It's December 2000 and the fiasco of the impending doom that the millennium was supposed to bring has past by 12 months and we are all still alive and computer systems have not shut down nor taken on a life of their own and grown legs and taken over the world.
Myself, Liz, a 12 year old Leigh, a 4 year old Aaron and a 7 month old Jordan find ourselves living, and at their good grace, in my parents house in Mulgannon as we build our first home out in "the country". We bought a house in Clonard Park in 1992 and loved it there, but I had the building bug so we sold and built out in Courtclough The Ballagh which was not within a country mile of the Ballagh, but anyone who follows auctioneers directions will know this to be true.I know where every nail, screw,wire, pipe and timber is in that house but from the day we moved into it there was something about it I did not like and still don't. I have to drive by it on occasion looking for Dakota when he f***s off and I still don't like it.
So back to December. The Crown Bar in Monk Street was our local at the time and we would often walk to it from Mulgannon and get a cab home, kids and all, which we enjoyed. One day on the way to the Crown I saw an advert for flights to San Francisco in Mackens window and thought "some day I get to the States". The next morning I rang Mackens and enquired about flights for all 5 of us to San Francisco.....I didn't expect the response I got.... £1300.00 return and I was told to get in there asap by the girl as she has never seen flights so cheap.I had to pull a lot of favours to get the time off but my boss Jack Goldsmith sorted it all for me. So we were off to spend the first Christmas away from Mams, dads, brothers and sisters ever.
Annie and Eric lived at the time in an appartement on Geary Ave which had a view from the kitchen window of the fire station which Aaron loved and used to lie on the kitchen table each morning, head out the window and watch the raising of the Stars and Stripes.
We rented a house up the coast from San Fran in and around the time of Liz' birthday for the weekend. None of us expected what we got!!!. This house was perched on the side of a very, very high cliff overlooking the pacific ocean and surrounded by tall cedar trees. The outdoor hot tub which was at the precipice of this cliff and surrounded by glass was to become our best place ever, We celebrated Liz' birthday in that hot tub drinking fine champagne till the wee hours watching migrating whales by the moonlight, never will I forget the sights.
The town we stayed in was called ........Mendocino.
Murder She Wrote was shot there all but 1 episode, Hitchcock's "The Birds" was shot near in Bodaga Bay where Eric and I visited a huge oyster farm and came away full on them and had enough for a bbq that night too.
We sold Courtclough and built again where we now live which has taken on the name of Rossiter Mountain thanks to Liz' brother Michael. Due to some postal confusion when we moved in first we decided we needed a name on the house, so Liz and I and the kids immediately knew it had to be ....Mendocino.! So now all post includes this name.
But we still needed a name plate for the house. We returned to SF again in 09 but stayed in Stinson Beach this time for a weekend, equally as breathtaking and memorable as Mendocino but not the name we wanted.
Annie and Eric traveled back to Mendocino and stayed close to where we stayed that time and during a walk on the beach a piece of drift wood washed up against their feet as they walked. Eric picked it up and decided this was to be the name plate for "Mendocino" on Rossiter Mountain. They dried it for weeks, stained it, laquered it many times and Annie hand painted "Mendocino" on it.
It arrived in the post today and no time was wasted in securing it to the outside of our home. I feel our house is now finished as this defines it as a place with a name, with memories that span continents and with people we love and a place that we hold dear in our hearts where so many memories were forged.
Oh , and wish this builders bum good luck in his junior cert exams next week!!