We live in a rusticky cottage nestled in a little canyon, set into the foothills that make up the Los Angeles basin. It’s not one of those fancy California places you always see with the terraces and the pools, this place was built in the 1920s with spit and string, stone and wood, then “improvements” like gas, electric and plumbing were wrapped around the outside. A lot of hands have moulded this house over the years, I like that, though some decisions are absolute head scratchers.
There are two things I especially love about this place.
The first is that we’re surrounded by nature here. It’s close to 50 yards from our place to the nearest neighbor’s house which is set off, down and away from ours. We have oak forest on three sides of of the house, and an oak forested park across our one lane road.
The second thing I love is that the entire top floor of the house is master suite. Above the wainscot, three walls are nearly all window, the fourth contains two wardrobes and a brick fireplace. Laying in bed we’re surrounded by live oak canopy on three sides. At night we can enjoy the best of both worlds with a fire in the hearth and the night sky through the trees.
Though it’s not where I spend most of my time, but it’s my favorite place in the house. It’s a quiet place, it’s relaxing. The master bath has a big, deep, old-fashioned, over-sized tub.
There’s not a lot of furniture up here, a couple of chairs by the fire, an old Chinese rug, a couple of low dressers, a trunk and a queen sized bed. Oh, and a set of hideous fiberglass dock stairs, so that the aging dogs can more easily get onto the bed.
Neither of us can remember, who thought letting the dogs sleep on the bed with us was a good idea. I blame Kev, he’d had dogs before, and these were my first pups but it’s a tough call. I know they were little when it all started and there must have been whining and lack of sleep involved.
Now, at night when we climb into bed there’s usually one 60 pound dog already on the bed, who will grudgingly move out of her comfort zone in the center of the bed so we can climb in and settle down for the night. Once we are settled, the second 75 pound dog will joins us. Though she’s never required permission, she’s taken to whining until we tell her it’s okay, then she jumps up curls up into her space to right of Kev.
Once I’m set the cats arrive. Sometimes, soon after, sometimes throughout the night. They fill in the available spaces between us. If it’s cold, they will crawl into the curve of the dogs, and the dogs will push up against us for warmth and we all huddle in the middle of the bed.
In the summer we all spread out a much as we can, so no margins are touching and nothing is overlapping. We have learned to make the best use of our limited space though I am developing hip dysplasia from not wanting to disturb sleeping animals.
On the happiest of mornings, I get up, pee, grab some coffee and then head back to bed where my spot has been kept warm, where my boy is rumpled with sleep and everything remains peaceful and relaxed.