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San Diego Vintner says Sayonara Sunshine By Shar D’nay, Associated Press

SAN DIEGO, May 10 2011  -  San Diego vintner and mother of three Kerith Overstreet has decided to move her young brood out of idyllic San Diego in favor of spring frost, searingly hot summers, and a four month rainy season.  “Sometimes it’s really relaxing to hear the rain pound the windows in sync with my son whacking his sister with a Tinker Toy,” she remarks.  “There’s nothing like 1,600 square feet, weeks of persistent rain, and no end in sight to bring a family together.  Sure I’m ready to claw my kids’ eyes out, but who wouldn’t be?” 

But the real impetus for the move - access to alcohol.  Relocating to the wine country ensures a steady flow of libations, even the good stuff packaged in boxes.  “In the tasting rooms, if you’re really sneaky, you can finish the wine in other people’s glasses when they’re not looking.  That way you aren’t charged the premium tasting fee,” dishes Mrs. Overstreet.  “I’ve only been escorted from a tasting room four or five times in the last three years.  They don’t really handcuff you.  It’s urban myth.”

But is Healdsburg ready for the Overstreet entourage?  Ask any longtime Healdsburg resident about newcomers, and you’re bound to get some strong opinions.  Healdsburg lifer Art Harris, 79, and his three legged, blind hound Daisy had this to say.  ”Goddamned city folk comin’ here with stuff like cordless telephones, transistor radios, and those fancy Commodore 64 computers…” Even with such a warm community welcome, moving from a city of 3 million to a town of 11,000 offers up some interesting social and logistical challenges.  The nearest place to buy underwear, the Windsor WalMart is actually in a neighboring town.  And the local supermarket has an entire section devoted to cheese, as if garlic chevre is any way to feed a family.

“My first choice was actually New York City,” reveals Mrs. O.  “I wanted to move into the same building as my BFF Jamie.  You know- Jamie.  From House and Garden Magazine?”  For the uninitiated, she’s of course referencing acclaimed New York City novelist James McInerney.  “But he changed his phone number.  Like six times.  And the co-op board refused my application.  Have you heard of cease and desist before?  Some random guy from Silverstein, Goldstein, and Cohen keeps calling me.”

Even the Overstreet children are keen to relocate.  “Their Farmer’s Market sells stuff that was grown by farmers, like vegetables,” marvels her elementary aged son.  And the kid has a point.  At the La Jolla “Open Aire” Market, shoppers often overlook the tortilla chips wedged between hippie skirts and third-eye amulets.

Despite the draw of clean country living, Mrs. Overstreet admits she’ll miss certain things, like dear friends, her close-knit family, and a caring community.  “Sometimes when I’m bored in spin class, I try to calculate the percentage of women with silicone implants.  Without a calculator, the long division eats up at least 37 of the 55 minute class.  It will be nice to move to a community where at least some of the women have worse boobs than mine.”

Pina Greejio and Alba Reno contributed to this article.