When I retired, I decided to jump off a cliff. Not literally, but one morning over coffee, I decided to sell my red-tiled roof cottage in the old neighborhood in a large city, become a renter and try on new landscapes. I’ve been known to change homes like other women change shoes.
My 1930’s house needed major renovations. The kitchen was vintage, which is a nice way of saying it was nonfunctional. I was pretty sure the garage was still standing because the termites were holding hands and afraid to let go.
I thought the Pacific Coast would be perfect for launching retirement except that fog throws me into a funk. Then, I remembered seeing a sign on the way over the hill to the ocean — Pasatiempo, Spanish for The Passing of Time. The residents call it Perpetual Spring with temperatures in the mid 70’s, no fog, views over the golf course through evergreen trees and oaks to the ocean. I knew immediately that’s where I was going to move.
There was one minor detail. There were no homes to rent.
Regardless, I put my house on the market and it sold within the month.
I called my favorite movers and we set a date for The Move.
Where are you moving to this time?
Not sure, but I’ll have one.
uh huh. They had worked with me before.
Movers were scheduled, boxes were packed, and except for a new address, I was ready.
The perfect Pasatiempo home found me three days before The Move. The only glitch was the owners needed a few more weeks before I could move in.
The movers could store everything but the cat and me. I called an agent over on the coast who took about 10 seconds to say I’ve got the perfect little cottage, furnished, on a bluff overlooking the sea, and they’ll take your cat.
Whoo Hoo! The stars were very aligned!
The kitchen was about five feet square, including a small sink, frig and an old gas stove. A microwave teetered on a stool in one corner.
An old, very deep clawfoot tub painted bright maroon graced the tiny bath and became my retreat when the cat and I needed some breathing room from one another.
The cottage had a cozy bedroom that quickly became the storage area for All Those Things I Couldn’t Live Without, But Then Could Never Find When I Needed Something.
And, finally, there was also a small living room with a love seat and a large window overlooking the Pacific Ocean where we curled up on the love seat and watched sailboats framed against a setting sun, as they slowly meandered their way back to harbor and home. It could have been very romantic except the he in my life was a very large cat who was not enjoying his new life as an indoor cat and would hiss and bare his claws at me whenever he remembered he was stuck inside a very, very small cottage.
My daughter and grandsons visited one day. They stood in the doorway as there was no room in the house.
oh, said my daughter.
I thought you were moving to a larger home, said a grandson.
Hiss, said the cat before diving under the love seat.
The cat and I watched dark storm clouds gather and, when the power failed, we huddled together under a blanket in the darkness, listening to the chilling rain and wind pound against our small cottage. The cat became increasingly unhappy. It seemed like there was storm after storm that February.
By the end of the very windy, very rainy month, the cat and I were facing off. I was also becoming permanently waterlogged from my clawfoot tub retreats.
In hindsight, it seemed so very appropriate that, as the cat, our belongings and I make the final trek to our new oh-so-much-larger home in Pasatiempo, the sun came out from behind the clouds and the rain softened into a light sprinkle. We had arrived at the place of Perpetual Spring and ready to begin a new adventure.