Ground Bound Update
11 May 2011 | Claremont, California
Friends and family,
I haven't written since we've returned to the Land of Too Many Choices, and thought I'd give an update on how we're adapting to our land-lubbing life.
We're house sitting for friends in Claremont, California, readying said house for sale with the help and guidance of said friends, the Deeses. Yard work, - lots of it - cleaning, overseeing and working with painters, tree-trimmers, wood-pile removers, carpet stretchers, art collectors, and fence people. It's been a powerful push to get things up to a certain level of presentability for the sagging real estate market, but we're very near, and for me it's been great fun. Digging in the dirt after the aquatic life has been very, yes, earthy.
We've also been taking advantage of much this area of Southern California has to offer. Being my hometown, I have a natural affinity for all things Claremont. The smell of spring -- wild sage and eucalyptus, blooming citrus, and even the mineral smell of warm dirt are the familiar scents which make me feel at home. The downtown area of Claremont's Village, often used as a backdrop for Hollywood films, is as delightful as ever. Speckled with college students from around the world, a healthy senior community and a myriad of intelligent, interesting professionals from conservative attorneys to the ubiquitous liberal artists, with a few liberal attorneys and some conservative artists tossed in for balance, this town is never boring. Allan's dad is around the corner and my sister is down the street. Max the Cat is a just a mile away and the house I grew up in is right next door. And I'm pretty sure the gray cat who saunters through the yard on occasion is a descendent of the wild cat we used to call "Untouchable," who lurked and sauntered 35 years ago.
We've re-established a presence at Cable Airport in nearby Upland, reputed to be the largest family-owned airport in the world, where I've been a fixture since I was 17. I got my first airport job in the flight school there as a desk chickie, (aka counter cutie) and in subsequent years flight instructed, and had three planes, one at a time, in a hangar on the north side of the field. Our dear friends Chuck and Mary hold down the fort at the most sociable hangar on the planet. Known as "The Tumbling Gyro," it's outfitted it with a full bar, kitchen, bathroom, workshop, an elevator to Mary's second-floor office, and - oh yeah - it actually does have an airplane. The Tumbled Gyro serves as the "Cheers" of Cable Airport, the place to go for a cold soda or a drink after a day of whatever anyone's day might be filled with. Chuck and Mary have been a stabilizing force in my life for many years, and their generosity knows few bounds. Recently they even offered their airplane for our use to get current in single engine planes, which Allan did last week and I am looking forward to doing tomorrow morning.
As I write we are in the company of Allan's brother Mark and his wife Pam, (pictured above with us at Fullerton Airport) who flew their 4-seat Mooney from Texas for a 12-day holiday that encompassed Mother's Day and the Planes of Fame Airshow at Chino Airport this weekend. We've been bopping about the southland in cars and planes, staying and hanging with family, moving about like nomads.
Oh, and that's the other thing: stability. Did I use that word in a sentence earlier on? Because if I did, it was misleading. There's really no domestic stability in our lives, although I'm not complaining. If there's one thing that came out of the last 2 years - fraught with and underscored by instability -- it's that taking it all one day at a time really is the best, and easiest way to live. After we shake off the mild confusion every morning, and have more-or-less successfully answered the questions "where are we?" and more importantly, "what's for breakfast?" we just go with the flow. Since our return we've slept in no fewer than 6 beds, packing and unpacking, in a perpetual state of putting even smaller versions of our stuff into duffel bags to cart to the next place for a few days. We've taken to always bringing our own sheets and pillows for some semblance of familiarity, which, for me, is quite calming. We'll continue this bed-hopping for a few more months. Right now we're staying with Mark and Pam at Allan's dad's house while Deeses are in town for a week. Then we'll move back until we do a little more travelling, hoping for a trip to Texas, some time in California's Bay Area and a few days in New Mexico, with more visits to the mom's in Oxnard and Santa Maria. We return to our jobs sometime in July, when we'll sleep in hotels for recurrent training in Colorado and Kentucky. It won't be until September when we move back into our home in Oxnard that some level of domestic stability will return to our lives, but as long as the day starts with a hot cup of coffee -- preferably with a nice dollop of half-and-half - and as long as we can share it together, we're fine.
Since we've been back we've attended a wedding, a funeral, an 80th birthday party, the symphony and the theatre. We've spent good time with our families and realize more than ever before how important they are. We've loosely reconnected with the church I attended 10 years ago and which has conveniently moved down the street. We've flown in 8TN, Chuck and Mary's Cessna 172 and sailed on s/v Our Escape, Allan's dad's Catalina 36. We've become accustomed once again to the grocery aisles and their dizzying and almost embarrassing abundance. We've stuffed things into our storeroom and yanked other things out. We have roofs over our head, beds under our backs, and coffee in the pot. It's as good as ever.