Ask Luke’s Mother-in-Law: Star Wars in the High Desert?


Martha Boyd is not just Luke’s mother-in-law – she’s also an ex-cop, a landlord, a self-described crazy cat lady, a major Star Trek geek and the widow of a green beret. So go ahead: ask her anything. And we mean anything.

Hello hello all. Hope you had a great Cinco de Mayo. Have had the pleasure of having LYT and Julia at the house this week. We had dinner one night at our favorite Asian buffet and another night we had Mexican food and then Julia did an open mic last night in Yucca Valley. She was trying out some material before her next show at the Comedy Store in Hollywood. If you are in the Hollywood area on 5/30/15, check out her act.

They also got to see the Dove nests that I posted last week and understand why the next holiday wreath is on delay. We also had a great lightning storm. The cloud was on its way to Arizona and out past 29 Palms when we were watching the show – beautiful.

I am having so much fun volunteering at the Sheriff Department. Wish I had more time, to do more days.


Temps are raising in the desert, so this week I started to get the pool up and running for the summer. Much to my surprise it did not take too much work this year. Vacuumed 2X and it is looking pretty good. A bit on the cloudy side, but filtering it for a couple of days should take care of that issue.


While wondering around in the desert working again I found some more interesting structures. The pyramids are out in the desert, east of 29 Palms. No idea why they are at this property which looks abandoned and an old commercial building, but what the heck. The other is a house in Joshua Tree. It is on the same street as the one that I showed you all last week. Maybe we are the next location of Star Wars????

That’s my question. Here are yours.



hi hi mamasan,
do you remember your first airplane flight, if so, what was your destination?

Yep, I sure do, as it was so exciting. It was an American Airlines flight from Boston (Logan Airport) to Los Angeles (LAX). My dad had been transferred from Boston where he was working for MIT out to California to work on the MinuteMan missile system. School was over for the year and we were flying out to see dad for the summer in CA. We were going to Disneyland. I was in the second grade. Great summer: daddy, Disneyland and an airplane ride. When I got back to start third grade I was the only one in my class who had been to Disneyland and on an airplane – show and tell was great for a few weeks.


My wife and I are buying a house and it is in the process of being appraised. I was wondering what goes on when a house is appraised? Does the appraiser do like what the home inspector did and crawl all over the house? Or does he just drive past it? The reason why I ask is that it took less than 24 hours to get the home inspection report and it’s going to take a week to get the report on the appraisal, which I thought was weird.

Congrats on you purchase. What the home inspector and the appraiser does are two different things. The home inspector is checking the nuts and bolts of the home. Does the heater work, how is the roof, do electric plugs work etc. Home inspectors generally fill out a 1-4 page checklist form and take some photos (here in CA), some are contractors, but there is no requirement on that. In CA there is a few-day course you can take – typically online and then join an inspector group. There is no requirement for any college degree – high school will do. Our company did home inspections at one time and John was a contractor, but it was not required. As they are just generally checking boxes the time to do the report is pretty much the time they spend at the property. They only deal with your property and do not determine a value for the property.

In CA, to be an appraiser is much more complicated. Currently an AA degree is required, and it is soon going up to a BA degree. We have 3 levels of licensing and each level takes different amounts of education in appraisal. Each level can appraise certain types of property and certain loan amounts. I am a certified general appraiser. This is the highest license that the state issues. I have a BA degree and can appraise any type of property with any loan amount. 2000 hrs of apprenticeship were required (about 2 yrs). Every year we have to have 14 hrs of continuing education.

The appraiser does a similar inspection at the house with the exception of the fact that we only view the roof from the ground. We are required to check mechanical items to see if they work along with the overall condition of the property both inside and out. We take photos of everything, including attics and foundations. After we see the house, we then have to see sales, listings and pending transactions in your immediate area. From here we obtain a value for your property. My reports generally run about 40-50 pages for a typical home. They can be longer for larger/custom homes. When we get back to the office there is generally several more hours of work. I generally get my reports seen and written in about 3-4 business days.


Do you have any hope for Star Trek 3? I didn’t hate #2 as much as most people, thought it was a meh instead of a DIE DIE DIE. How about you?

There is always hope. I’m sure I will go and will enjoy it along with my big bag of buttered popcorn.


Julia told me last night that as a child, she wasn’t allowed to see the Dr. Seuss movie “5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.” Since she wasn’t taking piano lessons at the time, I’m having a tough time imagining what would be inappropriate or scary about it. Do you remember?

I think we still have the VHS tape in the living room cabinet, you can check if you like, but I don’t think any of us have a player anymore. John was the one who objected to the movie. He thought it was to scary for a little one. We did not let her see Chucky either. She never thought that was fair as her cousin got to see every creepy, gory thing made- ’nuff said.


Hi Martha:
As the widow of a Green Beret, what do you think of The Ballad of the Green Berets. I know some Green Berets who love that song and some who roll their eyes.

Love both the song and the book. John was interviewed by the author and in the movie The Green Berets, if you see the guy who is the scrounge that character is some of John. The song was pretty much a theme song at our house. I will also have to say that the John Wayne movie was one of John’s favorite and we watched it many many times.


For that matter, what does she think of the movie ‘The Green Berets’ with John Wayne?

See above.

Well, everyone, that’s about it for this week. Had a great time with Luke and Julia this week. Hey we even did a podcast – yes, we do have very interesting guests out here in the desert. We also reviewed a Geekfuel box. That was fun – I have never physically seen one and boy was I surprised with all of the neat stuff that was in the box. As always be good to each other this next week. Huggs to you all.

As always, keep your questions coming, be they foolish, philosophical or anything else! Any questions submitted in comments below will be included in future columns.