Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Home is Where the Heart Is

 For the first time in many years, we are free birds wondering where we will nest next!  This is a moment to breathe...

Alain has been out of the country since the passing of his beloved mother and I have been assigned the task of finding a place where we can lay our heads to sleep, where we can find peace and where we can nurture our souls. It hasn't been easy.  I have been all over the local map trying to find the place and I have been all over the emotional map just trying to get anywhere. There is so very  little on the market to rent. And you know, life is short so we need to feel good--deserve to feel good--absolutely must feel good wherever we land. Along the search I had the absolute gift of friends who met me at properties, held my hand, dried my tears, encouraged me to stay hopeful and bought me drinks when opportunities fell through.  There should be a entire blog written about vodka!

And then, one day this ad appeared about a property in Monte Sereno... I resisted, not wanting to go back where we once started. It was a funny ad....no photo of the house, just the photo of the road leading to the house. It kept nagging at me and then Thierry kept sending it to me to consider and I finally gave in and called.  I made an appointment to meet a man who was helping to show it.
Brian and Thierry met me there and when I drove up to the property, I felt this amazing calm. Hope was in the air!  The main house had high vaulted ceilings and charm and the guest cottage was perfect for an interim solution to having my dear mother stay with us. I met Joe and discussed the availability. Every property seems to have a line of prospective renters ready to jump and this was no exception. We needed help from beyond!

I came prepared with a "Labat Packet" which included a brochure of our Palo Alto Avenue home.   During the conversation with Joe,  I mentioned that we had lived in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno for most of our married life and that we had lived in homes that Dave Flick built. Additionally, I showed him the part of Palo Alto Avenue that Dave built. I asked him if he knew him... His reaction was almost violent... I wasn't sure for a moment how the next part was going to go. And then I saw his eyes moisten.  He explained that Dave worked for him as a young man and that he had been his mentor.  He helped Dave decide how to invest the money he just inherited by asking him what his passion was.  "Building homes, " Dave replied. This man loved Dave .  I explained my relationship to Dave and to Shari and he said, "Look, I know all I need to know about you. I will recommend you highly to the owner and will stop showing the property immediately."

I was not only surrounded by my dear Brian and Thierry but also  by my dear Dave. He was helping us get back to our beginnings and on to our new beginnings.  The tears sealed the deal. Joe left but we stayed on to laugh and cry together.  In the next moment, Nancy called and just happened to be driving by.  I said I was on Greenwood Lane and she said she was literally right there. She came down the lane and we all hugged and cried together.  What a moment to remember. Life was happening in all its magesty! I won't forget it anytime soon.

So, on May 1st, we will begin a new year-long chapter in Monte Sereno. And after a few months pass and we catch our breath, we will begin the search for something that we can claim to be our own. God knows what that will look like but I am sure that Dave will be collaborating.

You might ask, How does Alain feel about all of this?  Well, one night in Portland (if you don't know all the issues going on with my Aunt Bernie--that will be for another post) I called him from a restaurant  called The Little Bird (appropriate name for our theme here!) and asked him if he had any objections to Monte Sereno. He said no objections at all--he laughed and said if you love it, I will. Tomorrow, he returns and on the weekend he will discover his new home. He always gives me his vote of confidence. Word of the wise...never marry someone who doesn't!

One last note of poetic interest, John Steinbeck once lived on the compound known as 16200/16250 Greenwood lane in Monte Sereno. He finished Grapes of Wrath there and wrote Of Mice and Men ... Maybe some of the literary vibes will inspire me ... That excites me!
Life is an ongoing story and we are lucky to be writing our new chapter. Please join us in it!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Promise Held, A Fond Farewell

Yes, 10 years ago we stepped foot into this beautiful home.  We planted ourselves inside and our garden out and we began a decade of dreams lived.  It was love at first sight, and then love that grew beyond the walls. That love embraced all our friends and our family and it never let go.  It was a 10 year embrace, an extraordinary time.

This home is particulary difficult to leave and in my moments of heartbreak, I remind myself that we don't own anything really.  We embrace. We guard. We love.  This home has been our fort. It has harbored us from many a storm, and has celebrated with us many a triumph. We have been good to it and it to us.  What more can be asked?

Today a chapter has closed and a new one begun. We have yet to write a word of it,  but I have high hopes that it will be a poem like no other.  My hopes are validated by the simple act of a blossoming flower. We know that it isn't just any flower, but our beloved peony.  Camille's peony.  Today it came out to greet us--to announce the arrival of spring and to remind us that we are and will be just fine. New blossoms, new stories, new dreams.

When we move, we usually take something with us...a special fountain, a chandelier. This time, it will simply be our peony.  We will remove it gently and hope that it will continue to blossom.

As I like to say, we are leaving our house but taking our home with us. A promise held, a fond farewell.