My Story, Yours Too.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Woman on the Verge of Paradise: God Bless John Denver

Sign reads: "May you find Paradise to be all its name implies."

“Country roads…” I sang with the gusto of an American Idol reject.

“…Take me home!”

I arrived in Paradise, lowering my car window to taste the crisp mountain air. The house was a cozy, woodsy abode. I knocked on the door. Before me stood a handsome man, about my age. Paradise ain’t bad, I thought. God bless John Denver!

“Welcome. Let me get my mom for you.”

Sarah greeted me with a hug. She and her son Michael, the handsome one, walked me to the side room that would be my home for the week. Equipped with a kitchen, bedroom, bath, and electric wheelchair, I’d be just fine.

“I’ll get that chair out of the way for you,“ she said. I was grateful, as the bulky apparatus took up a big portion of space. She and Michael appeared fully ambulatory, so I was confused. Then, she explained. “It was a great deal. I only paid $150 for it at an estate sale. Otherwise, those things cost a fortune, and I may need it some day.” Ah, it all became clear.

“Is it pretty safe around here?” I asked, simultaneously changing the subject and setting my bags down.

“Yeah, it’s pretty safe, although I had my purse stolen from my car one night. And, well, there are some other more violent crimes,” she mumbled.

Note to self: Don’t leave purse in car overnight. Note in response to note to self: Who do you think I am, self? Second note to self: This is a hush-hush town. Don’t raise sensitive issues like violent crime.

“Mom, I’m going to that health lecture at the church,” Michael announced. There’s something about the way he said it. I can’t put my finger on it, but his emphasis on “health” was eerie. It’s as if he’s had arguments with her about the validity of church sponsored health lectures, or as if he’s got some embarrassing medical condition that they don’t discuss openly, or as if she has simply been wanting him – a middle aged man who’s living with his mother – to get out of the house from time to time. At any rate, my attraction died that moment. Additionally, I would lock my bedroom door at night. Just in case.

“…To the place…”

The next morning, I sat on the porch of The Writing Loft to meet with Nora. So I thought. Ten minutes into waiting nervously, I was approached by a woman adorning long golden brown hair, bright pink lipstick, and conservative attire. “Oh, there you are. Great to meet you,” she said, offering a hug. “You’re in the wrong place. Let me walk you over. I’m Mimi.”

Mimi escorted me to the other house, a few yards away, for our first staff meeting. Over the next few days, Nora and I discussed salary and other matters. Things fell into place, bit by bit, and I adjusted fairly smoothly. Nora’s remarkably competent yet modest demeanor kept me assured. Mimi’s vibrant personality and bright pink lipstick kept me entertained.

Having secured the job, I got focused on finding a new home. Call me picky, but I decided not to pursue the place that was advertised as “Newly remolded.” I prefer not to invest in mold – even new mold. I also bypassed the wonderful apartment “Close to cancer.” Could they possibly mean “campus”? What a horrifying typo!

Rather, I scheduled a meeting with a phlebotomist who’s looking for a housemate. Did I spell that word right? Don’t fret; I didn’t know what that was either, until I looked it up. Now, I’m not keen on living with someone who draws blood for a living. Fortunately, I have a few other options, like a bedroom the size of a closet or cohabitation with Barbi and Bruno by Chico State.

I’ll most likely need to say a fond farewell to my bed. We know it hasn’t seen much action over the years anyway, and I’ve got a sofa bed that’s perfectly comfy. Bottom line: I need to downsize, but I’m fine with that.

It’s worth it. I’m excited, and this will be interesting. I like interesting.

I like Paradise and its verge (e.g., Chico). It’s a truly beautiful part of the world.

“I belong.”
God bless John Denver.

Note to readers: I’m heading to Paradise again, for house hunting and some work at the Loft. I’ll return Friday. Have a great week. I’ll miss you. Wish me luck. Thanks!


  1. Have a great trip.

    And don't hate on the "new mold" as you will make it have a complex.

  2. Good luck. Take lots of pictures. You are great at describing what you see but a picture is worth a thousand words.

  3. Make sure you lock that bathroom door. You wouldn't want Norman...uh I mean Michael to accidently walk in on you! :0

    You might want to go to the library and check out the other violent crimes. It may steer you away from a not so good area while house hunting.

    I am sure Paradise is just that! You will be just fine! :D Hugs and Good luck!~Ames

  4. Health lecture, eh? I wonder if he's got a rash on is butt or something. You can't tell a man is handsome until you see him butt naked. Good luck with whatever you're up to, Robyn!

  5. OT, I like to think I'm open minded...but new mold? There's something so wrong about it. Old mold, I could adjust to. xo

    Kal, thanks. Take care of you. ;0)

    Ames, you crack me up. Good point. I'll look the bathroom door. xo

    GB, you're right, as always. Thanks. [-:

    Marnie, thanks. PS In reference to my last email, I figured it out. Phew. (Sorry to anyone who saw that last comment. No angry energy like that will be tolerated at Life by Chocolate - especially not today.) xo

  6. Yeah! I love hearing about your new adventure!

  7. What a journey you are on my friend. I can't wait to hear more.

  8. Ok I understand now, I was a little lost at first! This is exciting for you!

  9. Have a fabulous lots of good food and report back with pictures!


  10. Have a fun trip, lady. Sorry I'm so behind on my blog commenting! Trying to keep up!

  11. Hugs and Luck--Maybe we'll find the same house!!



  12. health lecture? do I want to know?

  13. All those people with bad spellings need to take some classes from Nora, and you might need to get a metal door guard at night.

  14. Good luck!! I hope you find a wonderful home with lots and lots of space...for 5 beds!! ;)

  15. That was my favorite song! I used to drive my family crazy singing it. :) My mother made me a John Denver CD not too long ago, in fact. I know, I'm a dork.

    By the way, there's a surprise on my blog when you get back.

  16. Funny - love the line "I’m not keen on living with someone who draws blood for a living" - D x

  17. A great post as usual Robyn.

    Wishing you luck and can you please do your best to find out what the 'health' meeting entails (my guess is AA) and why Mimi wears bright pink lipstick that conflicts with her conservative clothes (I've no idea about this one!)

    Thanks in advance!

    Rapunzel x
    *Tales from the Tower*

  18. A great post, good luck, sounds like you might just need it.

  19. John Denver...I cried when he died...

    Good luck finding the perfect place! I'm excited for your new adventure!

  20. I kept hearing Meatloaf in my head as I read this...

    " the dashbooooaaarrd light"

  21. Enjoy your trip, Robyn! As a former resident of the area I know you will love it there. Best of luck finding a place. Steer clear of the meth labs and all them Nazi hangouts and you will do just fine. And remember, keep your head down and walk in a serpentine pattern at all times. Oh, and one more thing...beware of zombies. Other than that, have a great time!

  22. Enjoy your trip, Robyn!
    A new adventure! Love hearing about your new adventure. How exciting!

    The best of luck!

    B xx

  23. I think they should change the name of Pahrump, NV to Paradise, NV.

    Anyone here ever been to Pahrump?

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  25. Hopefully there are some good restaurants (rib-sticking meals!) and good libraries and stand-up non-Norman-Bates-type guys in Paradise--but I'm sure you'll have fun describing it (and we'll have fun reading about it) either way!

  26. Well done Robyn. This is a very brave move. It's tough to start over and I hate sharing, but if you have to do it, then youre prepared to .. and that's takes b.... uh, guts.. lol..

    You manage to find an entertainng and amusing way to tell every story.

    ps. I like John Denver.. my mum used to play his records when i was little..I kind of preferred my Dad's Beatle collection, but Johnny was okay too...(given what we get today, Denver seems like a genius..and a sad end to his life too)

  27. Anthony and Noelle, I agree; I'm very sincere in saying "God bless John Denver." Singers and people like him don't come around often. Well, there was nobody like him. His abrupt end was such a loss. xo

    Marg, yes, I ate very well. I'm not so much a meat eater, but I had some heavenly foods, like fried crab/cream cheese puffs. They're like eggrolls with a cream cheesy filling. Sounds weird, huh? They were fabulous. ;0)

    Jason, I can't disagree. Pahrump? That doesn't flow beautifully from the lips. xo

    BettyM, thanks. I hope you're enjoying your trip now too. [-=

    Tom, I'm keeping an ever-growing list called "Tom's Survival Tips." I need to ask, though, are the meth labs those more remote factory buildings without windows but with zombie-like creatures coming and going? I just wanted a 7-Up but had a rather interesting experience instead. xo

    Jane, I need to look that one up. Lots of related music has been popping into my head, but I'm afraid I don't know Meatloaf. Perhaps that's a good thing ? :0b

    Karen, I did and still do. Thank you. I didn't yet secure housing but I do have more interesting stories. xo

    Rapunzel, I think AA is a good guess. I didn't uncover that one. I thought of you, though (I read these comments at some point last week), when Mimi showed up with a bandana wrapped around her head, a jean outfit (jacket and pants), and - yes - the bright pink lipstick. She's becoming one of my best friends there, so more stories will follow. :0)

    David, glad you liked that one. Thanks. She provided other reasons, too, for my not wanting to jump on that housing situation. This included covering a window with plastic wrap -in the room that would be mine- for insulation. No thanks. xo

    Krissy, how sweet of you. It was great to get back to seeing the award. I really appreciate it, along with the fact that you are a big John Denver fan. <-:

    BabySis, that's cute. I didn't quite find the space for 5. I'm working on it. I hope this means you and yours will come visit. xo

    Sarah, I just went with electrical wiring for the door at night. It seems to have been effective. :>)

    Baygirl, I don't actually want to know either. xo

    John, that would be a blast. We could cause so much trouble together (within legal limits, of course). Hugs and luck back to you. {o:

    Mar, no need for apologies. Hang tough. Love ya. xo

    Notsosimply, thanks. I ate very well - lots of deep fried yummies, and doses of chocolate. No deep fried chocolate. Drats. Will post pics too. =-)

    Gayle thanks. It's been so surreal, and I needed to tweak my posts a bit for clarification. I realize it doesn't seem like non-fiction, but it is. xo

    Marla, I know. Can you believe it? I still can't. Thanks, friend. ;0>

    BBetty, good, because I've got lots more of this Paradise business to write about. Thanks. xo

  28. I love John Denver!
    I think the guy was talking about AA.
    And I think this sounds like an exciting thing to do!

    Good luck!


  29. Good luck! Now I can't get Country Roads out of my head...

  30. I've spent some time up there in Butte County. Or "Butt" as we called it. It sounds like you are on a great adventure. I hope you get some time to see some sights (camera in hand).