In the middle of the afternoon, the door bell rang for the Monte Sereno home delivery. 3 robust men carried the soft furniture through the atrium and into the living room and removed the heavy plastic wrappings. The fine pieces gained my immediate approval. They were even more beautiful than I had remembered from seeing the models in the San Francisco Design Concepts store. I was so thrilled that I could hardly wait for Curtis to get home from work to share it all with me.
When it came to the travertine marble set though, I balked. The delivery men had already brought out the large wooden crate that held one of the side tables, and they were just about to bring in the crate for the long sofa console when I asserted,
Jeanine in her and Curtis' Via Sereno home, as she looked when the events described happened, in 1989
The men were as surprised as I was to hear those words come out of my mouth. Without grumbling too much, they handed me the papers to sign my acceptance of the furniture. I made sure not to sign for the receipt of any of the marble. Soon the men were on their way.
While waiting for Curtis, anyone observing me would have thought I was Goldilocks with the 3 chairs. First, I luxuriated upon the sofa, and then tried out the comfort of the big stuffed chair. I followed that by sitting in the lotus position on the ottoman. I kept alternating between the 3 pieces of comfortable furniture until I heard the sound of the garage door opening. Curtis was home. Right away, I showed him into our transformed living room.
He was pleased until he noticed the absence of the travertine pieces. Once I explained, he was incredulous.
“Why, after all this time, when you had them right here, would you send them away?”
“If I had let those guys undo the crates, then that would make us responsible for any damage. What if there are some cracks in the marble? Then, the Concepts store could put the blame on us! Besides, I made sure we could get an appointment at the San Jose warehouse for tomorrow morning.”
Our usual Saturday morning ritual was to sleep in late, and then have a delicious, homemade brunch, thanks to Curtis’ great cooking. Instead, we were up early that morning to get dressed to go. Curtis reluctantly got into the driver’s seat, still with misgivings about the purpose of the trip.
“Tell me again why we have to do this?”
“I have a feeling that something about the marble furniture isn’t right. It’s my intuition talking. If the pieces turn out to be okay, then we can take them home in the back of your Saab.”
My answer did not satisfy him.
“It’s all fine; it’s fine! And why do we always have to follow your intuition, anyway? This is such a waste of time!”
I surprised myself again by how calm and self-assured I felt.
“You’re probably right, but you weren’t home when they delivered everything, and I’d like your opinion on it, just to be sure.”
We were both quiet during the half-hour drive over to east San Jose. No point in repeating the same conversation over and over.
At the warehouse entrance, we presented the claim stubs and watched as the crates were opened. I explained to the service representative,
“We simply want to check it over now before taking the set home.”
The young man left us alone for a few minutes, so we were free to discuss the matter among ourselves.
From a distance, we enjoyed the lovely color and overall design of the marble pieces. As we knelt down right next to them however, it was a different matter altogether. The side table I looked at first was badly chipped. With fragile travertine, there would be no way to repair it and not have it show. As I was about to tell Curtis about the chipped surfaces, he exclaimed,
“Whoa! This craftsmanship is terrible! Look at it! We waited 9 months for this? These 2 tables don’t actually match. Some kid could have glued these together better than this! Look at the way this side tips. It’s not even balanced. This is totally unacceptable. There’s no way we’re taking this home!”
So we didn’t. Later when the San Francisco company sales representative went to inspect the pieces at the warehouse, she had to agree. The store would have to give us a refund.
Disappointed, yet resolute, we went home without the furniture that would have finished the look we were after. Thankful for my intuition, my hubby had to admit it was a good thing not to have had the marble delivered and signed off.
For my part, I felt stronger and more confident about decisions based on the phenomenon called intuition. Curtis said I had every right to say “I told you so,” but I didn’t like to rub it in. Someday, we would find tables that were sturdier than travertine. In the meantime, we had the pleasure of sitting on our first sofa and matching chair.
The following Tuesday was a pleasantly warm day for October in Northern California. Tuesday nights meant a rather advanced yoga class in Los Gatos with our beloved, longtime teacher, Ruth Barati.
Curtis, with Elrond, in the CA home where he and Jeanine were living when the incidents occurred, in 1989
For the first time ever, I was fully prepared for the class 2 and ˝ hours in advance! I felt like I was really “getting it altogether” in my life. This is how I would always want it to be. My hair was trimmed and freshly shampooed. My legs were shaved, and I had even given myself a manicure and pedicure.
I had met with a client for a psychic/intuitive reading the night before, quite content to have offered the new sofa for her to sit on. The house was tidy and cleaned up, thanks to my preparations for her. Plus, I still had on a pretty blue dress for the French tutoring session of early that afternoon. Now, I could simply feel at ease and tranquil in our lovely Eichler home, so open to nature.
The World Series was about to begin. The venue was the celebrated Candle Stick Park in San Francisco. In spite of our plans to go to the yoga class, Curtis left to go buy some beer. He wanted to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy the live, televised game which was just about to start.
My goal was not quite so down to Earth. I wanted to read up on yoga and meditation techniques for at least an hour before putting on my cozy yoga clothes for the evening class. From my home office, I selected the classic manual called Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar, and took it into our haven of a living room.
I walked over to the large sliding glass doors to open up the spacious dining-living room to the refreshing, gentle breeze. Our Golden Retriever, Elrond, watched me from the cool tiles by the plush, sea-green carpeting. I had just turned to head back to the new stuffed chair when suddenly, there was an incredible noise and an undefinable vibration.
My eyes met our dog’s eyes. We both looked toward the garage, assuming that Curtis had the rickety, old garage door in the process of opening after his quick errand. Before our dog and I could finish that thought, there was a more extraordinary sound. It was as if the whole universe had cracked open to a new dimension!
In less than a second, everything changed. I was knocked down hard on my stomach, the book in my hand at my solar plexus. The new sofa was perfectly positioned to soften the fall. Elrond wailed like never before, and ran frantically back and forth from the kitchen to the end of the living room. Wine glasses and pottery flew out of the tall cupboards, in spite of the strong magnets on the doors.
I pulled myself up to stand with both arms wrapped around a wooden post that went from the tiled walkway to the ceiling. Everything rocked rapidly back and forth. Too amazed to think of protecting my face, I had to see what was happening. The glass windows facing the atrium bowed out and popped back into place. All the stereo equipment fell off a make-do shelf. Curtis’ stained glass artwork clanged against the glass of the windows. A large hanging driftwood candle holder with sharp points hit my face more than once, barely missing my eyes.
I called Elrond to me to get him away from the broken glass in the kitchen. I held our dog between my legs. I was still holding onto the post. My body, with the dog’s body in the inside, formed a pyramid of strength. Together, we trembled through 13 more seconds of the earthquake.
We made it through several aftershocks, each one of which would have ordinarily been significant in its own right. My heart pounded faster than I knew was possible. All I could do was cringe as each hanging crystal swung wildly to and fro. I confided out loud to Elrond,
“Well, I always said I wanted to be home for the big one.”
But my husband wasn’t home. Was he alright?
(Thanks much, Jeanine, for the first portion of this interesting, personal, and intuitional account and for the great photos that illustrate it! We shall be awaiting the conclusion, due out next month. Larry)