We have arrived in the Lower 48.

I have arrived in the lower 48. 

However, it is imperative to note that those who live in the lower 48 do not call it the ‘lower 48’.

How long did I live in Alaska? 

My family was waiting for us in our new neighborhood when the caravan of trucks, U-hauls, boats, and motorcycles approached with open arms and stretched limbs. We were moving in! Look out, Washington- we had finally arrived.

Forty minutes later, we were back in the vehicles and heading to my parents.

The home I am paying to babysit was not ready for us to move in. 

My well-meaning landlord must have missed three emails, five texts, eight phone calls, and the deposit I paid three weeks in advance. The home was not ready for us.  

While I understand that he felt upset, and perhaps even embarrassed, by the state of the house, he did not do a walk-through after the last family left. The stove had caked on food, the cabinets had years of gunk on them, and all the doors looked like the kids had taken mud baths and then fingered painted them. 

I found the receipt for the carpet being cleaned; however, if it is ten years old and cheap, no matter what you do, it will never look and smell clean again. The backyard was a dumping area for fire pit soot, broken flower pots, beer cans, and overgrown vines. The patio had moss and weeds growing through the cracks, and the house had never been power washed.

The previous owners had left a beautiful picture in the master closet, aka bathroom, and I thought it might be an oversight on their part. That all changed three days later when the picture fell off the wall and revealed a HUGE GAPPING hole. 

All the upstairs bedrooms are missing the window screens, and the molding around the door frames looks like someone tried to carve Egyptian hieroglyphics into them. The front yard is a bed of overgrown weeds, broken flower pots, and untamed bushes. 

The coolest part- in the state of Washington, if the garbage doesn’t fit into the trash can- there is no setting out the extra bags. Dumping other people’s rubbish will cost you $20.00. 

It’s all good, though. I got this. Partly because I still don’t have a job, and have nothing but time to do free manual labor for my landlord. 

In spite of all the turmoil, I took my youngest down to Seattle to check out Vincent van Gogh’s exhibit. A warehouse in the industrial part of town housed the exhibition, near the train tracks and the lovely homeless couple selling their ketchup and mustard paintings. Using three-dimensional imaging and Office Depot-caliber copies of van Gogh’s paintings, it offered a unique perspective on the artist and his paintings. The captions were very interesting- focusing on his mental illness and savory aspects of his life if you took the time to read them. 

I had paid for the VIP tour and later found out that I could have purchased the VR experience for cheaper at the exhibit. However, we did get a free poster of two of his paintings. I currently have them sitting under heavy books, trying to smooth out the creases. 

In an effort to salvage the day, I offered to take my son to The Cheesecake Factory in Seattle’s downtown area. He had never been there, and the map indicated it was just three miles away. Simple enough!

Let me first admit that it has been ten years since I’ve driven in major city traffic and that I own a Ford F150. Additionally, I had no idea that buses had a designated lane and that painted lanes were suggestions, not laws.  

Three miles and 25 minutes later, we were both recovering from heart attacks in a parking garage. In a calm and collected message, I informed my family that we would be waiting for them at our location. I also told them they could pick us up when they got off work.  

Two hours later, loaded with cheesecakes and fortified by 4 cups of coffee, we slowly made the 3-hour drive back home. Three hours to drive 56 miles! 

Sunday will be our two-week mark in our brand-new home. And all I can say is that it has been quite an adventure already. 

I am off to do some lawn work when I should be writing my book…I guess I will plenty of time to do that in winter.

Finally, remember my friends…be Great at something you are Good at!

What are your thoughts?

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