San Diego: Where the Hip and the Homeless Live in Harmony

Where the Hip and Homeless Live in Harmony Lacking confidence in Wall Street’s ability to right itself or the government’s willingness to crack the whip, two years ago I took a fair amount of our dwindling savings out of underperforming stock funds and bought a little 1920s bungalow in San Diego.

SanDiego editors
Published January 13, 2012 2:47 PM
6 min read

0:00

SanDiego editors

Where the Hip and Homeless Live in Harmony

Lacking confidence in Wall Street’s ability to right itself or the government’s willingness to crack the whip, two years ago I took a fair amount of our dwindling savings out of underperforming stock funds and bought a little 1920s bungalow in San Diego.

 

Lacking confidence in Wall Street’s ability to right itself or the government’s willingness to crack the whip, two years ago I took a fair amount of our dwindling savings out of underperforming stock funds and bought a little 1920s bungalow in San Diego.

 

sd1Naturally, the real estate market plummeted within days of the purchase, but I have faith that San Diego’s unwaveringly fine weather will continue to attract migrants from the Northeast and Midwest who’d rather be close to a filled-in wetland like Mission Bay than a cold mountain. Not to mention the fact that the roads are in pretty drivable shape in San Diego, all the overhead wires are in the process of being moved underground, and developers haven’t entirely ruined the cityscape yet.

 

As for our house, it’s unlikely to stop passersby in their tracks, which, as I noted to my increasingly alarmed spouse, should keep the burglars at bay.  And if they managed to break in, the floor plan is so illogical they wouldn’t know where to look first.

 

The renovation wasn’t going to be as bad as many we’ve gone through — and there have been many — because this was a distance-renovating project and too small to fail.  For no reason other than he brought his rescue dog with him to the first interview, we hired a contractor we knew little about.

 

sd2After over a year of construction and no completion date in sight, we read our contractor the riot act. After he made his own tile selections after the ones we ordered hadn’t arrived, I got a little testy. This tiny house on an even tinier lot isn’t my dream house or the house we’re going to be carried out of, but I believe in using good-quality materials and not things that fall off a truck or another job. I had increasing difficulty communicating my design vision to the contractor.

 

When the project was two-thirds of the way done, we paid a short visit to San Diego, “America’s finest locale”, and were stunned to find that the contractor had made a few design decisions of his own. The tiles on one bathroom floor were wall tiles; the toilet was a few feet off center in another bathroom, as a kind of focal point? More like a white elephant!

 

sd3Before we had a chance to fire him (my argument to my spouse was that in this economy, we needed to keep as many people employed as possible), the contractor walked off the job. “Everyone in southern California uses beige tiles,” he shouted. “Why do you insist on white?!” Had I, an anti-war person to the end, been involved in a color or maybe a coastal war over a straightforward home improvement these many months?  While I was born in New England, I’m no Yankee and I’ve thought of myself as a true bi-coastal, having lived in California twice.

 

After convincing the ex-contractor that if there were going to be any lawsuit, we’d be the ones suing, he stopped sending us threatening letters. We pulled ourselves together, called everyone we knew, and hired another contractor, a real professional and a stand-up guy.

 

sd5I’m glad to report that the punch list doesn’t even fill a page. We’ve told all of our friends here that their guest room is ready. Nothing lavish, but the mattress and linens are new.

After Christmas, my husband and I tested the house out and found it comfortable and quiet. We read books in our backyard, took long walks in our well-aged neighborhood, where the sidewalks and streets are wide and inviting, and along the sandy beaches.

For a few days, we actually acted like tourists — driving and walking through parts of the city we hadn’t investigated in years.  Downtown, near Petco Park, where the Padres play and many of the young and hip have moved, was our first destination. Not sure where the hip eat, as there only seem to be coffee shops in the area, but that keeps them trim. So, too the growing homeless population who pick up the discarded coffee cups in search of a sip. (I know the weather is nice enough that it’s easier to be homeless in southern California than many other parts of the country, but the growing number of people living on the streets is troubling.)

 

sd4While the ballpark and its surrounding green space may not be, as advertised, “the crown jewel” (didn’t we get rid of the royals almost 250 years ago?) of the area, it’s one heck of a stadium. You can take a tour on weekends pre-season.

 

We walked right past the Convention Center and the overly touristy Seaport Village to North Harbor Drive, where the USS Midway is permanently moored. It opened as a museum in 2004 and is right up there with the zoo and Sea World as a popular and visitor attraction. As the brochure says, you can “experience life at sea without leaving port”. After you tour the museum, take the nearby ferry to Coronado and you’ll understand why so many ex-military servicemen and women flocked to San Diego after World War II.

 

In search of junk shops, which seem to be going the way of mom and pop stores, we headed north of Balboa Park, which is museum row, as well as the location of the famed zoo. In North Park we discovered Mid-Century Design and Atomic Bazaar, both of which were filled with gently-used and reasonably-priced mid-century furnishings. On the way back to our house, we stopped at Mission Gallery, from whom we’ve bought real antiques and lots of interesting odds and ends since 1985.

 

sd6After running out of books to read, we headed to La Jolla, a five-mile drive from our house in Mission Hills, to Warwick’s, a wonderful independent bookstore. While La Jolla attracts shoppers because of the variety of its retail, it’s to La Jolla Cove that one should always leave time to visit. There you can watch sun-loving sea lions play and rest. Above this very special small beach sits the Museum of Contemporary Art, which has terrific exhibits and a wonderful outdoor café.

 

From our little bungalow, when the trees are not in full bloom, you can see a bit of the water, the airport, the way down to Old Town. I routinely walked down and back up from Old Town — the inclines of Juan and Bandini streets are not for the faint of heart, but they allowed me to enjoy all the feasts of the holidays. San Diego is a walker’s paradise — just ask our 11-pound mutt who made the trip with us — and the perfect biking town.

 

We arrived back in Rye to San Diego weather. Now you know why we bought a little bungalow almost 3,000 miles away.

 

Filed Under:
Subscribe and get freshly baked articles. Join the community!
Begin typing your search above and press return to search. Press Esc to cancel.

rajbet app

rajbet india

lottoland asia

lottoland india

dafabet login

dafabet app

4rabet login

khelo24bet login

rummy gold

rummy glee

teen patti

teen patti gold

teen patti joy

teen patti master

rummy modern

andar bahar

dafabet

bonus new member

gullybet

IPLWin

IPLWin

tk88

tk88

thienhabet

thienhabet

Dbbet

Nagad88

Babu88

Six6s

Bhaggo

Elonbet

yono rummy

rummy glee

rummy perfect

rummy nabob

rummy modern

rummy wealth

jeetbuzz

iplwin

yono rummy

rummy deity

rummy app

betvisa

lotus365

hi88

8day

97win

n88

red88

king88

j88

i9bet

good88

nohu78

99ok

bet168

betvisa

satta king

satta matta matka