AWOL

It’s been more than a few months since I last visited my blog. Somewhere between looking for a new home, cringing at a presidential nominee whose emotional and intellectual capabilities seem to hover at the lowest bar we’ve ever witnessed (quick, where’s my all’s-right-with-the-world quilt so I can hide beneath it?) and packing, things had to get prioritized.

Just me, coloring outside the lines lost out.

However, now that I have moved in to the new casa, unpacked and hung the paintings, I am home once again. Even BlackJack, the cat, is happy.  And you know what they say, a happy cat is a happy home.  Or something like that.

I have to say, this was a bit of a traumatic move for the cat.  He loved our former home.  As the mountain of packed boxes grew taller, BlackJack grew increasingly morose.  It was not like him.  I realized just how upset he was when,  just prior to The Move, I had returned from carting some boxes to the new house and turned down our very steep Driveway from Hell (think the first twisting drop of your favorite roller coaster and that approximates the driveway).

BlackJack never ventured up the drive; it was simply too steep and there was so much to see on the other side of the house. But there he was, trudging up the driveway, head hung low.  I stopped the car at the bottom of the hill and called out to him.

He paused, mid-step, thought for a moment before responding and then slowly looked back over his shoulder, dramatically milking the moment for all he could and shooting me a look of pure disgust as if to say,  You go. Do what you want.  I’m staying here.  

At that moment I realized BlackJack may well be more thoughtful than the current GOP presidential candidate.  I also realized that immediate action was needed, or the cat was indeed staying put.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

I turned the car around, drove back up the Driveway from Hell, stopped, got out and called for the cat. Fortunately, he’s been more or less trained as a dog so he begrudgingly came when I called for him. I picked him up and plopped him in the front seat of the car.

This was a new experience for BlackJack, being in a car and not in the despised cat carrier.  At first, he just looked at me like I had forgotten something, but then he realized there was a whole new world just beyond the window.  He sat up straight, looked out the side window, then the front window, turned and grinned at me.  He was quickly buying into our new adventure.

img_0852-1Two miles beyond the soon-to-be-old home and Driveway from Hell, was our soon-to-be-new home with a straight, flat driveway on the opposite side of the lake.  We turned into the drive and drove right into the garage, where I scooped up BlackJack and carried him into our new home.

He scampered from room to room, checking out the new digs, before finding a box in front of the large living room window and an expansive view of the lake. He jumped up and stood, transfixed at the view.  I forgot that the cat had never before seen a lake.  I wondered if he knew about the plethora of fish that were just waiting to be caught.

Three days later, The Move was completed and BlackJack is one happy cat.  He immediately became best friends with two neighborhood cats, and together, they seem to have formed a Cat Pack, racing among the deer, geese and wild turkeys along the fringes of the golf course in the back, visiting each other’s homes or lounging on the front deck and gazing at the lake shimmering across the street.

Happy cat, happy home.

Un Pied-à-Terre

lake cottageThose of you who either know me, or have been following my writing, probably remember that I have been living the life of a gypsy, sans the bright billowing skirts and heavy eye makeup, in trying on new homes and landscapes. 

More than once, I’ve been accused of collecting new homes like some women collect new shoes.

Homes are a lot more fun.

I am now nearing the end of my current lease and have been in search of a new home, although, for the first time in almost thirty years, I know exactly where I want to live and am just waiting for my new home to find me.  I really feel part of this community — the lake, the landscape, my new friends and neighbors.

My friends have all been looking for what at times seems to be an illusive rental and I’ve followed up on all their leads.  I’ve even run a small “wanting to rent” ad that has actually gotten a few responses.

I know from experience that the universe will bring me the perfect home. She always does.  I can always count on the perfect home, at the perfect time, in the perfect location.

In fact, a friend had told me of one such possible rental, nestled among tall redwood and wide oak trees. The house itself is admittedly vanilla, without much spark or personality. But, it does back onto the golf course and is directly across the street from a small park that sits on our lake….all of which means both coveted golf course and lake views as well as easy lake access for grandkids and kayaks.

My realtor has been working to connect the owner, a lease and me.

So it came as a bit of a surprise last weekend, when I received an unexpected email in response to my ad.

We have a charming lakefront rental…

Lakefront?  Lakefront?  The extremely impossible to find lakefront rental?

Panoramic lake views from every room…Two bedrooms, a library, great room with kitchen and dining, large bonus room, two full baths — one with a spa tub — and additional half baths. Three sets of french doors onto the deck and the lake beyond.

Be still, my heart.

and, if you have a boat, there’s a dock included.

I don’t have a boat, but the rental was well within my budget.

I started packing.

Then, I saw the house, which was really more of a small cottage. It was charming.  Definitely charming. Even enchanting. Exposed beams, french doors and panoramic views. Light and breezy.  For a brief moment, I thought I was in the south of France. 

I immediately started envisioning living in this romantic, storybook cottage and how I could possibly fit my furniture into the small space.

Alas, there were also some challenges. A lot of the owner’s furniture needed to stay, leaving minimal room for my belongings. That included the books already taking up every nook and cranny in the small library.  Sigh.

Parking was difficult as was the staircase leading down to the rental. The great room was actually a small room, which may have been workable for me, but not if I had friends or family visiting. And, truth be told, there were numerous remodeling needs that, despite being hidden by wall hangings, had not, and would not, be addressed.  Deep Sigh.

The views were spectacular until speedboats, complete with screaming motors, skiers and passengers, shattered the quiet. And access to the water was difficult.  It was an immediate deep drop, so getting in and out with the kayak would be near impossible. Deeper sigh.

ah, reality. On the other hand, it seems like the universe does have the perfect home in mind…not lakefront, but lake view which may be even more perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sea Cottage

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?

Pasatiempo.

Address?

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!

It was a little (littleIMG_2470 (1) being the operative word) windswept, white clapboard cottage perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It was perfect. It was very, very, very small.

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.