What do a broke real estate broker and a starving artist do when the money runs out?

It was the week after Christmas and we were in Summer Lake Hot Springs spending time there helping out our friend, the owner. He needed to be away from the place for several days, and asked if we would take over for him.

There were four little one-bedroom cabins and a three-bedroom house on the property and he had rented them out for the holidays. Since there would be some turnover,  we were to take care of things.

Photo: Aaron Selig
Photo: Aaron Selig

We were also responsible for cleaning up the cabins after guests left. I remember walking across the frozen ground carrying a bundle of linens, my head down against the wind, when it came to me.

I could do this. I could be a caretaker.

It was like a light-bulb came on and I could see the future so clearly. I was going to find a job as a caretaker and we were going to move out of Oregon. There was no doubt in my mind.

I told Judd of my idea and he loved it.

When we got back home I spent each day scouring ads and looking on craigslist from Oregon to Southern California. I polished up my resume and made sure to have a photo of Judd and me to send along with it, when the opportunity came.

One night in February I couldn’t sleep. My mind was restless and I was starting to worry how we were going to pay our bills. I had some commissions trickling in, but it wouldn’t be enough.

I got on my computer and started my usual search.

And there it was. The ad I had been waiting for was right in front of me: Caretaker for a lovely home in Napa, California. I was so excited I sent off my resume, cover letter and the photo.

The next morning I woke up and ran to my computer to check my emails. There was no reply from my inquiry and I must have checked every 10 minutes that day, waiting and waiting to hear back.

We moved out of our condo at the end of February and in with Judd’s parents. They had a very large home which had more than enough room for the four of us. So we packed up most of our belongings and put them into storage, and moved into a spare bedroom.

We were spending so much time with them anyway, planning and preparing. It was a temporary solution before a permanent move could be made.

Which hopefully would be just after our wedding.

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