Dear Friends, Family, and Concerned Citizens,
Those of you who have known us for more than a minute know that we are occasionally prone to make what appear at first glance to be, in your opinions, perhaps a tad spontaneously informed decisions. To our credit and credibility they have, by and large, proved to be excellent and productive ones that were correct for us at the time, and worked to our benefit in the end. We would add that you all have benefitted from them as well over the years as we have taken you on a virtual if not actual, travelogue of fabulous destinations.
With that in mind, we are once again embarking on yet another adventure (hold your questions, outrage, and opinions until the end of the presentation, please) (as a matter of fact, refrain from actual outright incredulity until you come and visit us at least once).
First in the thought process was the fact that while we have totally loved our Great Northwest Adventure, it has become increasingly clear that Portland, particularly the area of the city in which we chose to reside, is rapidly becoming much like our beloved Bay Area that we somewhat reluctantly left eight years ago: Too Cool for School. The influx of Uber-cool humanity with their Made Money, is creating a mini-bubble akin to what happened in Silicon Valley years ago and that continues there still today. The available, affordable, housing market is almost none-existent here and the rents rival those of San Francisco, Manhattan, and other urban meccas. The traffic has taken on an almost unimaginable volume density that is the source of daily amazement.
We are also looking at our Golden Years and coming to a few conclusions:
We want to simplify the outgo of money on housing and taxes.
We want a bit more community that is more easily accessed.
We want to follow the trend this time instead of pioneering the path.
And probably most importantly, we need to engage ourselves with yet another new project before we slip into the somnolent senility of “old age” which we have lately found ourselves dangerously close to crashing headlong into. This may be our last hurrah, it may certainly be our last house, and might possibly be the death of us but in the meantime, we are once again embarking on a very, very, typical “Oh there go Robby and Dave” action adventure.
We went on holiday and once again bought a house. To be a bit more precise, we actually sold our house first….then, realizing we were soon to become homeless, we returned to our holiday destination of the previous week….and bought a house.
It all started, as most of our best misadventures do, on a “Three Hour Tour” with our “old” friends Colton and Chris. We agreed that mid-stream into an amazingly torrential winter here in Portland, some sun and warmth were in order so we jetted off to the Playground of the Nearly Dead and the Plastically Fantastic: Palm Springs. Gilligan’s Island never looked so welcoming. It was as promised, warm and delicious and before we knew it marooned we were soon to become.
Along the way we did what we always do (possibly the only fatal flaw in this particular pungent tube of sunscreen); we looked at homes and gardens…..and “for sale” signs. Nothing too radical, nothing too dangerous, we were in a pack and NOT, I repeat NOT, considering ANYthing…..at the time.
All ended well with the holiday, we went home to the continuing deluge and something odd happened, well maybe not odd knowing me but odd if you know Dave. Independently I “happened” onto The Zillow (more on this in a bit) and started just putting pen to paper as to what the economics of Palm Springs looked like. When my increasingly odd mood became apparent to Dave he asked; “What’s going on?” and in a prescient bit of forethought on his part added “and no, we are not buying a house in Palm Springs.”
Oh how wrong can a person be?
I explained the logical economics of the situation, pointed out a few other realities of the aging process and much to my total amazement he said “Well, go do your due diligence”
More prophetic words were never spoken.
As a lark (no offense to the poor bird of the same name and…………here comes The Zillow chapter) Robby threw Ski Seblar on the “Make Me Sell” portion of Zillow at what we determined was a fair market price. (Of course Zillow does not understand we did a full kitchen remodel and added the “garden shed” office in the back as well as hot tub, etc.) Before the day was out, the perquisite calls from wannabe listing agents began to come in. I explained we had own personal agent and friend but if they had any buyers, feel free to bring them to the table.
In a spark of what we consider divine intervention (or possibly the Devil’s Own Due), a call came in from an agent whose buyer had seen the house on Zillow from their home in Shanghai! He had found our house on Zillow and called his local agent and told her to go preview the house immediately. He had just returned to China from three days of house hunting with her and actually had an offer in on another home but ours had something he really, really, needed to see about. The agent came over in 20 minutes, stayed two hours, and we had a full price offer in less than a day. His Japanese wife and their two under 5yo children needed to get out of the pollution a.s.a.p. and so he was relocating his business and their life to Portland, where else?
Oooops. If we accepted their offer we were about to become homeless. So off we went to see what there was to see in the desert. Like sharks, we must continue to move forward or die……as it were.
Now the initial thought was to look at completely done, mid-century moderns with an eye to changing up our style yet again and easing into old age with some flair and fabulousness. Surprisingly, or not, an amazing place was on the market just up the block from where I used to live exactly 30 years ago in Cathedral Cove; stunning gardens, spectacular pool and spa, views for miles across the desert. We had to see it. We repacked (the laundry was barely dry), and decided to leave in 48 hours to drive back down and stay with our friends Darwin and Jack.
Along the way we realized, after seeing the first house we thought was Perfect on Paper, that is was far from it; too small, no enclosed garage, not enough indoor living space, etc., etc., etc. The reality of our situation began to dawn us. Our buyers want to close by March 11th and homelessness was looming large! The refrain “What have we DONE?” became annoyingly prominent. We negotiated a couple extra weeks in Portland but still……..we agreed and we are on the move.
We broadened the net and began to look at other possibilities. The unfortunate reality about mid centuries is that they were small even in the midst of their century of origin; 1,800 sq ft max and usually around 1,200-1,600. We would kill each other in no time. The net got ever broader.
One thing remained though, our attraction to Cathedral Cove for so many reasons; history, view, funk-appeal; a casual not over-produced neighborhood that was close to Palm Springs but not IN Palm Springs; better values, great proximity.
And so we arrive at Vista Drive.
There was a house, not what we had in mind initially but possessing many really attractive attributes that, in the end, would prove to be our final solution and maybe our ultimate demise.
It was among the largest homes in the Cove at 3,000 sq ft and on the largest lot in the Cove, just under ¾ of an acre. It backs onto the wash, a paradise of privacy with almost no neighbors, amazing views, and incredible hiking trails right outside our pool garden gate.
It was built in 1991 and really hasn’t been touched since. Think mauve carpeting, pale blue kitchen tile and flesh pink bathrooms. See where we’re headed? From the exterior it looks like a Spanish stucco Ranchita with an almost 70’ covered ranch deck in the back overlooking the citrus grove and pool/spa. It has a full basement, unheard of in the valley. It has an 800 sq ft garage, enough for ALL the vehicles plus an amazing stretch of workshop and project space which…..yes, you’ve figured this out now….we will need as we embark on yet another Houzz.com remodel project from another era. We struck at deal at far less than list so we are pleased.
While waiting for the final negotiations to conclude we busied our sleepless nights with research on flooring, lighting, decking and the like. We are now engaged, enthused, and actually feeling energized about life again.
Follow us as we learn to live our next retirement and hopefully provide years more amusement and amazement to you, our beloved family and friends.
And “Come on down!” as Monty Hall would say. I believe there’s a street named for him there as well, right down the hill from 38950 Vista Drive, Cathedral City, CA 92234
If you want to see some BEFORE photos you can find them on the Zillow listing at
But look past the current décor to the future result when we work our magic Phone numbers and emails addresses will remain the same – ain’t technology wonderful?