The first serious buyer who came to visit the house expressed that an offer was forthcoming. Only it didn’t come forth to me but to another homeowner. I considered it one No closer to Yes. But I had hoped it would be them, because the showing became a big play date between all of us, the buyers, their agent and our children. They were comfortable in the home and it all just felt so right.
Later that week they let me know they had put an offer in on another home. A few days after that the woman sent me a link to an ad for an agent who was looking for a home just like mine. That was a very caring gesture. People were pulling for me to find the right buyer, and I was proactively following all their leads, talking with agents and prospective buyers from near and far, including a kind man who wanted to buy the home but couldn’t really afford to pay for it right now.
He wondered if there was something I could work out for him.
In this last year plus I have learned that there are lots of things I can do, but that request required not magic, but hocus pocus. Spells scare me. Dude, if I could make that happen for you, I’d make it happen for me.
Or would I?
No. Ever since that family came back with an offer in hand after their first choice fell through, I have been watching my creation unfold swiftly, with signs along the way that say, This is happening exactly as you’ve designed. Even if some of those signs have been stolen before I could read them.
The search was on for Casa Everest. The time had come to put expectations aside, and get really flipping optimistic. I had about 30 days to find a suitable home that would take a 90 pound dog and a shelter kitty that clearly had issues with a carpet weaver in his past life.
Is your cat litter trained?
Do you consider carpet to be litter?
Your dog doesn’t bark, does she?
Only at air.
I knew one thing for certain, this move was going to be a dramatic change to life as we know it. Optimism would make it palatable. A sense of adventure would provide the right tone for the boys, teaching them to embrace change rather than fear it. I imagined myself turning a dark, cramped home into a mysterious cave where we’d spin tales by candlelight, and I’d spin s…tuff into merriment.
It’s temporary. It’s an adventure. The words of the kittens wound like ribbons around my body making me feel strong and able. I can totally do this.
A week or so before I received the offer, I needed to head out to Stinson Beach with the dudes to pick up a package of goodies left for them by my brother who had been visiting for a few days. After we gathered the package, we walked down a lane to the beach, stopping at the tea cup sized playground for a bit. While the dudes climbed and slid, I stared up in the direction of the castle that had recently sold. My vision board house was destined not for me but for a collection of artists who would turn it into a retreat for creatives, a place to make magic.
Only a miracle would have made that quirky nest my own.
Dudes, why don’t we head to Bolinas and check it out?
In the nearly two years since we moved to Marin we had never ventured out the unmarked road to the coastal hamlet the New York Times describes as “the Howard Hughes of towns”. There used to be signs for Bolinas. Now they are tacked up on interior and exterior walls of the homes of the residents who tore them down. Finally, the county gave in.
No more signs for Bolinas.
It was hard to take it all in on that first drive out. After turning at a sign that announces, Entering a Socially Acknowledged Nature – Loving Town, we passed the farmer’s market – an honor system venture, the school, and a hardware and lumber store that I’m certain warrants an entire afternoon to peruse. Each tenth of a mile we clocked turned the clock back a decade in time until we came upon the heart of this village that seems to exist in a water bubble held in mermaid’s hand.
Like many western towns, the buildings of Bolinas snuggle right up to the street, which curves for no reason other than the fact that it hugs the end of land. We passed through town in the time it takes to skip a rock across a pond. The road narrowed and then without notice or fanfare, ended. Up ahead the tiny beach smiled at the Pacific, backed by golden cliffs that rose sharply. The dudes found a way to make it halfway up and like mountain goats they scampered across, then down and disappeared into a cluster of shrubs.
The tall dude emerged with a zippered case about 3 feet long.
Mom! What’s this?
My curiosity won out. We pulled hard on the zipper as sand fought to keep it closed. Inside slept a fishing rod in three pieces, with line and lures attached.
Honey, you need to put this back. It’s someone’s rod.
Stashing a fishing rod in the bushes. My kinda town.
The people who crisscrossed the street from the grocery to the saloon smiled at us as we made our way out of Bolinas that day. More of a ‘bye’ smile than a ‘hi’ smile. As in, we’re happy to see you go.
I knew I’d be back.
But I sure didn’t know it would be as a resident.
Later one night…or rather, early one morning, about 2, I finished a post and needed to wind down. Craigs List called. I answered. The day before I had found posted a cottage in Bolinas, near town, tiny but doable. When I emailed to inquire I received a response back saying that the ad had expired. It had been posted that day. Expired seemed a little strange for a post that had only been born a few hours earlier. West Marin was not looking promising, but before I turned my search east, I looked one more time to see if Bolinas had anything to offer. The same links for the same expired cottage appeared. My tired eyes scanned them…two bedroom, one bath…two bedroom, one bath…all the same…until I saw this:
Two bedroom, one bath near Bolinas.
The word ‘near’ didn’t appear in the other headlines for the cottage. This wasn’t the same one.
I clicked through. One sentence described a cottage with no flowery detail or salesy prose. Just, Two bedroom, one bath for rent, near Bolinas. The pictures showed a charming home. And one showed the view.
My heart raced. It looked toward Stinson Beach, and beyond that the coastal cliffs lined up one behind the other, black against layers of gray fog.
I emailed right then and got right to the point: When may I come see your home?
The dudes and I drove through the rain the next day, down a long lane named after my Mom, and pulled to a stop in front of a home so perfect for us that before I stepped foot inside I knew we’d be making memories here.
The cottage was built by a ginger haired daughter and her Dad, the man who greeted me with a wide smile and blue eyes that cut through the rain and fog like a lighthouse. He sensed I would be moving in with just the dudes.
I’m getting divorced. So, yes, it’s the three of us.
He sure made a mistake.
I closed my eyes briefly and my Observer Self and I smiled at each other.
Well, there is a single man in his forties that lives in the carriage house next door. I wanted to say, How very Woody Allen of you!
He opened the door to a small attic bedroom complete with wood burning stove and a pitched roof. Two tiny farmhouse windows looked out on the drive. Perched at the end of the circle was the carriage house. I saw a figure in the window.
We made our way back down the stairs and through the kitchen that was big enough to hold the table made from a Cypress tree my Dad had purchased just before he died. I thought I was going to have to store it, but this room was made for it.
I smelled something baking that the boys might enjoy as I left to meet you. Let’s walk up to the house and talk some more.
A pie had been cooling, conversation flowed. This handsome couple shared with me the magic of living on the mesa in Bolinas. Ponds for fishing, the Pt. Reyes Bird Observatory, endless trails, children for the dudes to meet. It was as if they had been waiting for us to arrive. The dudes finished the pie and ran outside, raincoats be damned. They flew down the lawn that flowed away from the house like a soft green bed sheet lifted by a gentle breeze.
Do you want to sleep on this, he asked?
In my head I said, I want to sleep here starting tonight.
If it’s alright with you I’d like to shake on it. Do you have any questions for me?
When are you able to move in? I’d prefer not to wait until March 1st, so how about February 15th.
And it was symbolic as well. February 15th will be the two year anniversary of the day we first stepped foot into Marin County as an intact family of four. On the 13th we closed on our house back east and, thanks to the generosity of my brother and sister-in-law, shared a couples massage thereafter.
Isn’t that cute…
The next day, Valentine’s Day, we departed for San Francisco. I thought that was symbolic, too. I was so close as to be completely off base.
We spent that evening in the city and the next morning drove to the town that would be the epicenter of the implosion of our marriage.
And now, two years later (I cannot believe that TWO YEARS have passed since I first became a resident of California!) I will cross the threshold of the most perfect place to begin anew.
After handshakes and gratitude I called the boys back to the house and we walked down the lane to our car, parked in front of our new home. The shadow in the window was still there. When he saw us he walked away and emerged from the front door. He was considerably younger than 40s, even 30s. A beautiful face with a warm smile. He introduced himself, extending his hand. He was helping the man who lives there with some work.
If I told you his name you would absolutely not believe me. At all. I can’t even hint at it, sadly, because this is a tiny little place and my aim is to not draw attention to anyone in it. So I hope it will suffice for me to say that should we sit across from each other one day and I share it with you, you will laugh right from the belly, your eyes twinkling with amusement, and then you’ll say,
What happened next?
My Dearest Cleo,
I will make it my mission to meet you one day…I too pour through CL ads to find the perfect house for my daughter and I to start anew.
PS- My imagination is running wild about the mystery man..
PPS- Awaiting your Sex post
Fondly, Cannon Beach Jill
And we will have the best time! The sex post is incubating. Sometime in the next two weeks I will announce its arrival and warn my Mom.
The mystery man…honestly, J, I expected someone to yell, Cut! Makeup!
Loving having you here.
O M G I got so excited and proceeded to scroll down only to realize the post had ended!! Please write soon! I was feeling kind of down and this post just cheered me up. Especially the Mistake part, the universe works in mysterious ways doesn’t it
Perfect timing! The Universe has a sense of humor and is drawn to those who appreciate it. Who connect, dial in, plug in.
The Universe also loves balance. So, swirling around my flipper feet is the resentment of another. The only way to remain centered is to be grateful for the magic, gravitate towards joy, express gratitude for every little thing, and eventually the muck will be diluted. Then, impossible to see.
Feeling down gives you another opportunity to find your way to joy while nurturing the part of you that aches. You are amazing at this. I just know it.
Wonderful. In the truest sense of that word. So very happy for you, Cleo. I’m inspired by “watching” you make miracles happen in your life. Annie Sullivan has nothing on you!
Thank you! That is quite the compliment. I trust the inspiration leads to a knowing that you are creating your life. Let no one else create it for you. I am excited to watch…
Is his name Everest? Ok, don’t answer. And if I’ve nailed it, I know you can’t/won’t post this.
I love the deductive reasoning! No, it’s way more fabulous than that. Not that that wouldn’t be cool. But this is so appropriate for the whole scene. The fact that I was able to not say, Are you kidding me? as I shook his hand is amazing. You rock, P.
I think Nora Roberts could make this stuff up . . . .my romantic half is doing cartwheels . . .the mom half is wondering if there is an alarm system.
Yes, there is. And she costs more to feed than the monthly bill from ADT. I’m going to create magic not a break-in!
I need an alarm to insure that I don’t start thinking too much and jumping up ahead. Staying right where I am…right here, right now.
Fantastic, Cleo! Can’t wait for more. Will we get to see any pictures of this place? I want to see that attic bedroom and the kitchen. I understand if not, but it sounds, well, perfect.
Thank you! Yes, definitely. It’s a movie set. So, so grateful. It feels perfect, but for life to be perfect it needs imperfections to work through. So, I’m not going in all a giggle. This will be an adventure, for sure. I am so excited to be there! And you’ll be there with me.
Serendipity, synchronicity, and you!
I spent the day hiking around Limantour Beach in the gorgeous sun and fresh breeze after spending the night at a friend’s Inverness house and was reminded of the magic and beauty of West Marin. I’m so glad you and the dudes will be basking in it.
Thank you. And what a day you must have had! I had replied to your comment but then when I checked through it did not post. That day you hiked at Limantour was a beauty! West Marin awaits. I love her so. And I so love having you here.
Bolinas! I am so happy for you! What a spot for the soul, nurturing and contemplative!I Can you see the Lagoon from your home? I have kayaked there among the sea lions. It was utterly magical. Roush Pottery was a favorite stop on Steep Ravine trips. Totally magical that this place found you.
My favorite part of this post is the smile shared with your observer self at the delicious comment made by a clearly perceptive man.
This is gonna be good….there are no accidents. The Universe is just getting started with you!
I can see the lagoon from the lawn in front of the main house. I can’t wait to get out on the water and play amongst the birds and sea lions. They have much to teach me.
This man who built our new home with his daughter will surely be a guide, along with his wife. While I am truly excited to be there and experience a life on the edge of land, I am MOST excited that I have the opportunity to share it with all of you. That’s what makes it so special. I am very blessed to have you in my life.
This is gonna be crazy mad good. Stay close, beautiful.
I had chills up and down reading your post about the house. And like the rest of the kittens, I WANT MORE! So totally excited for you and the boys.
We all want more info about the hot mystery guy! Just tell your mom to go on hiatus and spill! Seriously, congratulations.
PS: I officially got divorced on Monday…via conference call, on an airport shuttle van full of 10 strangers. What a story. But it was the universe cutting me a break because I wasn’t there in person. New adventures abound!
I wish I had a version of x-ray vision that would show me how those 10 people are connected to you. Where you crossed paths and why they came together to support you that day. Cuz that’s the type of stuff I like to ponder. H, we all send you love as you put a bow on that part of your journey here and gift it off. Thank you for being here for us.
Casa Everest will be a living, breathing part of this new leg on my journey. I’m certain of that. And the mystery man…he’s not a romantic interest for sure – he can’t be over 30! But we all know that people have reasons for choosing to play roles in our vignettes. This is going to be fascinating! And I’m SO, SO grateful to have the opportunity to share it with all of you. More you shall get, m’lady. Stay close…
Cleo, Interestingly, none of those people had any connection whatsoever to me. They were all just half asleep in a van on the way to Denver because we couldn’t get out of Aspen via plane. I’m sure they were all horrified as they heard my one-word answers to obvious divorce questions. But maybe they all had something to learn from that. I truly appreciated their silence and non-intrusiveness.
Mystery Man definitely has a role somehow. I say this from someone who had a fun evening with one of a similar age the other night. (I’m a couple years younger than you, so I know where you’re coming from). But did anything come of it? No. Did it exist for a reason? Yes. Was I appreciative? Oh definitely.
Perhaps they weren’t connected in a way that you in the 3D could see, but we are all connected. I know you know that.
Oh, definitely. Oh, oh…so very definitely.
I also know that you know how much I adore having you here. When I am atop Mt. Rainier I hope you will accept the offer of a guest post. You also may need to call my Mom and whisper sweet somethings in her ear so that she remains centered while I am hanging off the edge of the world. You, super hotness, rock.
Now THAT is a story that begs to be told, Hazel. If Cleo ever decides to do guest posts, I hope you’re first in line. Congrats on surviving it all!
Great one! Sooo happy for you, enjoy your new place and the next part of your journey…..see what happens when we stop being torn appart by our disappointments? Detach and move on…..easier said than done but so worth it
L…I mean U,
Choosing joy, seeing magic, deserving to have it, and being so very grateful causes you to rain down on me more joy and magic. My bucket is full, but then it grows wider to take in more joy and magic. Love how that happens.
Thank you for being here. My story continues…
Yip, yip! And love,
Can I move in too??
This sounds like the most magical of magical places. My sister and I will hopefully be driving up north this summer (She’s 17 and I adore her so I’m kidnapping her for a trip on the open road). I’ve never heard of Bolinas, but we know people in Marin (again, such a nice place). Sounds like a secret place we’d love to stumble upon.
Please let me know when you venture north. Bolinas is a secret place, but my intuition tells me that you will find it with ease. Just follow your heart.