Wednesday, June 03, 2009

the breeze from seas stays mainly in the trees

There is something elemental about living by the sea.

By that, I do not mean the obvious elements of fire, earth, air, and water. Though, they are also good candidates for another post.

Before I decided to retire in Mexico, I thought I wanted to live on the Oregon coast. When the weather is clear there, no place on earth can be more stunning or beautiful.

The sounds of the surf. Rocks against water. Greens against blues. Wind against land.

Nothing ever seems to stay the same. And it doesn't.

Because, along the Oregon coast, decay can occur right before your eyes.

Salt eats metal. Water eats stone. Tourists eat lunch.

I am not now in Oregon, but the corrosive nature of the shore is the same -- perhaps worse with the increased tropical temperature and humidity.

I pulled out my metal shoe horn on Sunday. In six weeks it has gone from shiny silver to dried-blood red.

I have been rather smug about temperature and humidity questions. Even though I am without air conditioning, I point out that the house is filled with fans.

Melaque is blessed with breezes off of the sea during most of the daylight hours. It is difficult to believe that the temperature hovers around 90 while sitting in the breeze and shade of the patio.

When the sun sets, so does the breeze. That happened on Monday night. It felt as if the temperature rose by 10 degrees in an hour.

On came the fans. And Jiggs and I settled down to an electronically-controlled environment -- just right for sleeping.

And then came our elemental lesson. The power failed. No fans. No breeze. No relief.

Jiggs looked at me with recrimination in his eyes. And I could do nothing -- but wait. Another failed father moment.

Minutes later, power returned. I was smug. Jiggs was happy.

The power failed again. This time it did not return as quickly.

The lesson? If you choose to live in an environment that is unfriendly, be prepared to meet it at its worst.

And Monday night was not its worst. For the next three months, the temperature and humidity should continue to increase.

When the power goes out on one of those nights, Jiggs and I will be wondering just how beautiful one of those Oregon days may be.


Charley said...

I "collect" interesting sounding names of towns.

Ever been to Coos Bay, Oregon?

That's on my top ten list of cool sounding names of towns.

Felipe said...

When I lived on the coast of Puerto Rico I had a wandering Jew in a hanging pot in a window (a plant, not a person). It was green on the side facing inward, and it was brown on the side facing outward.

Tell Charley there is a Barefoot Bottom, Georgia.

Christine said...

nothing wrong with six months in Mexico and six months on the Oregon coast...

Babs said...

And Charley, there is a Blue,Tx and a Birdlip, England!

Islagringo said...

As you know, I am familiar with the destructive power of the salt from the ocean. Nothing you do will impede it's progress. If you really want to have fun, try being locked into your house with all the doors and windows solidly covered, no electricity and a hurricane is raging all around you. Now that's a good time!

Chrissy and Keith said...

Oh ya tell me about it. In Alaska we were without power for 2 weeks in sub zero temps. We fought it with a generator for about 4 days and lost the fight. We had to drain the pipes and go live with some folks who had power. Here is the Arizona trick. Ice packs, lots of them frozen. When the power goes out and before you start to swelter (Jiggy too) pull those things out wrap in towels and stuff into a pillow case. Jigg's gets one, you get one. Take yours to the hammack. You may consider a raised trampoline like bed for Jiggs. I see the Navy in PV has their dogs on them. It provides air circulation under them and might be more comfortable for "mature" bones.

Calypso said...

The beach is a great place to visit and a tough place to live I think. I lived in Malibu for a year - my bicycle disintegrated - I moved inland - but close enough to visit. Beach hotels are cheaper than replacing electronics and metal objects.

Come and visit the Xalapa area - only 40 miles from the ocean as the crow flies and yet far enough away to avoid the salt air - you still might end up with a rusty shoe horn though - ;-)

jilted fiance from salem said...

I agree with Christine ......

Constantino said...

Now you know why we are up at 8500ft elevation. I love the ocean, the coast, the surf, the body surfing, the fresh of smell of the air. If it was only between 70 and 90 year round sans the humidity I would be there.
We visit and stay on the coast for about a month at during the late winter, if I lived there all the time, my electric bill would bury me.
Oregon was a spot I considered, Brookings or Gold Beach....both great for weather and fishing. Only problem is there was nothing else......Hopefully you will get use to the multiple showers during the day, and rust and corrosion in your new world. On the bright side your wardrobe only requires shorts and flipflops.....

glorv1 said...

I agree with Christine. Maybe six months in Mexico and six months back at home sweet home. At least you'll be sure to have electricity and hey you do have the Oregon coastline. Guess it's not the same though. Me, I couldn't be without the everyday necessities. My "abrazo's" to jiggy. Notice how I'm calling him jiggy now? That's because I know him better now. :D Take care, hope your electricity stays on in times of need.

Nancy said...


I'm not sure if you realize that most of your recent posts have a heavily negative aspect. You try to cover with humor but it sounds to me like you aren't very happy. I would have expected the honeymoon to last a little longer than a month and a half.

If you're determined to stay through the term of your least it would be healthier if you tried to focus on the positive. I'm sure there is plenty there.

I hope you can find some things there to be happy about. I think all your readers want you to be happy, too!

If this is too cheeky, moderate it, I won't have my feelings hurt.

Take care, Nancy

Mic said...

Charley, husband worked for awhile in the oilfields of Deadhorse Alaska in late 1970s....not a recommended retirement option :-) On my first trip there, we had to buzz the "unpaved" airfield in our 737 to scatter the caribou before landing...rather remote - above Arctic Circle.

Steve, our Vet highly recommended the Kuranda Beds for the comfort of our Samoyed in his later years. It would be cool as well as orthopedic. Rather spendy but worth it to keep the Prof comfortable. They also make portable folding ones.

You could also try taking a picture to a furniture maker or hammock maker there and have one made for less than shipping....or ask your vet about them.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve, Oregon weather has been just about perfect. Mike is playing lots of golf and I'm puttering in the garden and life.

We miss you!


Mic said...

One more thought on comfort.....have you considered picking up a small travel trailer - like those little one room Airstreams or Teardrops - and parking it in the shade of your yard???? Makes an excellent retreat when the power fails since it has a generator to run appliances such as air conditioners. Shouldn't been too expensive to find a small used one in good condition.

Steve Cotton said...

Charley -- Know "Coos Bay"? I was born just down the road in Myrtle Point. There are some beautiful beaches around there -- one where I almost retired: Bandon.

Felipe -- I thought about starting a kitchen garden of herbs: basil, rosemary, oregano, mint. But this brine-laden air woud kill the leaves before I could use them. I may still give it a try.

Cristine -- If I do that, I need to get my cycles reversed. Summer should be in Oregon.

Babs -- You are a Foprt Knox of knowledge. Want to work AWACS into your answer?

Islandgringo -- I hope I do not need to learn the elemental lessons of hurricanes -- though, that is a possibility on this coast, as well.

Chrissy -- Alaska and Arizonma may both take the prize for dangerous elements. But thanks for the ice tips. A good idea.

Calyopso -- I am still compiling my list of places to visit -- and to live.

JFIS -- (And there are so many possiblke candidates for that title.) Who knows where I will end up next?

Constantino -- I seriously considered Bandon until the real estate prices went sky high. And it would have been close to some of my more nostalgic moments of growing up. But, you are correct, when you are there, there is simply there. Not that either of us lives in areas where the cultural attaches are guiding us around.

Gloria -- I am not certain I could live in both worlds. I need to make my choice, and then build my adventure in that environment.

Nancy -- My big problem right now is that I am getting bored. And I realize that no matter where I was retired, I would be experiencing it. Now that Jiggs is recovering a bit, I can get out with him in the cool of the morning and evening. I just need to find a way to take advantage of those times. I wish we had an American-style park where I could take him -- just to sit under the trees in the grass. The best thing we have is our patio. He likes it, but I can tell he is as bored as I am.

Having said that, I am still enjoying what I am doing. I am zipping through a few novels. I am keeping up on other people's blogs. I am talking on the computer with family and friends in the States. And I love the proximity of the ocean.

It is as good as I thought it would be. And I should start posting a few more positive aspects of this adventure -- for balance, if nothing else.

Mic -- Jiggs has never cared for beds. I have bought all kinds of them over the years. His preference in Oregon was the hardwood floors. Here, it has been the ceramic floor tiles. But I will look at the beds.

Steve Cotton said...

Mic -- I had not thought of the trailer idea. But it would not work. When I leave from here in mid-December, I want to be able to pack up in an hour or so and be on my way. A trailer just does not fit into that picture.

Anonymous said...

Steve-have you been down to the Jardin in the evenings at all? At this time of the year, I'm not sure if it is as interesting as it is during the tourist season. But, there are trees and grass there. And, perhaps still some people watching. Sunday nights are especially fun. Perhaps a bit far for Jiggs to walk although it sounds like he is doing so much better. I love Mexico but not sure if I could live there full time. I love the change of seasons where I live in Canada although I really no longer enjoy the cold of winter so that's why we travel to Mexico for those months. I also love the Oregon Coast so can understand why you might want to live there. We are fortunate to live on a river in a small town and although not quite the same as living on the ocean, it does have it's merits. Hope you and Jiggs are both having a good day!

Rosas Clan in Tulum said...

My family had a house in Depot Bay right there by Salishan. I loved going out there. The beaches on the Oregon Coast are an amazing experience but nothing like the beaches of Mexico. I used to love to go and see all the new drift wood pieces. Thanks for the reminder.

Sorry to hear about the power going out- not fun.

1st Mate said...

Steve - a small Honda generator would be a good thing for you to have, easy to pack when you make your escape, but good for keeping the fans going.

Cynthia Johnson and Mike Nickell said...

Just so you's a beautiful sunny day here in Salem...87F with 27% humidity...perfect for bike riding and fishing!

Steve Cotton said...

Anonymous -- I have been to the Jardin in the evening. But the type of grass and trees I am seeking are not there. I wanted to get away from the vast expanses of concrete that seem to pass for gathering places and impromptu sautee pans. Unfortunately, Jiggs scares most people down here. He would love the jardin if he could run loose and greet people. But it simply would not work.

Rosas Clan in Tulum -- There is no doubt that the Oregon and Mexico beach experiences are quite different. In the winter, I will take Mexico. However, in the summer, nothing can beat the Oregon beach.

1st Mate -- You saw my Escape. When I leave, there will be no more room than when I came. No purchases for me -- unless I can consume it during the next six months. I almost ended up with a kayak with the "just-one-thing-more" approach.

Cynthia -- If you are trying to make me jealous, it worked. Our humidity is hovering near 80%. But Jiggs is handling it quite well.

Anonymous said...

I do enjoy reading your blog and the comments from others. Mic suggested you buy a travel trailer to park at the property. That way you could have air conditioning. My comment is that it seems as if it would rust out due to the elements there.

It is interesting when names like Coos Bay, Brookings, etc. pop up. That people have even heard of those places amazes me.


Jonna said...

Perhaps you should consider a city, I think you would enjoy the opportunities for cultural adventures. Or, buy a kayak and sell it when you leave. You need something you love doing that will get you out and about.

I think the problem in many coastal towns is that the houses are not built for the heat. There is a lot to be said for thick stone walls and high ceilings when you live in the tropics. Shouldn't the rains be starting soon? Over here they bring cool nights and keep the breeze going.

Steve Cotton said...

Jonna -- The nights are not really bad -- as long as the fans keep turning. Jiggs and I are going to try some mini-trips to get some adventure back in our lives. I just need to be certain he does not get sun burn. His coat is VERY SHORT.