I live in California to the dismay of my out-of-state family, who wonder why I continue to live here with all its challenges. I usually answer with facts: California has the incredible beauty of the ocean, the majesty of the mountains, the serene landscapes of the desert and that all moving trucks are booked for the next three years.
When people think about California, they usually associate it with an incredibly high cost of living. It is true and a problem for many. This hit home with my son recently when he was watching a show about Bigfoot and asked if there have ever been any Bigfoot sightings in our area. I told him that Bigfoot left California a while back because he couldn’t afford to live here anymore either and moved to Nevada with everybody else.
Bigfoot is doing ok, though. He was able to attend the Burning Man festival in Northern Nevada last year and fit right in. In fact, most people thought it was fellow billionaire Mark Zuckerberg dressed up as Chewbacca. It was assumed Mark might be there since he has been trying desperately to distance himself from the debacle that was Facebook’s “Take a Russian to Work Day.” Facebook, as we all know, has a problem with Russia trying to use its platform to influence our elections. My wife discovered this was an issue when she kept getting bombarded with friend requests from Vladimir Putin.
California does have its good qualities. It leads the nation in efforts to fight climate change. In setting an example for the rest of country, we now use paper straws in place of plastic ones. The campaign to convince the public it was a good idea didn’t turn out so well, however. The marketers borrowed the vintage M&M slogan, “It melts in your mouth….” and then stopped right there. People everywhere are trying to get the taste of newspaper out of their mouths.
We do have a plan to fix this, though. In our efforts to be involved in every part of residents’ lives, we will soon provide instructional videos that show people how to put a cup up to their lips and swallow. Of course, we will need to raise taxes to pay for this. This will then drive even more people out of the state. Nevada will then replace its “Welcome to Nevada” greeting at the California border with a “Turn Back Now Or We Will Shoot” sign.
No discussion about California is ever complete, however, without talking about the cost of housing. We have all heard the stories about adult children having to move back in with their parents because they can’t afford to have a place of their own. The problem has been going on for so long now that these kids’ parents are still living with their parents because they could never afford to buy a house either. It has been rather discouraging for grandparents throughout the state as they are spending substantial amounts of money having their houses retrofitted for two basements.
Having said all that, I will continue to live here with my wife and kids, and we hope to remain here for as long as possible. The climate is nice, and the kids are in good schools. It is the right place for our family at this point in time.
Unfortunately, our situation is unpredictable because we are not certain if my parents will ever want their basement back. Then it’s “Hello, Vegas!”
— Derek Ries
Derek Ries is a father of five who works hard to keep his sanity with the insanity that is raising five kids.