in no particular order:

they have these small planes with either skis or pontoons on the bottom of their landing gear. i don’t know if these planes can water-ski or if lots of people on the west coast are just really nervous about crash-landing in the ocean, but they are super cool to see.

people seem healthier. not that people here aren’t overweight; we’ve seen plenty of those (which sadly makes me feel a bit better that i won’t stand out so much)- but people here are walking and biking and running. if i didn’t know better, i would think that this may be an elaborately choreographed ballet to entice star hubby- who is a runner- to want really really badly to move here. maybe it’s the beautiful scenery, or maybe it’s something in the water, but people here are active. like, a lot.

even the “bums” aren’t so bummy. there were several people with various signs asking for food or money. maybe this is just a downtown phenomena, and we don’t notice it at home since we rarely if ever venture downtown, but there was at least one person every few blocks. but, they looked well groomed. yes, the men all had beards, and the women had uncombed hair, but seriously these people could have come straight from an LL Bean photo shoot. in fact, maybe they did. maybe this is what LL Bean models do in their spare time, and that’s why you don’t see them in real places, like target. maybe LL Bean had photographers hiding behind the cute statues waiting to see how many people would give a dollar to someone with that rugged outdoorsy look. maybe it was a marketing research thing. we’ll probably never know because the chances of us being able to stay in a posh downtown hotel on our own dime are pretty much zero.

the grocery stores have food. not that the stores back home don’t- but the variety here of fresh ready-to-eat stuff is amazing. at home we have the odd stale sandwich or 1/4 of a watermelon in cellophane that looks like it’s seen better days, but here there are colorful berries and fresh cut pineapple and 3 kinds of melon and SUSHI- all in the regular grocery store. ah, so THAT’s how the other half lives…

some of the rich people look homeless. at home, the rich people are rich and the regular people are everywhere. today we drove down a street (one way, of course- grrrrrrrrrr) where we saw not one, not two, but at least 3 icky unwashed dirty-clothing-ed gentlemen drinking $10 lattes at different outdoor cafes. yes folks, this is not paris, but they have outdoor cafes with overpriced everything and you can see people there watching other people, and you feel like you should offer to make them soup or give them hand-me-down clothes. i guess that’s how rich people think we look, and they are just trying to blend in…

people live in other people’s backyards. properties are so subdivided that you can pull into someone’s driveway and there will be like 10 mailboxes on a post. you drive further back, thinking that your real estate agent must have really bad boundaries about other people’s personal space, and then- voila!- there are 3 or 4 other small houses. it’s like rick steve’s europe- the forgotten corridors edition. you pull up behind a dumpster and make a right turn and there is a 108 year old italian grandmother wearing a black dress and  sweeping the dirt path to her hovel. the best part is that everyone here thinks that’s normal. “oh yes, i live behind 1315 blah street. i am the third yellow house on the right, just behind someone else’s subdivided yard on the left. we have a front door- you can’t miss it!” if i ever learn my way around this neighborhood, that might be a bad sign.

this is crazy, but i promise i am not making it up. my bestie in detroit and i came up with an awesome idea for a business. we were going to get a goat or two and have them trim our lawns and eat our weeds, and then we were going to rent them out to other people as a kind of green lawn service. but we were driving down some street or other today and directly in front of us was a pick-up truck with a cage containing 2 really cute goats. there was a dog in the back guarding the goats, and the truck had an ad that they would bring the goats to you to trim your lawn. i was just so touched i couldn’t even be mad that they stole our idea. goats doing landscaping!!!!i told everyone in the car to remember the name of the service so i could blog about it, but- go figure- my family is not as invested in the content of this blog as i am. i wonder if we could hire them to come to our hotel to get some photos done? anyway, where else could you possibly find a goat lawn service? that alone is almost reason enough to move here.

people here have wildflower gardens in their front yards. and in their side yards. and all over the place. these are not people who are too lazy to cut weeds (because, after all, the friendly goat team is only a phone call away); these are people who actually want interesting things to grow because they like it. riddle me that, oak park michigan…

we saw real live people who have- hold onto your hat, non seattle folks- front yard gardens! not only are there farmers markets like every 20 feet, but people unashamedly had tomatoes growing in their front yards! and beans! and other things i couldn’t identify! hold the phone- i said FRONT YARD VEGETABLE GARDENS! who would ever have thunk it?

people walk their dogs everywhere. not for protection, like where i’m from. people here are just animal friendly and people friendly, and generally easy-going and happy. hmmmmmmmmm…

there are fruit trees for people to pick from. we saw some lady collecting some berry-looking stuff from a hedge that overgrew onto the sidewalk. we thought it was a one-off thing. but no- we saw it again with an overhanging plum tree. my son actually picked up a fruit from the ground and said confusedly, “what IS this?” i guess it was so out of context to find fruit on the ground that it just blew his mental circuitry. near the plums were some potentially delicious looking bright red things. i started guessing wild things- maybe lychee? maybe red plums? maybe seattle fruit, which we midwesterners have never encountered? my first instinct, of course, was to pick a bunch and hoard them all. maybe even to smuggle some home to can them. and then i realized that A) they were there for the taking, and there didn’t seem to be a shortage, and B) we are actually moving here. so we could get fresh plums or unidentified red fruit any time we want. yes, it is almost too much to process.

this one doesn’t have much to do with seattle, but we found a possibly perfect house. it’s the kind of house that’s not necessarily perfect in the better homes and gardens sense, but it is perfect for our needs. after going from house to house- bless patient real estate agenst!- we found this one. we had actually seen it online, and the photos were, um, less than thrilling. but the property itself- oh lala! we went into a bunch of nicer houses, and i was just sort of ho-hum about each one. ya ya new counter tops, blah blah new carpet. big yawn new light fixtures. whatever. and then we saw The House. we walked in and immediately my weary brain snapped to attention. whoa- i could see my kids in this house. my dogs will love this house. i could love this house. this house could be Our House. it has just enough charming broken-ness that i am hoping nobody else will snatch it away. it’s not gorgeous or remodeled or fancy. but it’s so US, and i so hope that -if it is meant to be- that we will be able to get it!! (send me good luck vibes- please please please!)

we went to a school for my youngest kids. we were expecting it to be a mixed bag of positives and not-so-positives. we were expecting to have a hard decision about who to homeschool and who to send. but this school was GREAT! if star husband and i could have written up a mission statement for what our ideal school would be like, we would have written pretty much exactly what the school handed us. i don’t think it was goals for the school; i think it’s really how the school operates. we met two of the teachers (not teachers our kids will have, but they were the only ones  in the building), and they were just genuine nice.  they had no way of knowing our biases beforehand, so it’s not like they tried to fool us. they just told us about how they operate, and it was all we could do to keep from smiling like a bunch of drunken sorority girls.

star husband is just returning from the hotel pool with overtired hungry kids, so this is it for now. gotta go help wet kids into pajamas. that’s not a great thing about seattle, but it’s a great thing about my life. i just love my family so much…