Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Any Port In A Storm

Ruby wonders where the furniture has gone. 

Deep into our second week of temporary homelessness I noticed something. We are lacking the proper utensils. It started even before we packed up the house to have the wood floors refinished. In kindergarten we sometimes have yogurt or applesauce for snack. We had twenty metal spoons for the children to use. Now we have ten. We still have twenty kids. Discounting for the several students who don't care for yogurt and/or applesauce, there remains a spoon deficit. After scouring all the likely spots in the kitchen and staff room, I could only muster plastic forks. So, the kids are kind of accustomed to eating applesauce with forks now.

I'm not nearly as flexible. This is our tenth day away from our house and we just ate Caesar salad for lunch with spoons. Plastic spoons. It's strange what you miss. I'm kind of formal about eating my meals. Eric would say I have a lot of rules. Let’s just call them preferences.

I prefer not to stand in line for my food. At potlucks I'd rather wait until everyone's served themselves and then help myself. I prefer to eat sitting down. When viewing property on Broker Tour there is often food available. If I'm going to eat I will make a plate and find a place to eat. Often these properties are astonishingly beautiful. It's a luxury to have a 
chance to sit in one of these locations. No standing around eating for me.
Home on Broker Tour
I also enjoy the proper utensils, but when in Rome... After moving all our belongings into two bedrooms and the master bathroom, we walked away from the house for two weeks. First stop was Lucy's beautiful apartment in North Beach. Lucy and Greg were in Tahoe so we had the place to ourselves. In the rain. With a damp, little dog. The rain that had been falling for five days non-stop. We went from dangerous drought to dangerous flooding in the span of three days. I started seeing photos on Facebook of flooding in our neighborhood. Not again!

In 2005 we had a nasty flood and lost everything in our garage.  Many neighbors lost their cars or had damage to their homes, but no water entered our house. We recently had the property surveyed and the certificate of elevated stated we are above the 100-year flood level. Except for the garage.

So many little bits of serendipity influenced the outcome this time. We had planned to refinish ALL the wood floors. In January we reserved off-site storage as well as a pod for the driveway. Thinking that might be overkill, I recently 
canceled the storage space. At the last minute the idea of getting everything off the floor of the entire house (including closets) seemed like too much. It was too much. We decided not to have the wood floors done in two of the bedrooms. I canceled the driveway pod, which was to store all our belongings, along with what we could cram into the garage. How fortuitous that would turn out to be.

Ruby assists with the landscaping.
Prior to the floor work we had a fair amount of landscaping done. Part of the project required a debris box, which was placed in the driveway. Despite repeated reminders, the landscape person neglected to have the full debris box removed. It seems they only pick it up when you call and she didn't call until the Friday morning that the driveway pod was scheduled to arrive. The debris box wouldn't be removed until Monday. Fortunately for us, (and the landscape lady who was an utter dingbat) we had canceled the pod. Between the endless rain and threat of flooding, disaster could easily have ensued.
The mighty moving men. 
Thanks to Sam and Max we got everything piled into two bedrooms except for two enormous pine armoires, which we slid with great difficulty into the master bath. It was impossible to move them downstairs.
That night we were so tired and achy we could barely move. Eric, who flew down five steps and landed on his back on the mattress, was especially sore. That's what you get when you try to turn a lawyer into a moving man!

When we got back to Mill Valley Monday morning I drove by the house and all was well. Even the driveway didn't flood, but not all the neighborhood was that fortunate. Parts of Miller were a river and Joe's Taco Lounge took on two feet of water. I believe our elevation certificate.
Progress. Looking good. 
It was discombobulating to be out of Lucy's, but not yet checked into the Holiday Inn, where we would spend the next five nights. Our clothes were in the car, the bird was in the classroom and Ruby spent the morning in the car in her crate. The weather was cool so it was fine. This is exactly why I haven't gotten the floors sanded and coated in all these years. Such a pain to be displaced, but the Holiday Inn wasn't bad. Conveniently located for work, pet friendly with hot breakfasts. You really couldn't ask for more. Except decent coffee and utensils. One evening we ate takeout in our room. We had plastic forks but no plates. On the plus side there was a fire pit and s'mores kits.

The week of exile turned into a road trip leading to a vacation. An ugly experience contracting hot tub folliculitis last May turned into two free nights at La Quinta Resort in Palm Springs. Just add money for the third night and a stop in LA and Santa Barbara, and it starts to look like a vacation. This morning I drank coffee from a real mug. I’ll take it.