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  • August 2020
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Goodbye Snoqualmie…….

…..and Seattle, King County, and Puget Sound!

Leaving So Cal in 1990!

Back in 1973 or 74 I moved from my home state of New Mexico and we headed to the big city of Seattle, Washington. I had no idea what I was heading into because at that time in my life, I had hardly ventured out of my home state! Growing up in the dry desert heat, it was a wondrous sight to come over the Cascades into the sea of green trees, cool clouds, and mist! I fell in love with the area immediately and settled into an area of south of Seattle. My stay there only lasted two years and then was off to various locations for the next 15 years but vowed to one day return.

My life journey finally landed me in Southern California in 1978. There I would be for most of my 20’s and early 30’s. I had a career in sales, had tons of friends, and made decent money. It was a great place to be when one was in their youth, but the longer I stayed there, the more I wanted to leave. The constant brown everywhere, sky, mountains, landscape was depressing. I hated “smelling” the air on a daily basis and the damn weather never changed! Each time I left for a vacation or to visit family out of town, I hated coming back. My yearning to return to the Pacific Northwest was growing like a long forgotten seed planted now starting to sprout. Finally, in 1989, while visiting family in New Mexico and Oklahoma for the holidays I made the proclamation that I was going to move back to Seattle by the end of the following year! That was met with disbelief, laughter, and “yeah we’ve heard it before”. My mind was made up and I would soon be working on my plan to get there.

I started subscribing to the Seattle Sunday Times by mail to read up on what was happening up there. Even back in the late 80’s Washingtonians were crying about the onslaught of Californians moving up there and things haven’t changed much today. Californians are leaving their state in droves to here, Idaho, Texas, Oregon, and even Montana! Ruinous bastards…….okay…..okay I was one too, BUT I can say I “returned” to Washington. I started to put the pieces of my relocation plan into effect. I reached out to my manager of my desire to transfer to the Seattle branch and he thought I was nuts. I assured him I wasn’t and after much persuasion trying to get me to stay, he gave in and contacted the Seattle manager of Kraft Foodservice and let him know there was a potential new sales person from the LA ranks that wanted to join forces in Seattle. So in July I took a vacation to the Emerald City, stayed with a former coworker who just happened to have moved there, met with the sales manager, and sealed a relocation deal. On September 1, 1990 I rolled into Seattle and my dream had finally come into fruition!

As luck would have it, my former coworker had decided to go back to Alaska for another fishing boat gig and I sublet his place in the cool and funky neighborhood of Wallingford. From my bedroom window I could look out over Lake Union right at downtown Seattle! I was in absolute heaven and happy as an Ivar’s clam! Unfortunately, not everything was as rosy as it could have been. Once October came, I discovered never ending gray, torrential sideways rain, and a career that began to stumble. During the beginning, bouts of depression came over me and I really started questioning the decision I had made. I always had an open door to return to LA and go back to work down there, but knew that was not an option for me. Once I realized what it all was for, my head cleared and no matter what happened to my career, I was back in Seattle where I had longed to be and was home! I worked hard and gave it all I could, but a year later parted ways with my career in sales and would be moving on in a totally new direction in life, and boy was it ever! 

In those subsequent years I met the love of my life and married her, became a stepfather in the process, did a brief stint in real estate appraisal, bought my first home, ended up in a new career driving public transit for King County Metro, and settling down in a small burb near the foothills of the Cascade Mountains called Snoqualmie. In the beginning it was an idyllic life. The small community was growing thanks to a new development “up on the hill”. We loved it even though there were hardly any services and you had to drive a few miles to get anything done, but for us, it was no problem. We bought a beautiful house which I loved, started making a few friends, and were enjoying life as “empty nesters”.

Our Snoqualmie Home!

So here we are, 17 years down the road, and it’s time to move along. The once small peaceful town has burgeoned into a bedroom community way bigger than we had expected or hoped for. It’s now full of yupsters, soccer moms, and helicopter parents. We find ourselves surrounded by people of totally different thinking and values than ours. We have a very tight small group of friends that would have our back at anytime, but for the most part, many others would just stab it. Until the COVID pandemic, traffic around the area had slowed to an intolerable crawl even during the off rush hours. Property taxes have surged beyond affordable. The once beautiful city of Seattle, has turned into a sewer being lead by idiotic progressive liberal leadership. We have had enough!!! Debbie retired last year, and I have finally driven my last bus trip, going a bit early. We have packed up and moved to our paradise on the Olympic Peninsula. While we will return to Snoqualmie from time to time, we are glad we are leaving and starting the “retirement chapter” of our lives. Seattle and the rest of King County can pound sand!

Second Room Done

We now have an office!!!! After getting some new bedroom furniture for the master bedroom, we next set our sights on a secondary bedroom to upgrade. We wanted an office but still be able to have a sleeping area for guests. In the condo we are currently renting, we have that kind of set up and took the design and embellished it for our house! It turned out great and we used Wall Beds Northwest to build it and install it! We are very happy with the finished product and now all we need to do is finally move here and get to use it full time! That day is coming soon!!


We went from this……yellow walls!


To this….walls painted grey!


And finally…….the completed office/bedroom!!! Yippee!!!

First Of Many Upgrades

THIS MORNING

THIS AFTERNOON

The process of moving here and living here full time has begun. Up until now, our retirement home has been basically a weekend get away once or twice a month. We have moved furniture from our old Crestview home up here to make it livable and comfortable, but never really made it our own! Today marks the beginning of just that! We had our new bedroom set delivered and built! The pictures don’t really do it justice, but believe me, it looks beautiful. Of course there is more decorating to be done, but the bones are done! Soon another room will be done! Stay tuned!

Retirement Phase II Completed

It is now final, phase II is in the books! What started in October, has now come to fruition and it hasn’t been easy. We received our keys to our Sequim house just days before Christmas and the long process of moving into two separate residences began New Year’s Eve weekend hauling our trailer and the first load up to the house. The trailer was to be used as a place to sleep since we didn’t have any furniture up there yet! While we were there, we experienced a nice winter storm that dropped a nice deep blanket of snow that (a)caused us to have to leave the trailer there(we needed to bring it back for a repair), and (b)got our truck stuck in it coming up the driveway. You can watch a video I took of it as it began here. It was much deeper in the morning. We eventually dug the truck out. We made the best out of what we had in the trailer, borrowing plates, cups, pots and pans, camping chairs we set up in the living room, New Year’s Eve dinner on a card table and folding chairs, etc. It was an adventure to say the least! Thus began a six month ordeal that was exhausting and weekend consuming…..sorry friends and family.

The next pieces of the puzzle was to get our Snoqualmie house listed and find a place to call a temporary home while the both of us still have to work. Now we have been up here on Snoqualmie Ridge in the same house for 13 years. We thought about where we wanted to hang for the next few years until we can go up to the house full-time, knew we had to rent, realized that the rents here are crazy high, but since we had everything we were familiar with right here, we decided to stay. The hunt was on for a rental and with amazing luck, we stumbled onto a condominium that was just around the corner, and was roomy and the perfect fit for us. More good fortune was added when we discovered Debbie knew the owners. She just so happens to work out with both of them at her Crossfit gym. The deal was done, leased signed, and they allowed us early access to the place and we began the weekly slog of slowly emptying the Crestview house. The hardest part was deciphering was to be done with the 13 year accumulation of material goods. Some would go to the condo, some would go to Sequim, some would be sold/given away, but in the mean time we still had to live in and keep the Crestview house staged for sale. It was an arduous task and seemed to last forever.

Bye Bye Crestview House

Bye Bye Crestview House

The house got listed, weekend showings were done, we continued dragging stuff to the condo every weekend. A couple of times we would load up the back of the truck and head to Sequim with a load for the house there and enjoy a weekend of continued “glamping”. Finally an offer was made and accepted, appraisals and inspections done, and the real gutting began. It started bringing a feeling of melancholy along with the excitement as our beautiful home of thirteen years began looking like a shell. I always loved this house. It was our home of many memories and surrounded by great neighbors and would soon be empty of us. Two separate moves in as many of days were done with a great local mover to handle the heavy stuff and it was well worth the money! They did an excellent job and we had no damage to anything whatsoever! The only hitch was when we unloaded in Sequim and it was discovered my beloved desk for my office would not fit through any of the doors to the rooms I wanted it in. It sits in the garage there for sale….another story! We would also say what a pleasure it was working with our realtor, Bob Mathias, who is a good friend and Crestview neighbor. He did an excellent job and if you are looking to buy or sell on the eastside, he’s your man!

So after six long hard months of planning, strategizing, packing and carrying, we are done. Our plan worked flawlessly. We are mortgage free, our retirement location secured, and we have a great place to call a temporary home just blocks from our old house. All that is left for the final phase is to put in a few more years working for the man and stay healthy. Although we will miss our former home, we have a great new house and new adventure and also a great view from our rental. I say we had a lot of good luck in this, but we also acknowledge that we are truly blessed. Maybe it’s time to go back to church!

Condo View

Retirement Location Solidifies………

…….and our heads are spinning! It all began with another exploratory vacation. Recent vacations have been either camping with our friends in cool National Parks or going to locations that are on our radar for retirement while also having fun. We have looked at Flagstaff(Deb didn’t like), Sedona(beautiful but pricey real estate), Prescott(stumbled upon and really liked), but in the end we decided that we didn’t want to be that far from the guys! We also liked Jackson, WY and the cheap living in the state for retirees, then we started looking at what was for sale and lost our minds with the high prices! Cody, WY was an interesting town but has some very harsh weather. Recently added to the radar was Sand Point, ID which we drove through and liked the area. Plans were to be made in the future to have a closer look around. We have always loved Leavenworth and even looked around at properties which we found reasonable, but what turned the tide was the yearly summer fire season that could or could not happen. Closer to home, we started looking at Cle Elum, Ronald, and Roslyn. The area was beautiful, just over the pass, and prices were just what we were looking for, a great place to continue to explore!

Then in October we hooked up the trailer and headed up to the Port Angeles and Sequim area on the Olympic Peninsula nestled between the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Port Angeles is an old working port/lumber town that is a bit gritty but with fantastic future potential. Sequim has become a magnet town for retirees with its more sunny disposition, being protected by the Olympic Mountain rain shadow. Something started clicking with the area the more we started looking around. We looked all over the area even taking a drive over to Port Townsend. We have always loved that place with its Victorian character, but as we started scoping homes, we were shocked at the prices. It seems the place has been “discovered” unfortunately!

As we continued to explore the surrounding area and looking at homes, we started narrowing the target to the hills between the two towns. Then we stumbled upon the house pictured below and a warm fuzzy feeling happened between the two of us. The first time we saw the place, we were driving around with a Zillow ap open on one phone and Trulia on the other. We like to explore on our own. We drove the cul-de-sac, took some photos, parked in the drive and since it was empty, looked around. One of the neighbors across the street noticed us perusing the property and came over cheerfully asking if we had any questions, she would help! Before long, another couple drove up and joined the conversation. Wow, we had just met two neighbors and liked them both!! Things were looking good. We contacted the listing agent and got an inside look and realized, THIS WAS IT!!!!!! After multiple offers and counters back and forth, the house was ours, well at least was in the works to be ours and now our search is over.

What happens next? Well……..lots! As of this writing, the loan is being closed and we are awaiting one final step, the appraisal. If all goes as planned, we should receive our keys to our retirement home just before Christmas! We will list our Snoqualmie home after the holidays in mid January. This will give us time to get the purchase closed, get ready for selling and also enjoy the holidays. Are we moving from Snoqualmie??? The answer is no! There still lies the ugly fact that both of us have to continue to work. Debbie is on a path to retire in just over two years. At that time we will just have to crunch numbers and see what happens with me, more in another upcoming post! It shall be an interesting time ahead!!!

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