace started to take art classes at LAVC. She took the sketch classes, then moved to acrylic painting, oil painting, and water color. She was good at composing. When several people take the picture of the same object, her photo looks the best. Gradually, we kept only her photos.

 

Her paintings were selected for LAVC annual students exhibitions. One of her professors recommended her work and they were displayed at the restaurant, Blue Hen. The owner of the restaurant supported the local artists and she provided the space to show their works. 

 

If and when I put my writings together and publish a book, her drawing will be the book cover. 

 

She likes new challenges. She enjoys making and fixing things. I live in San Fernando Valley, north of Los Angeles. Most homes in my neighborhood were built in 1950’s. Over 60 some years, people fixed and made some modifications to the structures. Roofs and outside painting makes them look different. But the basic designs of the homes are very similar. They are tract homes with 3-4 different designs. 

 

I bought a house which was hastily covered with cheap paint. I neglected the landscaping. I killed the back yard lawn and a peach tree. 

 

Grace dug up the patch of dead grass piece by piece, level the ground, and sowed it with the new grass seeds. New green grass covered the ground. She planted a peach tree my uncle gave us. We went to LA, bought a persimmon tree and she planted it. It bloomed with plenty of flowers again this spring. We will have sweet peaches by early summer. 

 

The difference between the vegetable/flower and weeds is where they are growing. In spring, home owners start their struggles with dandelions. They spread weed killers on the ground. Some pull them with the metal sticks. Grace picks young dandelions and makes herbal dish for the meals. 

 

She made a vegetable garden and plants lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, and tomatoes. It would actually cost less to purchase them from the market. Since she does not use chemical fertilizer and pesticide, they don’t produce much. Southern California summer sun is cruel to the plants. She waters them every day, nevertheless, the soil is always dry. But it is fun and rewarding to grow your own vegetables. 

 

In Southern California, it only rains during the winter months. For several years, we had pretty dry winters. There was a small leak on the roof over the garage. It gradually got bigger and started to wet the boxes in the garage. I called the roofer. His said we needed a new roof and his estimate was over $7,000. The money was the issue. Grace said she could pay for it. She had been saving from the money I gave her every month. We fixed the roof and got rid of some trees which shed dry leaves. The house got the facelift.

 

There was a large pine tree next to the drive way. During the summer, it dropped resin on the car parked underneath. As we fixed the roof, we got rid of it and decided to plant a tree there. We bought a tree for $20. It was tall, but very thin. My friend, Stefano, and his wife came and helped Grace plant the tree. They planted the wood support and even signed it. Few years later, we decide to cover that part of the front yard with concrete. I paid $50 and had the gardener move the tree. 

 

Next year, on a very windy day, the tree broke. The trunk was too thin for the height. Grace gave it some fertilizer and took care of it. Now, it is growing again. Looking at this tree, I wonder about the destiny. What made this tree end up with us? 

 

House is just like a person’s face. Once you start to fix it, you start to notice other things. For next several years, we installed new glass door to the patio, fixed the kitchen and the bathroom, made the deck and expanded the patio, laid concrete on the yard, built wheelchair ramp, and painted the house. There are few more things I want to do. But for now, it is comfortable and nice. Most likely, I and Grace will spend our old ages at this house. 

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