Moving Update

We interrupt our regularly scheduled boring wedding talk to update you on how moving plans are coming along. It’s incredibly bizarre to be driving down the street here in Arlington and suddenly think that in less than 60 days, we’re leaving this comfortable place behind for our Great West Coast Adventure. Weird. So weird! We still can’t quite fathom it.

I’ve modified our cross-country route a bit, after receiving sound advice from people who know what they’re doing (because we certainly don’t). Here’s what it looks like now:

You’re welcome to stalk us at our hotels, if you like. And speaking of hotels, how awesome is Motel 6 for no weight/breed/number restrictions on pets, and not charging extra on top of that? Done.

Here’s the itinerary, for now:

Nov. 25th: Leave Arlington early in the morning. Arrive in Owensboro, Kentucky about 12 hours later.
Nov. 26th: Drive about 10 hours and arrive in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Nov. 27th: Drive about 10 hours and arrive in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Nov. 28th: Drive about 10 hours and arrive in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nov. 29th: Drive about 12.5 hours and arrive in Fort Bragg, California. This is not the most direct way to Seattle, but a friend advised us to avoid the Sierra Nevadas at that time of year, unless we enjoy putting chains on our tires. Besides, we’ll get to see California coast – and how awesome is that.
Nov. 30th: Drive for about 13 hours and arrive in Seattle. We may split up this doozy of a trip into two days – I’m pretty sure we’ll be exhausted by this point and not feel like driving so many hours in one day. Unless we experience some kind of end-of-journey energy resurgence, or something.

Maybe they'll do this the entire time in the backseat? Not.

Many people have asked me if we’re going to sightsee on our road trip. I wish, you guys. I’m particularly excited about driving through parts of the southwest (a region I’ve never seen before), and would love to stop along at many of the National Parks along the way. But… Wallace and Neko will be with us. If it were just the dog, I think we’d be fine – but can you imagine us carrying our fat, not very smart cat in her carrier while traipsing around the Grand Canyon? Yeah, not going to happen. She would probably jump, carrier and all. Or die of fright. So, the animals are making this trip a pain in the ass, but, of course, we love them and want to keep them safe. Therefore, we’re aiming to knock this out as quickly as possible. We’ll certainly switch drivers and stretch our legs every few hours – maybe we’ll just happen to stop at some lovely scenic overlooks.  Hopefully, we’ll get to do the leisurely cross country drive at some point in our lives.

We’re not driving a rental truck, not hauling anything – just taking the Subaru. Soobie (that’s her nickname, real name is Genevieve – yes, yes, it’s a thing) just crossed over into the 80Ks and we have high hopes that she’ll make it all the way across. In any case, we’ll have our awesome mechanic at Japanese Auto Clinic take a look at her before we go. We also just bought a basic AAA membership (thanks, Groupon), so there’s that in case of problems. Don’t worry, Mom. Although I’m not sure what good a tow truck will do if we’re stuck in the middle of the desert…

So as you can imagine, we have to conserve all the space we can in our trunk. We’re packing a few clothes, toiletries, small valuables, an air mattress, pet food and bowls, kitty litter, our laptops… that’s it. And you better believe we’re downloading a bunch of audiobooks and podcasts before we go.

The rest of our crap is going to somehow fit into a 5’x7’x8′ storage unit and be driven across the country by a separate company. It will be expensive, but actually cheaper than it could be – we found a great deal with Door to Door (they’re even based in Washington state). Okay, and I know that we have a TON of stuff in our apartment right now, but we will be aggressive in decluttering and minimizing everything after the wedding. We’re getting rid of pretty much all our furniture, except for our bed and mattress. Anyone want a Billy bookcase or two?

For some reason, the storage unit is going to take three weeks to get to us. Are they driving, like, five hours a day and spending the rest of the time sightseeing? Who knows. But this means we’ll be in our new apartment in Seattle for about two weeks with no furniture. Oh man, it will be kind of crazy, but I am weirdly looking forward to it. It! Will! Be! An! Adventure!

I’m taking a solo trip to Seattle November 1-8, and would like to sign a lease and (hopefully!) go on some job interviews while there. I will be the first to admit that I sometimes have dizzying nervous breakdowns in these very adult situations that require responsibility and maturity. Thomas is the levelheaded one and he is skilled at talking me off the ledge. But we decided it would be more cost efficient for him to stay in Arlington – we won’t have to board the dog and he can keep working at CQ. I’m sure it’ll be fine, but I can’t help but feel a bit apprehensive, anyway. Oh well. Buck up, sister!

Okay, wow. This probably wasn’t long enough, no? Sheesh. I’ll keep everyone updated as we know more. But, yeah. Seattle or bust!

Advertisements

New Apartment Wishlist

As much as I love our good old Arlington apartment, we’ve been building a good-sized wishlist for our next place in Seattle. Here’s what we’re looking for:

Non-negotiables

  • A large closet or two closets. We currently share one teeny tiny closet that’s no more than 5 feet wide and 1 foot deep. Frankly, I don’t feel that bad that our closet is in a constant state of disarray, because it is practically impossible to do with so little space. And anyway, Neko likes to make herself a little fatcave on top of my gym bags that are piled on the closet floor.
  • Dishwasher and/or washer/dryer in unit. Preferably both. I asked Thomas the other day what he preferred, if he had to choose one. Right away, he said washer/dryer. I would pick dishwasher, hands down. This cracks me up. Is it obvious who does the laundry and who washes the dishes in our household? Really, while it would be lovely to have both, daily life would be significantly easier with even one of these.
  • Large(r) kitchen with more counter space. Galley kitchen with laminate countertops and steel cabinets – I love you. I really do. But you make it so difficult for more than one person to be in the kitchen at one time. I’m not saying that our future kitchen has to be this. Well, okay, maybe I want that. When we have a gajillion dollars.

Tiny kitchen of doom!

Would be nice

  • Second bedroom. For the multitudes of out-of-town guests we’ll be entertaining week after week. Right? RIGHT? In all seriousness, it would be awesome to have a separate study/library, and a room where I can throw all my craft junk in.
  • Area where I can start an herb garden. Doesn’t have to be a full yard (because, Lord knows, I don’t need to become obsessed with gardening). I just need a little space where I can plant some basil, mint, dill, etc. We spend a lot of money on these silly plants that we can easily grow ourselves, if we had the space.
  • Actually, a yard would be great. A fully-fenced in yard? Would be fab for Wallace. Although I’d worry about neighboring squirrels and birds he’d potentially kill. And all the poop he’d eat when not being supervised. Eek!
  • Close proximity to a trail. I’ve been spoiled the past few years, living just a couple of blocks away from two major trails in Northern Virginia. I’d love to bike more in Seattle (and of course, there’s always the running), and trails would help make that goal more accessible for me.

We’ve narrowed down our top neighborhoods in Seattle, and I’m hoping that our perfect apartment just happens to be in one of them. And that it opens up in early December of this year. It’s all very exciting, of course, but it gives me the jitters at the same time. Guess we’ll just have to see!


Why Seattle, Exactly?

I visited Seattle for the first time in June 2002. I was traveling on my own, and wrapping up a 30-day tour of art museums in six U.S. cities. William and Mary funded my entire trip – it was an approved project for their Monroe Scholar program (rough life, I know). I was feeling very fatigued from travel at that point, and incredibly lonely. I had never traveled solo but thought I’d be cut out for it. Sadly, no. I think that traveling on your own can be extremely fun and rewarding, but only if you have the right kind of personality. Me – I’m certainly no extrovert, and the thought of approaching others at the hostels where I stayed made me queasy. So I kept to myself. There was a lot of holing up in bookstores and reading for hours and hours on that trip. Seattle was the final stop, and I was excited to get my stay there over with so I could finally make it home.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I loved Seattle. Even though I didn’t venture out to the fun neighborhoods (I stayed at a hostel a block away from Pike Place Market, and mostly wandered around the downtown area since I didn’t know any better), something about the city and the air just seemed different. Maybe it was the proximity of water and mountains? Who knows, but I was captivated. It helped a lot that the weather was positively perfect – 70s and sunny every day. Helloooooo, Seattle summers. I vowed to make a return trip to explore further.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait long – I was back in November 2004. That was an utterly spontaneous trip  that I took with my new friend and co-worker, Christine. Thinking back, the whole thing was a little ridiculous. But I guess these are the kinds of things that early 20-somethings do. I was a little worried that it would be rainy and miserable, but we lucked out big time – we had gorgeous, ideal fall weather. I also got to visit some of the young, hip neighborhoods of Seattle for the first time. I specifically remember checking out Fremont, Capitol Hill, and the University District. And drinking beer. There was a. lot. of. beer. We had an amazing time, and needless to say, that experience sealed the deal. I was in love with the city!

What did I tell you about the beer?

The next jaunt to Seattle was in October 2008 – and that time, I brought Thomas with me, who had never been before. Seattle was just one stop on our 10-day tour of the Pacific Northwest (we also saw Portland and Vancouver). We hung out with our friends Anne and Dan, who had just moved there from the DC area that summer. We had a grand old time and visited even more neighborhoods and fun places.

I can’t tell you how and why it happened, but something finally clicked last spring, and Thomas and I decided that we would move to Seattle. Even early on in our relationship, we had always talked about moving to a new city together. Chicago was a contender. Austin, weirdly, though we’ve never been there. San Francisco/Berkeley too. But in the end, Seattle just made the most sense. I already knew I loved it, and Thomas, being the laid-back one, was happy to go along with it. He liked the city well enough, so why not?

We made it our goal to move by April of this year, and started planning on how we were going to make that happen. Sort of unexpectedly, we got engaged, and that threw a wrench into our plans a bit. I wanted a DC fall wedding, and the earliest time that could happen was this year. I was not wild about the idea of planning a wedding from the west coast, so we pushed back the move to November. And now, here we are.

We’ve been back to Seattle since we decided on the move, just to make sure. And yeah, we’re sure. I can’t really explain it, but the city just fits us. I think we’ll be really happy there. We could be wrong, of course. There is always the possibility that we’ll get there and hate it. Hate the constant rain, hate not having a billion friends around, hate our jobs, hate our apartment. But how will we know unless we try?

The Route

2 adults. 1 dog. 1 cat. 1 Subaru Impreza. 5 cities. 6 days. 3,888 miles.

We leave in late November, which is why we’re taking the long way through parts of the south and southwest. I worry about driving through blizzards and the like, so I think it’s better to play it safe through warmer climes. I also wish that we could make this a more leisurely road trip (honeymoon!), but our darling pets will be with us. It wouldn’t be so bad with just Wallace, but little Neko will be very, very freaked out. I think it will be wise to get to Seattle as quickly as possible.

Obviously, all our furniture and other crap won’t fit in the Subaru. We’re planning on packing up a storage unit and hiring someone to drive it across the country. This makes me nervous (I am just a nervous person, can you tell?), but I feel much better about that than driving a big ass truck ourselves.