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!

 

Moving in the Right Direction

The past month has been hectic, to put it mildly. We had known that we wanted to find a new family home in 2015. I laid in bed on New Year’s Eve and thought – wow, we are going to sell our house this year. And buy a new one! Not that I stayed up until midnight (because #old) but it definitely gave me some sleepless moments. After looking at many open houses and consulting with our real estate agent, we decided for a multitude of reasons selling our house first, then finding out next home, was the best option for us. (Note I didn’t say easiest.)

So we’re renting a townhouse for the summer – starting today! – and putting our house on the market in about 10 days. It’s been a whirlwind of to dos and house fixes and contractors and moving plans and contracts and OMG what are we thinking for the past 30 days. We’re crossing things off our list, and one way or another, we’ll be in the townhouse by Tuesday.

But here we are – getting ready to move out of the home we’ve lived in for almost five years. The home we brought our babies home to. Sometimes I’m ok with this. I know our family needs more space and a house that works better for us. And I know that the house isn’t what is important – it is the people, pets and moments inside it that are special. Good news – those are all coming with us! I have moments of sadness and nostalgia, but after moving across the country five years ago (and surviving!) I know that a move within the neighborhood is something we will all survive.

On to our next adventure: our family in a townhouse, less space and things than we are used to but a summer adventure. My kids love open houses and will probably be disappointed when we finally do find the right home for us, so I know they are enjoying the ride. As for A and I, we’re just hanging on and trying to take the move one day at a time (or one box at a time as it is this weekend).

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.)

One Year!

Hard to believe but today marks one year since I started this blog.  As cliche as it sounds, we have come so far since that first post.  We both have jobs we enjoy, we have a house, we have a baby, we have friends and routines.  One year ago I couldn’t even figure out how we were going to close out our condo in Alexandria and get everything across the country – and the amazing thing?  We did.  We did close out the condo and move everything from one Washington to another.  We took one pet by land and one by air.  We lived in temporary housing for a month and found a house we loved immediately.  A started his job and I found one.  And soon, so very soon, after all of that, we found out we were pregnant, and well, you know how that ended up.

To be completely truthful, I do still miss our life in the Other Washington.  As the winter lingers here in Seattle, I miss it more as I long for sundresses and flip flops.  I miss my friends so much and would love to be able to join them for an impromptu dinner or glass of wine. With LC here, I wish my family were closer so they could meet her and see how much she has changed in the past 14 weeks and listen to her coo and talk.

But even with all of that, I do not regret moving to Seattle.  A once said that lots of couples talk about doing things, but we are the couple that does them.  I think he may have told me that while I was having a nervous breakdown while planning our wedding celebration, trying to decide why I needed to have a big party since we were already married.  Because we are the couple who does the things they talk about – we follow through on those plans, he told me.  We always said we’d live in Seattle,  have a dog to walk around Green Lake, go to the Beer Fest in the summer, complain about the rain in the winter, drink lots of coffee and listen to Nirvana. (OK, maybe we didn’t plan to do that last one.)

Our life here is so much more than we ever could have imagined it being and so much more than I hoped it would be one year ago.  I know last April when we made the decision to go West that we were giving up an amazing life in the Other Washington, but I am so glad we followed through on our plans to let this Washington show us what she’s got.

A break in regular programming

I know I owe you a number of posts regarding Maui and my trip back to the Other Washington and lavish parties thrown in the CCBOJ’s honor – but while I try to determine what time zone I am in and when exactly I will have time to shop for the holiday meal I am supposed to be cooking next week, read this.

I find this blog amusing most days, but her recent post about moving with dogs made me laugh out loud and very thankful that Cal is perhaps the best puppy dog in the whole wide world.  (It is perhaps a lot closer to our experience moving a cat across country.)

Anyway, explore the blog and see for yourself how amusing it can be.  If nothing else, try not to spit water at your computer screen while laughing uncontrollably when you reach the dog booties. 

When is your team no longer your team?

A recent post on the Seattlest starting me thinking about sports team loyalties and when it is appropriate to change those loyalties.  Wednesday’s entry (lamenting the arrival of Boston fans for the Sox-Mariners series) read:

GO (HOME) SOX: Today’s a great day to ditch work and watch a ball game. Regardless of the the M’s record, any opportunity to witness Boston lose in a stadium full of Red Sox fans needs to be taken. Whatever happened to rooting for the home team? It doesn’t matter if you grew up in Cambridge, your dad’s from Boston, or your cousin is the guy from Good Will Hunting that didn’t make it out, ditch the Brady jersey, you’re a Seattleite now.

There are many issues raised in this quote, but for now I am going to focus on just one.  Assuming you are a legitimate fan of a team and you move to a new area, should you change team loyalties?  That is what the Seattlest is requesting here, “ditch the Brady Jersey, you’re a Seattleite now.” 

Perhaps this hit home since I had spent Sunday celebrating the start of a new football season and a bright Patriots outlook by wearing my Tom Brady jersey.  (When the Pats play at home, it is hard to tell us apart, Tom and me.  We’re totally twinsies.)  But I’ve always been a Pats fan.  I grew up in Connecticut and honestly, I remember the Pats being bad.  To me being a Pats fan was a badge of honor – sure they are not so awesome but we still love them.  When I went to law school in St. Louis I was the only Pats fan at a Rams Super Bowl party – wearing the team colors and then quietly sneaking away after Vinatieri kicked us to victory.  I am a Pats fan and have no intention of changing, after all I have decades of being a fan behind me.  But the Seattlest thinks that since I have lived in Seattle for 12 weeks, I should shed this part of my upbringing and personal history and cheer for the Seahawks. 

Many people, knowing A and I were big sportsfans, asked us if we would start cheering for the Seattle teams when we moved here.  We gave it careful thought and determined that we just didn’t have much room for a new team.  We have our NFL teams (Pats and Skins), our MLB team (Go Nats), A cheers for the Wizards (and I wish the NBA season were much much shorter) and do not even get us started on our college allegiances.  But we didn’t feel bad about that.  After all, it wasn’t like we were moving to Seattle and deciding to now cheer for the Oakland Raiders (more on our unnatural need to cheer for Jason Campbell to suck less this season in a later post).  We were sticking with the teams that we had loved long before Seattle came into our lives and it just seemed like the proper thing to do.

So when is it ok to change loyalties?  Marriage?  A and I have finally reached a detente in our sports cheering – because they are in different divisions, we can cheer on the Pats and Skins without concern that it will effect our own team.  Of course, when they play head to head, we cheer for our own team.  In college, we’ve reach an agreement that we will not openly cheer against the other person’s team.  (Trust me, that is still a work in progress, but I think my amazing Carolina BBQ shows how far I have come.)  While in our marriage we have simply expanded the circle of fandom, others choose to maintain the loyalties they brought to the marriage and still others split sports (I read recently that a friend had decided in a Chicago/St Louis marriage that she got the Cards and he got the Bears.  Seems fair to me.) 

If a team moves, do  you follow the franchise?  Are Expos fans now fans of the Nats?  Or do you hold a grudge against the abandonment and never cheer for a team like the Colts again? 

The big question in our marriage is what will happen when the children choose their own teams?  If our child attends Wake Forest or, gulp, Syracuse, will we cheer for their school or will our own team prejudices make us be those people wearing the team rivals colors at the Parents’ Weekend game?  (A friend from Boston once retold the story of her baseball loving four year old who very seriously asked her if he one day played for the New York Yankees, would Daddy still love him.  Some fandoms run deep.) 

What I think all this pondering leads to is that there may be an appropriate time to change team allegiances – a compromise in marriage, a team that leaves town, a child who is the starting pitcher for the NY Yankees.  However, I do not think the Seattlest’s declaration that you must “ditch the Brady jersey” simply because you have moved to a new town is one of these appropriate times.  In the end, I think if I am the sort of fan who would ditch my Brady jersey because I am a 12 week old resident of Seattle, then I am not the sort of fan that the Seattle sports teams should be recruiting.

ETA:  OK, we are fans of one Seattle pro team and that is the Seattle Storm.  I love them because they have 3 UConn players on their team (and I in fact still wear my UConn paraphernalia to the games so there has been no jersey ditching).  Oh and because of that train thing.  Which. Is. Awesome.  So this post on Seattle sports would be negligent if I didn’t say CONGRATS STORM!!! on sweeping the championship and being undefeated at home this season. 

Come and Knock On Our Door

When trying to decide what to do with my Monday night my options were walk up to the main drag of our neighborhood and get a pedicure, or take photos of the house and post them to the blog.  Because I love you, dear readers, I chose to let my toes go untended to and that posting photos was more important. 

A caveat before you see the photos – these are not staged real estate photos so there is stuff on the counters, unpacked boxes and a half made bed.  In short, they aren’t perfect but they are a pretty good portrait of what our new home looks like on a daily basis.  I also think at least one pet appears in almost every photo – kind of like Where’s Waldo. 

So welcome to our home, thanks for your support through the move and maybe tomorrow I’ll post photos of my pretty toes.

Exterior

Here is our home, complete with our car in the driveway.  As you can see, the sun is setting behind the house, meaning our house faces east and receives wonderful morning sun.


To the left is a closer view of the steps to our front yard and door.  On the right is our Japanese maple tree that provides shade to our front yard.  Many people have commented how lucky we are to have such a large and beautiful Japanese maple and we are excited to see it turn purple/brown this fall.

If you come up the stairs and walk to the left of the house, towards the back of the house, you reach our side yard, which is to the left.  Through that back gate is the backyard, complete with a “playground” as the young guests at our housewarming called the swing set in the backyard.  The backyard is also good for playing fetch with a beagle.  If you walk past the swingset, you get to the other side of the house and a path that leads to the driveway, as well as the side door to the kitchen and the downstairs door to the office.

Back at the front of the house, this is the front yard – looking towards the street.  Walk up those stairs on the left and you get to our front deck.  To the left is the deck looking towards the house, the right is looking out towards the street.  The grill is in the one corner not captured in either photo. That long black thing is Cal’s leash, not a snake.  No snakes here.  All of this brings you here:  our front door.

Interior

 
This is the view as you walk into the front door and enter the main living area.  B-Cat is even there to welcome you!

To the left of the front door is the window nook or conversation area.  Or as the pets would prefer us to call it, Cal and B-Cat’s corner.  They love to sit side by side, each in their own chair and wait for us to come home.  You can see Cal waiting for his dad to get off the bus and come home in this picture.  He is waiting very patiently. 

Just beyond the “nook” is the fireplace.  This picture has terrible perspective but you can tell it is a fireplace.  It is in the center of the room on the left side, and no, we are not using it as our design focal point.  It just didn’t make sense for the type of room we wanted.  The previous owners had filled the fireplace with rocks and have tea lights in it.  FYI – beagles like to eat rocks.  So we will be changing that out soon and probably using it as a traditional fireplace this winter.

Directly opposite the fireplace are these bookshelves and wine bar.  I love this piece in our living room and we spent a lot of time picking out the right books to display out here.  I will have to do a whole post just on the bookcase one day because I think we did a nice job representing “us” on it.  If you could zoom in here, you would see the tequila and triple sec left over from our margaritas this weekend.  I point it out only because A bought “Montezuma” triple sec and it really amuses me.  No one complained though, and the ‘ritas were a hit.

If you were to turn to the left after entering the front door, you would enter the dining room, pictured here.  I couldn’t get the wall color to come through very well, it is a light green.  I thought I really hated the color, but it has grown on me.  I think it looks good with our honey colored dining room set.  The bookshelf to the left holds cookbooks.  Just before that bookshelf is a door which leads to . . . .

The kitchen.  Ta da.  This is a shot from the doorway from the dining room.  To the immediate right is the door to the outside.  Past the refrigerator on the left is a door that leads to the living room.  Both the dining room and the living room doors have pocket doors, so you can close off the kitchen if necessary.  I love the backsplash colors, which is also behind the sink.  I also love the island workspace that looks out to the window.  And I love love love my hanging pot rack above the workspace.

Through the living room (past the glass half wall if you look back at the first living room photo) is a hallway.  Immediately to your right is the bathroom. It is the guest bathroom and it is inhabited by monkeys.  More photos of this room (and the rest of the house) will be in the picasa album.

Continuing down the hall, also on the right is a closet, then two rooms at the end of the hall.  One is a guest room (with the queen bed) and the other is “in progress” and will one day be a child’s room (the one with yellow walls).  (Do not pay attention to the boxes.  They are not really there.  Oh, and clearly I don’t iron my sheets. But if you visit, I promise I will.)

Back down the hall there is a pantry and then there is a staircase.  Down the stairs and to the right is the master suite. Which is “lived in” at the moment.  I wasn’t sure if I would like having the master suite downstairs, but I suppose it really is no different then having it upstairs, just a different direction to walk.  It is actually a nice retreat, to be below it all.  The walls are Tiffany blue and it has the softest brown carpet (on which orange cat hair shows up surprisingly well).  That door to the right is our walk in closet.  There is another closet opposite the foot of the bed.

When the previous owners redid the downstairs to create this master suite, they had to be sure it had a separate exit to be considered a bedroom.  (If you watch HGTV you know about this rule.)  So there is a large “escape” window in our room that we can climb out of in case of fire.  They created a “zen garden” outside and it is very cute.

To the right of the walk in closet is the master bathroom and one of my favorite rooms in the house.  When making our list of wants when looking at houses, this bathroom was on it but I thought I would never be able to find a house that had it and fit our other more important needs.  We were very lucky.  The bathroom is the reverse color scheme of the bedroom, brown walls and blue accents.

Through the bathroom is the laundry room – or B-Cat’s private sanctuary. 

If you returned to the stairwell from the upper level and took a left instead of a right, you would reach a hallway.  There is a utility/storage room in the first door on the right, and the laundry room is at the end of the hall (with the kitty door).  The second door to the right is the office/fourth bedroom.

The office is also a work in progress.  The pale wood to the right are all closet doors, leading to a ton of storage space.  To the left is the desk (you can see the desk chair) and a futon in the background.

In this picture to the right, I am facing towards the hallway, so you can see the desk area better – as well as the tv hidden away in the tv cove.

So that’s our home.  Thanks for taking the tour.  One day I hope to be fully moved in and settled.  But for now everything that I need on a daily basis is unpacked and in usable condition and I even threw a party with it looking like this – and you know what, no one seemed to care.  Speaking of not caring, here is a beagle who has clearly reached his teenage years – he is rolling his eyes as his mother asks him to do something.  Or more likely stop doing something like pull blankets out of the closet.  Ah, youth. 

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.   

Your Regularly Scheduled Programming Will Return Shortly

I know this blog has gone from quasi-interesting to me complaining about moving.  That will end soon, I promise!  Like today I will complain about the bar exam!

Ok, no complaints, just a note that between moving and taking the WA state bar exam this week, plus working, interviewing dog walkers, visitors from the Other Washington (!) and you know, life, I know this won’t be a prolific week of blogging. 

So I leave you with these bar taking gems.  Ever since I took my first (and only to this point) bar exam, the last week of July has caused little panic attacks inside me.  Just seeing the “good luck bar takers” messages on Facebook makes my heart beat faster.  So the realization that I have to take the exam (only part of it thank goodness) this Thursday is freaking me out.  Taking the bar exam is a bit like flying – you have to have the proper identification to be let into the room, you have to be there two hours before the test starts, you have to have all your approved personal items in a ziploc plastic bag, you may only go to the bathroom at approved times.  The whole atmosphere is designed to freak us the heck out. 

In an effort to stay calm, see the hilarity in the situation and hopefully entertain my readers, here’s an ecard from someecards.com.  As someone who is studying to take the Professional Responsibility portion of the exam, I can tell you this behavior would violate the Washington Rules of Professional Conduct.

And for those who may be taking the exam this week as well, you know the comfort and pain brought on by BarBri outlines and lectures.  This BarBri fortune cookie made me giggle in a way that only someone who has listened to a BarBri lecture would giggle. 

When I return from the Eastside (I know, I have to go all the way to the Eastside to take the exam!!) I promise we will return to our regularly scheduled programming of weight battles, Seattle food, dock dogs(!) and new homes.