Brown rice miso soup has become my Forestville Retreat staple (what’s this all about? Read part 1). No protein added, just some sliced green onions and organic beef broth. The paste smells like something you’d scrape from under a toenail but it somehow transforms into a tasty, warm treat. The (recommended) brand is Westbrae Natural, purchased for a pretty penny at Whole Foods but a Tablespoon is all you need for a whole pot. (Find it near you)
The new, groovy, disco Whole Foods in Santa Rosa (sans mirrored ball) is by far my favorite grocery hangout I’ve encountered since moving to California in early March. I loathe clothes shopping but my husband says I could spend an afternoon at the grocery store ogling my organic options. This location has a reason to spend that kind of time… they have a local wine and beer bar in the middle of the store. Yep, you read that right… between the meat and cheese sections is a full-on local wine and beer bar. And it’s a hoppin’ happy hour on Friday nights. Seems kinda strange to me but the crowd looked young, hip and thirsty. Brilliant. But not sure what that says about the nightlife scene in Santa Rosa…?
The last time I came back from Tampa, I brought my orange tabby cat, Tang, to The Retreat. He bravely – and thankfully, quietly — endured the 15 hour flight plus shuttle plus car ride to Forestville. So now it’s Tang and the Tree People. I share 300 square feet with a large orange tabby. He’s extraordinarily happy since he has me all to himself, instead of sharing with his kitty housemates. He sheds everywhere but hasn’t relieved himself in an inappropriate ways. I’m grateful since my landlord reluctantly agreed to let me house him in the Retreat.
It’s not easy finding a pet-friendly house in Santa Rosa. In addition to shopping for a rental that accepts 4-legged creatures, a potential landlord has the right to ask you everything except what brand of toothpaste you use, but they exercise it freely and shamelessly. The flooded foreclosure market has turned the rental market into the tightest supply and demand cycle in history. Open houses on a random Tuesday afternoon cram in 20 couples, all vying for the opportunity to apply for a place to hang a hat. Or two.
So landlords can be really, really picky.
My husband and I, both with meticulously maintained credit, are a landlord’s dream. Employed, professional, no kids and no large, drooling dogs. [Shameless side note: I’d love to have that in our house we’re renting in Tampa. Know anyone looking that fits that bill? Please let me know]. Contrary to popular belief, outside of San Francisco, housing prices aren’t that obnoxious. But for every house under $2000 per month, there’s a line of people waiting to rent it. So I had to beat out an uppity-looking, Mercedes-driving chick for a recent house I saw on Craig’s List. Great neighborhood, walking distance to bars/restaurants, 3/2, dream kitchen with new, gas-powered stainless steel appliances, pet-friendly, lots of sun in the backyard and lawn service included. No washer/dryer, but who’s getting greedy with competition nipping at my homeless heels? As I did at every other open house, I sized up the competition and only Mercedes chick had the potential to beat us out. Let the bitch slapping begin. It took me 3 hours to gather the tedious and frankly intrusive paperwork, then endure an “interview” by the property company to make sure I wasn’t a serial killer. Like competing on an episode of Amazing Race, I anxiously awaited a call to hear we were the winning couple. Then one day, on the road to somewhere, I had a brainstorm.
I called my new BFF, Norma the Property Manager aka liaison to potential landlord, and asked if I could include a marketing piece about Scott and me. The logic was like writing a kickass cover letter, pimping our strengths — basically telling the landlord how fabulous we are and how renting to anyone else would simply be a stupid move.
It must’ve worked. A couple days later, after a few more anxious calls to Norma, we got word that Mercedes chick was history. I sang We Are the Champions to Scott on the phone, plunked down our initial deposit and breathed a massive sigh of relief. Scott, Tang, Cosmo and me will have our first place to live in California.
Addendum (because I just couldn’t resist sharing this):
I’m writing this in downtown Forestville’s laundrymat (read more about this rockin’ hippy town), observing an angry-looking woman in dirty, pink flowered rainboots (it’s 75 degrees out and sunny), red Hawaiian shirt and dirty blue cargo pants shove her clothes into a dryer. I’m not sure she understands the concept that if you overstuff a dryer, it will take twice as long to coax the water out of the fibers. Feels like college all over again.