Truth be told, if it weren’t for the constant call of family back east. I might just stay in Washington state a bit longer. Having lived in New York and New Jersey my entire life. I feel very lucky to have been given the opportunity to move to and live out west. And while it’s long ago been decided that we’ll soon return to either New York or New Jersey. I can’t help but wonder, what if?
Though my wife has reiterated that we, indeed, will return to that area. She, perhaps unknowingly, sends me mixed singles when I catch her looking online at lofts and condos in Portland. OR. It’s something I’ve become used to and I fully realize that she is either playfully curious or just doing it to break my balls. Maybe that’s why I’ve learned to take it all in stride and play along. Maybe that’s why I didn’t even blink an eye when leaving Olympia today and I was asked the question, “If we decided to stay in Washington and the choice
came down to living in Tacoma or Olympia. Which would you choose?” Before responding, I took a few seconds to think, choose and properly explain my choice. As a husband, you get used to being asked questions all day. So being able to quickly answer one and have enough facts and data to back it up might make you seem a lot smarter. Though delaying your answer can help give you breathing room and slightly delay the next life shattering inquiry. Which in my case usually has something to do with my hatred of Led Zeppelin, Bon Jovi or Aerosmith.
As we pushed through Tacoma and entered the last leg of our trip to Olympia. We suddenly became besieged by a thick fog the wrapped around the interstate and its surrounding areas shrinking drivers visibility from miles to a matter of feet. As we grew closer to our exit, we wondered aloud. Had we been betrayed by a weather report to boasted about sunny skies and warm temperatures. Had the recent wildfires regrouped and were gathering strength just up the road? Undaunted and with empty stomachs we soldiered on to our intended destination. When we arrived at 4th Avenue’s New Moon Cafe. We were well aware of how cold it was and even debated on how long we were willing to wait for a table to open. Being that we had both spent much of the previous night reviewing the menu and trying to predict what the other would order. I assured her that we were both in fore the long haul. Luckily, our decision to wait it out paid off as the food, service and sense of communal warmth that New Moon provides. Rewarded us with full stomachs, empty plates and ear to ear smiles. From there, we did our best to walk it off. Stopping in at Olyphant, Rainy Day Records and Ember Goods before heading to some of the area farms and our eventual trip home. This was maybe our forth or fifth trip to Olympia since moving out West. We’ve yet to tire of the food, people or atmosphere thw area provides. What makes returning to any area you’ve become familiar with is finding something new to appreciate and look forward to returning for.
Though our last several trips to Tacoma, Washington featured everything from sporadic rainfall to torrential downfall. This weekends attempt spared us of any such weather tantrums. Truth be told, I didn’t feel a drop until we walked back to our car to begin our voyage back to Seattle. During each prior trip to the area. My camera, perhaps due to the rain, never left the comfort of our cars trunk. Each time we’ve visited though, the talk of returning during dryer days to enjoy the areas personality and old world architecture.
If by any chance you find yourself in the area. Be sure to grab a bite at Alma Mater’s Honey on Fawcett Ave. Go crate digging at Hi- Voltage Records on nearby 6th Avenue. Window shopping on Antique Row and of course exploring City Hall and train station for starers. And while such sunny days may not show themselves anytime soon. During the times we’ve recently visited, all be it wet ones. We’ve seen enough to carve out a nice enough visit tht will surely endear us even more to an area we’ve come to love. Until then.
As we were driving in the pouring rain. I turned to my wife and asked if she preferred the year round rain of Seattle or the often bone chilling winters we got used to experiencing during our many years on the east coast. While I was almost certain of her answer. I was somewhat surprised by the break neck speed in which she answered. Considering the amount of time she spends complaining about the constant rain one has to get used to when living here. I can imagine her daydreaming about the bone chilling cold we endured while experiencing Christmas in Boston a few years ago.
xBeing that we’ve had to abort a Christmas visit to Portland Oregon and detour today’s drive to Olympia Washington today. I can relate to her frustration. Luckily, we decided to shorten today’s trip before it really started. Deciding to cut it somewhat short while filling up our gas tank at the local Costco. Though the rain would follow us on our reshaped visit to Tacoma. By the time we reached Broadway’s antique row, that rain seemed to dissipate to a few drops. I recall my wife commenting on how it was still raining as I began to retrieve my camera from the cars trunk. Just as I closed the trunk, the sky opened and began to pour rain down on my head as if the Gods were planning all along to exact revenge on me for all my recent fist shaking and thoughts of eternal damnation. Regardless of the weather or any vengeful acts by the Gods that be. We both love traveling and visiting Tacoma. We’ve promised to return under less threatening skies. Until then.
Before moving on to our final destination in Tacoma. We made a stop at Gig Harbor for breakfast at Devoted Kiss for some breakfast before taking a short break to explore the towns shops and adjacent harbor. We haven’t had a chance to visit Tacoma or Gig Harbor since Summer and were eager to experience the area as it fully embraced the holiday season. Overall, Gig Harbor has a nice small town feel and appeal. I can’t say enough about the service, hospitality and food Devoted Kiss served up. I’m sure there will be no hesitation to stop in the next time we find ourselves in the area.
My wife and I recently deiced to take one weekend day (usually Sunday) to stay somewhat local and dedicate part of the day to study,. (Or in my case, write.) Over time it’s come to be a ritual I enjoy and even look forward to. Going out for breakfast before seeking out a library, book store or cafe/coffee house to settle in and get some extra work done. Being that I’ve always been and still am inspired by photography. I often find myself thinking as one and wanting to capture a moment. Since moving to Seattle I’ve taken my share of sunsets but often miss the industrial surroundings of the Jersey City condo we so cherished. Finding ourselves at a SODO coffee shop late this afternoon. I was able to patiently wait in my comfortable seat as the sun began to set over the areas industrial backdrop. As the Fall quickly becomes Winter and the days get shorter. My chances to watch the sun disappear will multiply. Still, watching sun set and that glowing orange color overpowering a once blue sky incites child like awe.
When agreeing or planning to attending any type of county or state fair. You have to open yourself to being exposed to some outlandish and outright redneck culture. Outdated and often unsafe carnival rides that feature soundtracks from the earl 80’s. D list cover bands who haven’t updated their sets since the Reagan. Deep fried everything and of course, the occasional Trump supporter or mullet fashioned family. It’s low brow entertainment in the third degree. And like it or not. Once you enter the fairgrounds, you are a consenting, willing participant and member of its subculture. For, it is only with that acceptance and embrace, that you will truly know the pleasure of eating bacon on a stick while crowding near a pen of newborn piglets to coo and look on in awe of their cuteness without even a minute sense of irony.
Over the last two weekends, we traveled to two separate fairs. One a County fair, the other, the mighty State fair. While I avoided the rides, one of which was featured on the news due to it breaking down. I took a bunch of pictures, had the worst BBQ in my entire life and chose not to seek the answer to the question, “WTF are elephant ears, anyway?”
So go, try the bacon wrapped hot dog, mount your five year old on an unwilling sheep and ride the wooden roller coaster and have a blast. Life is short and the rewards often outweigh the risks. Worst case scenario, you end up on the news when the fire department arrives to rescue you from a ride called “Satan’s Revenge”.