Yep! One day the ol’ phone alarm went off and as I gazed out the window, I had an urge to tell Toto we weren’t in Kansas anymore…or was it our dog Stacy that I needed to tell we were not in Concord? Confusing times, these are!
Because, if I’m not mistaken, someone replaced my familiar suburbia with a whole bunch of pine trees where my sidewalks used to be.
In reality, this transition has taken months, but at times it does seem as if it has happened overnight and I’m still wondering how I got here.
Back in 1988, Howard and I had moved from our hometown of Salinas to begin a new adventure in the Walnut Creek/Concord area, sparked by a job change for him. We had barely settled in to a rental condo and it seemed that another opportunity with his company could take us to Sacramento. We spent a few weekends driving around the Sierra foothills in awe of the beauty. Ultimately, for reasons long forgotten, we decided to plant roots, (and dig deep we did) in Contra Costa County, bypassing the move northeast. Happiness ensued.
Lake Tahoe became a favorite destination of ours, especially after my parents bought a condo in Kings Beach on the north shore. Although we loved where we lived, every time we drove up or down, we felt a pull to the towns along the way…what would it be like to retire in Auburn or somewhere up there?
But 2013 came along and I was diagnosed with Amyloidosis. My world came to a halt and I felt that I no longer had any choices. The Santa Paula Drive house, which we purchased in 1998, would be my last, the house in which I would die. I had no visions of being able to work enough to help us qualify for another mortgage, and moving became the last thing on my mind. As treatment progressed, I was told that my prognosis was not so grim, and fear was replaced with contentment. I realized how happy I was there. I resolved to stay, not out of force, but because I loved it there. We had a full life with many friends.
We began making improvements for the long term, such as wiring underneath the pavers we had had installed in the yard for a future backyard kitchen.
Then one day I was running along with my best friend Erin and she casually mentioned that she and her husband Pete would be moving to Bend, Oregon some time in the next year. Her casual attitude about the whole thing was somewhat of a shock. I managed to keep running with her for about 7 more miles and have coffee afterward too, without shedding a tear. When I got home, it was a different story. The floodgates opened. All I could do was hope their house wouldn’t sell! I later learned that she had tried to tell me several times before and could not bring herself to do so. This made me feel a lot better, but the fact is, I was still losing her to another state.
Just as I was getting used to that idea, during a coaching session, my running coach Andy told me he was moving out of state as well. I knew he would be going back to Colorado at some point, but kept hoping it would be a long time away. That would be ‘no’.
I came home and blurted out to Howard “Well, everyone is moving, we should just move up to the Sierra foothills now.”
That is how it started!
No, two couples moving is not everyone. There are many people in my life with whom I’m close. I would still have my friends Paula and Mary Ann and my sister Joanne near by, along with many other friends. It was a silly thing to say, but you have to watch ‘silly’ around Howard.
Before I knew it, he had contacted real estate agent. We both love house hunting. I knew this was a very dangerous thing. Howard had always talked about buying me “Kimmy’s farm” and I had been having dreams of goats dancing in my head. But I didn’t want to move! I kept asking him if he had told Chris, our agent, that I really was not at all sure I wanted to do this. At the same time, I was spending all my free time on realtor.com.
Here’s the thing. I really balk at change. I am a creature of habit. I tend to stick with what works. All of my cats as an adult have been orange. My personal dogs have all been English Setters. Cars? Hondas, and make it a stick shift. I mean, I have been married to same guy for almost 34 years. Living in Contra Costa County was working for me.
I was torn. I struggled constantly with the decision. I didn’t really want to leave, but when a job opportunity opened up for Howard, it seemed to be a clear sign. I felt we should take the chance while we could. I am doing well health wise, but one never knows what it is around the next corner.
There is a side of me that loves adventure. And the dream of the farm. And those damn goat videos. If it were not for goat videos, I’m not sure if I would be writing this right now.
Then there is the fact that our move from Salinas had occurred at age 28. We were now turning 56 this year. Obviously we were supposed to come here and stay until the age of 84.
I was hoping to find something on our many scouting trips with Chris, because I wanted to know there was a place for us up there. At the same time, I was hoping we would not, as our house was not ready to sell. Just as we got to the point where I thought we should stop looking and work on our house, there it was. I had expanded my search to Pollock Pines for a better chance of…wait for it…snow! The first photo that came up was a traditional looking white house with a dusting of snow on the roof. It didn’t just have a pretty face. It was beautiful on the inside too. It was all over at that point.
Chris cautioned me this was short sale, the house was somewhat remote and it had a gravel driveway. I was not to be deterred!
What followed shortly after was the world’s fastest house remodel and a lot of work to get our house sold. Buying the new one was no walk in the park. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t a whole lot of fun. In the end, however, it was ours!
We are settling into small town life. No sidewalks. No milk from the store just down the street. (Goats may solve the milk problem in the near future) ) It’s quite a hike to take the garbage cans to the pick up spot. We have to worry about bears. But then again, our driveway functions just fine. We have a seasonal stream on our property and nightly visits from the neighborhood deer. The sounds of crickets and frogs have replaced the roar of cars and BART trains. Checkers at the market call me “honey” and “sweetie” and the PC police are nowhere to be found. I like that. Small town life agrees with me. There are benefits to being here that I had no idea I would find. I am making friends.
I still wake up and wonder how I got here. One thing is for sure. I am happy I am waking up here.