Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Inquiring minds . . .

People keep asking us why we don't just stay in Orange County. After all, we have family here, we have our doctors and dentist here, and we do keep coming back. It's pretty simple, to us anyway. We can't, and we don't have to, so we aren't going to.

We can't. We have found that we don't like it here anymore. Stan moreso than I knew the charms of this area before it became home to more people than I can count, eight lane freeways, and too much of everything. For us, there's no going back to how it used to be. San Clemente itself still has a bit of the old charm left, but when you leave San Clemente, you get into the OC and we just can't go there.

We don't have to. We have worked hard, and lost a lot, to get to the point where we can decide where we want to live, someplace that nurtures the soul rather than saps it. We have never lived in large populations. The desert, Winters, Pacific Grove, all had small town life going for them, some more than others, some with charm, some definitely not. So why would we, at our ripe old ages, suddenly live in a town of 61,000 people surrounded by freeways and malls?

So, we aren't going to. If it wasn't Hawaii, it would have been someplace in Oregon, maybe Arizona, but not in Southern California. So when golf buddies, book group ladies, friends and family can't understand why we don't just stay here, I listen quietly, smile my inner Cheshire cat smile, and hope that they can eventually understand why we aren't going to.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Learning Curve

Lest anyone think there is no peril in the lifestyle we are leading, let me tell you about our latest adventure. We made a relatively late change in plans and decided to spend the interim between Hawaii and Scotland in San Clemente, near family and friends. We scoured our favorite vacation rental site, finding very few places available due to our late timing, but did find a place, saw photos of the inside and out, and thought it would be fine, but possibly a little big for our needs. The property manager said she had a sublet in the same building that was a one bedroom that was just as nice as the rental in the pictures. Seemed a good idea, so we gave a deposit and booked it for 2 months.

Sight unseen, we arrived at our new "home" in the late hours of a Monday night, after climbing the 52 steps to the front door. We let ourselves in and . . . . Oh dear.

First we noticed the booze bottles, bag of potatoes, unopened cheese and cream cheese in the fridge, sodas and fruit, snack foods, and a fully stocked spice cupboard. There was even an individually wrapped corndog in the freezer. And a hamburger patty. =:-O We started wondering if someone was going to come home and find us in their apartment. Turns out with a sublet you are the beneficiary of what the previous person decided to leave behind. The trash can (singular) was empty, thank goodness.

We soon started feeling less and less like someone was going to come waltzing in on us and more and more like what the hell have we done? The bed, thank goodness, is comfortable, but is so low to the ground it's like doing deep knee bends to get out of the thing. Ditto for the couch. And there is no fitted sheet. There is no table in the kitchen to eat at. There are two towels. Two. There is no vacuum, no broom. There was (key word here is was) mold in the bathroom. The shower curtain was worse than useless. The TV stopped working after our third week here. We had a hail storm one night and, I kid you not, hail bounced into the living room under the gap in the front door, followed by windblown rain soon thereafter. Many of these things have been remedied by the property manager or ourselves, but the basic nuts and bolts of the place cannot be changed. It's tiny. It's uncomfortable. And there are 52 stairs to get up here from the street. We are in a friggin' crow's nest.

The bright points are the view. There is an awesome ocean view from the living room and kitchen. And the view. There is an awesome ocean view from the living room. Did I mention the view?

The true bright points are I am spending time with my mom and family and Stan is spending time with his family. The kids have both been down for a visit. That is priceless and was the reason for making the change in the first place.

Needless to say, we are looking forward to leaving for Dornoch in 37 days. But who's counting?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Six weeks out

Six weeks out from our return to Dornoch. It's so exciting to know we are going back. We've been in San Clemente for 3 weeks and while I am savoring my time with my family, Orange County still falls flat for me (both of us, thank goodness) as a permanent place to stay. We are in the process of getting tune ups, doctors, dentists, glasses, and then off we go. We left some things behind in Dornoch, but did not make a list of what they were and, seriously, who at this age can remember what you left in a laundry basket in someone's attic? We learned from both Dornoch and Hawaii that we don't need to pack as much as we do, so that's our goal this time, to each take one suitcase and have it not be over the weight limit, and hope that what we think we left in Dornoch we actually did.

After Scotland, Hawaii looms large in our future. We've found a car shipping firm, need to find some not hugely expensive way to ship our remaining stuff over. A 5x10x10 storage unit is all there is, so hopefully that won't break the bank. While I rarely gave thought to my "stuff," and when I did it was only passing thoughts of wondering what box something might be in, the lure of unpacking it all in a little cottage in Hawaii has become an oddly comforting thought. And living where it's 80 degrees every day is even more comforting. Though I will gladly suffer the eternal chilly spring that is summer in Dornoch. That's where my heart is.