Going from living in a condo in the canyon to a cottage by the sea, despite the positive move, has tested my temperament. Some of the characteristics that I love about this place can be exasperating. During the summer months after the move, the ocean breeze blew in dust particles from dirt yard, even with the windows shut because these vintage French windows and doors don’t completely seal when closed. I felt like all I did was dust, sweep and vacuum cobwebs. Let it go, I told myself after feeling the calluses building up in my palms. Take a lesson from Lexington and Bobcat, who delighted in rolling around in the dirt yard after clawing what little dried-up patches of grass existed.
Great, now I have to dust off the cats…
Before the dust, dirt and cobwebs got on my last nerve; there were the mysterious black specks in the bathtub. At first glance I thought the specks were dirt and washed them down the drain. But the “dirt” returned; black specks scattered on the tub floor, some stuck to the inner sides of the tub and a few scattered on the glass block wall facing the tub. Before each shower, I washed the black specks away, but they always came back. I started to suspect that the black specks were not dirt, but what else could they be? My friend Wendy came over to help me unpack on day four of living in the cottage. I showed her the black specks in the bathtub. Wendy examined the specks and after a few seconds announced: “One moved!” “WHAT?” I put on my glasses for a closer look to see that the round specks had tiny legs. Lovely…I had bathtub bugs. My lease had a legally mandated disclosure about bed bugs, but said nothing about bathtub bugs.
But the joys of cottage living far outweigh the frustrations, and the frustrations have strengthened my character.
The yard is now a verdant meadow of grass and three-leaf clovers, and a stop along the way for rabbits looking for something to nibble. One brave rabbit hopped its way up to the porch. The cats, who’d never before seen a rabbit, were noses to the window, fixated on the cute little creature.
Melodious chirps and tweets of songbirds in the trees and perched on the old picket fence posts serenade me every morning. The other day a red-tailed hawk landed on the lattice entry gate to the side yard patio, looked me in the eye through the windows then gracefully flew off.
And at night, I fall asleep to the eerie screech of a barn owl who lives in one of the king palm trees. These furry and feathered visitors arouse the cats’ hunting instincts, keeping them entertained. And I feel like we’ve moved to an enchanted forest from a classic Disney movie.
As for the bathtub bugs…they are gone for good. Thank you, Terminix.