I was bouncing around yesterday and stopped at Fantastagirl. She had a little ‘interview’ segment that was interesting, and form some unknown reason I responded. She sent me five questions:
1) Have you always lived in Vegas? If not where did you grow up and what made you decide to make Vegas your home?
I grew up in New Jersey, went to college in upstate New York (Rochester), then joined the Navy. After boot camp and initial training the Navy sent me off to NAS Lemoore California. I flew out of NJ one Thanksgiving weekend, leaving in the middle of an early snow storm, which almost closed the airport. Arriving at the Fresno California airport I was picked up by somebody from the base and driven down to Lemoore. On the way the driver pulled on the shoulder of the road and ran off into some trees alongside. He returned with an armful of oranges. The temp outside was in the high 70’s, and at that point I said to myself “self, why the heck were you putting up with snow?”. After leaving the service I soon moved back to Southern California. Bouncing around a little eventually led me to San Diego, where I lived for seventeen years in a nice old part of town.
Eventually B and I realized that it was kind of cold in SD. Yes, laugh at that those of you in the north. But we had built a really nice patio out back and even in the summer in SD the temp at night is usually in the mid 60’s. Everyone says that San Diego is a gorgeous place to live, and it is. But nice means ‘average’. The normal daily weather report in SD for the summer months (June – September) would be “night and morning low clouds, highs in the low 70’s, lows in the mid 60’s.” Winter was about the same, with things shifted down 15 degrees. The big ocean becomes a very stabilizing influence. It’s nice in the sunshine, but after the sun goes down the fog comes up and a little breeze comes along, and you end up sitting in the back yard in sweaters. So we figured we would try something different.
We looked at quite a few places. We had both lived in Phoenix, but did not like the way it has changed. We also looked at Tucson, Fresno, San Francisco and Portland. We ended up looking around Vegas because we were coming here to visit our daughter and liked the bright sunshine. In SD we lived fairly close to downtown, on a half acre lot with a big garden alongside an open space canyon. We wanted an older home and a big lot, because we both liked doing things outside. B also wanted a big airport, to make it easy to go places. I wanted a city with lots of things to do.
We found an area about three miles west of the strip, about a mile from our daughter’s place. Yes, old is relative, and old in SD meant a house built in 1929. Old in Vegas means a house built in 1979. Because of rising land prices new homes in the Vegas area are usually two or three stories and are on little tiny lots – houses are only six feet apart, and most back yards are only twenty or so feet deep. Just big enough for a patio table and a few chairs. We wanted more land, and are happy with our current location – we’ve got over a half acre and a large flat house (better than stairs for our old knees) that cost less than a brand new smaller one smashed in among others. And we have over 250 days a year of full bright sunshine – no ‘night and morning low clouds’, no snow and no -20 freezes. And I doubt if you could find a city with more things to do, 24 hours a day. And no bugs - no mosquitos - no screens on the back doors, and all we get is a few flies from the horses over in the next block.
I mean, look at what our back yard looks like in mid March.
Green grass? Sunshine? Bare feet? Long enough response to question 1?
2) Would you raise a family in today's Vegas (I have a 4 & 6 year old)?
Vegas isn’t any different than other large cities. We’ve got lots of friends with kids who enjoy living here. My daughter did not want to raise her child in Vegas but problems exist anywhere for kids. With the weather we have kids can be outside almost every day of the year, without snowsuits or rain gear. I remember long dreary days back in NJ, looking out the window at the cold rain.
The schools are about the same as anywhere - our daughter was a teacher, and kept expressing her dissapointment. But she will find things the same up there. I feel that motivation and direction comes from the parents, you've got to move the kids along wherever you live.
3) Is the Aladdin Planet Hollywood yet?
Yup, big ceremony last week changed the name. Our local paper had a photo of the sign change at the top, when it just showed ‘Planet Ho’. The Desert Passage shopping center surrounding the Planet Ho is now named the Miracle Mile Shops. But if you go in the back door the signs there haven’t been changed yet.
4) You are granted three wishes - (and no, you can not wish for more wishes) what do you wish for?
I would be naturally greedy and just be concerned with my life. I’d start out with a pile of money: supposedly money can’t buy happiness, but it can bring a close approximation. I’m ready for no work, and lots of play and travel, especially to see E up in Portland. Next would be health for my family and myself. Third would be a healthy long life, to give me time for all of those things I just think about.
Sorry, no world peace or harmony or any of that stuff. I think the world is too complex, and people would end up screwing it all up rather quickly anyway.
5) You just won the big at the blackjack table - what do you do with your winnings?
Depends on how big. First would probably be a nice long vacation. Portland for a short stop, then another long stay driving around France. If it was enough money it would be a permanent vacation. I’d keep my house in Vegas – I really like it here. But frequent flights to lots of places would also be on the bill.
If anyone else wants to play along:
• Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
• I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
• You will update your weblog with the answers to the questions.
• You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
• When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
Thanks for playing along, have fun!