I’M BACK

(read the title like Eminem)

I could write 10 pages about how horrible the past 3 months have been in our last apartment, but I won’t. It smelled, it wasn’t safe, and it definitely wasn’t comfortable. I knew it was a huge stress point for both of us, but it really became clear this past weekend once we moved out for good. I feel like a completely different person, like my mind has cleared, a massive weight has been lifted, and everything in my life is coming back into focus. The feeling is incredible, and I don’t want to forget what it took to get here.

I haven’t cooked or baked since July. I haven’t used the sewing machine once. I haven’t made anything for Ruby, and I haven’t done any of the planning or preparation for her that I knew I needed to. Our laundry basket was always overflowing, and nothing was ironed. I didn’t write (obviously) or do anything creative. I let my nails go to shit before I forced myself to at least take the nail polish off. I didn’t buy anything for our house except for candles to mask the smell, and plastic for the windows. We got two stains on our couch because we ate dinner there each night. Everything that was important to me started to slip between the cracks because I just couldn’t find the motivation or desire to care. The worst part is that I knew all of this was happening, and I still couldn’t fix it. I don’t think I was depressed, but I definitely wasn’t myself, and I wasn’t in a mentally healthy place.

One of the things that bothered me the most was the smell. Not only did it bother me at home, but it got in our clothes and our jackets and it would bother me during the day when I was at work. All I could think of was how detrimental it must be for children who are raised in households where their parents smoke, and having to go to school each day knowing that they smell. It is a HUGE emotional stress point that seems trivial, but deeply affected me. The first thing I did when we got to the new house was wash all of our jackets, blankets, towels, and lay all of our rugs outside to air out. Just having the smells gone is the biggest relief.

At work, we were discussing Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and how it applies to everything in our lives, both personal and work related. It was like a lightbulb clicked when I saw this diagram, because it explains exactly how and why the house issue is affecting me in so many different ways. The things that I was missing the most were psychological and self-fulfillment needs, but I couldn’t get there without feeling physiologically comfortable. It was so refreshing to see proof of what I’d been feeling and know that my discomfort was validated.

We spent the weekend unpacking and settling into the new place, and I already feel so inspired. We made a delicious dinner, I baked a pie, and we walked downtown Ballard to buy two little accessories for the kitchen. I’ve been making lists of projects I want to start and we’re going to get back to meal planning. Everything that used to be our normal is slipping back into place and it feels like we’re home. Brian said that he feels like he’s on vacation in our house, and I feel more like we’re real adults. I think even regardless of where we just came from, this house is a turning point for us and we’re so happy to be here. This feels like a home where we can start our family, and I’m finally able to feel some excitement about what comes next!

I have to say too, that it’s a huge testimony to our relationship that Brian and I (somehow) made it through this whole transition with our relationship very much intact and probably a lot stronger. A lot of the credit goes to Brian for putting up with an unhappy pregnant wife, and I love him so much more for it. This house thing aside, the past few months have been a weird time for me, adjusting to all the fun new stuff that pops up with pregnancy (hello hormones and exhaustion), so I’m sure I haven’t been easy to deal with. Brian has been so patient and understanding and rational (sometimes to a fault) and is the only reason I didn’t lose my mind, burn down the house, and move into a hotel.

Us Time

Working on the carriage house for the last month has been a huge learning experience for us in so many unexpected ways. We’ve obviously learned a lot about the actual demo/construction stuff, but I’ve also learned a ton about how our relationship ebbs and flows through different stresses.

We’re used to spending pretty much every possible minute together, aside from work. Our weekends are 100% ours to go for long walks or bike rides and stopping into little towns for lunch and beers, and we rarely split up to do our own things because we’d rather be together. I didn’t realize how much I rely on our weekends to reset my sanity until this past month when we’ve spent every free minute frantically working on the carriage house or packing up our apartment. Instead of spending the weekend outside relaxing, we’re working on stressful, dirty, and physically exhausting projects for the house. We haven’t cooked a single meal (besides toast) in a month, we’re just bleeding money on this renovation, and we’re relying on each other to just get through this and make it to August 1st. I know we’re lucky to have a lifestyle that allows us to spend this much time together, but we also make a lot of active choices to protect it. We live close to work so we don’t waste time commuting separately, we ride together to and from work whenever possible, and we plan activities and trips that we both love so we can do them together. This time is so special to me, and I’m actually really glad that it took this house project to make me appreciate it for what it is.

The light at the end of the tunnel is dim but getting brighter, and the only thing keeping me going is the thought of our first weekend trip. It doesn’t even have to be far, just somewhere isolated with sun, a book, the hammock, fresh air, and zero discussion about the house. ZERO.

ps… a post about this renovation is forthcoming. For now, please refer to the highlight at the top of my Insta story where all of the stories are saved.

Fly Fishing!

Brian’s interest in fly fishing is probably best summed up in his response to a curious coworker¬† “If there’s one thing social media tells me, biking and fly fishing is v trendy right now.”

IMG_3124IMG_3110

Swift Industries is one of the more influential companies for the way we bike, and they are huge supporters of camping/biking/fishing/etc. They recently collaborated with Tenkara, a Japanese company that sells telescoping fly-fishing rods that are ideal for backpacking or biking trips where portability is key. Naturally, Brian The Outdoorsman jumped on the trend, set his ukelele aside, and decided he wanted to be a fly fisherman. I mentioned this at work, and it turns out one of my coworkers is an avid fisherman and offered to lend us a full kit so we can give it a try before investing in a bunch of fishing stuff. His pole wasn’t very space efficient and ended up sticking about 2′ off the back of my bike, but it was free so we definitely aren’t complaining! We took advantage of Washington’s free-fishing weekend (when they don’t require a license) and rode about 12 miles south to the Cedar River Trail.

We knew it was supposed to be partly rainy the whole weekend, but I don’t think either of us expected to be outrunning giant thunderstorms the whole day! The whole ride to the trail, we had one eye to the west on the clouds that were getting darker and darker by the minute. We had a ridiculous headwind too, but I convinced myself that it would be a tailwind on the way home so it was worth it. (spoiler alert, I was sorely disappointed when that turned out to be very wrong)¬†We pulled off the trail into downtown Renton as it started to sprinkle. Mostly to use the bathroom, but the timing was perfect since it started to downpour the minute we walked into the cafe. One surprisingly vegan and unsurprisingly disappointing cupcake later, we were back on our bikes and only a few miles from our fishing spot.

In theory, since the trail ran adjacent to the Cedar River, we could’ve stopped anywhere that looked good, but I did a little googling to find some of the spots that were better for fly fishing. Mostly, I just wanted somewhere that wasn’t popular, had a large clearing (so we wouldn’t hook a tree or anything), and wasn’t private property. Luckily we pulled off at a spot called Belmondo’s Reach which turned out to be like the most perfect spot ever. When we arrived, we were the only ones there at this huge clearing where the river was shallow and ran along a beautiful cliff. Brian immediately dropped his bike, grabbed the pole, and ran to the water.

We messed around and practiced casting for about 30 minutes before two more people showed up and started fishing like 30′ away. We were kind of disappointed at first since it’s way more intimidating trying something for the first time with an audience, but after about 20 minutes, the guy came over and started chatting with us. We explained that we were doing this for the first time and the extent of our experience was 20 minutes of YouTube videos, and he was super nice and even gave us a few pointers! We heated up soup and rice for lunch and took turns eating and “fishing” and being backseat drivers from the sidelines. Part of me definitely thought we’d catch at least a tiny fish, but alas, nothing. Probably a good thing though, since we were mostly focused on casting and probably would’ve yanked the poor fish out of the water and flung its face off before we even noticed it was hooked! It was still a lot of fun though, and so nice to spend the day relaxing outside in the fresh air after being sick for a week.

After a few hours of sun, the sky started getting dark to the west again. Within like 5 minutes, the wind picked up, the drops started falling, and there was a massive crack of thunder! We threw everything into our bags, grabbed our bikes and started sprinting away from the creek trying to get under the nearby bridge before we got soaked. We had a long ride ahead of us, so we decided to just ride it out and see if we could outrun the storm. Sure enough, the sun was out again in 30 minutes and we pulled over to lay in the sun, eat strawberries, and watch a cricket game that we had ridden past earlier.

Our ride back to Seattle was SO WINDY. That tailwind I was hoping for swept around and turned into a headwind the other way too. It was ROUGH.

We made a snap decision to detour to the driving range that we like in Jefferson Park and have a quick snack and rest. We chose to ride the gorgeous but deceivingly hilly Chief Sealth Trail (we call it Chief Keef Trail) and added probably 300′ of unnecessary climbing to our trip. We hit a bucket of balls, ate a bucket of fries, and then ended up waiting an hour for the rain to stop before we headed home.

We caught the break in the rain until we were a mile from home when we got dumped on. We ran into this awesome mom who was riding her daughter home on the back of her bike and they’d gotten caught too. She was wearing a soaked tank top because she’d given her sweatshirt to her daughter, and she was telling us how they were on mile 30 for the day and almost home when they’d gotten dumped on. I love seeing moms (and dads) like that who are absolute work horses and power through for their kids. I mean, this lady was riding uphill in the rain and the cold, with an 8 year old on the back of her bike and wasn’t giving up. She wasn’t even in a bad mood! I love it.

6-10-18 biking PDF

All in all, we rode about 44 miles total with a headwind the whole way, and felt great. Next weekend is supposed to be 80s and sunny…. so we’re probably going fishing again!

If you missed our videos on Instagram, here’s the full story!

“where are the pictures of Veronica fishing?” you might ask. Well, while I was diligently playing the part of devoted Instagram wife… Brian was not. He took 3 photos of me TOTAL and the best one out of the three leaves much to be desired.