Monday, October 27, 2008

I swear we just got here

Today is the first anniversary of our arrival in Seattle. (We got here on a Saturday, but it's the date that's important. October 27).

It was a seat-of-the-pants, leap-of-faith move; we showed up with a few thousand dollars in our pockets, everything we owned in an eight-by-ten trailer hitched to the SUV, hardly any income flow and no place to live.

That wasn't how we planned it, of course. Rachael flew to Seattle, from Miami, twice last spring to test and interview for a job with the King County Correction Department. We thought it was a lock; she was a Florida-certified corrections officer with almost four years experience, she passed all their tests with room to spare and got good recommendations from the folks at Monroe County Detention Center.

But September rolled around and our lease was up the end of the month and we still hadn't got the yes from King County. So I said, "Let's drive to Ohio and visit my family for a week or two." And we did.

I'm not sorry we did that; my Dad is eighty-seven and every second that I got to spend with him was golden. But October twenty second came around and we were still in Ohio. We didn't want to hit snow in the mountains, so we decided to head west. We had an apartment set up, and we figured we would just wait it out.

"We can both get temporary jobs,if it comes to that," I said. "Just until the county calls."

We decided to leave Thursday morning, the twenty-fifth. And then the bubble burst. Two letters showed up in the mail Wednesday. One from the apartment complex and one from King County. The apartment had, by accident, been rented and they had nothing else available until December first; even worse, King County said they would not be tendering a job offer.

What could we do? We both had been dreaming about Seattle for months. Thursday morning, we said goodbye, climbed into the SUV and drove toward the sunset. And drove and drove and drove. We didn't want to spend money on motels, so we just pulled over when we were tired.

We drove down out of the Cascades sixty hours later. I cried when we saw Mount Rainier; it felt as if I had come home.

It's been a struggle, but God has blessed us. We found an apartment we both loved that Sunday and moved in on Tuesday. Rachael found work, at a Barnes & Noble, less than a mile from us. Somehow, the money stretched.

Now, Rachael is driving a Metro Transit bus, and loving it. We are in a larger apartment, in the same building we found that Sunday, with a spectacular view of Puget Sound and two restaurants we adore a short walk away. There is even money left over after the bills are paid, so that we can go out for a bit of fun, now and then.

And for me, my fiction is flowing, almost faster than I can write it down, and it is selling. Ten stories since the first of June, five of which have already been in print. I have edited my novel, Lifting Up Veronica, and sent it out to be considered for publication, and my son and I have written a screenplay, Black Rock, working via the internet.

Best of all, Rachael and I have each other; she swears we are halves of the same soul. I think she is right. Life in Seattle is good, it gets better day by day, and I swear we just got here.