25 Reasons I Returned to L.A. from Sweden, Las Vegas, and Texas

Illustrations by Jeffrey Vallance

~ Stages of Moving ~

We flew from arctic Umeå, Sweden, to Las Vegas, got our cars out of storage and road-ready, drove to San Antonio (where we were visiting artists at UTSA), then took the I-10 from Texas to L.A. with everything we could carry. We drove through the desert with no A/C during record 115°+ temps. You know how hair flies constantly in your face with the car windows down. We bought some Paul Mitchell Extra-Body Sculpting Foamand smeared it on our hair, creating solid, slicked-back hair-helmets. For 1,200 miles we cruised through the scorching desert in style.

~ Why I came back ~

{1} To dig dirt-filled abandoned tires, rusty pipes and decaying wood out of piles of leaves in the back yard. {2} Waterproof the woodshop and garage before heavy rains destroy my art and archives. {3} Suck a thick network of cobwebs down from '70s popcorn ceilings. {4} Break a new Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner. {5} Spackle huge cavities in the walls. {6} Fill gaping fissures in the linoleum floors with putty. {7} Build a mighty pyramid of garbage at the front curb. {8} Haul two large, rusting, leaking containers of motor oil from the yard to the toxic-waste dump. {9} Make countless trips to hardware stores, Wal-Mart, Target and 99-cent stores to buy cleaning supplies and tools (rake, shovel, ladder, yard clippers, Miracle-Gro, even a lawn mower). {10} Dig out heaps of dead moths from old light fixtures. {11} Worry at night if the '50s gas oven will leak or explode. {12} Feed the stray cat who lives under the house. {13} Fix the bathroom faucet. {14}} Prop up the backyard gates. {15} Replace broken windowpanes and screens. {16} Scrape off an explosion of bright-red nail polish from the floor, walls and door handles in a horrid Pepto-Bismol-pink room -- then repaint it white. {17} Rebuy everything: mattresses, dressers, lamps, tables, chairs, down to the last damn detail. (We had our art in storage, but no furniture.) {18} Hope this move doesn't send me to the poorhouse and/or loony bin. {19} Deal with surly truckers delivering our stuff from Sweden. {20} Excavate tikis and stuff from my 10-year-old L.A. storage. {21} Drive back to Las Vegas, rent a 15-foot truck and haul Vegas crap back to L.A. {22} Incorporate it into the other stuff. I ended up with nine hammers, 15 rulers, five cheese graters and four Mr. Coffees. {23} Fertilize dormant, half-dead rose bushes. {24} Test our endurance and sanity. {25} Wait for one normal day to arrive. If you have not seen our asses, this is why.

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