May 7, 2022
Years ago i worked with a fellow trade show exhibit builder, Ray. We were journeyman cabinetmakers.
Ray was about 20 years older than i. We worked in the same shop at the same pay.
One day Ray threw a party for his shop friends. His house was in Norco, California. Norco is a suburban equestrian town in Riverside County. Ray owned a 3000 square foot house on 2 acres. It had a barn and horse paddock which was home to four horses. The back of the lot adjoined an undeveloped hillside. It was like living in the country.
At the time i lived in an 800 square foot Spanish style house in a bad neighborhood of Santa Ana.
i told Ray that i thought he and Gail were the luckiest people i knew. What a nice house. And they owned horses. i told him that i could never live in a place like his.
Ray said, “All you have to do is keep your eye on a goal and it will come true. Just give it time.”
i remember going to my high school friend’s parents’ house in Cowan Heights, Orange County. The Heights is a ridge of hills that overlooks the OC basin. At night the city lights stretched as far as the eye could see. There was the Crystal Cathedral. There was Disneyland. The lights of 3 million people twinkled like a surreal starscape.
i set my future house goal to have a view like Cowen Heights.
Over the years i traded up from house to house until i acquired an equity suitable to buy a retirement house outright. Plan A, B and C for retirement was to not have a mortgage.
When it came time for retirement, for more than 5 years, my wife and i looked far and wide for a property. It had to be an hour or less from a major skydiving center. The house would be on some acreage. It must fit into the equity budget we had accumulated. And it had to have a view.
Nothing we saw checked all four boxes.
While driving east of Temecula one day Zillow popped up with a few houses in a rural gated community. i followed a car in through the gate. Inside the community we passed a lake, an equestrian center and a private airport. Three miles from the highway on the top of a western ridge was our house.
The house is one hour from our favorite skydiving center. It sits on 4 acres far from any traffic. It fit exactly into our budget.
My wife and i stood in the front yard and looked out over a valley which is the Cahuilla Indian reservation. 360° around us are seven mountain ranges. It is a view that does not stop. At night the stars in the sky are like the lights of Orange County.
i smiled and nodded my head. My wife looked at me and said, “I could live here.”
Ray was prescient.