Well, all the boxes are unpacked. OK, not all of them.  The truth is, I kind of gave up unpacking boxes.  Got bored with it.  I think once you’ve unwrapped all your pictures, hooked up the coffee maker, and set up your computer, you really have all you need.  That extra box of clothes, the three cartons of old books and the files from your last home office will just have to wait for another unscheduled burst of energy to get unpacked.  Maybe a month from now. Or a year. Or never at all.

Since this is a travel blog and I am supposed to impart advice, tips and wisdom, I must tell you that the first order of business in any new town is to reprogram the radio stations in your car.  It’s a priority, really, and a chance for a fresh start; a time to wipe out all the rap-crap that your teenager sneaked onto the dials and pre-program even MORE news and talk-radio stations.  (God, I’ve become my dad!)

On that note, I am very disappointed in the offerings in NorCal. My favorite talk-radio host is Doug McIntyre, who is on 790-KABC down in SoCal. I absolutely love Doug, who was a stand-up comic in a previous life and brings so much wit and intelligence to his morning show.  Politically, he leans toward the right a bit, mostly because it is the TRUTH!  But enough about MY political affiliations . . . Anyway, Doug is not syndicated up here, so I am stuck listening to Rush Limbaugh, a pompous-ass-of-a-conservative who is on not one, but TWO stations in these here parts!  Do we really need that much Rush in the morning??

I realize I’m rambling, so let’s get back on track.  When you move to a new town, there are lots of differences that you notice right off the bat.  Good and bad.  Here’s a list of comparisons I have noticed so far between Orange County and my new home in Northern California:

What I DON’T miss about Orange County:

The crush of traffic.

The snobberati. It still astounds me that people with money think they own the world. (Well, I guess some of them do.)

The constant threat of earthquakes. (Didn’t they just have one a few days ago?)

Illegal immigrants taking over the streets, one baby stroller at a time.

The obsession with staying young at any cost.

The damn, unrelenting sunshine; It’s nice to have some REAL weather for a change!

Entire ZIP codes starting on fire, like clockwork, every single year! Then you have to stare at charred hillsides for a few more years until the vegetation regenerates. (Beautiful Southern California, my ass!)

How people don’t look you in the eye when they walk by you. (I mean, am I invisible, or what?)

What I DO miss about Orange County:

Doug McIntyre in the morning (It was worth another mention.)

John’s rants on the “John and Ken” radio show in the afternoon. (Obviously, I listen to way too much talk radio when I could be Twittering, for God’s sake!)

The IDEA that I could go to the beach if I wanted to. (But I never really did.)

The variety of great restaurants!

More affordable food in supermarkets, believe it or not!

The drive along Pacific Coast Highway. (Is there anything more beautiful?)

Watching the sunsets on the beach. (OK, maybe that’s more spectacular.)

Ogling . . . OK, drooling over . . . surfers as they peel off their wetsuits in the parking lot and stand next to their cars in their skivvies.

What I love about my new, smaller town:

Very light traffic. Morning rush hour is like a Sunday drive on the 405 freeway.

There’s only one of everything – one Home Depot, one Mimi’s, one Staples — so you aren’t overwhelmed by so many choices.  When you tell your sisters to meet you at Islands for lunch, they know exactly which one.

There are only 50 Starbuck’s compared to 350!

Much, much, MUCH friendlier people! Not only do they look you in the eye, they also hold doors open for you and actually smile! (I am NOT invisible here!)

Fewer fake breasts.

I can take a shower and not worry that an earthquake will hit and I’ll be found days later in the rubble completely naked.

Slower pace, people aren’t in as much of a hurry.

The young kids who bag your groceries wheel them out to your car AND put them in your trunk for you! (Didn’t they used to do that way back in the 50s??)

It’s VERY family-oriented here!

All my sisters are within easy shouting distance.

The sunsets are gorgeous here, too!  The sky turns pink and yellow every night.

I am still able to listen to Sean Hannity on the radio, thank GAWD!

It costs only $4 (versus $13!) to wash your car at an automated drive-thru at the gas station. The best part is, I don’t have to tip.

Jimboy’s Tacos. If you’ve never had one, you’ve never lived.  They are like the In ’N Out Burger of Northern California.

And those, my friends, are the differences I have noticed so far. To be continued at a later post, as I become more familiar with my new surroundings . . .