As I sit here at the cabin waiting for paint to dry, I realize that Memorial Day weekend, two years ago, we moved in. I think that has to be the strangest, funniest, and most unusual move ever.
My husband and I used to go for drives all the time – up Kern Canyon, to Gorman Post Road, Rancheria Road at dusk to look for animals – but we hadn’t done that in a long time. So approximately two years five months ago, I said, “I’d like to take a ride up the canyon.” We did, we stopped at Cheryl’s Diner for lunch, and here’s how it went from there.
The Surprise Quest
- We talk about how we’ll never leave Bakersfield, even though our kids and my sister and even we are always talking about escaping.
- We talk about how everyone wants a place close to nature, with wildlife, better air, etc.
- I have a V8 moment: we could BUY A CABIN close by that anyone in the family could use to get away!
- We quickly do calculations in our head to see if we can afford it.
- We start for home and pass Alta Sierra.
- We see an open house sign and go in.
- We go back the next day and make an offer.
- We start escrow and then pull out when we find out improvements were made without building permits.
The Right Place
- Once started, momentum builds until we find the cabin we want.
- Being us, it doesn’t take very long. Why confuse ourselves with too many choices?
- To get to this cabin to see it, however, we hike about ½ mile in deep snow.
- Our realtor slips and slides behind us in her Uggs.
- We get there, stand on the balcony, look down, and see a plowed road. All the hiking for naught.
- Mark gets the car and brings it to us.
- We make the offer and wait for the brand new cabin (ok, a two-story house) to be finished.
- Ikea becomes our best friend.
- We make scale models of the rooms and scale models of the beds we liked at Ikea
- “We” means my husband because I can’t make anything precise that has numbers involved.
- Goal – sleep as many people as possible.
- We move the little beds around the little rooms and find we can sleep 12 if we buy two bunks that are queen sized on the bottom and single on the top. Plus four beds and regular bunks.
- We make trip after trip to Ikea in Burbank, 90 miles away.
- Once, we pick up my sister at the Burbank airport and barely have room for her in the car. Yes, we’d been to Ikea.
The Move, Memorial Day Weekend, 2008
That’s the cabin way up there. The U-haul is in the neighbor’s driveway.
- Rent the U-haul.
- Enlist as many people as we can to help, which is the grandkids, our daughter, and her husband. My brother showed up for a while too.
- Drive the U-haul and crammed cars and find we can make it easier by parking the U-haul in the neighbor’s driveway.
- Begin to understand just how steep our driveway (which is dirt) is as innumerable trips are made to the car.
- Realize stairs would be very helpful.
- Finally get it all in, realizing that tired Mark and Matt have to assemble all the beds by bedtime.
- Have the grandkids assemble all the lamps so we’ll have plenty of light.
- Turn on the faucets and find out we have NO HOT WATER!
- Call the builder in a panic, leave a message, figure out how to configure dial-up internet and send the builder an email.
- Get no response.
- Call the electrician whose name the builder gave us.
- Watch the ELECTRICITY go out, negating the rush to put the lamps together.
- TRY NOT TO PANIC EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW NOTHING ABOUT LIVING IN THE MOUNTAINS AND PROPANE TANKS AND SEPTIC SYSTEMS AND WHO TO ASK FOR ANYTHING.
- Calm down
- Walk a couple of houses away, find out their electricity is out also, borrow candles, and go out to dinner.
- Laugh so hard on the way back from dinner, probably about nothing at all although cows figured in, that emergency restroom moments occur.
- The ELECTRICITY IS ON.
- The electrician has stopped by just out of kindness (Matt didn’t go to dinner) and says the hot water heater is no good.
- Send more panicked messages to builder.
- Listen to your daughter tell the kids that they CANNOT STAY all weekend and they’ll be leaving the next day.
- Endure general displeasure.
- Get up Sunday morning to find the Bakersfield Six (grandkids) have made PROTEST SIGNS and “chained” themselves to the beds to prevent leaving.
- Have mom waver on leaving.
- Continue unpacking, go to Lake Isabella to pick up some needed items from a city that has a good hardware store, a Vons, but not much else. Oh yes, a McDonalds.
- Return to find the kids washing their hair in COLD WATER just to prove they can do it without hot water.
Walking down to the Greenhorn Grill for lunch
- Go to lunch, get seated, look at the table next to us, and it’s OUR BUILDER who has not returned any messages.
- He says, “after I finish eating, I’ll install a NEW HOT WATER HEATER I have in my truck.” (He only lives about 4 HOURS away.)
- His name changes from BUILDER to GOD.
- The mood lightens.
- We see a deer.
- Even though it’s Memorial Day, it lightly snows.
The rest of the weekend proceeds smoothly, but wow, what an introduction.
AND THEN we proceed to enjoy the cabin. Mark builds stairs, we get asphalt put on the driveway, and we spend quite a bit of time up there. I love going up alone. I don’t think I’d be doing art if it weren’t for the cabin. The kids come up, we sled in the winter, laze in the summer, and do a whole lot of nothing.
We have our Chinese lanterns on the balcony and I have my Star Trek flag hanging.
This is the wildlife we’ve seen, mostly on the drive up and back.
Wild turkey chicks
Martin – it was amazing to see a martin
Wildcats – I’ve seen four!
Looking back at older posts, I see I’ve written lots about cabin adventures. I don’t think my husband is enjoying it very much – yet – but this year we can work on that. The rest of the family loves it. During these years, retired but not old, family seems to be what it’s all about. Giving your family good times and pleasure is everything.