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Last week, I decided to take the boys to see the Ballard Locks.  Jason heard my plans and begged asked nicely that we wait for the weekend, so he could go, too.  There’s something about the phrase “fish ladder” that’s intriguing, not to mention the sheer coolness of the locks’ engineering.  So we went today.

The Locks are pretty darned amazing.  We arrived as a group of small craft piled into the lock to make the descent from Lake Union to Puget Sound.

Boats going down!  They also manage to change the water the boats are sitting on from fresh to saltwater.  Lake Union is freshwater; the Sound, of course, is salt.

The engineering of it all is pretty darned cool.

But enough about the science, right?  We want to see the fish ladder!

Best. Sign. EVER.

You can tell by the look on his face how hard he’s working to get up that staircase.

Seattle = GREAT public art.  Everywhere.

Even at fish ladders.

I love saying that.  Fish ladder fish ladder fish ladder.

Huh.  All of that, and I didn’t get any pictures of the actual ladders.  In my defense, the fish weren’t doing much publicly-visible climbing.

We did go inside the viewing area to see some who were in between “rungs.”



I mean, how cute.

I think this guy is a Chinook.  He was HUGE.

Dinner for six, at least.

I’m horrible.

It was pretty incredible.  We’ve seen fish that close before, of course, in aquariums.  But these are wild salmon, on their way “home” to whatever stream or hatchery from whence they came 2-3 years ago.  The ladder was built for them long before salmon habitat conservation was a major concern in the area, and it saves them from getting all smashed up in the locks.  Pretty great planning.

On the way home, we went to a great burger joint in Ballard.  I had a salmon burger.  With tartar sauce.  Yum.

My 100th post – wow!  (And thank you, NaBloPoMo for getting me here faster than I would’ve on my own.) There’s a tradition in Blogland for the 100th post to consist of a list of 100 facts about yourself that your readers don’t know.  I’m working on that, and I’ll post it on its own page here in the next few days.

Instead, this milestone post is marking a turning point in our lives.  As of last week, Jason is no longer with his company.  It was a surprise, a shock, you name it, but it came at a very interesting time.  Two weeks prior, we’d returned from our trip to Seattle, convinced that we wanted to relocate there, if we could make it happen.  But how does one hunt for jobs from 3,000 miles away, especially when one is fully committed to doing the best he can in his current position?  It’s difficult, perhaps nearly impossible.

So, the decision seems to have been made for us.  Or perhaps we’ve just been pushed in the direction we wanted to take.  Or maybe it’s coincidence, and we’re interpreting it for our means.  (Except…I don’t believe in coincidence.)  Our major concerns are healthcare and the mortgage.  Healthcare is doable from savings.  The mortgage is not, after a couple of months, especially when you take utilities and such into account.  My wonderful, awesome, fabulous and otherwise great parents surprised us this week by offering us room in their house, should we want to put our house on the market.  (Our house is at a nice price point; one that doesn’t have any trouble selling right now.)  We’re jumping on the offer, as it will allow Jason the luxury of not settling for a job here when we really want to be on the other side of the country.  With no worries of mortgage or utilities, we can stretch our savings much further.  And, of course, I’ll go back to work, and that will help with what bills we will have to continue to pay, as well as stocking up cash for the move out west.

So right now, we’re clearing stuff out.  We’re having a huge garage sale this weekend.  Giant.  Ginormous.  Did I mention HUGE?  Plus, we’re selling our dining room suite, china and crystal (we never use any of it anyway).  Two desks.  Probably a television or two.  Once it’s all cleared out, and we fix a couple little things, the house is going on the market.  It feels so right.  Kind of like seeing the next step in your journey across a little chasm, or maybe a creek.  You know you can jump the obstacle pretty easily, but if you don’t focus on it, you could fall in and be hurt badly.  We’re there, getting ready to jump.

As Jason said, “we’re past the point of no return.”  (Cue Phantom music.)  We’re really doing it…we’re committing, and we’re going to move to Seattle!

One thing I must say: Thank goodness for Dave Ramsey.  If we hadn’t been following his plan for the past two years, we would be in really deep right now.  We hadn’t finished with Baby Step 2 (eliminating non-mortgage debt), but we are in a much better place and can think the situation through without panic.  So, thank you, Dave.

We just had a lovely trip.

Background: I love Seattle.  I’d like to move there someday.  I also have dear friends in the area.  Jason had never been to Washington, so we decided to check it out together.  He now loves it, too, and I am so happy.  (Both because we’re in agreement and because I’ve gotten to spend an entire, uninterrupted week with my husband.)

It was a quick trip, and our friends put us up for a long weekend, acting as both hosts and tour guides.  It was great fun.  To the surprise of several people back home, we had great weather, with only one partial day of rain.  (Yes, Seattle does have days of blue skies and white, puffy clouds.  I’ve seen it and have proof on my SD card!)

Sitting at our friends’ son’s soccer game Friday evening, I looked down and saw this:

My companions laughed at me for taking a picture of dirt, but I couldn’t help myself.  I’ve never gotten over missing brown dirt.  The Georgia clay is just too hard and sticky.  I’ve actually hurt my wrist and arm trying to dig a hole for a bulb in it.  And I love the smell of rich, dark soil, so there you go.

I spotted the next bit of proof that we were no longer in Georgia the next day:

Hmmm…one point to Georgia.  Pepsi has nothing on Coke.  I’m a Classic Coke girl through and through.

A few minutes later, however, all thoughts of Cola Wars had fled my mind:

Lake Washington and Mt. Ranier.  Le sigh.  The idea of being able to see a view like this on a daily – or even weekly – basis?  OMG, pure heaven.

We did do a bit of letterboxing on the trip.  Just two boxes after one of the kids’ soccer games, but enough to say we’d boxed in the PNW.  Jason and I spent a full day and a half just cruising around in our rented, electric blue PT Cruiser with maps in hand.  (He drives, I navigate.  This is one of our very favorite activities in new-to-us cities.)  Of course, we had to get souvenirs.  Jason added to his collection of beer glasses at our tour of the Red Hook Brewery.  Good beer!  It was a funny tour, although maybe not so much a tour as a verbal history with lots of beer samples.  I repeat: lots of beer samples.  For $1.  A must-visit if you’re in the area and enjoy beer.  Heck, I’m not even really a beer drinker, and I quite enjoyed myself.

My souvenir happened as we were driving around on Saturday.  When I noticed a yarn shop, Jason offered to stop.  (All together now:  Awwwww!)  So, here’s my lovely bit of wool:

(Yes, I carried it around in my bag until I found the perfect “Seattle” photo opportunity.  I believe I embarassed my husband and my host, but I was more focused on the yarn and the sign, so I can’t be completely sure.)  It’s Peace Fleece (Worsted, Georgia Rose colorway), and although it’s not local to the Seattle area, I thought the “giving back” aspect of it simply screamed Seattle, so I took it.  I’ve already begun crocheting it into a special something just for me, but that’s another post.

At the market, I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this for my mom.  It’s thanks to her that I’ve never tasted a Brussels Sprout.  (And since they’re basically baby cabbages, I can’t imagine why I’d want to, anyway.  Blech!)

I should’ve asked them where they keep their evil cauliflower.  To my everlasting disappointment, I’m often only witty in retrospect.

Like I said, an all-around fun, lovely weekend.  We flew home yesterday to our kiddoes, and I must thank Mom once more for taking care of them, getting them on the school bus, etc. while we were gone.

Oh, I have one last photo to leave you with, as a reward for reading (or skimming, I’m not picky) this whole, long entry.  I never expected a photo out of the window of the plane to turn out so well.  It was taken shortly after take-off, over the Cascades.

My boys

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