From Spring to Summer to Fall

It was spring and we moved to a townhouse. We sold our house. We bought a new one.

It was summer and we waited for our new house to be ready. (And waited and waited.)

It is almost fall and we are in our new home, getting settled and feeling happy about where we are.

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Many things happened in between there – construction delays, vacations, weddings, soccer games, furniture shopping, beach days, concerts, and lazy mornings.

To list them all would be a dull, long, post, with much whining about the stress. But the other day, as A and the kids played upstairs while I cooked dinner in the kitchen, dancing barefoot to Wilco’s California Stars, I realized how good things were. How settled we felt (even without a couch) and how happy I was we were finally to this point.

This summer seemed both very long, as we waited to stop being in between, and short, with the focus always being on when we would be moving. But now it’s fall, and things are good. And we are happy. And I look forward to sharing it with all of you again.

Spring into Summer into Fall

 

Living Life Vertically: An Update

Things we’ve learned in the past month or so:

  • Moving is a big undertaking
  • Moving with kids is a really big undertaking
  • Selling a home is stressful and busy and not easy and did I mention stressful?
  • You may not sleep for 2 weeks, but this too shall pass

We’re in the townhouse we’re renting for the summer and I’d say about 85% settled in. It is still an adjustment but we’re making it work. Every box that is going to be unpacked has been unpacked, the rest stored in the garage, not to be unpacked until we move to our next “real home.” And while we’re unpacked, there are still some things to be worked out – like where are the tissues or the Clorox wipes or the cutting boards. But, day to day, we’re doing just fine. Though living on four floors is a change. We’re hoping our butts look really good after climbing stairs all day this summer.

The house officially went on the market on Wednesday. (Wanna live in Seattle?) We’ve had a good response, but we won’t know anything for sure until Tuesday when we review offers (which we will hopefully have received by then). It’s hard to not obsess over every little thing and try to decide if a certain number of likes or “x-outs” mean anything. We’ve made it to the weekend with ballet and gymnastics classes, as well as basketball games to distract us.

That’s the brief update. Until Tuesday we’re pretty much living, breathing and sleeping the house sale. Trust me, we’re as tired about talking about it as everyone around us is tired of hearing about it. But it’s a big deal, a big undertaking and a big chance we took. So bear with us for a few more weeks, hopefully the next words you hear from us will be sold!

 

There is no place like home, but where is that?

Tonight as I walked from my office to the car, the beautiful heat from this short preview of Seattle summer reminded me of living in Old Town Alexandria. Specifically, walking on King Street at the end of a hot day, on our way to meet friends for an evening of dinner, drinks and all the things childless couples do. It made me think about how much I missed it. That I missed “home.” The idea that the Other Washington is “home” is a funny thought at this point. Four years ago last month we decided to move to Seattle. Four years ago Memorial Day weekend we packed up our condo and pointed the car west. On July 27 Lucy will turn 18 months and it will mark four years since we closed on this house. Four years in one place is the longest either A or I have lived in our adult lives. And yet? That whiff of heat and the thoughts of strolling King Street made me homesick. So when will Seattle feel like “home”? In many ways it does – after all this is the only home our daughters know. It is the place they were born, the house we brought them home to, where their friends live and where they have learned to play on the swings in rain or shine. When we moved out here we thought we’d give it two years. Two have turned in four. One more to five and then are we really Seattle-ites? Will I one day return to Old Town and stand in a sunbreak and think “I miss home”?

Being Kind to Ourselves

As my absence on this blog may show, April has been pretty hectic around here.  Lucy started day care, I went back to work part time, we traveled to the Other Washington for a week and then returned to work full time (less than 12 hours after we returned to the Emerald City).  It has gone better than I thought it might, but it doesn’t mean it has been easy.

When we returned home at about 11pm on Tuesday night, I told A that we needed to just survive the rest of the week and we’d figure things out next week.  So that’s what we’ve been doing.  Disposables instead of cloth diapers to day care on Wednesday.  No suitcases unpacked, simply stuck in a corner of various rooms. Sometimes you just need to accept your limitations and know that it will get better tomorrow (or once the weekend gets here).

So as we continue to be kind to ourselves and slowly work back into a routine of two working parents, full time day care, pumping, laundry, the list goes on, just be kind to us too.  I’ll be back with tales of our trip back east, spring in the Emerald City and what being back to work with twice the children means to our family.

Am I Too Old for Friends?

This recent article in the NY Times asked the question why is it so hard to make friends after age 30.  As someone who has been trying to figure out just where her social life has gone, the article definitely spoke to me.  When we relocated two years ago, I knew it would be difficult to basically re-start our lives here on the West Coast, but I have to say, I didn’t expect it to be quite so hard. 

The article brought up many factors that make finding new friends at a certain age hard.  Timing was a huge one discussed.  For me, that worked in two different ways.  I found out I was pregnant with LC about two weeks after we arrived in Seattle.  This clearly changed our lives and how our future in Seattle looked.  Timing – as in the lack of time – is probably the biggest obstacle to having a social life right now.  One of the biggest thing I miss from our life in DC is my knitting group and friends.  I’ve discovered a knitting group here in Seattle, but just haven’t figured out how to make the time work to go knit each week.  (Or knit period.  And trust me I have lots o’yarn to be knitting.)

Having kids both introduces places and ways to meet people (and potential friends) while at the same time being a huge barrier to having a social life.  We’ve met people through PEPS and day care – all very nice – but no one who I feel I can call on for a girls’ night out.  Part of this is because the only link we have is that our children happen to be the same age, so friendship may be a little forced.  However, at this point in my life, having friends who understand what it is like to have a child the same age running through your house (and why bedtimes at 9pm are a pretty good idea) it really nice.

One of my own theories involves the ease with which we can stay in touch with people from other parts of our lives.  I talk to my friends from DC daily.  We shared pregnancy tales by email and gTalk – and when our kids were born, we were able to share photos of the babies within minutes of their birth.  All of this both keeps me in touch with my friends (and feel less alone in Seattle) but I think it may reduce the effort I put into finding friends here, though I’ve yet to figure out how to participate in dinners or book club via the internet.

I don’t know what the answer is to why it is so hard to make friends after 30.  (And for the record, I don’t think the NYTimes knew either.)  But it is, it definitely has made having a life out here more difficult than I thought it would be. I try to keep in mind that our lives in Seattle are so much different than our lives in DC were – after all, we have a kid and a house.  Both of these things are time and energy sucks (I mean that in a good way, LC, really) so going out for drinks starting at 8pm on a Saturday night and roaming bar to bar until last call is no longer our reality for many reasons.  (Mostly being that I now consider a Saturday night where I am not in my pjs by 8pm a total failure.) But I’m beginning to reach this point in our lives here in Seattle where I really need a social life.  I want to be able to find people who I can chat with both about my kid, but about other things too (like Emmy noms, because these are important things).  I know so much of this has to do with me and my social inactions, but seeing it in print in the NYTimes certainly made me feel a little bit better about myself.  (Though I did think, if all of us over 30-somethings are out there trying to find friends, we all just need to do a better job of seeking each other out.)

Most Left than Right

There are moments when I begin to realize that I am becoming more West Coast and losing a bit of my East Coast-ness.  For instance, when in the Other Washington last month, I noticed how nicely everyone was dressed.  Pea coats, skirts, nice shoes.  I found all of this very impractical for the season and thought they should all get a nice all weather, waterproof coat to wear.  Probably from REI. 
Having never raised a child on the Other Washington, it is hard to compare one Washington to another. But there are moments when I am sure that I am a Seattle parent and this clip from Portlandia (which really should be Northwestia, because life in Seattle is pretty much the same as life depicted in this show) was definitely one of them.  

When a recent debate broke out at our day center over the appropriateness of “Super Hero Day”, not to mention next week’s vote as to whether the children will be taught Mandarin or Spanish, I was pretty sure that LC must be attending Shooting Stars preschool as well.

Feeling Homesick at Home

LC and I put Grandma Dede on a plane back East today.  We know that she had to get back to her life on the East Coast, not to mention back to Grandpa Mark, but we were very sorry to see her go.  I’ve never been good at airport good-byes (I was definitely not a good candidate for a long distance relationship but we survived) but this recent visit and good bye really brought home how hard it can be living across the country from family and friends.

I love so many things about our life in the Emerald City and A and I are not contemplating another cross country move in the near future.  The big “but” in the sentence though is that we love so many things about living here but we really hate being so far from friends and family.  We’re currently trying to figure out our holiday plans – will we travel, when would we travel, would we try to see both families or one now and another later, how long would we stay – answering one question only raises ten more.  The idea of traveling with an almost 11 month old baby during the holidays definitely does not sound appealing, but spending the holidays at home with just the three of us sounds a little sad too.

A and I had both lived far away from family before and we knew it wouldn’t be easy when we moved to Seattle.  Today just happened to be one of those days that was more difficult than others and when the grass in the Other Washington seemed just a little bit greener.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that. . .

 – a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

– Seattle weather is like child birth.  No matter how many days in a row it has rained, when the sun comes out you forget all about it.

– there are some people you will never please and eventually you will stop trying.

– even if you lose all the baby weight, you will still not fit in your clothes because your hips and boobs are just not the same anymore.

– just when you think you’ve figured out how to keep the cat in the house, she finds another way to sneak outside.

– when people say something to upset you, it is more about them then it is about you.  (I don’t know if this is universally acknowledged but A told me it yesterday and I heard it on Oprah once.  So for me A + Oprah = universally acknowledged.)

– when you think the baby has a schedule down, she decides that schedule is no longer to her liking.

– even if you look good in maternity skinny jeans, the same may not be true post-baby.

– middle America controls American Idol voting blocks.

– no matter how miserable and rainy your day has been, an infant wearing pandas on her feet will always make it better.   (sorry for the grainy cell phone pick, I just had to share the feeties!)

Knock, knock. . . housekeeping

I wanted to take a moment to take care of a few housekeeping matters here at Two Washingtons.

1 – Thank you thank you thank you for being amazing readers!  Your comments, whether on the blog, on Facebook, on Twitter, or by email, mean so much to me, A, Cal and B-Cat.  As we reach the end of the summer, it is hard to believe all that we have accomplished.  Our last day of work in DC was the Friday before Memorial Day and this whole summer has been consumed by packing, moving, driving, finding jobs, starting jobs, buying a home and unpacking.  (The unpacking not quite done yet.)  It is easy to be discouraged by the fact that our summer disappeared into these chores.  But looking at all that has changed and best of all how easy those changes have come amazes us – and we know we could not have done it without the help of family and old and new friends.  So thank you for your words of encouragement and congratulations and most of all, for being there for all of this crazy summer.

2 – In response to the previous post, Wear Your College Colors Day was a success in our household.  A chose to wear an evil empire undergrad shirt and a Cal hat.  I wore red sandals to celebrate my true alma mater and a Cal shirt to show my football allegiance.  There were a lot of reasons why I ended up with this, but I think most of all I thought it important working for a rival PAC 10 school, I needed to make my alliances known early on.

3 – Cal and B-Cat have been loving Seattle – the cooler weather, the amazing dog parks, the wonderful windows our house has for bird and neighbor viewing.  They are still showing their support for Seattle homeless pets in the Seattle Humane Society Walk for Animals on Sept. 26.  As always your support has been wonderful and we are already almost 40% to our goal of raising $200 for the Seattle Humane Society.  Please help out and donate to Team Two Washingtons and help Cal and B-Cat reach their fundraising goal.  We promise to reward you with adorable photos of beagles in bandanas looking proud as they walk for charity. 

4 – I’ve updated the Picasa albums with more photos of our home (complete with captions) and photos of more summer adventures here in Seattle, so please check it out.  The links are on the right.

Thanks for making this summer so amazing – it really had a lot of places things could have gone wrong, but it has been a wonderful, crazy ride and we are so glad you could be a part of it.  Stay tuned for our first fall and winter in Seattle – we may talk a big game but how will we really handle all that rain??

Washington Confusion

A and I were talking the other day about our last weekend in DC.  It was a whirlwind – we had already driven out to Seattle, dropped off Cal and flown back to the East Coast for one final weekend.  There was of course too many people to see and things to do in that weekend than we had time for and it ended up being entirely exhausting – and fabulous at the same time because we were able to see so many people who mean so much to us.  (Like our godson Harry, whose cuddles I miss soo much, even if he has baby breath.) 

Anyway, when discussing that weekend A said, doesn’t that feel like ages ago?  In a way it does, despite the fact it was 2 months ago today that we were rushing around Old Town trying to ship everything that hadn’t made it on the moving truck to Seattle.  Part of me is definitely settled here in the Washington of the West – we have jobs and a house and a routine (that involves me sleeping through two snooze cycles while A feeds the cat, the dog, himself, loads the dishwasher and checks his email.  He is a productive, caring husband.)  But while it may seem like forever ago that we traded one Washington for another, there is definitely a part of me that is still on DC time or awareness.

DC has been having some crazy weather – heat waves, rain, flooding.  I still read the DC news and have a ton of friends there so we keep up on this sort of thing.  Despite the fact that I know I live in Seattle, I see the Space Needle about 37 times a day, I change our address to the Seattle address on something at least twince a day, I still have momentary lapses regarding which Washington I’m in.  For instance, I am well aware that 75 is hot here and I know that it is about 110% humidity in DC.  So everytime I step outside my over air conditioned office building into the sun, I expect to be hit with the wall of humidity and regret walking to Quiznos for lunch.  I am constantly surprised when it is 62 and breezy.  (and very content with my tuna melt bullet.)

Last week there was a terrible storm/tornado that swept through Alexandria where we used to live.  Our commuting route, the George Washington Parkway, was closed for hours and people were stranded in their cars.  I cannot tell you the panic this caused.  First I read the headlines and thought, oh my goodness the pets are home alone.  I hope they are ok.  What if a tree broke through a window?  What if there is no power?? What if they are scared???  I reminded myself I live in the Other Washington.  It is 58 degrees here.  There is no wind.  Cal and B-Cat are cool.  Sigh.  Ten minutes later I hear the 11Y has been hit by a tree on the Parkway.  OMG, that’s my bus!!  I could have been on that bus.  Wow, traffic will be a nightmare, we will never get home!!!  I begin to email A in a panic wondering why he is never online to chat at important moments like this.  Deep breath number 2, I live in Seattle (see the Space Needle out the window?)  Sunny, cool, no traffic, non-HOV express lanes, home in 10 minutes Seattle.  Ok.  Sigh.  I’m fine. 

Yesterday an alert goes out for a “suspicious” package right at my old bus stop.  It has closed down traffic for two surrounding blocks.  How will I get home??  Will A be able to meet me?  My reality check comes a little sooner this time, reminding myself that there is no need to worry about traffic conditions at the National Press Club.  I retold this story to A last night and he said, “wow two nights within the past week that traffic would have really sucked.  What would we have done?? What day is it, would the dog have been at daycare and taken care of?  We would have had to leave the car and take the metro.”  And I’m comforted to know that I am not the only one who panics about traffic in the old neighborhood or momentarily begins assessing and developing an escape route. 

Maybe all of this panic (and potential Armageddon in DC) are signs that we made the right decision.  Even without having to sit in traffic everyday, we are still haunted by anything that may effect our evening commute.  This despite the fact we have been enjoying our relaxing commute from our home to downtown for almost a month now.  (Last night it took me 15 minutes to get home and I complained about the traffic.  I may be going native.)  If traffic or weather or concerns that our pets will be abandoned and we’ll be stuck in downtown DC indefinitely are still able to cause this much hypothetical panic, it probably wasn’t healthy to be dealing with it everyday.  Life isn’t perfect in the Emerald City but for now I’m very happy that our biggest traffic concern is the guy in front of us who never knows how to merge – and that suspicious packages seldom delay me getting home to puppy kisses.