Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Oh hey, it's 2023

I really thought it had been over a year since I posted here, and I guess that's true if we're talking regularly scheduled programming. I missed my usual "year in review" post, so let's pick up where I left off — March 2022 — and rundown the last year.


My first trip back to Florida since we left luckily coincided with my sister's baby shower!
The day after the Cherry Blossom 5k, I flew to Florida for the first time since moving to Seattle. It was amazing to see my family and friends, to get some sun, and to take an actual vacation. 
It was so great to run with my twin again!
I got to see some of my favorite people!
It still feels so bizarre to have ample PTO that I can basically take whenever I want, and I don't think I'll ever take it for granted.


We bought a house! (Okay...a condo!)
Matt and I started house-hunting in earnest. We'd been looking but the market wasn't friendly and we had a pretty limited budget, especially given Seattle's real estate situation. When we sold our house in Florida, we were able to make a little profit and put that aside for a down-payment, but even with that in our favor, pickings were slim.

The story of finding our condo is long, so let me try to be brief: we saw this lovely one-bedroom in Wallingford and I fell in love. We actually had the funds to put in a competitive escalating offer, and for the first time in our search, were the highest bidder! But some other buyer won out, because he offered to waive the inspection. We thought this place was gone and we continued our search, but I was heartbroken. I felt it was the one that got away.

Along came another condo; same general neighborhood, not as nice but still a possibility.

We were in the middle of filling out our offer forms when our real estate agent called us: the buyer for the other condo backed out, unhappy with the parking situation, and the one that got away was ours at our lowest offer if we wanted it! (The seller had the option to go with a rental company and decided to sell to real people instead, bless.)

In a whirlwind of paperwork, we got our ducks in a row and the rest is history. We closed May 23rd and officially put down roots.


First day at my new job!
In the meantime, I was playing around applying for other jobs, not because I was unhappy at my current job, but because I was curious. I was still facilitating a lot of my time, and I was just...tired. Having done the work of leaving BSCS after 11 years, it felt a lot less scary to job hunt again; it felt, in fact, scarier to settle.

Long story short, I went through the interview process with another company for a role I really wanted — it was a step up in my career, included a salary increase, and focused on the skillset I'd been hoping to sharpen — and suddenly I was offered the job. To be perfectly honest, I didn't think I would be. I had my final interviews on a Friday and spent all weekend talking myself out of the possibility that I'd get an offer.

I was immediately conflicted. I have never left a job without a really "valid" excuse, like "Oh hey I'm moving across the country," so I had no idea how to even have this conversation.

I kept saying, "Why did I put myself in this position?" I knew I had to take this leap, but I was extremely anxious about it all, worried about burning bridges and jumping into the unknown right as we were closing on the condo. (I will say, agonizing over it in therapy certainly helped.)

In the end, my manager was extremely supportive and happy for me and the colleague I bonded with most has become a real friend outside of work now. 

I gave myself a week off between resigning and starting the new job, so, come June 6, I returned to an office for the first time since March 2020. 

We have no idea where this mallet went. More to come on house reno!
Matt and I were still living in our studio while completing major projects on the condo, and I promise to do a separate series of posts on those renovations!


After the upheaval of May and June, it felt nice to just relax. Matt and I celebrated our 12th anniversary in the Gorge (Hood River, OR). We enjoyed some really good food, some gorgeous hikes, and (of course) a paddle race.

One of many waterfalls we hiked to in Mount Hood.


In my gym rat era.
I hit a bit of a running slump and decided to purposefully take a break rather than force myself through it. I focused on weightlifting instead, which was a joy, but generally August just felt like a chance to chill out and settle into what felt like a new stage of my life.


We had a long, hot, smoky summer that finally gave way to cool, dry weather. My idiot brain decided I wanted to run the My Better Half race again for my birthday, and thought maybe it was time to get back into running half marathons, so I started training…kind of.

Matt and I began combing dog rescue sites for a dog to bring home, but every time we applied, someone else had gotten there first.


The picture that made me go "I have to have her!"
Then, I woke up early one Saturday for a long run and saw a text Matt had sent me overnight: a dachshund-mix puppy rescued from a porch in Texas. I looked at her profile and just knew. I filled the application out in bed before I even left for my run; by the time I got home 6 miles later, I had an email from her coordinator. He'd already reached out to our references and felt we were a perfect match for Maddie. We facetimed her foster that evening and signed the papers that night.

Maddie, as she was called then, wouldn’t come home to us until late December, though. The day after we paid the adoption fee (November 19), Matt and I flew to Florida for Thanksgiving. 

Meeting little Emmie for the first time!
Seeing my niblings was a major highlight. I baked my grandma's lemon pie (two, actually), saw friends, tried to run in the swampy weather, and generally just relaxed.
My favs!
The whole fam.
My nephew actually kind of remembered me this time, which was extra fun!
It really sucks to be so far from the people I love most, but by the end of the trip I was absolutely desperate to get back to Seattle.


In the wee hours of Dec. 19, Zoe came home!
Our puppy was coming to us from Texas, along with a bunch of other dogs. (The rescue pretty much focuses on saving dogs in Texas, and here’s why.) We spent the month preparing for her arrival and debating names. 

On the first night of Hanukkah (December 18) we drove out to Arlington Municipal Airport where her transport van came in. Around midnight, the van finally turned into the parking lot. The volunteers went down the list of dogs in alphabetical order, and when the M’s got close, I caught a glimpse of her as they took her out of her kennel. She was so small and so tired and so very timid.

Best Hanukkah gift ever!
She slept on my lap the entire ride home, and she's been the center of our lives ever since.

Looking Ahead

So, 2022 ended on a high note. Actually, it’s not really cool to say so, but the whole of 2022 really wasn’t half bad. We bought a house; I started a new job I truly love; we got a puppy; Matt finished volunteer fire academy and began volunteer firefighting; he got EMT certified; and right before Thanksgiving, he got an offer from Seattle Fire, and will be starting academy with them in February.

Graduation from Mountain View volunteer academy.
I don’t have resolutions for 2023, but I have a goal to finally put the effort and time into cultivating a friend group here in Seattle. I’ve been in therapy since June 2021 and if nothing else, I now feel completely capable of moving beyond my anxiety and fear to just do things. The more I do things the more they seem to pay off, and it’s liberating to get to finally see what’s on the other side of fear.

My other goals for this year all revolve around the simple idea that I want to build my life into something that makes me feel whole and fulfilled. I want to feel I’m not wasting my days. So I will continue to run and lift weights. I will make friends. I will dive back into this blog and into my creative writing.

I’m not sure how to explain how I feel right now. Not motivated or hopeful, but instead…certain. Moving to Seattle was a chance to kind of start fresh, and it’s taken some time to settle in and get my bearings; now it’s time to start building the life I imagined for myself when we first visited in 2018.

Our little family on New Year's Eve.

I hope you’ll join me for this year of becoming.


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