Six Months and Counting... *EOTMP*

Monday, August 17, 2020

 

Week 268 (67 Months)
Oh, hey. I live in Seattle now.

Remember this map? :)

Zach and I made it. We travelled 2,300+ miles across the country, and we finally made it. We're home. I'M home. A childhood dream has finally been accomplished.

We planned out our trip to span across four days (though, we probably should have done it in five days instead, but I digress), and what an incredible journey and trip across the country it was. I'll never forget all the memories we made during our time on the road with the kitties in tow.

In the map above, those yellow "star" points along the way were our hotel stops — specifically, we stopped in Topeka, Kansas, Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Boise, Idaho. Topeka to Cheyenne was technically the longest leg of the journey (day 2), but Cheyenne to Boise felt the longest. But day 3 was also the most memorable. Because that day was also my birthday, and it was the day we would be driving through the Rocky Mountains. But let's back up just a bit. I don't want to get to the really good stuff just yet. LOLs.

I really miss these guys. So much.
Before leaving out, Zach and I made several trips back and forth from work in preparation of the trip and to also prep our apartment for vacating it. The picture above is from our final day at the west Little Rock Home Depot. I cried. I kept tearing up throughout the day. It was rough. When Becky hugged me, I lost it. I really do miss you guys. I do. I have so many fantastic memories from my 4+ years of working there (and some bad, too, of course). :P But they were overwhelmingly positive. I miss my co-workers severely, I miss my decor department, and I miss my customers and reps (especially you, Johnye) with whom I built up such a great rapport. Zach and I were ready to move on, though. It was time.

Phillip, Ruth, Zach, and myself.
I miss my sister. Ruth saved my life, provided me shelter and food, and fended off any would-be antagonists that came my way. She was protective when Zach and I first began dating, and she was always there for me in any way possible. I love you, Ruth. So much. You mean the world to me. <3 Always. (I miss Juno and Gigi, too! Sweet kitty babies.)

It was really difficult to say goodbye. The words and structure in which you want to tell someone how much they truly mean to you are unfathomably difficult to come by while in the midst of doing the actual goodbye-ing. This might very well be the last photo I'll ever have of the four of us together, and I will absolutely cherish it until my very last days. Count on it, Ruth. I mean that.

We were so worn out from cleaning. Even Ty. (Keri's stretched out behind Zach. LOLs.)
We scrubbed, vacuumed, swept, mopped, scrubbed some more, and wiped down so many surfaces to clean that apartment — and it wasn't even that dirty to begin with! We lived there for short bit over two years, and I kept a clean house. A bit OCD of me, you could say.

And we still got charged a lease breaking fee despite the circumstances. It was such a shit situation to be put in, but the apartment management would not make any exceptions. But I'm so beyond thankful to all of you who donated to our cause to get us out of there. We are indebted to all of you and are so grateful. Really. Thank you so much.

Ty taking in the surroundings from the safety of the car.
And so the trip began!

We left out that morning around 10 a.m.and only made a couple of stops on our way to Topeka. The kitties both did really well on the journey (the whole journey, actually.) I was quite surprised. Ty would meow crazily upon the initial outing, but he would calm after a bit when he realised things were okay. He just had no clue what was happening. Keri stayed in the pet carrier and slept most of the time. She was a good sport.

Brother and sister cuddling together. <3 ^_^
I love this building in Kansas City.
Our first major city we'd drive through was Kansas City. I love Kansas City a bunch. Great culture, very historic city, and super good barbeque (we didn't stop for the latter, though. Bummer.) Zach took lots of photos from the passenger seat...as you'll see as this blog entry progresses. :)

Arriving in Topeka!
Topeka! Topeka was...well, underwhelming. Sorry, Topekans (is that what you call yourselves there?) Maybe it's because we had just driven through Kansas City earlier, but yeah, there wasn't much to see. :/ Onwards to our hotel!


Arriving in our hotels, the kitties were super scared. Zach and I were both just thrilled to finally be able to get out and walk around...stretching our legs felt great. Keri meowed constantly — I'm sure out of anxiousness and being unsure of what was going on. When she saw me climb into the bed after getting out of the shower, she immediately jumped up and under the covers with me. She became super lovey-dovey and didn't want to leave my side. Ty was incredibly cuddly as well, though, he was having the time of life being a new locale. He loved it.

We were awoken in the morning by a dusting of snowfall during the night. I was afraid the freeway leading west out of Kansas into Colorado was going to be snow-covered (as several friends let us know the night before that a snowstorm was moving through the area), but it actually split along the freeway corridor. Lucky us. Coincidences are fun. :)
Lots of this. I mean LOTS of it.

The closer we got to Colorado, the more windmills we saw. No cancer, rest assured.


Colorado/Kansas state line. Still no sign of mountains. As Lloyd Christmas would say, "That John Denver is full of shit, man."

Finally! In the distance...the Rocky Mountains!
So, fun fact. I totally didn't realise just how far into Colorado where Denver was located. I honestly thought it was closer to the border of Kansas, and I've thought that my entire life. BUT NO. You literally drive halfway across Colorado before you even reach Denver and the base of the Rocky Mountains. Also, Denver...like Topeka, you are not an impressive city. Denver's relatively flat, and it didn't deliver that "wow" factor I was expecting from it. Boo. Anyhoo, onwards to the north toward Cheyenne, Wyoming!
Zach snapped this as quickly as he could. It was getting darker, but we got a decent photo of us crossing the state line into Wyoming.

Finally. Hotel number two. Yay, time to relax.
We were beyond exhausted. The drive from Topeka to Cheyenne was so incredibly boring. Zach slept a ton. (Yes, I drove the majority of the trip. I'm a good long-distance driver, and I actually prefer it.) But man! Arriving in Cheyenne, when we stepped foot out of the car, it was blisteringly cold. And we had a mishap in getting the kitties out of the car (accidentally dropped them in the pet carrier...oops.) We felt terrible. They were scared again, of course, but they relaxed once we got inside the hotel room. And this hotel was my favourite of the three we stayed at during this trip. The room was really big with enough room for the kitties to run around in, and the breakfast in the morning was pretty good, too! (Granted, the hotel we stayed at in Topeka had a better serving of differing breakfast items.) But it was still great!

The next morning, while eating breakfast, of course, watching the morning news/weather in the lobby of the hotel kinda got me a bit nervous for the next leg of our drive. See...it was the 21st of February. It was my birthday, and I knew I'd be traversing the Rocky Mountains for the first and maybe only time in my lifetime. I was super thrilled and anxious at the same time.
Goodness, what a drive. I was awestruck. Every horizon in the distance, around every curve, over every hill...I was in such disbelief at how beautiful the landscape was to my eyes. I'd never seen anything like it before in my life (except last summer...I got a small tease of it during my Lassen vacation). And we were so lucky, too. Clear roads. Clear, sunny, gorgeous skies. And I got to take in every wondrous aspect of it — such a wonderful birthday gift. I was in love with this planet once more.
Seriously. It looks like mountains of Cool Whip in the background. ^_^
We stopped to fill up my car (which gets exceptional gas mileage...yay, Honda Civic) in a small rest area town just before crossing over into Utah. Grabbed some late lunch there as well, and we were on our way once more. Onwards to Idaho and Boise!
Crossing over into Idaho.
The roads and land began turning more into rolling hills instead of being mountainous terrain. Also, southern Idaho has a very distinct smell to it. It's like a combination of rotten sewage, cow manure...and...potatoes. It's...not a good smell. I highly suggest doing something about that, Idaho. Please, if you can.
I believe this is part of the Snake River.
We were lucky to get a gorgeous sunset on our way through southern Idaho.
Sun softly setting on the Rocky Mountains (looking back east). Almost to Boise!
I love the clouds in this photo.
We arrived at our hotel (or motel, in this case) in Boise. It was dark by the time we got there, so there weren't really any photos taken. Plus, we were extremely exhausted. We went out to get food, and it was here that my eyes saw a Fred Meyer for the first time. We stopped for something quick at a nearby fast food place, and then proceeded to head back to our kitties at the motel.

Zach and I weren't long for much rest time, however, as we had to get up super early (like, 3 to 4 a.m. early) in order to make it to our 12 p.m. appointment to sign final lease paper stuffs at our fancy new apartment in Bellevue. And I couldn't sleep either. I was nervous, anxious, excited, gleeful...and all of those emotions led to me developing some intestinal issues that morning. I got a bit ill on our drive into Oregon. We had to stop at a rest area, and Zach had to take over driving for the first time during the trip. I tried to sleep a small bit during his portion of the drive.
It's blurry. It was dark. But it's the "Welcome to Oregon" sign. Almost home. :)
But now it was time to drive through the smaller Blue Mountains in northeastern Oregon and finally make our way into our new home state. Yay!

Welcome to Washington, Zach and Anna! <3
I was super excited to finally roll into my new home state. But first, Zach and I had to get through Trump country in the eastern side of the state. Once we made it to the Cascades, we knew we were in the clear and on the home stretch. Super exciting! Also first, we needed to stop for gas in the Tri-cities area (Kennewick, specifically)

Kitties slept during the majority of this leg of the trip, too. I'm sure they were just like, "Okay, okay...this is our life now. On the road. Whatevs. Just tell us when it's time for dinners." Sure thing kitties. By the time we reached Kennewick, my stomach was feeling much better, too. Back in the driver's seat, I go! ^_^
We arrived! <3 <3 <3
Finally. Finally. FINALLY! :D

So that's the city of Bellevue behind us — more specifically, it's the downtown area of Bellevue. We're on the "eastside" part of the Seattle area, and we specifically live in the Spring District part of the city. As you can tell from the photo, we are literally just a couple of blocks away from downtown. Everything is so easily accessible from our location, and I just love it so much. I'm so thrilled and happy to finally be here. Six months and counting, and I'm still astonished that I now live in a "blue" state and an incredibly progressive part of the state, too.

Of course, you lot know now about what happened with the job that I moved up here for in the first place, but I don't think I would have been happy at that place anyway. Home Depot came to my rescue, reinstated me, and initiated a transfer from my previous store in Little Rock to the store nearby in Redmond. And I'm incredibly happy I chose that store. Because now, after six months of waiting patiently, I'm working in the one position I've always wanted at HD — I'm now a kitchen designer!

I love my co-workers and crew at my new HD, our kitties settled in fairly well after a  few months, and Zach was even put up to test for his RMA to become an ASM with HD (he works at the Bellevue location...literally just three blocks from the apartment.) And he passed his RMA with flying colours! And with a higher score than the last time he took it. We're still waiting for another opening to pop up, but I'm sure one will happen soon enough. Zach is beyond ready for it. He'll be a great ASM. I know it.

"Just wait, you'll move away, and you'll get so homesick, that you'll be back in just a couple of months."

Nah, girl. You can keep that still-connected-by-the-umbilical-cord mentality and toss it in the bin. I'm here to stay. I'm finally home. I'm surrounded by unbelievable wonder — be it the Cascades to my east, which are home to Mt. Baker to my north and Mt. Rainier to my south, Lake Sammamish and Lake Washington, a super progressive city in Seattle just less than 10 minutes to my west, wonderful climate, weather, and temperatures, and soon to be a new NHL team in the Seattle Kraken. I'm all set! :D

Oh, and not to mention that I now live in the number one overall state for healthcare in this country. Not bad going from number 49 to number one. ;) The Puget Sound area is not bad, if I do say so myself. <3
My home at night is also incredibly beautiful.
See ya, space cowboy.

Be good, do good.

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