Monday, November 17, 2008

A Job!

Allright, since this morning’s morning cup was basically a shot of espresso, here’s an afternoon mocha with some more caffeine and a lot of sweetness mixed in!

Yesterday morning was Matt’s day off but we still needed to get up early to go to the REI Issaquah’s one year anniversary staff event they were having at 8 am (I don’t understand morning people). We woke up a bit late and rushed out to door pulling on jackets and boots for our hike later that day. As we drove out east we were blessed with the sight of the Cascades and the base of Mount Rainier—usually all shrouded in clouds. In fact, in the two weeks Matt’s been working there he’s never seen those mountains!

We got to REI (late, of course) and the whole staff was assembled in the community room eating pancakes and listening to the manager talk about how well the store’s done and honor a few people. We got our pancakes from Dey (pronounced Yi—we met him earlier at the Flagship store remember? He interviewed Matt originally for this job, and now is actually paired up with him in a mentoring program) and then stood awkwardly between the door and the trash can since there were no more seats left. I had a Styrofoam cup (shouldn’t REI know better?) in one hand and a plate of pancakes in the other and awkwardly tried to balance them and eat but eventually gave up and put the cup on the serving table. After all the awards and honors were given out, people began to mingle and talk and I got to meet some more of Matt’s coworkers and his boss.

We had just bought some duct tape for my heels (to prevent blisters) and were headed out for our hike at North Bend when I chanced to check my email on my phone. It was a day past a week since my interview with Delta and I still hadn’t heard back from them. I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket, so I’ve been sending in cover letters and resumes to other openings as well…but my heart just sank as I sent one to a dentists’ office, a medical simulation technology lab, and even considered nannying again. I didn’t want to take a step backwards! I had just barely made it to the career position I wanted in marketing and in a field I loved (boats! Yes I’m my father’s child) and it was so disheartening to think of going all the way back to start. But these are tough economical times and I need to work (and soon!) so if that meant waitressing, then I’d need to get some comfortable shoes. I saw I had an email from Delta Marine…I read:

“Hi Kaitlynn,
It was a pleasure meeting with you […]Thank you also for your patience in allowing us some time to think about how we are positioned for 2009 and a storm, if one should hit us. We are very cautious of the uncertain economic times and are hoping for a prosperous year to come.”

My heart was pounding…did this mean they were going to play it safe and decide not to hire me? I kept scrolling down…

“In light of that, we would like to welcome you to our team!”

I looked up at Matt and a big ole’ smile spread over my face. “You got it?” He asked. “I GOT IT!” And we proceeded to produce a display of silly excitement and mushy kisses in front of one of his coworkers who was leaving.

I somehow managed to calm down enough to read the rest and realized there was an attachment with my salary and benefits so we went back into REI and to the lunch lounge computer where I opened it up. Now the salary was what I had been making at Grubb & Ellis, and was more than when I started at Driscoll, but quite a bit short of what I was making when I left Driscoll. After discussing how to approach negotiations with Matt and with Matt’s boss even (really nice guy—named Matt—who’s very business savvy) I called ready to negotiate but still willing to take the job no matter what. It turns out she was wondering if I could start working informally next week just doing the newsletter, and come in for half an hour that day for her to show me how and go over the benefits.

Matt and I had to cancel our North Bend hike, but we did end up going back to Discovery Park and having a wonderful hike there. One of the first things I said after I got the email was, “This means we can get a dog!!!”

Matt and I are definitely pet people. Not just pet people, animal people in general. We had passes to the San Diego zoo and once I start getting a paycheck we’ll become Seattle Zoo members as well. We get googley-eyed over every dog we pass, and are still like kids in that we point out every squirrel that we see when we go on walks. We weren’t allowed to have pets at our last apartment (we even considered a guinea pig), so two or three times a week we’d head down to dog beach in San Diego and play with other people’s dogs. Last night we were both up until 2 in bed with the laptop looking online for dogs—so to say we’re ready is an understatement! We have to wait until after our Thanksgiving vacation (I don’t want a dog feeling we abandoned it right off the bat!), but we’ll keep you posted!

After our hike I cleaned up and drove myself (yes, you heard me) to Delta without getting lost or frazzled! I met some of the office girls, found out my job for the next week, and when she asked if I wanted to go over the benefits I said yes. At the end of her explanation of the insurance and vacation hours and all that, when she asked if there was anything else I‘d like to discuss I said yes again with my heart in my mouth. I explained how I understood these economic times were difficult for everyone, but then went on to reiterate what I was brining to the company, and in light of my previous salary that I thought a middle ground between what they had offered and what I had been making was fair. She agreed and said she was sure that would be no problem! I was so shocked at how easy she was with it I thought, “Dang, I could have asked for more!” But it’s still more than I was making two months ago, and I’m at a high profile company in the field I want to be…I have no reason to complain!!!

That night our friends from college Thomas and Mica Kucera came over (Mica was kind enough to view the apartment before we moved up here, so we knew we weren’t being scammed or moving into a dump!) and we went out to Thai food. Matt and I went to their wedding in 2006 shortly before we were engaged, and since then they’ve moved up here and Thomas (who is in the Army) has served in Iraq. Mica sent “WA Update” emails and that was the inspiration for these “Morning Cups.” So even though its been (wow) a year and a half since we’ve actually seen them, it hasn’t really felt like it and we were really excited to reconnect with them.

After they left I remembered a bottle of wine I bought at Wilsons Creek Winery with Nadine on our wine tour that I’ve been saving for whenever I got a new job. The day of my interview I put it in the fridge to chill as an act of faith, and every time I would open the fridge and see the bottle it was a reminder to say a little prayer that God would provide a job. Matt and I shared a toast and put the rest away for a good dinner I’m making up tonight.

Well I’m off to a Queen Anne Artists’ Trunk Show—I’m finishing up my third cup of coffee and am buzzed and raring to go! Thanks to all of you who kept my job situation in your prayers—and in case you didn’t know my brother also got a job the day before I did at a high end men’s clothing store called John Varvados! We are truly blessed!
(now we just need a puppy…Lord? haha)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Charissa visits!

What is it about late nights that makes me prone to write?

 Leftover vestiges from my college days? 

I sit down in the middle of the afternoon with a cup of tea and stare blankly at a word document…I try to force myself to write and what comes out is mundane and banal. Yet at night—say 1:22 in the morning as it is now—words flow through me like tears from a teenage girl. I sit here swathed in my husband’s large warm shirt trying to type softly as he’s lying here snuggled up to my side making an occasional happy grunting noise when I rest my hand on his head. Well, you can’t fight the urge when it hits so here it is ladies and gents, your morning cup for November 13th.

Last Friday night we welcomed the first guest to our new home—my best friend/roommate from college and one of my bridesmaids Charissa. She got here on Friday night, and we all settled in to a few great episodes of Seinfeld before hitting the hay.

The next morning we woke up and drank our coffee on the patio as the sky cleared up in what looked to be a very stormy afternoon. We spent the day watching one of our Meg Ryan classics, walking all over Queen Anne, exploring boutiques and stores and of course, drinking coffee.

We started up the hill and stopped in every little store that interested us—many of them leaving me mumbling, “I’ve gotta take my mom or Ammah or Beth here…” as we wandered in vintage jewelry, adorable boutiques, and cutesy cafés. We explored pasta shops, peered in the window of a restaurant interestingly named “How to Cook a Wolf,” and stopped in an old fashioned game shop that made our heads spin.

We finally made our way to El Diablo, the same Cuban café where we got lunch and coffee and chatted beneath the brightly painted murals. A tour of Queen Anne Books and continued on our way. We ducked into a shop filled with beautifully carved furniture and Indian shawls and pillows and a GIANT Bernese mountain dog lying on the floor. We were instantly suckered in by his soulful eyes then he got us to rub his belly and we were in love. After we tore ourselves away from him, we continued walking towards the southern edge of the hill.

The leaves are falling by the bushel and carpeting the streets and sidewalks in yellow and red. We made our way to Kerry Park for the quintessential Seattle view, when we were suddenly distracted by a party of people dressed in an absurd amount of green.

“Is it a prom?” Charissa asked as we looked at the number of green dresses and tuxedos. I then spied what had to be the most awful wedding dress I’ve ever laid eyes on.

“NO…it’s a wedding,” I shuddered in horror.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!”

The bride’s dress was mostly GREEN. As if this wasn’t bad enough, it was a white strapless bodice with green boning and green ruching around the bust and green lacing up the back. To finish this work of art were gloves…if they can be called that…that look like something from medieval times. Large poufs just above the elbows led to a fitted arm that expanded to white bell sleeves. And she looked about 15. Contrasting her medieval throwback gown were her bridesmaids lime green dresses which would have better fitted a prom setting than a wedding. Call us awful but we just had to get a picture.

By the way, Matthew just woke himself up snoring and looked at me accusingly—haha!

The rest of the day we spent curled up and warm at home watching movies, talking, cooking, and enjoying the fact that we only lived 4 hours apart now.

The next day Matt was off and we took our first bus ride into downtown Seattle. After doling out the appropriate quarters we boarded the bus and listened to our energetic driver narrate the streets like a baseball radio announcer.

“And next here we’ll be rounding up on Mercer, yes Mercer folks, and after that we’ll be stopping off at the Wall Street of Seattle where all the millionaires come to play. Take a look outside folks you just might see one…”

We got off at Pike Place Market and showed Charissa around. I got my Market Spice tea which I first tasted after my mom brought it back from her trip with Charlene, and we spent a long leisurely afternoon walking in all sorts of shops and stores. After another bowl of that amazing clam chowder, we headed home.

That night Charissa left and this week has been a mish-mash of sorts. I’ve gotten to 
sleep in, take extra long walks, and wait impatiently by the phone to hear back from Delta Marine and see if they’re going to hire me or not. Yesterday I walked nearly 4 miles all over Queen Anne, found a new café where I stopped to read Jane Eyre (so what if it’s my 6th or 7th time?), wandered upon a new park with some awesome trees, and managed to make it home just before the heavy rain started.

Today Matt and I meant to get up and go to the Pike Place Market to pick up a bag of books Charissa left, but someone kept mumbling, “Mmm…snugglebumpkins…so nice…so stormy outside…nice and warm right here…” and kept convincing me to hit the snooze. But hey, can I really complain about a husband who wants to stay in bed late and snuggle with me? I don’t think so!

We did manage to make it to a new park located in Magnolia, called Discovery Park. This is one of the biggest parks in Seattle, and we donned our raingear and headed out. Though we only got 45 minutes there, it was easily one of our favorite places we’ve visited so far! Winding on trails through moss covered trees you feel as if you’ve been transported deep into the woods somewhere. It was raining just light enough to make the trees drip, and we decided rather quickly we’d soon be back.

So that’s the latest on us. I’ll keep you posted if I hear anything 
back from Delta or anyone else I’ve sent a cover letter and resume to for that matter—keep me in your prayers!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ups and Downs and Waiting

Well it’s been a few days of ups and downs and here in the Emerald City.

Tuesday I ventured out on my own for the first time to visit Matt’s store. Keep in mind he told me to come later in the afternoon, since he would be in meetings earlier and he wanted to see me. Before I get to my car I check the mail to find that the return we’re getting on our last apartment’s deposit was a bit less than expected—$0—to be exact. 

Long story short, Matt had a previous roommate who burned the carpet pretty badly a week before he moved out. Matt had the current manager at the time look at it and give an estimate of the cost--$300, which we then took out of the roommate’s deposit. The carpet, besides the burns, was incredibly filthy and stained despite numerous professional cleanings, and so we had a lot of rugs! 

Our current manager told us during the walk through we should be getting most if not all of our deposit back, because even without the burns the carpet was so bad it would need replacing anyway (it was like that before Matt even moved in 3 years ago…then had 6 bachelors in and out…can you imagine?). So, left with her assuring us that we’d get most of our deposit back because the carpet was so old it needed to be replaced anyway, we headed up to Seattle. 

Now they’re taking our entire deposit to replace the carpet because the landlord is so stingy, he claims he wouldn’t have replaced the carpet had it not been for the burns. So, we’re ending up getting jacked because 1)Matt’s old roommate, 2) the previous manager who gave us the estimate to exact from the roommate’s deposit AND never bothered to have the roommate even SIGN on the lease, 3)even though the current manager didn’t give notice or opportunity for us to fix the carpet during our initial inspection because, “we’re replacing it anyway,” they’re still taking the whole deposit, and 4) a stingy landlord who uses burns as an excuses to replace already despicable carpet. We’ve already looked into the whole legal side of it, and basically the landlord could charge us the full amount of the carpet replacing, and we’d owe instead of just getting nothing back. 

So there’s my rant.

Still shocked by this news I get in the car and proceed to follow Matt’s precise directions to REI in Issaquah. Mind you it’s only taken him 25-35 minutes every time he’s gone, but it was now 3:30 and I was on a street known as “Mercer Madness.” Nice, huh? INSANE!!! It took me 45 minutes to go 3.1 miles and just get ON the freeway! At one point, fed up with waiting through 3 green and red lights and only moving forward one car, I saw MY lane across the intersection was clear, but blocked by an idiot who was trying to get in the jam-packed middle lane so he was completely perpendicular to the lanes and blocking where I needed to go. Noticing the sidewalks were rather low…you can guess what happened. I drove on the sidewalk. And not just me, I look in my rearview mirror to see an old dude in a Volvo follow my lead, and then another 2, 3, 4 cars until our lane filled back in. 

Mercer Madness for sure.

I finally make it to the freeway and as I’m trying to make it from my slow moving 20 mph lane into the clear lane to my right (and the lane next to that was clear as well). I check my mirrors, see both lanes to my right are completely clear, and began to head out only to be nearly sideswiped by a maniac speeding from the far lane and deciding to jump into the lane I was going into RIGHT where I was! These people not only have ridiculous streets, they drive like bats outta hell to boot! No WONDER people here take so many busses!!!

Finally, as I’m nearing Issaquah I take the exit and am on the phone with Charissa when I look around and realize NO ONE else is on the phone. “Um, do you know if it’s legal to drive with a cell phone?” I ask. “Oh shoot!” she replies, “I don’t think it is! BYE!” So not only am I a blonde with CA license plates, I’m the only one driving around chatting it up on the phone too…they must hate me, I think.

I make it to Matt’s REI more than an HOUR after leaving my house, and his coworker is kind enough to let him take his lunch break then so we could eat dinner together. Need I describe the overall mood when I broke the deposit news to him? But fortunately he is a positive man and has the outlook that, “As long as we’ve got each other, we’re blessed” mentality.

Faced with the prospect of a bit more meager month than we might have expected, I update my shopping list to the necessities, and begin the treacherous journey home. 

I’m serious people, I think the city planners got the inspiration for their street systems one night as they sat eating spaghetti. “Hey,” said one city planner to the other, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we made our streets make as much sense as this bowl of noodles?”

Driving home, I had a general sense of the streets but didn’t have it written down as I could always count on my GPS in my phone, right? Well, I don’t know if it was too cloudy or the wind was blowing too hard or what the problem was, but my phone was refusing to get a signal (in Seattle?) and the lanes to be in to get where you want to go are anything but clear. I ended up next to Safeco and Qwest fields, and underneath an overpass behind a pickup truck stopped at a train stop with a train going excruciatingly slow forwards…then back…then forwards…and blocking my view of the street ahead.

 Off to the right was a one way underneath overpass and through a questionable looking area. After ten minutes of the train going back and forth, the cars around me had had enough and like a flock of birds following any given leader, took off to the right underneath the overpass. Praying they were headed the same direction I was going, I followed. I drove for ten more minutes, not entirely sure of the street I was actually on because there were no signs! 

We came to an interesting intersection in which I couldn’t tell where the lane I was in was supposed to go, so again I said a little prayer the truck in front of me was going the same was I was and kept following it. Mind you, during this time I was a tad frustrated…to say the least. My hat was off and I was pulling at my hair like a madman, yelling at the nonexistent street signs and saying, “ELLIOT, where’s ELLIOT? ELLIOT will take me home!”

God was looking out for me and the truck was headed where I was going, and soon enough I was on Elliot and close to home. My nerves rattled by the Seattle driving, I decided with determination I needed to drive until I could pull into my parking spot unfrazzled. Currans aren’t quitters and Palmers aren’t pushovers, right? 

I was getting to know Queen Anne a bit better and so I found the Trader Joe’s, bought myself a little heather plant for the patio along with some other essentials, and pulled into the parking garage with a sounder mind. 

It was only when I got there that I realized I had left my hat off and my hair was sticking up all over the place like a banshee as a result of my maniacal outrage. 


I got in the apartment, and the icing on the cake was that all day long my fly had been down.

Well, that day done and gone, we got up Wednesday morning and went on a very nice long walk in Queen Anne. It’s one of those places you admire every house and garden and plant you walk by, and then you turn around and see the view and you’re so surrounded by beauty and charm you’re not sure which way to look. On a clear day you can see the Olympic Mountain range far beyond Magnolia, and see its snow capped peaks.

We walked to a café called El Diablo. This Cuban inspired café has brightly painted murals of artistic devils (not as awful as it sounds), a lover’s grotto with hearts and cupids, and an upstairs make sense, is painted with angels and clouds. There we had the best Mexican hot chocolate we’d had in our lives…and we’re big Mexican hot chocolate fans. Getting an Americano to go (also amazing), we slipped into the bookstore next door (uh, heaven?) and browsed through this local gem for awhile. We got on their frequent buyer list, got info about their book club, and were welcomed warmly to the neighborhood and told about all the local must sees by the friendly cashier.

We walked to the Metropolitan Market (think of Whole Foods, but cheaper and cuter), got some wonderful hot soup and ate it walking back home in the chilly afternoon. Once home we spent the rest of the day lounging around in front of the fireplace, reading, unpacking a bit more, and enjoying the fall day.

Today I had my interview at Delta Marine, and if you read this this morning please pray they decide they need to hire me! A month ago it would have been a non-issue, I probably would have been offered the job today. But with the way the economy is, my job was trying to convince them that bringing me on to help the 1 (ONE!) person who handles the marketing for this $100 million/year company that employs 600…what’s one more? Plus they don’t even have a concierge service, and even Driscoll’s—a MUCH smaller operation where I was working—had that.

That should bring you pretty much up to speed. We’re slowly but surely putting our house together, but a lot of things are on hold until I get a job…so you’ll have to wait for pictures. But I’ll tell you this, our master bedroom is so big we’ve left a nice open area just for yoga practice, and our living room is snug and cozy and you can sit on our couch with the fire to your right and gaze out at the bay. You’ll just have to come up here to see it yourself! ‘Till next time, cheers!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Exploring Seattle

We woke up late to a rainy morning (big surprise, right?) and got ready for our day of exploration. No unpacking, no unloading, no lifting…just exploring. It was Matt’s last day before he started his new job at REI, so we figured we needed one day of no work. 

After discovering that the outlets in both bathrooms don’t work (that’s something we’ll have to fix…the girl’s gotta dry her hair sometime…), we donned our raingear and headed out. After an interesting drive through downtown, we ended up at the flagship store of REI. I felt like I was at the center of the universe for outdoorsmen, the Mecca of mountaineers, the hub of all things Goretex. 

It’s incredibly HUGE, so vast I’d want to put my child on a leash for fear of them running off amidst Nalgenes and sleeping bags and never being found. My mouth began to salivate as we walked by a long row of beautiful kayaks, and then even more so as I saw the “World Wraps” restaurant they had on the top floor!

We got me all outfitted for Seattle weather—waterproof boots that are so super cute I don’t want to take them off, wool socks, and a much better waterproof jacket than the flimsy shell I had been wearing. Matt got to meet the manager who had interviewed him from Issaquah (he had since transferred to the flagship store) and Duy (that’s his name) was totally stoked to meet Matt in person. He introduced Matt to every REI manager or supervisor who walked by, and I was really surprised to find out they all knew who he was, where he was going, and where he was from! Everyone was so nice, and when they found out we were living in Queen Anne they would automatically give us their version of the best way to get to Issaquah. They hooked us up with a free parking pass, told us the best way to get to Pike’s Place, and welcomed us to the area.

By this point it was around 3:30, and having only eaten half a toaster pastry I was getting to the “FEED ME NOW” hungry stage. We went to the front of the store to get a map and ran into their greeter who was as talkative as they come. I think it took us a good half an hour to get away, and the managers walking behind him would just smile at us and shake their heads like “sorry, we know he talks a lot…” but he was so darn nice you couldn’t tell him to shut up! Finally, laden with maps and weak with hunger, we escaped the greeter and headed to Pike’s Place.

We walked from REI to Pike’s Place, a good 20 minute stroll through downtown Seattle. It did let us get a great feel of the city. I’d say it feels similar to parts of Boston and New York, but much less crowded and congested and with more trees. It was a nice brisk day and with my new gear I was quite warm (which makes Matt a happy guy). 

When we finally reached the market, my senses were overwhelmed with the lights, the sight of bright fruits and vegetables in nice neat rows, the smell of fish and other seafood, the sounds of sellers hawking their wares, and the feeling of my empty stomach gnawing on itself. We decided that viewing the market would be much more pleasant on a full stomach, so we went to where we had heard has the best clam chowder—Pike Place Chowder. It’s won first place chowder everywhere in the country (including on the east coast), and proudly displays its “Nation’s Best Clam Chowder” awards. We walked into the tiny shop and our eyes must have been as big as saucers because the guy said, “Now wait a minute, before you get too excited, we’re out of all sandwiches and all soups except clam chowder.”

“That’s fine!” we said in unison, “That’s all we want!”

We sat down with our clam chowder in bread bowls and took a bite and just looked at each other. It was hands down the best clam chowder either of us had ever had. This picture accurately describes our feeling while eating the chowder....

With our bellies full we wandered through the market, giggling at ugly hairless dogs in sweaters still shivering, listening to street players singing their songs, and finally stopping at the famous fish place where they toss the fish. It was surrounded by a wall of people so we wove our way through to the front near where they had a monkfish hanging over the side of their display with a sign that said, “Hello I’m a Monk Fish.” We laughed as they switched it up in their fish tossing and tossed a fish to a girl in the crowd who, accordingly, screamed and ducked. Then everyone laughed again as the main fish tosser picked up the fish to show it was just a stuffed animal! She got her revenge and chucked it back at the guy behind the booth.

We continued to walk along the stalls, sniffing all kinds of fresh produce, examining some interesting items like chocolate linguini, estimating how many clams came in a pound (14-16, in case you were wondering), and finally bought some zucchini, squash and corn before we made our way to a coffee shop (NOT Starbucks…how could you think that?!). It’s definitely a cultural experience, and though not quite as homey as our old Ocean Beach farmer’s market it’s something I’d definitely like to go back to. I’m kicking myself I didn’t buy leeks while I had the chance, cause I haven’t seen them at any supermarket since!

On our way back we had some gorgeous views of the Space Needle, and we made it back to REI and to the car right before a downpour started. Next came an interesting trip to West Seattle to pick up a TV stand before heading home. I say interesting because the on-ramps and off-ramps to the freeways in Seattle make absolutely no sense. The street you take to get on to the freeway is not the street that’s listed as the on-ramp, and you can’t get on and off the freeway on the same street like in California. Basically to get to our house (as best as we can figure) you have to drive straight through downtown Seattle and then up the hill because there are no other off-ramps that go to our house. Strangely frustratingly confusing.

The next morning, Matt went off to his first day of work and I woke up to a beautiful sunny morning (ok, maybe it was late morning…). The air was brisk and I could see a storm brewing over Bainbridge Island so I made my cup of coffee and enjoyed the sun while it lasted. Our house has been shut up for so long (while the owner was trying to sell it), that I opened all the windows and let the fresh fall air blow through. About ten minutes before the storm hit, the temperature dropped drastically so I closed up the house and sat in a chair by the window to watch it roll in.
I spent the rest of my day unpacking until Matt got home, and when he announced he was hungry we opened the fridge to find…bread, cheese, milk, and a whole lot of Jackie’s Jams from the Ocean Beach market. “I think we need to go shopping…” I said.

We bundled up and headed to Ken’s Market which had gotten great reviews on google maps. We pulled up, whipped out our list and our tote bags and walked in to discover…a market no better stocked than your average 7-11. Since we were 2 of 4 people in the stores, we felt too bad to walk in and not buy anything so we bought mustard and noodles and ducked out to head to the nearest Safeway…so much for supporting the local market!

Safeway had everything we needed (except our uncooked tortillas…don’t these people eat Mexican food?!), and after acquainting ourselves with its aisles we headed home to begin our late dinner. Thanks to Heatherly I had one cookbook that wasn’t packed so we made cashew chicken that was AWESOME and we drank our beer, watched a Seinfeld and ate dinner at 10:30.

Today (November 3…we’re finally caught up!), Matt didn’t have to work until 2 so we slept in late, missed the morning shower and woke up to sunshine. We went for a long walk around Queen Anne which looks like something out of a movie from the early 1900’s (the architecture is Queen Anne style…hence the neighborhood name), and down to a viewpoint at the end of our street.
Since Matt left for work I’ve been putting the house together until Nadine (ahem, yes you) read the Morning Cups for the first time and suggested starting a blog which has taken far too much of my time now! But stay tuned for further adventures from the Seattle Palmers!

Fresno is not So Cal

We woke up this morning on our blow up bed in the middle of our empty living room to the pitter patter of rain. Matt braved the weather and walked up the street to our local coffee shop (surprisingly just ok…we’ll have to keep looking) and brought back hot coffee. We had just cleared everything out and were beginning to unload when our movers showed up.

Now first, I must say that in San Diego we all (sadly) underestimated our movers and despite their short stature and homie ghetto appearances they proved to be extremely polite, fast, smart, and efficient. So I tried very hard not to place any sort of predispositions when a young man with a camoflauge hat and lip ring approached and dully asked, “You guys the ones movin’ in?” There we were standing in the rain with our arms full of a vacuum cleaner and boxes next to a 16 foot Budget truck…”Uh…yeah.”

We got in the elevator and waited for his friend to catch up. Sad that chivalry is near death as I stood there struggling with the weight of my load and our hired mover stood to the side chewing his lip ring. His friend showed up, and let me describe his choice of style: shoulder length strawberry blonde hair that was nearly in a ‘fro it was so poofy, with a backwards hat that smushed everything down except two blonde puffballs on the side of his face. He had heavy lidded eyes and his mouth hung open constantly as he told us that he too was from San Diego.

“Oh really? What part?”


This could get interesting.

Needless to say they did get all the large items unloaded, though they took their time in between loads and then had the nerve to offer to stay longer because, “They take cash or check.” While they may not have been as great as our San Diego movers, I didn’t have to carry a hundred boxes up and down the elevator nor were Matt and I left trying to figure out how the two of us could move our couch in.

After they left we had the fun task of figuring out how to make our stuff fit and work and look aesthetically pleasing in our new apartment. We’re learning that when you take furniture from a 600-square-foot apartment and put it in a 1,050 square foot apartment it’s going to look a bit bare…so tomorrow we’ll be dropping in some thrift and antique stores to see how we can fill our new space.

After dropping off the rental truck for the last time and dancing a little jig for joy, we did a Target run which is nothing like Target runs at home. First of all, it’s in a mall…so you have to park in a parking garage. Second, its only 7 miles from our home but it takes 30 minutes because of the traffic. And third, WHO DESIGNED THESE STREETS?!

After taking the scenic route home, viewing a beautiful rainbow, and stopping at Kerry Park for a nice view of downtown, we headed home, cooked up some lasagna and began the long process of cleaning, laying contact paper, unpacking, and organizing. But the storm cleared and we had a beautiful view at sunset, and we’re sitting here nice and snug by our little fire.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s adventure: Pike’s Place Market! (by the way, this is the view from our balcony)

The Move

Well here it is ladies and gentlemen! Your first “fix” of Matt and Kaitlynn Palmer. It’s your morning cup of us! Kudos to Matt for coming up with the name! I thought of “Drizzle Scribbles” but that sounded too depressing. So go fix your morning drink just how you like it and cozy on up to your computer for the latest update from the Seattle Palmers!

We’ll start at the beginning. We rented a sixteen foot Budget rental truck and a car trailer which we then jam-packed and carted all the way from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. Matt drove the “Beast” as we affectionately referred to it at (his car was on a full trailer, adding at least another 15 feet to the back of the truck) while I followed behind in my trusty 4Runner named “Max.” We loaded up on Saturday with tremendous help from my mom and the muscles of two hired movers, and then did the shortest jaunt up to Orange County. Sunday night we had our going away party during which I got to see most of you wonderful people. Monday morning we began the long haul.

We had two-way radios (I’m still a kid and called them walkie-talkies) and got to talk to each other the whole way up—and boy we did! Getting to talk to each other definitely made the drive go a lot faster. Our first adventure was in LA (of course) when in the middle of the street there was a twisted metal HULK of…something! Neither of us had time to swerve and both of us ran over it. There were some tense moments of waiting to see if any tires had blown or if anything was majorly damaged, but our guardian angels must have been with us and everything was ok!

We made our way up the Grapevine nice and slow (35 mph slow!) but managed to avoid any overheating, and cruised our way into the San Juaquin Valley and its nice boring stretch. We stopped in a truck stop south of Los Banos and when we went to turn on Matt’s headlights for night, the backlights—including the ones on the trailer—weren’t working. We called Budget and they said change fuse 21. Simple enough, right? I mean, I don’t want to brag but I did take auto shop in High school…so I should know how to change a fuse.

Well I did…but that didn’t solve our problem. To make a very long, tiring story short we were at that truck stop for 3 hours and the Budget Company had to sent AAA and they had to tape off a light that was short circuiting everything else. However, we got to enjoy a truck stop diner and its variety of vomiting kids and chicken fried steak.

Monday night after a lot of energy drinks and stupid jokes on the walkie-talkies we rolled into Paradise (a small town near Chico, CA) at 2 am and absolutely crashed at Matt’s aunt and uncle’s house (for those of you at our wedding, Uncle Chris Reid was the man who married us).
Tuesday was our rest day, although I have to find it somewhat humorous that we still spent 3 hours in the car to go see our cousins’ apartment in Chico, drive through the park, drive to a covered bridge (which we spent 5 minutes at), and drive back to Paradise. We did have a great surprise that morning in that when I got out of the shower I heard a voice that was very familiar. I walked out and sure enough Beth—Matt’s mom—was sitting on the couch! It was a wonderful surprise!!! We had an awesome meal with all the Reids that night, and really got to enjoy them. I know I married into the right family when they make brownies and hand me a spoon to lick the bowl with.

Wednesday we make our second big trek from Paradise to Vancouver. I have to say that I’ve driven through New England in the prime of its fall colors…and Oregon may actually be a rival! We kept cutting each other off on the walkie-talkies saying “WOW! Did you see that tree? It’s so RED!” or “It’s so darn beautiful!!!”

We stopped in Ashland, home of the Shakespeare Festival, and had a marvelous lunch right by the river. We felt we were in some quaint novel of yesteryears where people still greet each other by name and return the cow when it gets out of the pen while offering a suggestion on the latest New York Times crossword puzzle.
Heading north, Oregon was absolutely beautiful and I’d love to take a weekend to go visit a bed and breakfast there. If you’re contemplating a fall drive…I’d highly recommend it!

However, we had quite the adventure that night when we pulled off near corvalis, to get gas. Matt missed the gas station exit, but there was not a good place to make a u-turn. Instead he took a highway road and then another country road to hook up with interstate 5 again, but took a road titled “tangent” road. Of course this went over the 5 but had a “school bus turnaround” sign. This meant a turn out with a ditch, with another small road opposite it. To 
make a long story short, Matt had to back the rig up across a country road onto another small driveway and avoid the surrounding ditches. So much for an easy gas stop! But it all worked out at we were on our way to Portland.

Perhaps our biggest scare was when we were in Vancouver on our way to Matt’s relatives when we came to an incredibly confusing intersection. Matt ended up turning left thinking it was one way when it wasn’t, and so we drove on the wrong side for a moment, but no cars were around so it turned out fine.

That night brought us to Matt’s Aunt Ruth and Uncle Richard’s house in Vancouver. I’d only actually met Ruth once (at our wedding!) but it was nice to see them, meet Richard, and get to know family a bit better. This morning (We’re up to Thursday now…) Richard made us a great breakfast, and it turns out he’s quite the cook and their wedding present to us was a cookbook I use ALL the time so we hit it off about recipes and cookbooks right away. They’re glad we’re up here since it will mean Dave and Beth will visit more, and we’re glad cause it I can get the recipe for that amazing lentil soup they had ready for us when we got in late at night!

Today (Thursday) we made it to Seatte! After nearly 1,300 miles from San Diego northwards, we hit our final destination in Queen Anne, Seattle. Not to say that the last part was easy! 

You try maneuvering that rig in streets that really should be one lane-ers with cars parked on both sides! First of all, we missed our exit…twice…and had to wander around construction zones and tiny streets and through downtown to our little apartment perched on the side of a hill amidst one way lanes! I have to say…I’ve been through a lot but I think that today was the most “stressed out” I’ve ever been! Breathe…I kept telling myself!

We met our realtor, saw our place, got our keys, and began the adventure of returning the trailer/dolly with Matt’s car on the back. Only thing was we needed to be going the opposite way, and making a u-turn wasn’t an option and streets there aren’t as simple as making four turns!

At one point in a tiny corner of streets we were trying to go left and got to a point where we couldn’t make it without hitting a van. Then came the humbling moment of turning off the truck, going up to the quaint, gingerbread-looking house and knocking on the door to ask them if they could move their car cause (lousy us) we couldn’t make it through. Thankfully everyone in Seattle so far has been exceedingly gracious and kind and she had no problem moving (in the rain, mind you), or telling us the best way to get to where we were going.

After many heart-palpitating turns and curves and steep hills we made it to the drop off point and unhitched the trailer (I nearly kicked it), and I got in Matt’s car and we headed back “home.” He commented on the radio, “Well, if we can make it through that without being at each other’s throats I think we can make it through anything.” And thankfully, I have to agree. We got back, unloaded my car with our basic inflatable bed and overnight necessities, and went out for dinner. “Somewhere very very close” was what we agreed on!

We ended up at the Village Pub in Magnolia, a place that despite the flat screens at every table (yes, Dad, every table) was a pretty quiet, family place. We had steamed clams, big jugs of beer, and big bowls of clam chowder for our first Seattle meals and giggled that we were actually “Seattlites.”

A stop at Albertsons for some basic necessities and we headed home, gazing at the Seattle

skyline from the Magnolia bridge and shivering at the brisk 47 degrees as we carried our groceries indoors. We lit a fire in our fireplace, poured some wine, and for the first night in nearly a week, took a deep breath and sighed that we were home.