Chaos Attraction

My Third House Tour

2013-12-17, 1:27 p.m.

I am writing this from Mom's house of hoarding. She has a new computer so I CAN get online with it, thank god for that, but she has no idea how wireless works or what her password is. "It's on the bottom of the modem." I wrote down and tried everything on the bottom of her modem and that thing will not let me log in. Figures. So even though I have lovely pics of last night's activities, I cannot show them to you. Grr. Also, the lack of anywhere to sit or put down my stuff around here is frustrating, and why I didn't really want to come down here days early when I knew I'd be spending the days alone in her house. Okay, so I could drive to other things, but there's not that much in town (see below) and I don't really feel like braving 580 to hit the mall. Plus I am still trying to restrain myself on not going whole hog shopping until I leave the state.

I ended up leaving my house yesterday around 1:15 and doing the drive down to the Bay Area early to beat the rush hour traffic, especially on 580. I'm not sure if I actually did or not considering that I hit 580 at 2:30 and it was still pretty busy and cloggy and semi-scary. Sigh. Anyway, I made it there no problem, parked my car at Mom's work and went to hang out in the olde hometowne's downtown area for a few hours. Which was pretty much a novelty to me since this is not a town that one really walks around. My mom works about three streets over from the area and I took the long way around to get there because no cars freaking stop or even slow down on that road. Again, I'm wandering around town at 2:45 on a Monday and there's cars everywhere! What the heck, people? Shouldn't you all be at work? They died down by around 5 and I was able to take the shortcut back, so yay there.

Anyway, some years ago they fancied up the main street of downtown, which is very cute and has painted boxes and murals and stuff and fountains and benches. It's not really much of a shopping area, more of a fancy restaurant area. I went in the Western store I've never been in--that was about what I expected. I went in the sex toy store--YES, THERE'S A SEX TOY STORE ON THE MAIN STREET OF TOWN, I KID YOU NOT-- and that was about what I expected as well, on the "good selection of toys and porn, lots of tacky bachelorette party and costume stuff." I went in a few fancy stuff stores and the quilting shop. I liked the comic book store, but managed to restrain myself from getting any Doctor Who Adipose merch like I wanted to--Hawaii, Hawaii, Hawaii, spend your money there! I got an ice cream because the awesome ice cream parlor in town now has a branch office on the main drag--though the ice cream was weirdly gooey, oh well.

That took me about 45 minutes, so I otherwise camped out in a caf downtown. It was a pretty nice one--had a lot of space, and unlike where I live, there were some actual empty tables for sitting at despite them being fairly busy. You can tell it's not a college town (okay, there's a JC, but it's not the same dynamic as where I live) because nobody had a laptop(!)--though I saw nothing listed about Wi-Fi either, so that's probably why. I busted out the knitting and books and had a delicious raspberry hot chocolate until Mom got off work.

After she got off work, we got fast food for dinner and picked up a friend of hers to go over to Deacon Dave's. This year's theme was "Santa's Castle" and there were two astonishing bits in it on top of the usual awesome bling: there's one elf JUMPING ON A BED and another one is in an auto body shop (yup, that's random), sliding in and out from under a car. Too cute! Again, I'd show you pictures, but I can't get them online unless I start using Mom's computer for that, and I don't know if she'd be cool with that-- or if my software would cooperate downloading twice or whatever.

This year's tour group was kind of random people that Mom rounded up--her friend Pat again, this Dorothy lady she picked up that was fun to hang out with (I hope I'm on the ball like that when I'm 81), her friend Tom and his wife, and some other people I didn't know, and they brought their 18-month-ohd grandson without anyone knowing about it ahead of time. Which was not the world's most brilliant idea in a house that's kind of museum quality (at one point Deacon Dave said that people have told him it's like he lives in a museum, "but I live here...") and has a lot of antiques and rarities, and I gather the kid got squirmy after about ten minutes of tour, so they left early. Kind of sad for them, but...well, kids.

As for Deacon Dave's.... here's last year's tour link, I will try to share details he mentioned that I haven't already said before. (Good luck with that, eh?) He took us around personally again, though his chief electrician and a few other tour guides popped n here and there. It took about two hours :)

* This year's front room designer tree was peacock-themed, with a giant fancy crown and blue streamers all over it. I really, really wished I had been allowed to photograph it.
* There's at least one dove and one tree in every room--he took the symbol of the dove as his own upon ordination.
* He has a collection of really old antique angels hanging in the front window, which have had two accidents in the past when people on tours accidentally hit them (while waving at people outside, I believe). This year he finally got around to restoring them. They're made of wood, cloth, and paper mache.
* For all of the ornaments and Snow Village (and other houses) you see in the house...about 50% of what he owns is on display. He writes down when he used pieces and rotates them around.
* I mentioned last time that he had 44 trees in the house. This year he said he had 45, though in the guest bedroom he had a bunch of little undecorated trees as part of a display (Deacon Dave loves any kind of "collect them all" miniature ceramic house things that exist, he had new ones this year). Someone asked if they counted and he said no!
* I mentioned last year that nuns took a tour of the house...well, this year the nuns were here at the same time as us, I did spot a few! Someone came in to ask him if the nuns who had dropped by could go on a tour and he was all, "I'm not going to say no to a nun!"
* Updating his bird count from last year: 75 doves, 75 pigeons, 3 chickens, and Aflac the duck. I guess he got rid of half of the doves and replaced them with pigeons! Mom thinks he just looped the pigeons in with the doves last year. Two doves, named Jingles and Jangles, get to be out in the front displays. His house is "the littlest biggest bird farm" in town, since his grandmother got their ability to keep the birds grandfathered in.
* He said he used to have 1000 pigeons housed in the barn (now the Whistle Stop train room), so he's cut back. The chief electrician tried to make a joke about "squab soup" and Deacon Dave was all, "No, it's cream of dove soup!"
* When he told the story about spending four hours in Rothenburg shopping for bling, he said he had some friends along and they decided to go get drunk in a pub while they waited on him. Hah, good choice! I seriously love how Taurean and stuff-obsessed and shopping-obsessed Deacon Dave is. It's adorable.
* He has a picture of Pope Francis up in his chapel and when you walk out, there's a statue of St. Francis outside the door. He pointed out that St. Francis was a deacon and he thinks that is the best level of order to be in because you can still get to be out in the world and run your own business and not have to live in a rectory. Heh.
* The bubble lights on the game room tree--some of them are over 100 years old. Interestingly enough, he said the ones that were WORKING were the 100-year-old ones!
* The train display has FOUR towns--Victoria, Santa Maria, Charleston and Sleepy Hollow. There is a sign by the train room also calling it "The Forbidden Cave." He plans to run 8 trains in there eventually, but that's not up yet. He's been running that room for around 10-15 years, neither he nor the chief electrician are sure how long. The collection started because he got a lot of trains as a kid.
* They found a 4 foot long garter snake living in the train room at one point and ended up catching it and driving it into the wild to release it.
* He has a recording of Gregorian chants that he and a friend were singing on that he plays in the chapel 24-7 unless a service is going on. He has private services in there for family and coworkers, basically--and had five in there in the last week. He also has a bell recording go off every day at noon and six--and 7:30 during the holiday season, so we heard it. He says the neighbors like the concert--good for them, eh?
* He doesn't believe in having glass ornaments on the trees in the chapel. I wonder why?
* I mentioned previously that a lot of the chapel decorations are either salvaged from other churches or donated to him--he mentioned one candlestick that was sent to him from another country. It came with a customs form saying it was on loan if customs stopped him--but if they didn't, he could rip it up!
* He got a bell with no stopper in it from a Tibetian monk friend and was all, "Uh, how do you ring this?" The monk demonstrated by hitting it with a stick and then running the stick around the rim of the bell. Deacon Dave tried this in his kitchen once and broke a glass. Never mind, I think I get why there's no glass ornaments in the chapel!
* There's a custom shelf in the chapel that can hold 300 pounds, i.e. a 225 pound statue of Uriel and two Christmas trees. The electrician pointed out that Uriel basically couldn't be touched or lifted, so they had to load him up on a board and slide him over. The earthquake-proof cord holding him on is red, which Deacon Dave covered up with gold cord so it matched.
* Deacon Dave said that he has it in his will that since he's always running late in life, he wants his funeral procession to run 5 minutes late.
* He told us the story of the "Chief Michaels Swimming Pool." Chief Michaels, whoever he was, evidently thought Deacon Dave needed a pool and Deacon Dave was all, "I can't afford it." (Which um, totally shocks me for reasons you can probably guess.) Apparently the chief specifically left Deacon Dave money in his will to put in a pool!
* It takes about 30 days to take down all of the inside decorations, but until about Easter to take down the outside lights. They start decorating again every Labor Day weekend, and the established volunteers work on it every Saturday until crunch time kicks in. The giant dove on the roof stays up all year, but it's only lit on special sad occasions like a pope's death or 9/11.
* He has a collection of all of the California missions in ceramic--he'd gotten all but 3 before the company quit making them. People actually donated the 3 missing ones to him!
* His mom turned 90 this year and he and a bunch of cousins all went to Vegas with her. And had the wine tree shipped along with them, apparently? (I'm not totally sure on that detail.)
Now that's a cool mom!
* The gambling tree is officially "Father Ray's Gambling Tree."

After that, we drove around and looked at some more lights. I found one house with a bunch of inflatables in the front yard, including a Hello Kitty and a Santa Yoda. I also found one street corner where two houses had giant lit up wine glasses, a third had a martini glass, and a fourth had a giant beer. I think they had a theme going there.... I do like how the olde hometowne likes to decorate as much as it does.

I have been watching "The Great Christmas Light Fight" (did that after getting home) and according to his website, it looks like Deacon Dave got an offer to be on that show, or at least something similar. I am not surprised to read that he would decline such a thing.

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