March 6th, 2009

photo4When I moved into my Phinney apartment, I was thinking it might only be for six months. Four or so years later, I was thinking about sticking all of my stuff into storage–including the climbing gear–and taking some time for travel, reporting on stories, and all things not continental U.S. (at right: iPhone photo of the packing mess in my apartment)

Didn’t happen. Not because of inertia, but because of a girl. I have been surrounded by people, even while traveling, but I know it’s easy to find one’s self alone. With Lu, there is still the travel and adventure–we have already been to New York, Thailand, and Guatemala, but it’s much less…alone. And so, one month after returning to Seattle together, we decided to move in. It’s not that it cost us any less, it’s not that we have more space, it just seemed…right. That, and we’d already tired of packing overnight bags, having a drawer or two in the other’s dresser, and that second toothbrush thing…

photo6My place was pretty nice; old hardwoods, arched doorways, picture rails, radiators, great location on a ridge crest and next to a park…but there wasn’t space for little T. So over the month of February we went looking and found a great place where we can walk to everything we need. We have a view, we have hardwoods, T gets his own room, I get a corner for an ‘office,’ and we got a smoking deal on rent. (at left: the newly vacated and cleaned Phinney apartment)

Lu no longer needs to deal with her downstairs neighbor, the psycho girl who plays techno at 1 a.m., pounds on the ceiling if T runs from one room to the next (c’mon, he’s a kid!), or smokes so much pot you can smell it coming through the floorboards.

20090215_mix_015Our home has a newness befitting Lu’s style more; none of that musty old timber smell, permanently stained linoleum, quirky faucets, etc. For me, while I’ve lived in some classic Seattle hovels, I’m enjoying my first dishwasher in 18 years, a front loading washing machine, and Lu’s taste in furniture. It’s much better than my mish-mash of free, cheap, and donated; she buys furniture to last decades. I think the only furniture I kept is a desk, which has already lasted decades, a couple of office chairs, filing cabinets (much to her chagrin) and…a small book case. Though I did fill up two closets…I had to stash the skis, boots, climbing boots, ice tools, ropes, packs, cameras, lenses, hard drives, tool box…Granted, while I disposed of furniture, Lu had to discard some dresses and, yes, even two pairs of shoes. We were both emotional. (at right: Lu giving little T equal say in the decision for the new apartment)

Squeezing our lives together has proven challenging, but at the same time cleansing. Learning each other has had its grim moments, for she is a fiery Latina born in the year of the dragon and I am a recovering passive-aggressive northwesterner who is of Japanese descent. Seeking conflict avoidance, I talk “around” things and she, well, she’s much more direct. But the laughter, love, and adventure we share is proving exciting and fulfilling.

20090321_lu_009Lu likes flowers (duh!) and is extremely tidy. I like flowers too, but what I really like is beer in the fridge and coffee in the morning. I tend to cook, she tends to clean. T, when he’s not with his biological father, now prefers my story time to hers. And he likes his Leche Doce the way I make it. But she still is the best at pacifying him and meeting his needs, and I’m still learning simple things. Like if kids aren’t in bed by 8.30, even if they can stay up until 11.00, they are going to be hell the next morning. (at left: Lu deciding which shoes to keep)

Somewhere in there I’m finding time to work, a little time to climb, but mostly to go for long-ish runs. Though Lu might argue otherwise, the bachelor life is leaving me, much like the boxes of books, clothing, supplies, bedding, and furniture I gave away or recycled. It’s an adventure in and of itself.

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