By Carol Pearlman
Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.
HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa
It’s been six months since my first story appeared in the Vallejo Independent Bulletin. In it I asked, Can I Do It? Can I leave my cushy life in Los Angeles, the perfect weather, a spacious rent-controlled Spanish style apartment, the Hollywood YMCA indoor pool, the Korean Spa scrub, the Hollywood Crossroads Trading shop, all that world-class culture, and a wonderful group of brilliant, talented, time-tested, loving friends?
The answer came back loud & clear. Do it! And this is what I have to say:
Buying a condo is easy; moving is hard; It should be forbidden to people who are old & alone. I sit and stare at taped-up packing cases gathering dust on the living room floor, and have no idea where to put the contents; I need shelves, book-cases, closets, cabinets and drawers — luxuries I took for granted back in West Hollywood a few weeks ago.
Here in my chair I’m unable to ignore the high-speed car/bus/truck-chase action/adventure-movie whizzing madly by, a few inches away from the large, sliding-door windows that face the river. How did I not notice the traffic before I bought the condo? Or the dust? Did I mention I came to Vallejo for the good air?
I don’t know if I’ll ever get everything unpacked. I’m not strong enough, I need help. I wheedle favors out of anyone who crosses my threshold: please help me carry this out to my garage; please lift this & put it there. Help me, please.
Workers disappoint me: I’ve reported Cathy’s cleaning service to the Better Business Bureau for not cleaning my house the day before I arrived as they were paid to do. They were hired to swab down kitchen & bathroom shelves & drawers, and clean the new floor with the product provided, but they did none of that. I don’t know what they did beside take the money.
My contractor, “R”, a highly sensitive soul who thinks he can do anything, needs to redo my bedroom’s concrete floor, which he handled wrong. His wallpaper job is a joke; I try not to notice it. I figure if I can get used to the traffic noise I can get used to anything – but not my bedroom floor. He’s got to fix that floor.
I’m told my neighbors watched in shock and awe when the 70 foot Bekins Movers truck traversed the narrow gates of my community like the Queen Mary entering the Panama Canal. What they didn’t know was that I was but one of four households being transported in that huge 24 wheeled monster. Now, everyone in the complex wants to see my place, but the idea of performing show & tell for neighbors is abhorrent. I’m not Jackie in the White House. I vant to bee ahlone.
The Bekins moving-in process was badly understaffed; it took twelve hours, & left me in pain and barely alive. They chipped the enamel on my brand new stove, lost a lamp table, the casters of a file cabinet, and shelves of a book case, which I’ve spent days trying to replace, to no avail. My brain is numb, every muscle in my body aches, it’s been nearly 3 weeks since that fateful truck delivered my things, & I wonder if I’ll ever recover. I need a vacation. I want to go back to L.A. for a good Korean body scrub, one of the great pleasures I enjoyed in that city. Are there any Korean spas in this region?
Now I’ve gotten this off my chest, let me say it’s not all bad. I’m glad to be in Vallejo near my grandkids who’ve come to visit a few times & show their joy by jumping on grandma’s furniture. I have great neighbors. The lady next door treated me to a delicious champagne dinner in Napa for my birthday. Another invited me to join her watching the fireworks on the 4th. of July, and another neighbor, too good to be true, showed up one day with a small vacuum cleaner & brush, & proceeded to clean out all the plaster & dirt from the tracks of my sliding doors. He also hosed down my screen door, dried it with a towel, & loaned me a slew of needed items.
Sad to say I have no patio furniture, nothing to sit on outdoors while watching the car chases & homeless souls who parade daily in front of my home. Nor have I any plants or greenery to hide behind & muffle noise, or the energy to go out looking for them; I don’t even know where to look for that stuff, none of which should be new, but good, attractive, made of wood, and not expensive. Anyone?
I’m looking forward to the day when I can leave the moving-in project & venture outside my four walls, which I’ll do as soon as I unpack my clothes, which are strewn all over the bedroom floor, waiting for shelves to appear. That’ll be after the third week in August, when my carpenter returns from vacation in Alaska. Ditto for the books stacked in piles on the guest bedroom floor, waiting for book cases. I guess I won’t be receiving any guests for a while.
Haven’t had time to visit Moschetti’s for Saturday morning coffee-tasting, & meeting all the groovy people who go there. But I do go regularly to the Saturday Farmer’s Market, and that world-class fish market in Seafood City. Of course my kitchen is all unpacked & organized & put away; I do, above all, need to eat good, fresh food.
Did I mention it took three hours door to door last Sunday to visit my kids in San Francisco by ferry? How was I supposed to know about the crowds going to the baseball game in the city, or figure out where to find the bus stops for the N,KH,or 1 once I got there? Now that I know I’ll get there faster next time – two hours, if I’m lucky.
And yet, after all is said & done, I wish to say, as the great Piaf said before me, Non, je ne regrette rien, I regret nothing. I’m glad I did what I did, and happy I moved to Vallejo. Every few hours I remember that I’m having fun, making new friends, learning new things, overcoming all obstacles, and that I’m a very lucky lady to start a new life at this late stage of the game. I believe that as soon as I get unpacked I’ll live a peaceful life again, reading & writing, swimming & exercising, turning pages of the newspaper while drinking my coffee in the morning. I just need to get some shelves & the floors redone, a couple of chairs for the dining room, furniture for the patio, a few green plants….
I want to mention, also, that my memoir was published on the day I moved into my condo in Vallejo. I didn’t plan it that way, but that’s how it happened, and now I’ve got no time to promote the darned thing, as I should. So, I hope my editor won’t censor this shameless bit of self-promotion and allow me say to the readers of VIB, please buy my book. It’s on Amazon Kindle books. Someone told me the IPad has a kindle reader. The title is FLATBUSH PRINCESS. You could also go to my website: flatbushprincess.com. It’s only $2.99 and I need some reviews, and a few bucks. Please tell your friends if you liked it, and please write a review. Thank you.