Editor’s Note: Feel the Magic
A personal look at just what makes Marin so special.
THIS MONTH WE celebrate the Best of the County, and I’m going to let my sappy flag fly and declare our county to be full of magic. Be careful what you wish for; it will happen. I’m proof, as I bask in the glow of floating home ownership. Despite my aqueous foundation, I finally feel grounded.
It’s easy to suffer manifestation fatigue living in a place like Marin, where people say things like “remember forward” when visualizing an ideal future or salute a new moon by ceremonially burning scraps of paper burdened with the ills of yesterday in a bowl. And then there is what I like to call aggressive gratitude. Too much ado about magic-makin’ makes my cynical self a little skittish. Yet here I am, writing about it.
About a year ago, visiting Jerry and Diane Jampolsky in their floating home (read more about him in our story “Senior Boomers” this month), I wistfully mused about how much fun it would be to land on one after a recent period of unstable nesting. I had a dozen valid ideas on why that wouldn’t pan out. “You’ve told us all the reasons why you can’t make this happen,” Jerry wisely said. “What are the reasons you can?” The question was a game changer.
Then, a few months ago, I toured Bruce Anderson’s inspiring light-filled floating home and teasingly said we’d publish photos of his once I’ve found one of my own. As I read over this month’s Backstory by Dawn Margolis Denberg, I realize I was actually remembering forward. Ugh.
Last March I wrote about a neighbor, an elderly woman who would mischievously rearrange the rubber ducks placed among the planters near my rented floating home. Her home went on the market while I was on the Big Island with close friends. After a swim across the bright blue waters of Kealakekua Bay, I decided to try and buy the “duck lady” home. I leaned heavily on real estate agent extraordinaire Paul Bergeron and the only person in the county who works on floating home loans, Linda Lippstreu of Bank of Marin. From a rocky, remote beach, I texted a photo of a check for the deposit and later clicked DocuSign boxes as we wove our up Napoopoo Road in a rental care. It’s way too easy to buy a home by smartphone.
Once the deal went through, the magic power of community kicked in. I ran into an old friend who now heads up Comcast’s user experience team. Bam, within a few days, Chip, her associate, showed up on his bike to help figure out the cable setup. I contacted Duane Johnson’s crew at Artistic Lighting to help me figure out the complicated task of wiring the living room for a TV. And then there’s Marilyn at Goodman’s — she doesn’t know me, but she has been answering my home repair queries in four different homes. Choosing fruit trees at Home Depot was easier thanks to garden department manager Charlie. He’s been with the company 29 years and this San Rafael store is the chain’s most successful in the entire country; he’s doing something right. I called on our longtime landscaper, David Garcia, to install an irrigation system. Three lemon, one orange, one lime and a kumquat tree should be bearing fruit by next spring.
Circling back to Jerry and Diane, they would say, “Thank all those workers.” Not just for their hands-on help, but for choosing to operate the small businesses that make our lives better.
All this makes me think of this month’s Best of the County feature. We asked readers to vote on their favorite local businesses and other places to spend time. I was happy to see some names of familiar haunts and learn about new ones. Cheers to our magical county and for the reminder that we set our own limitations and create our own magic.