All Hell Broke Loose

Posted April 29, 2016 – Narrated by Carmen

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I grew up on the banks of the Lago de Averno, one of the oldest Greek colonies in Italy and recorded by Virgil to contain the entrance to Hades. Mama said as long as we were home by suppertime she didn’t care at all if my sister Deborah and I went to hell.

2003, the tour guide takes us down to Hades at the Grotta of Sybilla.
Jim and Chris follow our guide and storyteller into The Abyss …
Our son, Chris, spelunking the watery passage built by Agrippa as a secret passageway from the sea to the Lago de Averno in 2003.

So, as often as possible, me and Deb made a beeline to a hot volcanic rock where I’d light a cigarette stolen from Daddy’s pack of Winstons and then we’d go spelunking into the dark slimy ruins of The Grotta where, depending on the tide, we’d sit cross-legged on the large flat stone placed there by Romans and beseech the Sybil to answer our questions – the usual sort of questions teenaged girls will ask – and, she whispered to us her strange yeses and noes in the quivering subterranean waters of her ancient volcanic home.

I mostly asked the Sybil about the men in my life … would Peter, my British neighbor, ever love me (“no” he wouldn’t, and he didn’t) and, would daddy come home from Vietnam (“yes” he would, and he did) and what letter did my future husband’s name begin with … A, B, C … and, honestly, I don’t remember what she said, and why I never asked her about fame and fortune can only be one of the mysteries of youth. But I’ll tell you this, if I sat on that rock right now, at this moment, I’d ask her if the gypsy life is truly for me … because last Friday I experienced an epic confrontation with my other demons …

Two weeks ago, the city issued us a special 48-hour-only residents-only permit to park Beauty on the street so we could prepare her for travel.

Last Thursday was the day we’d been waiting for! We got up at dark and had an early breakfast at Clayton’s Diner in Coronado.

Early morning of The Big Day at Clayton’s Coffee Shop

…and then we drove The Beast over the bridge to the Chula Vista KOA to rescue our Beauty forever from the dusty parking lot beside the Sweetwater River … and take her for a long-overdue shower. We finished well before noon. It was hot, dry and in the mid 90’s so she got a blow-dry on the way to Coronado.

Beauty gets a bath

At high-noon we proudly towed her sparkly self over the bridge to hunt for a place to park till noon-Saturday. Most homes in Coronado don’t have driveways and parking issues top the agenda at every City council meeting, so we knew this wouldn’t be a slam-dunk.

Who says?! We found an almost-ideal spot about a block from our house on Triangle Park – on a corner across from a handicapped spot which no one ever uses, so there was no risk of being blocked in! We unhitched and joyously commenced with our nesting, as planned, and despite the heat, we didn’t stop our activities till evening.

We found the ideal spot around the corner of our house to park Beauty while we load her with supplies from the house.

Jim worked Friday, so I was on my own. I couldn’t load up the truck and drive it to the trailer to unload because there was no parking, but I could load up my tricycle with this-and-that and haul it from the garage over to Beauty in small loads. Whew! This was hot work. The Santa Ana was cooling down but it was still in the mid-80’s making me recall a bottle of chilled rose in the refrigerator…

No. Be good. Not enough time for that. All went well for a couple of trips

Daisy, my trike

… then, all hell broke loose!

I had just unloaded my trike when, outside, a man I know – the kindest man you’d ever want to meet – Van, yelled in a slightly rough tone that I was about to be towed and the police were on their way right now. I stepped outside and Van immediately recognized me and in a calmer tone told me I was out of compliance because I didn’t have a permit …

“Like this one?” I asked pointing out the one posted in the window.

This permit makes us legal to park in Coronado

Oh! Van said, hanging his head in shame.

“It’s okay.” I said. No Coronado resident can be blamed for having an occasional parking tantrum. Completely understandable. Then, the police showed up – two cars and a towing vehicle. I wish I had taken a photo of the tow truck but it took me at least twenty minutes to convince the police lady that my permit was not a forgery, and during that time it was called off. Then, she chastened me for posting the permit on the passenger side window (next to the door) and had I placed it on the street-side window (a detail that is not in the instructions) none of this would have happened. Ok, done. “Good thing you were here” she said, “we almost towed you. You’ve had over twenty complaints.

Busted!

Once the cops left Van told me that a notorious “coalition” of residents who maintain vigilance about nefarious goings-on had already blogged about our trailer with these words, “Let’s get this trash out of Coronado.” Aha. So … all those folks Jim and I observed Thursday evening, gazing at us from across the park, were not jealous Airstream wannabes … “Those folks use the cops like wind-up toys. Gotta watch your back.” Van said, handing me an ice cold ginger ale.

Ok. We’re leaving Coronado. There’s no turning back now, but …. Oh great and wise Sybil, do I really have the stuff it takes to be a gypsy? Please, hiss me a “Yes”.

I hadn’t even finished my ginger ale when the park maintenance crew arrived, forcing me to move my trike off the grass.

First the mower

.

Then the edger….

Don’t forget the blower.

Ok. Now maybe I can make a few more trips …

What’s this? The recreation department confiscated the entire corner for a skateboarding class.

Hmmmm… Did I just hear the Sybil say, “Rose”?

8 thoughts on “All Hell Broke Loose

  1. It was the best thing we ever did leaving California back in 1986. I
    Might have been easier to have loaded up the trailer at the KOA storage, making several trips in the truck, then put up with trying to load from street parking that isn’t even in front of your house. What a hassle living in California. You are doing the right thing.

    1. Hey Kelvin!

      Yes, there must have been a better plan … We thought about making small trips to the KOA, but with the drought there is so much dust, everything would have been filthy so then we tried to book a space at the KOA but they didn’t have any openings.

      But it’s done! We’re now officially living in Beauty – and, though our energy is drained, sometimes we have to pinch ourselves… We went kayaking this morning in this beautiful campground on the bay. Yes, we’re in a good place right now. We highly recommend The Chula Vista Marina. It’s pricey, but we need the stability and close access to our house until escrow closes.

      With all the bad, there’s so much we love about California, but yes, we are certainly ready to go see what else there is.

      Thanks for being here, Kelvin 🙂

  2. HAHaHa!!! Driven off the island by torch and pitchfork wielding villagers! Sister this has got to be your sign from Sybil that this new move will be epic.
    And have fun trying to get around in Beauty with all those Choctaw baskets everywhere.

    Love, Deb

    1. A few pretty baskets never stopped me, Sis. You know that. I’ll strap them babies to the bumper if I have to. Actually, they compliment the vintage cinnabar and avocado decor beautifully. Can’t wait for you to see it and tell me how I can fit more Choctaw art into this trailer!!!
      xoxo

  3. Jim and Carmen,
    After reading this, I am so very thankful that I’ve been able to live in small town communities, where we have never been harassed by this sort of thing…..you folks are really going to be appreciating the freedom that you will soon have.
    I imagine y’all are counting down the days until you finally escape. I envy you!

    Larry

    1. Hey Larry! Semi-Urban life has it’s benefits and liabilities. Just over the bridge in The City, there wouldn’t even be a permit process. Oh well … Much of this reaction has to do with the need for more low-cost, low impact residences that simply do not exist here in Coronado. Many military contractors rent rooms, small spaces (both legal and not) from locals in Coronado and ride bikes to work – and most of these out-of-town middle-class workers have homes and families elsewhere in SoCal. Some contractors used to manage to live here on the streets in upscale low-profile campers … but the locals who would benefit from renting to them have had an uprise and put the kibosh on that.

      But, yes! Though we have many lovely neighbors that we hate to leave, we’re done with semi-urban life and are ready to get a move-on! Jim’s chain is getting short! We’re in the low 60’s on days left and in the low 40’s on work days!!! WooHoo!!!

      See you soon!
      xoxo

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