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Sunday, July 27, 2014

How I Made it Rain and The Little Cabin that Isn't

 Last week we heard an unusual sound--loud, booming thunder and a bright, close-by lightening flash.  I'd been sound asleep and it woke me at 4:30 with one thought:  "Oh, no!  The old/new wood sideboard is in the pick-up truck!  We had purchased it a few days before, covered it with a tarp, and left it in the truck because it's very heavy, we had no place to leave it, and it was heading for our new house in Sonora the following week.  When we left it in front of the house, we knew it was safe because we are in a drought and have had no rain for months and months.  I had a hard time going back to sleep, even after Matthew reminded me there was nothing I could do.  More thunder than I've ever heard on the coast and rain that poured down, though not for long durations.  Miraculously, the piece survived with just a little water on the backside, which dried with the day's sun after it was uncovered and upright.  
When people talked about the thunder shower the night before, I gave myself full credit saying I caused the rain and it wasn't because I'd washed my car the day before.
Speaking of weather, last summer I had had it with coastal fog.  I have been a good sport about it for 14 years, learning "indoor sports" such as weaving and knitting, but started to realize that I was feeling fogged in and my creativity was zapped.   We decided to buy a cabin in the foothills where we could escape the summer fog and Matthew could fish without camping.  We started looking--Murphy's, Twain Harte, Grass Valley, Auburn, Colfax, Groveland....then eliminated places that would be too hot,  too snowy, or over the Bay Bridge.  Too many afternoons stuck in that traffic heading up 80...
We met a great realtor in Twain Harte who helped us clarify what we wanted--maybe 1500 sq. ft, 3 bedrooms, 2 bath, and at least 1 acre.  Mostly, we wanted what we don't already have on the coast.   He set us up with an online response that would ping us anytime something in our price range with our criteria came on the market.  I also went onto and did the same thing in other areas.
Finally, I found about half a dozen homes I wanted to see, so I called Paul and arranged for us to meet him one day.  He showed us 6-7 homes, and after almost making an offer on a ranch style home, I realized one more criteria--I didn't want a home with all the bedrooms on one end-- I wanted a place where the master was separated from the rest.  And one of the places we'd looked at had me oohing and ahhing over the flooring, the pantry, the kitchen and great room layout, the colors that were exactly our taste, and the separated master bedroom suite.  And the fact it was on 4.5 acres didn't hurt either.  No neighbors in sight, which was on the list.  And it's way over 1500 sq. ft. too.  It doesn't seem overwhelming, but I haven't had to clean it yet.  And my friends know I stopped cleaning years ago.  We'll see how long that lasts...

Here's the view from the deck.

Standing on the front porch with Paul.
I love the glass panel--looks almost exactly like what we chose for the glass in our front door in EG!

 We have been buying furniture to create a new space that feels like a welcoming home for us and our friends when they visit.  I brought 3 sets of dishes and glassware and some decorative items from my family home that was cleaned out around the same time I was buying here.  I feel the presence of the Sheldons and Brilliants when I use dishes and items I'd seen in their homes when I was a child.
A pristine set of 24 dishes, plates, soup bowls, and 3 pedestal serving bowls.  I never thought I'd like white, but these are simple and elegant, and I love them.  These were in barrels in my parent's basement for 55 years and came from Germany with my dad's parents in the 30's.
These funny looking things might have been giant ashtrays or just decorative pieces from my maternal grandparents.  I remember them being in their living room along with this Chinese water carrier below.  My mother had both in our living room after her parents died, along with all their living room furniture.  It remained in exactly the same place (and never used) for 50 years until she moved into a senior apartment and brought it with her.   
 A bonus to having bought this house is finding an area with the most friendly, warm, and considerate people.  Everyone we've met has been so great, especially the former owners of our house.  We bought their dining room and bedroom sets and a bookcase, and they gave us a washer and dryer, extra refrigerator, and bed for our guest room (and even moved it into that room).  They even came the day we moved in with a van to help show the movers how to get into the long driveway with the sharp turn and arrived with a bottle of wine for us.  They've also invited to several events, but so far, we've either been too burnt out or not had enough time.  Hopefully we'll slow down soon.  We knew no one here and they have made us feel very welcome.
  We're getting close to furnishing every room.  A few glitches this weekend--like the desk set Matthew bought from Staples was so poorly made it was impossible to put together.  Nothing aligned the way it should and one piece he did finish has 3 places that broke in the process.  We took it back and now he's still without a desk.
 Then he put together a lamp from Lowe's I'd bought for my studio and it tilted to one side due to a stripped shaft.  We then took that back tonight.
 My next rant will be about the cheap crap we're importing from foreign countries (mainly one) that do not work, are of poor quality, have no quality assurance or control, and are a waste of time because invariably they have to be returned to the store.
 I have been buying from antique or previously-owned stores and have found some wonderful real-wood pieces for my studio like this maple table:
and of course, the sideboard that made it through the thunder storm.  Here it is in its new home:

  And so it is not a cabin in the woods, but a house among the trees.  We've been eating outside and loving the quiet.  I do not miss fog.