Friday, December 20, 2013

A Compromise between the Fisherman and the Gypsy Soul

Once upon a time there was a handsome fisherman and his wife.  While the fisherman explored the streams his wife would explore her dreams and long for far away places.  At first she loved her little home-and she loved making it feel welcoming and comfortable for her fisherman.  He wasn't away often but when he would leave she would think about what they could do together as a couple-where could they go that they both would love ?  They were growing older and were starting to think about where they might live-they both agreed some place warmer and dryer  than the place they were living now.
They dreamed of a little cottage on the beach in Belize or a beach hut in Costa Rica.  But that dream  took them so far away from their families and they didn't want that.

They knew they wanted to travel and they both loved the outdoors and camping -so somehow they both agreed a camper would be perfect.  They didn't want to spend their life savings on campground fees and fuel so they found a magic carriage - Ruby-their Roadtrek Sprinter Van-that would carry them all over the country and would be so very easy on their pocketbooks. She said-" We'll be on the road for at least 3 years and we can look for the ideal place to live  while on the road".  He said-"Maybe we'll be on the road for a year but we need roots."
Roots ?  Roots?  Our roots would be Ruby-our Sprinter Van-that's why we named her Ruby-as in Red Slippers,as in click your heels 3 times; as in there is no place like home and home is Ruby !  Hmm, fisherman wasn't sure of this-he said okay we'll see, but she could see that he wasn't comfortable with this direction their lives were taking. And as time went by he started thinking they should buy a house-she couldn't see the point of having a house empty for 3 years while they traveled around ( he continued to say 1 year) .  Her gypsy soul was having none of this-she wanted to be free and not have to worry about an empty little nest or be tied to one that they would have to return to frequently to check its status.

She wanted them to go where their wanderlust took them -without any responsibilities more challenging then where to camp for the week.
He was worried-what if she got really sick ?  Like when they both thought she wasn't going to make it out of the hospital until they discovered it was Lyme Disease.  He only wanted her to be safe and comfortable and have a warm snugly place to rest her gypsy soul.  She got him and his concern,  but having that empty house weighed heavily on her. So they talked and talked and he said what about a condo-if it's empty it's less to worry about than a house-hmm,she thought maybe that's doable.  But still paying a mortgage on something that would sit empty didn't make sense so she kept resisting. Until the fisherman said okay we can look for a place on the beach where it's warm and it will be easy to rent while we are traveling. Wahooo her soul soared-on the beach-that was dream she thought she would never realize. Oh wouldn't be Washington or Oregon-too cold, too wet. California too expensive,too crowded. She searched and searched the internet and found IT !

 Cape San Blas, Florida-paradise in a price range that wouldn't drain their savings.  So she watched the houses on Trulia and Zillow and found an agent-Super Agent Kaye Haddock !  And the place she booked as a rental while she went house hunting turned out to be the place they bought -what serendipity.  So now the fisherman has his roots and the gypsy soul has the beach she had been dreaming of her entire life.  2 happy souls off on their adventure of a lifetime.

And when and if  they tire of traveling they are blessed and so grateful for the wonderful place on the beach they can call home.  They had to name the condo -since they were going to rent it while traveling-they decided on -"Bring Back the Magic" as in Jimmy Buffett's song by the same name.  It seemed appropriate since it truly is a magical place.

Our unit is top left

Gorgeous view from our deck-come on down for a cold beer or I'll mix up a batch of Voodoo Juice !

Thursday, August 29, 2013

To My Husband with Love

In case you haven't noticed for the past 2 months I have been a raving,crazy, maniacal woman. Getting a 95 year old house ready to sell has more than the usual challenges.  Everyday I would wake up with a new plan; 20 lists of things to do; a new stressor; a new idea; a crying or laughing jag ; a temper tantrum; an attitude of I'm never going to talk to you again; and the list goes on.  But through it all you have stood by me.  You knew it would pass once the house was sold.  You didn't just sit quietly by ,sometimes you yelled back-I deserved it !   Honestly, I think I did pretty good in handling the stress considering everything that was going on with the prep work and house sale.  And again the reason I did handle it so well was because of you-my anchor, my sounding board, my partner for life.  We had a temporary role reversal-with you being the one to constantly  stress one day at time; think positive-this too shall pass attitude and a wonderful calmness. Did I thank you ?  Sometimes, other times I just took it for granted that you would be there enduring my craziness-and you were and still are.

This idea to drive all around North America was mine-you laughed and you called me a gypsy soul. You thought it was a phase. But you knew I was serious when I started drawing routes and checking passport expiration dates !   I know you weren't crazy about this idea of mine-but you warmed to it and now have embraced it completely.  And I know that we have so many adventures and amazing magical times ahead of us.  New challenges, probably more laughing and yes probably some crying too.  But we will be together in our little home on wheels.  I couldn't do it without you baby-it wouldn't be the same.  I want you to know that and I want you and the whole world to know how much I love you...thank you for being the person you are.

“I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart) I am never without it (anywhere
I go you go,my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing,my darling)
I fear no fate (for you are my fate,my sweet) I want no world (for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)” 
― E.E. Cummings

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Good Bye

Just 6 more days in our sweet little house.  Closing is August 28th-everything has gone as we prayed it would so why am I so sad and melancholy? The house looks lovely since we did everything to polish it up for the sale And it worked-it went on the market Friday night and we had 3 offers on Monday night.  We accepted an offer on Tuesday and the Home Inspector came by on Thursday; the appraiser came by the following Tuesday.  It has been like a whirlwind in my mind and in my life.  Mostly everything is gone except the coffee pot ,toaster, daily clothing and cat  and dog food.  Our garage sale was the success we prayed it would be and we ended up with only a small pickup load of things to take to Goodwill; the rest (12 boxes of can’t part with) is stored at my sisters.

Thank goodness for Ruby-she’s parked out front and after the sun goes down we head to a comfy and cozy bed inside.  We’ve been very low key living out of her for the last 3 weeks and most of the neighbors don’t even know that is where we are staying.  I’ve been keeping busy organizing and labeling inside the van and once Jim retires in December we are ready to go.

 It’s all very exciting and at the same time very sad. We've lived here for 21 years-longer than either of us have lived anywhere else.  I’m sitting in the sun room right now looking out at my roses and flowers-it’s like a tiny little park in the middle of the city.  We have scrub jays, sparrows, finches, and occasional  hawk, raccoon, squirrels and rumors of a coyote close by.I’m going to miss sitting out in the hot tub at night and looking at the stars and hearing the train sound  in the distance. 

There are so many memories we will take with us. Walking to Bakery Nouveau for hot chocolate after the first snowstorm.  Or our first 4th of July-40 degrees and raining-we had our long johns on, bundled in rain suits, sitting under an umbrella on Alki Beach and drinking champagne !   And I’ll never forget the first time we heard the Christmas Carols from the Christmas ships docked at Alki-the beautiful sounds carried right up over the water to our front deck. (We live 4 miles away from Alki)  We could sit on our front deck during all the SeaFair celebrations in downtown West Seattle and listen to the bands rock out!  I couldn't begin to count all the beautiful sunsets we enjoyed; or waking up on a clear crisp December morning and looking out across the sound and seeing the snow on the Olympics.  The West Seattle Farmers Market; Bakery Nouveau fresh baked croissants; beautiful little things from Northwest Art and Frame; pizza down on Alki; incredible mojitos at Cactus; I could go on and on.

We've had 21 Christmas celebrations in this house; numerous Thanksgiving dinners; a memorable dinner in Provence staged on the back deck for a blogging contest I entered; or the Calcotada festival for two I decided to have after seeing on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations ; champagne celebrations over jobs and promotions; tears cried over jobs lost.

  Pets have filled our lives with love and laughter.  Snowshoes and Olo always guarded the front deck and barked hello to everyone going by.  And then the memory of Snowshoes grabbing my brothers beautiful freshly caught salmon and running up the backyard with it-I don’t know where he thought he was going with it but he didn't get far !  And Chubs our kitty who is buried out under the mailbox where she loved to lay in the sun; Cassie and Hailey twin sisters (Rottweiler and Australian Blue Merle Shepard mixes), two of the most lovable smartest dogs we ever had.  Cooper our wolf husky mix who never made it to this house but whose ashes are sprinkled out front so he can guard the house with all the others.  I’m sure Mischa our kitty and Hailey our sweet retriever have been confused over all the activity.  Hailey looks bewildered when she comes in the house and the rooms are empty.  Mischa loves the chaise lounge on the back deck and today she discovered the heat that’s generated from the hot tub onto the cover-she’s going to miss that warm spot!
The walls have changed colors more than I have changed jobs!  Dark sage green to warm bright yellow to some version of terra cotta fresco (I thought I was living in Tuscany-what can I say) and finally to the light sage green they are now.  Oh then let’s not forget how I got obsessed with painting clouds on the kitchen ceiling.  I have no idea what possessed me to do that.  I thought it looked pretty cool when you laid down on the floor and looked up at the blue sky with puffy clouds-but how many people lay on their kitchen floor?  That phase didn’t last long-thank goodness.

My family has made living in this house more special than I ever thought it could be-all the laughter and champagne and beer and standing around the kitchen just talking-the old house will miss all of us.

And all the baking and creating that took place in that sweet little kitchen-rolling dough while gazing out at the garden-one of my favorite places to work-I will miss that terribly.  Our next place must have a view out of the kitchen window !

We were going to take the wooden Adirondack chairs and red umbrella from the front porch but somehow I feel like they belong with this house and the new owners like them so we will leave them behind.  It will be nice to think about them sitting in the chairs drinking a glass of wine and enjoying the sunset.
So many sweet memories-even the not so sweet times-my mid-life crisis when Jim and I divorced for 2 years.  Coming back to the house then was like coming back to him-where I belonged.  Good bye sweet little house, we are leaving you with two people who are going to love and care for you the way we did.

"Moving on is a simple thing, what it leaves behind is hard "
Dave Mustaine

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Cape Disappointment Hike

After we had Ruby's solar panels installed in Springfield we headed towards the Oregon Coast.  It was after all Memorial Day weekend and we didn't feel like battling traffic on Interstate 5. We agreed that everyone along the coast would probably be coming southbound while we were headed northbound and thank goodness we were right !  It was a peaceful beautiful drive from Newport to Astoria.  Once we reached Astoria we turned off for Cape Disappointment-remember we fell in love with this park the last time we were here.

This time we decided to do a little more exploring.  We hadn't seen the Southern Lighthouse the last time we camped so we figured we would take the hiking trail and check it out. When we started out on the Cape Disappointment trail we both missed the little degree of difficulty symbol in the top right hand corner.  It's probably better that we did because we may not have taken it.  All the way up (and it's pretty much uphill the whole way) I kept noticing that the trail was hardly used.  The path was almost grown in and we only ran into one other hiking party coming down.  We just figured people weren't that interested in the Southern Lighthouse this time of year.  Oh boy, were we wrong.  It's not that people aren't interested-it's that there is a parking lot at the bottom of the path that leads up to the lighthouse !  It didn't matter,since we had Ruby we couldn't drive up to the parking lot anyway.  Plus the hike was gorgeous-through the deep green damp smelling woods; listening to different birds tweeting us along; flowers and berries all over; wind swept vistas once we reached the top-well worth it.  My Fitbit logged us at about 4.3 miles round trip and 64 floors -meaning that the inclines we made were the equivalent of climbing 64 floors-yikes !

These steps led up to a clearing overlooking the ocean and a windswept hillside.

Hailey needed a break once we got to the Interpretive Center and so did I !

I was excited when I saw the lighthouse-I figured just 1/2 mile to hike to it-what I didn't know is that it was 1/4 mile straight down and then 1/4 mile straight up ! But well worth it.

This is the only hill you have to climb if you drive to the parking lot close by instead of taking the trail.

A view of the Interpretative Center from the Lighthouse


And back down the trail we go.  We almost decided to head to the parking lot and walk back along the paved road, figuring it would be less challenging then the hike which was ahead of us.  But we thought it would be much more enjoyable to hike the trail-so we did !  The wind picked up and helped to keep us cool on the uphill climbs.  I was never so glad to see Ruby in the parking lot .  We each downed a bottle of cold water then popped open a cold beer-perfect way to end the hike !