When it rains in Palm Springs…

Our country is suffering through drastic winter storms. With Valentine’s Day quietly passing us by this weekend, I remembered two years ago when I felt I was fighting Mother Nature to save our 1930s Palm Springs home. I’m sure it wasn’t as bad as what people are suffering with right now — loss of power and extreme weather — but It was a battle for hours as the biggest rain storm in decades pounded our desert.

Desert Sun 2019 flood photo

Photo from The Desert Sun

When it rains in Palm Springs I usually welcome it. Growing up near Seattle, I’m used to rain. It smells so good and makes everything green and refreshed. But, when it rains hard in Palm Springs, it can be a nightmare. And Valentine’s Day 2019 was one of those days.

I enjoyed listening to the rain on the roof the night before. But in the morning, I heard a “drip, drip” that sounded too close for comfort. I kept waking up and checking on the house from 3 to 6 a.m. Everything was okay besides a drip in my bedroom. By 6:30 a.m. our patio and garage had flooded and the water seeped in through the bottom of the French doors. By 8 a.m. the water was puddling in our living room and making it’s way across the entire room.

I battled the flooding in the house with towels. Heavy, rain drenched towels that I wrung out in the tub and threw into the dryer. Back breaking work after several hours and the rain was winning. The floor was completely covered by an inch or two of water.

My husband left for work at 6 a.m. that morning, but as the weather got worse, he decided to head back home. He bought two sump pumps on the way and had to stand in line for them at the hardware store. What a romantic Valentine’s Day present, right?

 

The sump pumps were game changers! I took a break from fighting the flood to look online to see how other people in Palm Springs were doing. Screen Shot 2019-02-14 at 1.38.11 PM

There were numerous accidents on the freeway and roads. Schools and businesses closed. We were told to hunker down at home. Screen Shot 2019-02-14 at 1.37.37 PM

The worst of the rain was still to come. I know we needed the rain–but really, did it all have to come down in one day?

Here’s a youtube video near the Indian Canyons:

 

Surprise visit for the pups

One thing I miss about Palm Springs is the park and pups. There are several groups of dog owners that meet and walk their dogs together and let them play. Three years ago, we had our daughter and Waffes the pug home for Christmas and the small dog group did this:

Mt. San Jacinto

The view from our park.

Our neighborhood park is an integral part of my life. I take at least one walk to and around the park every day, enjoying the gorgeous views of Mt. San Jacinto. I’ve walked countless miles around the park for years.

When the kids were young, I’d meet several other moms at the park and we’d sit on blankets on the grass while we watched our kids swing, climb and slide. The park is where we’d go when our kids would get some sort of flying gift like a simple glider, kite or a remote control plane or rocket. When the kids had friends over, they’d go to the park to play ultimate frisbee.

With my daughter at home for Christmas break with her 16-month-old pug Waffles, I’ve learned something new about our park. It’s a great place to meet other dog owners. In fact, we found a group who gather in the afternoons and let their little dogs play. Waffles, who is not at all shy, is trying to take over the group and loves chasing and being chased.

 

I’m not sure he’s all that welcome in this exclusive club, except by the two lady pugs, Mona and Sadie. The highlight yesterday was a surprise visit by Santa. Waffles, who thinks he’s a media star, thought all the pictures with Santa should include him. My daughter had to pull him out of other puppy pics more than once.

pug licking Santa's face

Waffles with Santa at the park.

Where is your special outdoor place in your life?

 

Counting down to change: 17 days to go

old spanish style house

My dream home of 28 years.

The movers are scheduled. I’m busy with lists of things to do from canceling utilities to signing up for high speed internet. It’s been 28 years in this beautiful old house. It was my dream house and I never wanted to move. Ever.

But my husband has. He’s brought it up for several years. At first I answered with sobs and tears. Finally, I acquiesced. But I had a last ditch plan. I thought we should test the market, because it’s super crazy hot. I wanted to list the house really, really high. So high that nobody would make an offer. So we did and it sold in three hours with two offers above asking price.

archway gate to casa

The entrance to our home.

Now moving is my new reality. There are things that made me want to move, too. One was the sports arena that was going in a block from our house with no plans for adequate parking. But that got nixed. Then there’s the hotel across the street with guests bringing their dogs over to our lawn to do their business. And the loud music and parties. I’m over that. But the hotel is bankrupt now, so it’s been quiet, which probably means it was a good time to sell our house. Then there are the people who drive the wrong way down our street, whipping around the corner of our house. My son and husband both got hit backing out of the driveway.

Most of all, it costs too much to live in this old house and in California. Plus, there’s our homeless guy who thinks he owns the house and peeks through our bedroom windows.

My kids were so upset. And rightfully so. This is the only home they’ve ever lived in. It’s their lifetime home until they left for college and then on to adulthood.

I know the move is for the best, but my emotions have been up and down and all over the place. I think it happened too fast. Three hours was not long enough to wrap my head around the move. Sometimes I’m so excited to try a new adventure. Other times, I’m teary eyed.

view of gorgeous Palm Springs backyard

I’ll miss this.

Have you ever moved? Were you excited or sad?

 

What I saw yesterday morning was a sheer delight

Yesterday I decided to mix it up a bit and instead of walking on my usual route around the park, I went downtown. Our house is a few blocks from the main street of Palm Springs called Palm Canyon Drive. Lately, I haven’t liked what I’ve seen downtown. Many shops and restaurants have closed and the homeless seem to be everywhere, sleeping on benches and in alley ways. Every few weeks I check it out to see how it looks.

It seemed to be a brighter and happier place yesterday. More shops were open, very few vacancies and I didn’t see more than two homeless people. I was especially delighted with the roadrunner, who I almost missed! I was walking right by the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center when I spotted him. I liked how he posed by the star on the sidewalk. Our city placed stars of prominent citizens and celebrities throughout Palm Canyon Drive.

Here are a few other highlights from my stroll downtown:

Donald Wexler building Palm Springs

My husband’s old office building designed by Donald Wexler.

Christmas tree next to palm trees

A Christmas tree at Francis Stevens Park among the palms.

smidge of a rainbow

Sparkling sky. Is it a smidgeon of a rainbow?

What delightful things have you encountered during your sheltering in place days?

Day 220: Time for another shutdown?

I am looking back on this crazy year called 2020. We went through all these days of sheltering in place, yet my little resort town has been busier than ever. The grocery stores are packed. The airbnbs are all booked. I don’t see people sheltering in place as much as they are flocking to Palm Springs.

Does all the visitors to our town help during Coronavirus? It’s something I don’t understand.

Palm trees at sunsnet

A beautiful sunset view from my home.

It mostly younger people coming in small groups. I think they may be working remotely or not working at all and feel the need to get out of their cramped city spaces and spread their wings.

I feel the need to get out as well. I think being stuck at home for days on end is wearing on a lot of people’s nerves. I know my kids and many other young adults are experiencing anxiety, depression and all sorts bad thoughts from this lurch away from “normal.”

When I ask if we’re headed for another shutdown, what I mean to ask is will this one ever end?

Is anyone else feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or confined? If so, what are you doing to feel better?

Blue sky and palm trees are attracting visitors.

Diving back in!

swimming pool in Palm Springs

Our beautiful city pool where our team practices.

Today I am returning to the pool. I’m nervous yet excited. I haven’t been swimming at the city pool for months — since February would be my best guess. The pool quickly shut down when shelter-in-place began in March. It reopened while we were out of town in August.

Although I keep saying that swimming outdoors should be perfectly safe, I’ve been a little bit afraid to swim anywhere but in my backyard. I tried swimming at home with a bungee cord, which is hard because it’s boring! Plus it’s swimming against resistance.

I see one of my Piranha Masters friends at the park during my morning walks. He’s been swimming three times a week and asked me to join him this week. It’s been my goal to return to swimming, so I’m diving back in. I’ve also invited Linda, my Masters buddy to join us.

I think getting back in the swim of things is going to make a big improvement to my overall health — physically and mentally.

It’s time to get ready. I wonder if my swimsuit still fits?

bungee swimming in pool

My daughter using the bungee in our backyard.

What are you doing to stay healthy during this COVID-19 year?

Day 40: Shelter in Place

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Robolights

Amazing that it’s been 40 days and the three of us are still speaking to each other. I will say the novelty of my husband working from home has worn off. Having my daughter home has been a rare treat — although I’m not sure she’d say the same.

We have to walk early in the morning because the sun gets too hot by 8 a.m. What is surprising is the number of people out and about has quadrupled this week. I think it’s because we’re all out at the same time to avoid the heat. Yesterday and today, I went for my daily walk to the park and just don’t want to be that close to other people. So, I’ve veered off to walk the streets of our neighborhood. I enjoy looking at the architecture and landscaping. One house is famous for its Christmas display called Robolights. The artist, Kenny Irwin, has worked on this place for more than 30 years and it’s quite fascinating even without its hundreds of thousands — or millions — lights that glow during Christmastime. Here’s a story about the future of Robolights which may move out of the city due to unhappy neighbors and zoning regulations.

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Robolights statues.

Something fun we’ve been enjoyed is playing smash ball in the pool. It’s a game we played at the beach for years. We end up laughing and smiling and staying cool while it’s more than 100 degrees outside. We’ve played so much that I can barely raise my arm.

Major accomplishments that my daughter and I have done are cleaning out the food cupboards and the laundry room plus making homemade tamales. I’m almost done with another goal — cleaning out and reorganizing all our files. That’s something I’ve dreaded doing but have needed to do since we remodeled the guest room a few years ago and everything got thrown into boxes. A few more weeks of this shelter in place and my home may be more organized than it ever was before.

Life seems scary at times, but we are all in this together. I love my family and friends and I don’t know if we’ll have a new normal or not. But, we will continue on.

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Frank Sinatra Estate

What are your favorite things to pass the time during shelter in place?