When I got the word that the job was mine, I had exactly 5 weeks to prepare to move the family across the country. During that time, I had to come out to Seattle to do a “house hunting trip,” where I had four days to find a place to live. At that time, I knew very little about Seattle metro. I researched, of course, and I knew I wanted to utilize the Sounder train to get to and from the city, and I chose to live south of the city since the train on the north side was always being cancelled in the winter months due to mudslides.
My search led us to a house in the Kent/Covington area and it’s where we’ve lived for the the last 11 months, but it’s not home. For one, the rent per month is far more than I prefer to pay. I’ve been blessed with a generous salary, but I sure don’t enjoy sending such a huge chunk out every month so that someone else can pay the mortgage on this place. Second, I hate the traffic and the concrete. Sometimes, it feels like the only place I can breathe is when I’m standing in my backyard, tall trees towering over me and a 6 foot fence blocking my view of the rest of the fast-moving world. Third, this is way too much house for us. 1740 square feet, three bathrooms, three bedrooms – way more than we need. And worst of all? Our kitchen has white floors and white countertops. Who thought white countertops were ever a good idea?
Last month, we decided it was time to start talking about buying a home. We’ve been together for over ten years and we’ve never owned a home before because we’ve never lived anywhere before where we wanted to put down roots. Living in Washington changed everything, and we know it’s where we want to live for the rest of our lives. Now we’re going through the mortgage process in preparation for making an offer and closing on a house this fall. We originally settled on moving to Pierce County so that we could be closer to Mount Rainier National Park, but some extensive research and a lot of trips down there made us question that decision. Traffic was cruddy and all the houses in our budget were… well… kinda dumpy.
A few jaunts across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge these past two weekends have changed our perspective and our search grid. We’ve completely fallen in love with Kitsap County and the wide open spaces between Gig Harbor and Bremerton, over to Belfair and down to the Key Peninsula. It’s so beautiful there. The homes over there are more spaced out, surrounded by tall evergreens, and, most importantly, you can get way more house for your dollar over there. And I feel like I can breathe. As part of the Olympic peninsula, it’s also cooler, and they get more rain in the rainy months than we do here at the edge of the Cascade range, which thrills me. (This stupid drought is depressing! This is the Pacific Northwest, for goodness sake!) It’s almost 50 miles from where we live now, and it means taking the Bremerton-Seattle ferry across Puget Sound to and from work everyday, and I couldn’t be more excited.
The goal is to be moved into our new home by Christmas at the latest, but hopefully by Thanksgiving. I’m so excited about the idea of owning our own home. Specifically, a house of our own that costs less per month and allows us to live more simply than we do now. I’m willing to commute longer during the week if, at the end of the day, I’m away from the fray.
Fingers crossed and prayers heaven-bound!