By Carol Pearlman



Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.
                                                                                                                          ― Rumi

HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa

                                                                                                                         — Carol


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: 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.



  1. July 26, 2014 @ 1:31 pm Salty Dog

    I liked your first contribution to this site…a nice humanistic touch examining the trials and tribulations of moving from one comfort zone to one, not so much, or at least not so known. Easy to identify with in this highly mobile world.

    But this latest addition leaves me a bit irritated or perhaps wary of you, the interloper from L.A. where your glass was always apparently half full and perhaps positively over flowing at times. Wary, because half your essay is now devoted to being a glass half empty in Vallejo in which nothing is quite good enough and, I suggest, an undercurrent of entitlement requiring freebees and work in exchange for a feminine smile to keep your unbalanced world spinning.

    In short, neurotic for sure if you believe it defines your new found residence in Vallejo as causational to the neurosis. Tell you what, I’ll buy your book if you purchase mine:, “Immigrated to Australia on a Sixty Foot Schooner,Sidelined in San Francisco by a Summer Pacific Storm and Living Aboard with Two Teenage Kids for Seven Years Before Landing in A Vallejo Foreclosure -a Salty Dog Canuck Tribute to Waiting for the Bubble to Burst. Bit of a mouthfull p’raps. lol. $24.95 for the hard book copy.


    • July 26, 2014 @ 1:57 pm Salty Dog

      Update: My publisher advises the title is too long, damn.

      “Stranded in Vallejo and Waiting for a Green Card” is the latest. $2.95 for the paperback.


  2. Monica

    July 26, 2014 @ 7:27 pm Monica

    Dear, dear Carol,
    Had you asked, we would have warned you away from that location, pointed you toward the best workers in the area, and helped you move in. I am so sorry that you are having second thoughts (but no regrets), and we welcome you into the fold. Please keep in touch with the Vallejo Heights neighborhood: we haven’t seen you in too long.


  3. July 27, 2014 @ 3:17 pm wharf rat

    Soon you will get into the Vallejo routine , many of us practice every day ..
    Replacing your third car after the first two were stollen and torched .
    daily, counting the bullet holes in your walls.
    enjoying your morning coffee and paper while wearing a bullet-proof vest.
    Upon rising in the morning , looking outside (not at the weather) but to see if your car is still there.


  4. July 28, 2014 @ 5:19 am Reentje

    I moved from Vallejo to The San Fernando Valley in 1998. Never looked back; best move ever. I do not envy you. You should have moved to Benicia. Anyway, too late now eh? Good luck!


  5. July 30, 2014 @ 4:47 pm OjaiFireAgni

    Hey Carol,
    1) your courage is much admired — you’ve just begun! Good journey — a Great journey is ahead …
    2) have a truly trustworthy helper and handyman in my neighborhood who costs a couple of dimes on the dollar;
    3) we have 5 or 6 communities garden that began in 2014, and 1-that began in 2011 — be glad to bring or donate some nice plants for your home — visit,,; http://www.ThisisVallejo.Com
    4) there are great cute places to eat — try them in August (a) Olive Garden (b) Lileds Chocolate/Icecream on Tennessee St. (c) El Nopal on Virginia (d) Good Day Cafe on Georgia (e) VEG on Sanoma/Popeyes plaza (f) Chine Cafe & Chine Wok on Georgia/Sacramento downtown areas…. (g) Empress Theater on movie night days … Wednesdays; (h) SPAS — have to ask my women friends for a decent place to try…. (i) Sardine Can on Mare Is.Pkway, next to Zeo Friedo….. (j) The Front Romm & Vic’s Wheelhouse near Ferry Terminal…
    (k) The club House on Mare Island Golf Club — truly serene place to have a dog/burger and beer/wine…
    5) come join your Neighborhood Watch Groups — you will make good friends and fast;
    6) attend a City Hall Meeting or two — you will catch up fast and join good community volunteers; you can even shake hands with our 7 council members and Manager some of whom will be very friendly…
    7) walk into THE HUB on Georgia/Marin or the other art places around — you will connect
    9) Character Saloon on Tennessee/Sacramento; Townhouse on Georgia; Coconut Grove off Georgia/Hwy80
    10) MORE ….. if you are interested.

    Things are turning around for 2 to 5 years now in Vallejo — just visit the PB website !!! Vallejo-PB.Org
    You, like the rest of us, are going to be okay — enjoy your grand kids — ENJOY VALLEJO ! It’s yours NOW.


  6. July 30, 2014 @ 9:03 pm bloom where planted

    Sorry to hear you’ve crossed a rough patch, but I have to say, your “honeymoon” letters are more fun to read than the whiny bits. Ah well, that’s life.

    Not sure that shoddy housekeepers and careless contractors are exclusive to Vallejo. If you haven’t dealt with flaky contractors before, it can be rough. There are plenty of careful contractors, and also loads who can drive you around the bend.

    Regarding good furniture, Craigslist is an excellent option. You can often find just what you want, and frequently at a very good deal. Plus, it can introduce you to areas you might never see and people you might not otherwise meet. BTW, Craigslist also has a building materials area. You’d be surprised how often a contractor might mis-order, or the clients change their mind, or reno projects get cancelled. You can get new materials for a fraction of the cost.

    Best way to feel more at home — whether here or elsewhere? Get involved. If you’re on the sidelines as a spectator, it’s almost always more frustrating.


  7. August 1, 2014 @ 10:58 am craig-

    You really do have a book and I ordered it for my Kindle. You have seen a lot. Be nice to meet the author.


  8. August 2, 2014 @ 9:21 am Joe Schmoe

    Honey moons over huh sistah? Where ever you go there you are. Vallejo is always what you make of it. It’s lemon aid to the opportunist and rotten lemons to the folks who sit on there hands. What ever you do, realize this… You can have an artful beautiful life here if you choose. Or you can become bitter and fake like the promoters (so they call them selves) of this town. It serves you in no way to become forlorn over moving from Hollywood. At the end of the day you still have access to the entire Bay Area . Vallejo has the best weather, better people . It is a humble town with proud people. Some functional, some well…. Some stoned welfare serialists who want to be famous with out any of the work. It’s a dis functional town with bad leadership. But the citizens are gold. It’s a mixed bag like the mono culture of west Hollywood it has some good and some bad. Don’t regret your move…accept it and make it what you will. Over all you can find a quality of life hard to argue with. Napa close, SF close… Everything is relative… Before you get the blues get real with the gifts even yet discovered here…. The town will reshape you. You will like yourself better if you see that.


    • August 2, 2014 @ 11:32 am Salty Dog

      Joe Shmoe,,,,,you are no shmuck. Well put.


  9. August 4, 2014 @ 12:51 am Chris

    Perhaps it’s been mentioned before, but Java Jax is the downtown coffee house of choice for many in this town. Breakfast bites and more, art and more often photography on exhibit. And an easy walk to the Saturday Farmer’s Market as well.


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