While journaling the other day, I came to an epiphany. I realized that I have lived long enough, and have had adventures and experiences, enough of them, to proclaim I do have stories to write. Stories to tell. This realization stopped me mid-journaling because for years I had put off writing about anything for I found my life to be so basic. So boring. So... vanilla. And hell, I couldn't even mention my dreams of moving and flourishing in the PNW without someone hater, usually family, telling me that I was telling myself stories. My life wasn't a genre worth writing about with company like that. Yet, here I am. And, here are a few stories!
In the Spring of 2013, my partner had earned enough air miles to fly him and me, anywhere, within our budget. Being as we are both pluviophiles and, initially connected over our desire to live out our existences in the PNW, choosing the city to take our first out-of-state trip together, was – NOT Portland!
Seattle, Washington was always our first choice. It was my first choice as I had wanted to study and live there since I was sixteen years old. I figured average people take three-night getaways and go somewhere even sunnier and hotter than Southern California. Not me. Not my partner. We were taking a break from the sun and the discomfort from living in a place we didn’t belong. We knew in a way, we were visiting true home.
Before our flight. Before everything was packed I was tasked to research and locate as many obscure places in and around Seattle. Even back then, I wasn’t into touristy attractions. Thankfully, I had an obsession with Atlas Obscura which was how I discovered the Gum Wall, Seattle Underground and an underground burlesque show.
I remember wondering if my partner would be able to hack driving in the unfamiliar Seattle rain as he chose a cherry red, Chevy Spark to rent for our trip. That damn car became a whole Halloween thing that I will mention a bit later.
Still, the tiny car with the two thicc goths zipped around the wet streets of Seattle while blasting The Cure. In California, I always had to listen to The Cure when it rained. Especially the song, A Forest. We wandered through Pike Place , watched the dudes throw the fish back and forth, ate clam chowder, mini donuts, had coffee at Ghost Alley Espresso and visited Orange Dracula . As former supporters of the the canned show Whale Wars, we were pleasantly surprised to happen upon The Sea Shepard Gallery that occupied a space between the Seattle Aquarium and Pike Place. Im grateful to have visited such a special spot for it has since closed down. We then drove past and under the Space Needle (that was by far too touristy for us at the time), but we spent hours in the MoPop. Because music is my everything!
While we waited for the Seattle Underground Tour, a nice Seattleite handed us a big beautiful nugget and told us Welcome To Seattle. That was the highlight of The underground tour because it was more of the same shit; More history about how white people took over the city, murdered the indigenous but gave them some land, street and school names and a few memorials. There was a giant fire, an earthquake and when you looked up, you could see people walking above you on the streets. This was touristy.
We didn’t make it to the goth club I had previously read about later that night because we ended up getting drunk with two Alaskans in the bar at our hotel. Tom and Hat (we were too drunk to remember their actual names) were in town for a friend’s funeral. We spent the entire night buying each other drinks while they shared their off-grid lifestyle with us. My partner was enamored by the alluring danger and the simplicity of living in such places where the temperature doesn’t get above 80 degrees and the northern lights are commonly seen.
But we did make it to the Can Can Cabaret show which is still running and flourishing in Pike Place.
One of the main reasons why my partner wanted to visit Seattle is because that is where his father is buried. My partner’s father passed before my he was born. It was his first time visiting a cemetery with such a profound meaning. It was the first time my dude teared up in front of me and on every visit to “Dad’s” grave since he always chokes up. Because of this relationship, I now understand why people sit in cemeteries. I get it.
When we returned to Rancho Cucamonga, I spent the next however many years in my spare time studying maps, and neighborhoods and watching the housing market in the Seattle and surrounding areas. I had to get back. I had to live there. I told everyone that asked how it was going to happen. I was so in love with Seattle.
*My partner bought a green Chevy Spark a few weeks after our 2013 trip. My Booger became well known in SoCal but hasn't seen much of the PNW because when we took it for a drive to Seattle, it couldn't handle the hills and has been parked ever since.
During Yule 2017, my partner and I told the kids as one of their gifts, we would be spending part of their 2018 spring break in Seattle. I am not sure what we expected, if anything but, the Vagina Turds were not thrilled with spending their few days off from school somewhere cold. I was flattered they thought we were the kind of parents who could afford a trip for six to Hawaii but, I have no idea where that entitled thinking came from. Probably from their peers and their parents who were going to exotic places and Palm Springs for theirs. We explained to the kiddos that we wanted to share our 2013 experience with them, with the hopes that they will find Seattle and the surrounding area as inspiring as we did.
This was our kid’s first trip on a plane so that was part of the fun. We left Ontario at 5 am PST and landed in gloomy Sea-Tac around 8 am PST. I know Vagina Turd #2 was delusional from lack of sleep at that point but, he kept the dopamine flowing until our hotel check-in later that night. Good thing it happened that way, we had rented a van for the first day of the trip.
The kids loved visiting the Fremont Troll and Gasworks Park . By the time we finished up at the cemetery (we had to introduce the kids to my partner’s father’s grave and pour one out for the homie) we still had a full day ahead of us. We were saving Pioneer Square, Pike Place, and the Seattle Waterfront for our second and third days of the trip. What to do with the van?
I’m sure I’ll get shit for this but, I enjoyed the Twilight movies. They are comedic, the soundtracks are good but, it’s the ambiance that I enjoy when it comes to those films. I liked the books too, so my partner thought it would be a great adventure to suck it up, travel some more, and take the drive to Port Angeles so I could say I had tasted some of Bella’s Mushroom Ravioli .
On the way, we got to ride the Edmonds – Kingston Ferry which was an experience on its own. A floating bus for cars and humans! When we got to the other side – Kingston – we wound through the most stunning two-lane road, passed by so many creative and eco-friendly dispensaries, neighborhoods with space between houses, and ridiculous views of the Puget Sound.
But, when we arrived in Port Angeles, the restaurant didn’t open for another 45 minutes. No worries, there was a market and coffee shop. And, there were views of Canada in the distance and a very random staircase that entertained a few kids for five minutes.
By the end of that five minutes, it was obvious everyone was hangry. We were only able to kill twenty minutes in the “interesting” town of Port Angeles. I pleaded with my family to wait just a bit longer but, was met with resistance because who knew how long it would take to order the food and be served. Outnumbered and pissed we just spent two hours driving for mushroom ravioli I wouldn’t even get to eat, I surrendered and we ended up eating at a Wendy’s that hadn’t got the memo it was the year 2018.
While I will not be going back to Port Angeles anytime soon, (Trader Joe’s had a decent Mushroom Ravioli anyways) that trip took us past a few locations in Hollow Kingdom. The novel that my partner and I listened to, twice, while making the trips back and forth between our move to the PNW. So many of the locations on the way back to Seattle proper were ones we laughed about and were proud to acknowledge that we had actually had seen and know of the places mentioned in the story. Like Twilight.
For the remainder of that 2018 trip to Seattle, we took the light rail downtown and walked up and down the streets, finding fun and creating foundational memories that my two oldest Vagina Turds now share with their significant others. Like the Target store with the revolving doors. Oh, Vagina Turd #1 also witnessed a man take a dump on the busy waterfront; the spot we still point out when we visit. And when a man was having an argument with himself locked, eyes with my Vagina Turd #1 and yelled at him, “You know why? Because you’re a n*gger!”
When we set up our new home just north of Portland, Oregon in the Spring of 2021 it was surreal trading the highway signs that informed me of my distance to Los Angeles for Seattle instead. The space between me and Seattle is now 153 miles away which at first seemed comparable to driving from Los Angeles to San Diego. But, there’s this indecipherable time and travel warp here in the PNW. What should take only an hour and a half to drive takes three hours. Even when driving smaller distances it seems like it takes more time time to traverse, even when driving above a posted speed limit.
So, it makes sense that when my two oldest Vagina Turds brought their significant others with the rest of the family to Seattle this past January, it took a bit of pre-planning. But, it was so worth it. The girls convinced us to indulge in the touristy sights and I won’t lie that I was stoked to finally see Seattle from the Space Needle’s point of view.
Once I was at the top and had a fancy cocktail in hand, I smiled a smile that I know reached SoCal and every person that attempted to devour my achievements, happiness, and light. A stuck narrow minded Rancho Cucamonga Karen once told me I shouldn’t bother leaving Rancho because I’ll hate the weather and won’t be able to move back because I won’t be able to afford SoCal. My hater MIL‘s screeched all kinds of their negative boomer opinions about moving North, and still do, because they can’t stand that me, my partner, and kids are doing well without their toxicity, and displaying it. My estranged parents, who refused to support me with my PNW aspirations in my youth, prevented me from attending Washington University in 1998 and, in the years that followed, told me I’d never be able to leave them behind. Even when I let my guard down with them in 2022, they mocked my elation when I tried sharing my whimsical forest tales with statements like, “so what, we’ve seen nature before, this ain’t nothing exciting for us.”
And yet here I am, doing all I said I was going to do and even more magnificently than I ever envisioned, living and thriving unobstructed by narcissism with my partner, kids, and their loves.
I’m sure the estranged ones and MILs are going to love screen-shooting my pics. You’re welcome.
So, while Seattle was the thwarted destination for me when I was sixteen, in my twenties and thirties, it has become a place that I simply enjoy visiting once a season to indulge my inner alt teenager. It’s a place all of my kids get excited to visit. A place that exceeded their expectations! It’s a place we go to make new memories and relive the ones already made and to visit a father I never had the pleasure or displeasure of knowing but, forming a bond beyond the grave with. Seattle has become home away from home and though I am still spreading roots in Portland and Southwest Washington. It’s a place of infinate inspiration, interpretation and discovery. And now, with one of my beloved daughter-in-laws moving in at the end of March, I get to witness her version of life in the PNW at a young age. My life’s beauty and wonder just keeps expanding.
I fucking love it here!
Do you have any places in Seattle you love or want to visit? Share your favorite Seattle memories with. me!