At Home at Vista Ranch...

"One minute, a ruler is seated on their throne...the next minute, they are thrown out on their seat!" --Redd Foxx

The part of Vista I call home is a former motel called Vista Ranch. Located on Escondido Avenue, this 1950's-era motor lodge offers a nice place for a single fellow to come home to. A small laundry, a basketball court surrounded by grass, plenty of parking, and decent rent make Vista Ranch worth having to "hang-a-ueee" on Escondido Avenue to get to.

Escondido Avenue runs from Highway 78 to the south, to Eucalyptus Avenue to the north. Across the street from my place is a Vons Grocery, a Yum-Yum Doughnut Shop, a fabric store, a Trendy Indoor Bazzar, and various other shops. The NCTD Breeze's 334/335 route services it on weekdays, while the 302 can be caught on South Santa Fe Avenue. The Sprinter can be accessed at the Escondido Avenue station, which is a twelve minute walk uphill for me.

During the day, the neighborhood is rather busy, both traffic-wise and people-wise. A lot of our city's transients make South Santa Fe Avenue a rest-stop, and the Von's lot is a gathering place for undocmented workers to find somebody looking for a little "under-the-table" labor.

At night, it slowly quiets down, until after one the next morning. Then it becomes very peaceful--unless my neighbors are having a full-tilt boogie verbal fight. If you hear the sirens approach the complex, it is best to keep your windows and doors secured (unless you witnessed something, then the Sheriff's Department will want to chat you up about what you saw).

There have been two murders (in the Von's lot across the way) since I moved in on 28-Feb-08. Neither has been solved yet, and the way things work in this county, they will be Cold Case Files shortly. Stinks, but that's life.

So, what's it like living where I live? Well, in my case, my apartment is along "Singles Row (as in single-room sized)" near the front parking lot. I pay $675/month for my little place, with all utilities included but phone and cable (a cell phone takes care of the phone needs for now). With Vons across the street, all that I have to do is take my wheeled porta-cart across the street to do my grocery shopping. My rent comes out of my Social Security Disability Insurance stipend, btw.

I have a full-sized fridge/freezer and a microwave oven supplied by the property manager. For other cooking needs, I purchased a dual hot-plate; a electric grill (both a GF and a Faberware for non-burger cooking); a electric fry pan/griddle; and a coffeemaker. I use the Faberware the most, since I prefer to grill my meats when I can...outside (so I do not set off the smoke alarm. Charcoal-powered grills are forbidden at Vista Ranch, BTW).

The only other occupant inside is Mosher Rat, my hooded rat that keeps me company. He lives in an enclosure next to my front window, which gives him plenty of air circulation. I keep him fed once a day (with a apple treat each morning), clean his enclosure three times a week, and give him "outside the house" (on my shoulder) time when I can. He's a sweetie, but forgets who runs the house...and he's not it.

It can be crowded, but the place is easy to keep clean with the right tools-and-chemicals. The space is just right for a single fellow like myself. I often get a lot of complements on my grilling from my neighbors, especially if I have steak on the grill (with a seasoned salt/garlic powder/Worchestershier Sauce rub done one hour before I flip the switch).

Now, before you folks out there PM&B about me "eating steak on the taxpayer dime"? There is a rule I go by: "I cook what I buy, and I only buy what I can afford." This means that the "Clearance Sections" of Vons meat-and-deli cases are the first area I hit during my weekly food-buying trips. If I find a decent steak at a good price? It goes into my cart. If it's 30-50% discounted? Even Better! If the Vons Club price is very reasonable? It either goes on my grill that night...or into my freezer for later use. Frankly, folks, steak is a treat. For me, I am more likely to buy chicken, turkey, sausage, ground beef, or ribs than I would steak. Plus, I can get my staples (rice; pasta; pasta sauces; juice drinks; tea; coffee; sweetners) at Dollar Tree and/or 99 Cents only for much less.

I'm not much of a social animal, so my excursions are usually to the Career Center in Oceanside, Check Center (Check Cashing), Vons, Wal*Mart, Target, Big Lots, Mickey D's (once a month ONLY), and Mary's Kitchen in Oceanside (my favorite diner). Other than that, my tastes are simple, and my needs are few.

All in all...life is good at Vista Ranch. Will I ever move? Perhaps, but not now. I feel safe and comfortable here...and that's how I like it!

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as long as you are happy...and congratulations on your win. i enjoyed it!

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