We rented the beach house site unseen

August 07, 2001 7:30 AM
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            The words of a popular song haunts me as I summer in Del Mar with my Eileen.

            For more years than I care to remember, the plan was to get out of town in the summer. Las Vegas in July, August and September is too hot for comfort. Air-conditioned rooms ­­become our prison as we try to beat the outdoor heat just to keep cool.

            At a different time and a different place (Buffalo, N.Y.) things were just the opposite. Staying indoors to keep warm and out of the snow was the sensible thing to do. It took years to get sick and tired of scraping ice off the windshield. Buffalo is such a friendly city; camaraderie is everywhere. But eventually, the daily sunshine of Las Vegas was too hard to resist.

            Looking back, I now realize that it took at least 20 years to thaw out. By then, the summer heat was too much.

            There were summer escapes to La Jolla, but it took a long while to return to Del Mar. The San Diego area is such a ­­delightful place to be weather-wise. It is by the sea. Living in the east may not be as hot as Vegas, but it’s more humid. Nearly everyone retreated to Ocean City, N.J.

            Summering at the seashore brings back a lot of youthful memories. Blame it on the sea breeze if necessary, but whatever it is, living at the ocean in the dead of summer is not a bad way to go.

            We began looking for a summer retreat back in April. The target was anything along the west coast from San Francisco to San Diego. I gave preference to Northern California; the Bay area is one of my favorite places to be. But, traveling with three French bulldogs, even though they’re only 20-25 pounds, makes the search difficult. Most landlords don’t want one dog, let alone three.

            As July rolled by it looked as if we would be forced to bake in the desert. Along came Debbie Lanni, bless her heart. She just happens to know a friend in San Diego who could help us find a summer resort that would allow three dogs. The friend must walk around carrying a rabbit’s foot and a few four-leaf clovers. Within a few days she had me in touch with the owners of a beautiful beach house in Del Mar. And, yes, with an added deposit they would let us bring along Cheech, Johnnie and Dino.

            We were delighted. Eileen, being much more sensible than me, wanted to view the place before we signed on the dotted line. There’s still a lot of gamble left in me and I said to hell with looking. If it’s not what we like we’re going to spend another summer in Las Vegas. We packed up our three ­­amigos and some clothes and motored to the San Diego area.

            Were we impressed on what we had just rented. It was more than could be expected. And, although the Call to the Post hasn’t the same appeal it once had, our getaway is right across the way from beautiful Del Mar racetrack.

            We were concerned about our pets, especially Cheech. He’s the old man of the crowd and doesn’t like change. For whatever reason, Cheech changed. He spent about an hour sniffing the place out and hasn’t been heard from since. Now, the three pets lay out on the porch in the sun. I can’t say the sea breeze has increased their appetite. Nothing could make them eat more than they do, thank goodness.

            Eileen and I spent 25 years building the newspaper. It’s our baby. And, we are a pair of control people who require a great deal of assurance that everything will go right in our absence. Our housekeeper keeps daily vigil and Ron, the best sidekick anyone could have, keeps the home front occupied.

            Thanks to the telephone we are in daily touch with the staff and, like the song says ”” by the beautiful sea . . . how happy we are!