Let Inga Tell You

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Every time I drive by 1590 Coast Walk — the ever-burgeoning behemoth at the juncture of Prospect and Torrey Pines Road — I can only conclude that La Jolla’s motto should be “Build it and you will get away with it.” Of course, I’ve come to the same conclusion over a number of projects built in my own neighborhood.
Those who celebrated the Chinese New Year on Jan. 25 know that this is the Year of the Rat. I couldn’t help but reflect that in La Jolla, it is always the year of the rat. The little buggers really like it here. Qualities attributed to people born in the Year of the Rat (a 12-year Zodiac cycle) include intelligence, charm, ambition, quick wit and practicality. Good qualities all. If you were born in 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 198, 1996, 2008 — you were born in the Year of the Rat.
I think every family has some classic lines that everyone remembers — including and especially the person who often regrets uttering them. Others are just shorthand for favorite family stories that can be resurrected with a single phrase. Here’s a few from our family.
As anyone who has read my column for any length of time knows, I truly believe technology will be the death of me. Probably literally, when I can’t figure out how to call 9-1-1 on my cell phone as I’m having a heart attack. But I do have to admit that my iPhone has given me ways to interact with my young grandchildren that I wouldn’t have otherwise. “Interact” may be somewhat of an exaggeration in the case of the 4-year-old who has on occasion FaceTimed me eight times in a single day just so I’ll appear. As soon as I do, he chortles and hangs up. He just loves the power.
I’ve long since given up on New Year’s Resolutions, but for years I’ve kept a somewhat varying list of 10 Rules to Live By. At the end of the year, I look at it and give myself a grade. Some stuff should just get dropped from the list because I get an “F” every time. But where it’s health-oriented, I feel morally obligated to at least pretend I’m going to do better next year.
  • As a dog owner, it turns out there are worse things than your dog rolling in poop. And that’s your pet contracting a truly nasty bug or eating something in your yard that she really, really shouldn’t have, and inflicting massive intestinal mayhem all over your beds, furnishings and floors for two weeks.
  • Welcome to Auntie Inga’s Curmudgeon Hour. Grab your preferred beverage and sit down while I whine again about why life has just gotten too perplexing for me. Recently, for example, I wanted to attend a fundraiser only to discover when I went to buy a ticket online that the only type of payment accepted was PayPal. I e-mailed the agency in charge of the fundraiser whose solution was that they would help me set up a PayPal account. This was not what I had in mind.
  • Is it just my imagination, or do I spend an inordinate amount of time getting stuff fixed? Something is always broken, whether it’s a computer problem, a funny noise the car is making, a cracked sprinkler head, or an ice-maker that isn’t making ice. Even our security cameras decided to fog up for no known reason. Of course, I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of the stuff I’m getting fixed wouldn’t have needed fixing in my youth because it didn’t yet exist (like computers). Or didn’t exist at my house (like ice-makers, sprinkler heads and security cameras). There was a lot to be said for the era of manual typewriters, hand-washed dishes, ice cube trays, and a climate where it actually rains.
  • I am lucky enough to have the legacy of parents who were truly kind people and never missed an opportunity to jump in where needed. So when Olof and I realized that a disabled friend with no local family desperately required assistance, we volunteered to help. And thus began the saga I call will Refrigerator Wars. It could easily be five columns but here’s the abridged version.
  • A few days ago I went to buy my Christmas tree and couldn’t help but reflect on the ghosts of Christmas trees past. My first husband always insisted we get a small live tree, which we would then plant in the yard in what he considered a charming post-Christmas tradition. Folks: Do NOT try this at home! Little did we realize how much those suckers would grow — one to 40 feet! By the time my husband and I divorced, 10 years (and Christmas trees) later, anyone driving by would think our place was a tree farm with a driveway. (I knew I should have had a Christmas tree removal reimbursement clause in the divorce decree!)
  • On May 21, 2015 a La Jolla Light article queried why 87 percent of people who live within a mile of public transit still drive to work. The answer: They need to actually get to work. A letter to the editor in The San Diego Union-Tribune made a related inquiry: Do supporters of mass transit use it? The answer: We’re trying. My husband and I are two of the biggest supporters of public transit but have concluded that San Diego just isn’t set up for it to be a successful mode of daily transport, unless you have endless time on your hands and don’t have to get to work by a specific time. If you have kids or are elderly, it isn’t for you either.
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One true upside to writing Let Inga Tell You for the last 10 years is the opportunity to learn from readers. We’ll get to my recent column about toilet paper in a moment, but first, I’d like to revisit my column from earlier in the year about my brand-new washing machine. It seems I am not the only person who is exasperated by the “smart” features installed in most new washers. “Balance” seems to be a particular problem across many brands (probably not all that surprising since one repair guy maintained they’re all made in the same factory in China).
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