Aaah . . . It is a rainy October day at my house about 16 miles outside of Seattle. This, to me, is perfection. I love this weather so -- probably because I'm a bookworm, and this soggy sublimity screams for couch-sitting and tea-sipping and a good read. Did you know that people in the Pacific Northwest read more books every year per capita than anywhere else in the United States? Yep, even more than in New York. This is almost definitely related to the climate. Yes, it does rain up here as much as you've heard. If it is not raining, it is at least overcast 90% of the time between October and May. I wouldn't want it any other way.
I need to pay close attention to my environment and drink in every raindrop and dark grey cloud this autumn, winter and spring, because they are most likely my last in the Pacific Northwest. Chances are, this time next year, we'll be unpacking boxes in our new house in Sioux Falls, SD. I have so many mixed emotions about this probable move, though I do think that the balance falls in favor of South Dakota in the long run. But, I would like to indulge in a long sigh over my preferred habitat of Western Washington.
Have you ever seen Mt. Rainier? I've lived here for over five years now, and I am still surprised by its majesty -- rising up, snow-capped and imposing, over the southern horizon --when it greets me at the turn of the road.
There is a coffee culture up here to which I can emphatically relate. Little espresso carts or convivial coffee shops cheerfully stand on any given corner, offering liquid nirvana as a bolster against the enshrouding mist.
This is the land of Eddie Bauer, and, while I will certainly be able to replenish my wardrobe anywhere from this national chain, the clothes will never look as at home as they do when they are worn bespeckled with raindrops against a backdrop of evergreens (no self-respecting PNWer will use an umbrella -- we glory in the constant state of dampness).
Where else in these United States are fireplaces standard in every apartment for rent, but air-conditioning is rarely found, even in houses?
Record highs for heat were recorded this summer on days that reached the astonishing temperature of 85! As a native Southern Californian, I have to chuckle at that.
On a more personal note:
I will miss our church. I will miss our neighborhood (library, doctor's office, bank, grocery stores -- all easily navigable on foot). I will miss our Thai restaurant. I will miss my hair stylist (the only person ever to infuse body in my straight, fine hair without a perm!). I will miss the Puyallup Fair. I will miss the hikes, especially the one to the twin waterfalls. I will miss the zoos. I will miss the proximity of water, though I am no boater. I will miss my friend Kadie. I will miss the deer who visits our backyard and hangs out, eating our flowers, for hours.
I wish living out here were sustainable for a family that is determined to remain single-income while increasing in size. It is just not possible. And, I'd rather live anywhere where my husband would not have that worried look on his face everyday.
There is a lot in South Dakota to recommend itself as a place to raise a family:
The cost of living is substantially lower, especially in housing prices. There are grandparents there to provide occasional respite from Bug tyranny. The political environment is more closely aligned with my own philosophies. The homeschooling laws are even more liberal than here in Washington. When Roe vs. Wade is overturned (D.V.), abortion will most likely be illegal in most cases in South Dakota. The business environment is more conducive to starting and running a small business (Jason's dream).
Oh, but I will miss the trees and the rain and the atmosphere of the Pacific Northwest. I will indeed.
Okay, enough sniveling and whining. I'm grateful to have had the chance to live up here for five years, and I will be grateful for our future home in South Dakota. I am grateful for my husband, who works so hard to provide for our family and who will make certain that, so long as his abilities and will have anything to do with it, we will always have shelter, clothing, food, and a certain amount of what can only be considered luxuries and extras. And that's better than a majority of people who live on this earth.