From the beginning…

As I’ve been so very slack at updating this, I need to do a bit of a debrief on the last 9 days (has it really only been 9 days!?!?), just for my own records really, before I get to talk about the really good stuff (like houses – ooooh, the houses!). So feel free to skip – this is just a “what happened way back then” to look back on when we’re feeling settled and normality has been restored (whatever that means).

So…we departed Heathrow Terminal 5 at 3.05pm on flight BA49 to Seattle.  The flight I’d been dreading for so long was actually really uneventful, thanks to a wonderfully, blissfully sleepy Evie, who snoozed her way through 6 of the 9 hours in the air.  The rest of the time, she just snuggled with us, or wandered up the aisle, flirting and dancing for anyone who flashed her a smile as she passed.  Little angel!  Sadly, despite all of that “free” time, we didn’t get to watch any movies, thanks to being sat in the only row of the plane with non-functioning entertainment systems.  We couldn’t even get the light to work, so reading was out of the question too – typical!

We arrived (on time) to a beautifully sunny Seattle afternoon, and after a trek through the airport (where you have to collect your luggage from the carousel, and then check it in *again* to be scanned, then collect a second time from another part of the airport – which is great fun when you have 6 suitcases, a toddler, a carseat and a buggy to deal with) met up with Damyan’s friend and fellow Microsoftee (!), Shawn.  Thank God – I had no idea how we were going to manage to get to the car rental otherwise!

The lovely, oh-so-friendly (and, it turned out, brilliant saleswoman) lady at Avis took one look at our pile of crap luggage and exclaimed “OH, wow, you’re gonna need a bigger car!”.  She explained that upgrading would only cost us $2-3 extra a day, and went on to list all the virtues of the perfect car she had in mind for us.  After giving it the hard sell, and convincing us this really was the car of our dreams, she then casually mentioned that this particular model was actually $23 extra a day.  Ahem.  AHEM!!!  That’s not exactly “a couple of bucks” is it?  Having done the maths (30 day rental x $23 = LOADSA MONEY).  We talked her down to a more affordable solution, handed over all the paperwork and strolled out to the parking garage, never in a million years expecting to be met by…..The Beast:

The Beast - also known as the Ford Flex

As my mum pointed out “That’s not a car Kersty, that’s a BUS!”.

Still, I’ll say this for it – every single one of our cases, and the buggy, fitted in the boot with plenty of room to spare!  I’m sure I don’t even need to explain my terror at the thought of climbing into the driving seat of this thing, exiting the garage onto the wrong side of the road, and then trying to navigate through Seattle traffic to our key pick-up location and then on to our apartment.  After being up for more 20 hours already…. eek!  But actually, it’s a joy to drive.  The roads (and parking lots) are just built for cars like these.  In fact, when I go shopping now, I see it parked next to 20 other huge Chelsea tractors and think “Oh, it’s not that big at all…”.   I’m growing to love it…which is very bad news for Damyan! 🙂

Anyway, after a quick check of the traffic situation, Shawn decided to head off to his choir practice and left us to it.  So off we set to Redmond, full of anticipation at seeing what our home for the next 2+ months will be like.   And this is what we found:


The Reflections at Marymoor.  Very pretty.  Very well equipped.  Very clean.  And very much on the top floor of a building with no lift!!  Having been assured before our departure that this apartment was “directly above the garage, so maximum one flight up”, it turned out to be up three flights of external concrete steps.  Nice and safe for a toddler, then!  And nice and fun for Damyan, lugging everything up there on a warm, sweaty evening, whilst knowing that one day soon, he’d just need to lug it all back down again.

To add insult to injury, a couple of hours later a rather nervous and excitable Monty and Milo were delivered.  Milo decided to express his views on his own relocation experience by promptly peeing on the living room carpet.  Then, while I cleaned that up, running through to the bedroom and leaving a nice big yellow puddle there.  And then, just in case I wasn’t getting the message, he ran to the kitchen and took a huge dump on the lino.  Brilliant.  Welcome Milo, just great to see you!

After a sleepless night, thanks to:

  1. jetlagged Evie, who slept throughout the flight and was now wide awake and ready to party!
  2. jetlagged us (who didn’t sleep a wink on the flight and were most definitely not ready to party)
  3. unbelievable, never-ending traffic noise from the two freeways the apartment building is sandwiched between
  4. listening out for any more Milo “accidents”
  5. worry over whether we would be able to move (or could face it again),

we had to bite the bullet and contact Kimberley, our Relocation Specialist, to explain the Relocation Fail.

Two days later, we were on the move again, to another apartment (ground floor, with lift from parking garage, hurrah) in Bellevue.  Of course, there were roadworks scheduled for that weekend, so part of the freeway between one apartment and the other was closed.  With no obvious diversion signs in place.  Again, brilliant!  Jetlagged newcomers to the city that we were, we just couldn’t quite work out the alternative route (neither could our sat nav, to be fair), and before we knew it, were headed across the bridge and into Seattle itself.  Bugger.  Relocation Fail Number 2!

Two trips, many grey hairs and several arguments later, we finally arrived at Home for the Next 2 months (mark 2).  This is a three bedroom apartment, situated directly above the automatic garage doors, and right next door to a pizzeria.  So it’s noisy (every 5-6 minutes when the garage door opens) and it stinks of a mix of stale carpets and garlic pizza toppings.   But it’s still so much better than the last place – being in Downtown Bellevue, it’s less than 5 minutes walk from Bellevue Square (huuuuuge shopping mall – I can feel my credit card flinching already), close to everything and directly across the street from this:

and this:

and this:

and even this:

It’s not our Pepper Home, but it’s Home for Now….and I think we’re going to have a great time getting to know our new town from our little urban base!


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