Sunday, July 05, 2015

All Kinds of Follow-Ups

We're still in escrow. There was a flurry of electronic paperwork full of disclosures that required our crazy electronic signatures and initials. Sellers sign. Buyers sign. We read all the fine print and make sure all the boxes are checked as they should be. Then nothing for a few days. There will be an inspection and once all of that is over, we have to sign off on all contingencies and wait for escrow to close. We've walked over to the house a few times. We still like it and the neighborhood. So far so good.

I still haven't found a dentist, but the one I've been hoping to see will be back from vacation on July 7th. Maybe he'll take a few minutes to see me and tell me what's going on with this crazy tooth of mine. I'm not in pain, but the endless pressure has been slowly driving me crazy. I haven't taken a photograph in weeks. That's how distracting this weird discomfort is. I'm sick of it. If he can't see me, I'm planning to head back to the emergency clinic just to make sure there isn't an infection building slowly.

We were planning to do a post called Quacks and Moos about how we walk around the neighborhood and talk to the animals. I did photograph this cow around the corner from our little rental here. It was going to be part of the quack and moo story, but I'm not sure we'll ever get around to doing that one. We're moving even closer to big dairy cow land. There will definitely be more cow photos in the future.

Back in June we wrote about how much we like our little neighborhood here. Interestingly, a few days later there was a knock on our door and our very adorable pre-teen neighbor and her friend were giggling out there, offering us homemade cookies to buy. They said they were starting a little business and gave us one of their hand-made business cards. They call themselves NWPC, for the Nerdy Wart People Club. We bought four delicious chocolate chip cookies, and we've been hoping they'll come back!

I was going through some of my older photos the other day and found this one from March, when we were at the beach house. I think it's a pretty good example of a Virga. I sent it to The Cloud Appreciation Society to see what they think. It's been a while since any atmospheric optics or interesting clouds have crossed our skies. Even in my malaise I still run outside to check. There are some things that I won't miss no matter how I'm feeling.

We hope you all had a good 4th of July. We don't celebrate and were pretty glad our neighbor only shot off noisy things until 10:30. Such a crazy holiday.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

OMG! We're In Escrow

It's true! Roger saw a new listing on Monday and emailed our agent (my sister) and asked her to set up an appointment with the listing agent for a look. We arrived early and met the current owner as he was about to leave for the showing. He told us he would be happy to show us around. He and his family have been in the house since it was built in 1990. It's a real house with insulation, double-paned windows, and central heating. When we walked in, we fell in love. It has hardwood floors and a fireplace. It has three bedrooms and two baths but isn't a mansion in any way. In fact, the entire lot is smaller than some ostentatious houses these days. It's in a family neighborhood of owner-occupied homes only one-block long that dead ends at the outskirts of town. We made an offer right away. So did two other prospective buyers. But the owner wanted to sell to us. We are so happy. I didn't even take any photos of it. When we were there, looking around, I was so blown away I just walked around saying, "Oh wow, oh wow, a real house!" It's a 45-day escrow, so anything can happen, but we're confident that by mid-August we'll have our new home. I'll try to get over there for pics soon. Just wanted to share this crazy good news!

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Flipside of the Same Year

Yes, it's beautiful and cool and lovely here in our own little corner of the California north coast. The small town ambiance with almost everything we need within walking distance of our little rental house. What's not to love?

Well, there's this.
This is a small screen grab of three of the fifty houses on the market here in Arcata. If you click on the pic you'll see what we have been seeing for the past year. Houses that are more than 50 years old and never upgraded, to houses that are new and big and trendy and very, very expensive. There is literally no in-between. There is no land for sale and no lots worth looking at, and there hasn't been any the entire year we have been here. We met a woman the other day who waited out a thirteen month escrow for a house that needs to be completely gutted and remodeled. She works at the university and has a private therapy practice. She told us that she had been looking for a house to buy for FIVE YEARS! This is rather daunting and unsettling news.

And there's also a health care issue here. Because we live 350 miles north of the closest big city and airport, San Francisco, there is very little incentive for excellent health care professionals to venture up this way. There is one little airport here with one airline. Getting here is not easy from any direction or by any mode of transportation. I have to admit, I always suspect that the medical professionals who are here are not here by choice, but by circumstance. I have been trying to find a dentist here for several weeks. I am facing a possible serious dental situation. I went to an emergency clinic two weeks ago. They are not taking new patients but always see people who need immediate attention. The dentist referred me to his dentist in Eureka. I called that dentist. He was out of town for a week, and not taking new patients until October. He has a waiting list to get in. I'm on it. His office referred me to two other dentists. I called the first one, he's only in the office three times a week, and is not accepting new patients. I called the second one, he is out of town until July 7th, but is taking new patients after July 21st. I asked my neighbor, a long-time social worker in the area, who she sees and she gave me the name of her dentist. I called his office. They are not taking new patients. See the dilemma here?

My nurse practitioner, who is leaving the practice in July and moving out of state, told me to take 3000 units of vitamin D3 per day for my osteoporosis, which I have been diligently taking. When I saw her last week for a follow-up, she asked me if I was taking  the 1000 units, as she had recommended. I reminded her of what she had originally said, and she replied, "Well, I think the literature is now saying 1000 units a day is enough."  Roger's doctor at the same clinic recommended up to 10,000 units of D3 per day. That doc just moved here from a southern state so I think he was overcompensating for lack of sufficient sunlight (and probably losing his mind!). But really, that's not good medical advice at all. Can I just say, "Holy shit."

Roger is five years post colon cancer (YEAH!), but he continues to see an oncologist every six months for blood tests and follow-ups. His new oncologist ordered a CT scan for his recent visit. The scan was completely normal. For his next appointment in six months, the doc ordered another scan. We both read the literature on surveillance of colon cancer and the standard protocols recommended by US Health and Human Services. Two CT scans in a 12 month period is considered excessive after three years post colon cancer. After five years it's crazy. Can I just say, "Holy shit" again.

These are very serious issues for us. We are trying to maintain an upbeat attitude, which is always easier for Roger than it is for me, but the outlook is pretty bleak. Half the time I want to pack it in and go someplace else. But guess what, all the beautiful places we love in California have become highly desirable and therefore crazy expensive. The median home price in Santa Cruz is over $700,000. That's simply insane.

So, that's the flip side of our cute little town. We're in the middle of nowhere on a beautiful coast, with lovely neighbors, a wonderful co-op, a fantastic farmer's market and not a house to be found or a good dentist or doctor either.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Year Goes By Just Like That

Roger and I have been in Arcata for a year. I'm pretty sure this is the fastest a year has ever flown by. Not sure how that happened, but perhaps we have been in some time-space-vortex thing, and in a blink of an eye, here we are one year later.

Here's how our life has changed in that year.

We have gotten to know the grandkids and watch them grow and change and become themselves.

We have had more lovely conversations with more people and more neighbors in this one year than we did in all the four years we lived in Grass Valley.

We go out for walks more often. Arcata has a temperate climate. There is no snow in winter and no excessive heat in summer. We're learning how to put up with the persistent fog and wind, and get out of the house for a couple of miles everyday.

We hardly ever use the car. In fact, our new Prius (the one we bought last December) has less than 6000 miles on it. That does put us at 1000 miles of travel per month, BUT in those six months we've gone down to see my mom three times. That is a total in round trips of 4200 miles (seriously), which means we've driven less than 1800 miles in six months.

We have watched a neighbor grow from her state of deeply grieving for her much-loved husband, who she lost just before we moved here, to embracing life again.

We fell in love with our student neighbors who lived across the street. We watched sunsets together and photographed rainbows. We talked about the plight of the world and our planet. They've been slowly moving out over the past few weeks, like all students do at the end of the year, but not before their house was robbed on Sunday night (6/21).

We had lovely talks with a neighbor down the street whose house we passed whenever we walked into town. He often sat outside with his menagerie of ducks, chickens, and cats- and typically had some critter sitting on his lap. Tom always had a ready smile and something nice to say. Back in April we noticed that he wasn't out much anymore, but didn't think anything of it. We later learned that Tom died of pneumonia at the end of March. We brought a lovely yellow columbine to plant in their beautiful front yard.  He was only 56 years old.

There's a wild man who plays his electric guitar in his doorway in the early evening. There's a young couple who walks their very, very old dog named Buddy by our house everyday. They're having their first baby in September. Our favorite dog Chloe rolls over whenever she sees us and lets us pet her belly for as long as we like. The neighborhood cats still come in the yard to visit with us (and poop). 

Can it really be that we've only been here a year and the earth has traveled a full rotation around the sun? Yes, life with all its beauty and all its pain has unfolded on each of those 365 days. Love and renewal, life and death. We still haven't found a house to buy. We've had our ups and downs about it all, but we're here ready for another four seasons to unfold.

PS-- That's a whole big mountain of fog that often sits between us and the sky! I photographed it on the trip home from visiting with the kids and grandkids for the father's day.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Garden Update

this was our garden on dec 10 2014

we wanted to grow stuff and didn't want to dig up any of the lawn even though it is lumpy and bumpy and patchy and weedy, being still confident that we would soon be moving on to a newly purchased house. the empty pots were out on someone's lawn by the sidewalk, a traditional arcata way of giving stuff away. so we took them. filled them with potting soil and seedlings. the chard and spinach grew enough to give us many meals.

we have yet to find a suitable house and the spinach went to seed. we had kale too but it never grew well and also went to seed. time to attend to the garden. out with the spinach and kale, a few more pots. new spinach and chard seedlings. tomatoes nurtured in elena and jason's greenhouse.

 two weeks ago they were as small as the seedlings in the dec 10 picture above

 i couldn't resist putting just one tomato in the ground.