The moment Brian and I drove our little family through downtown Seattle for the first time — after a long 9-hour drive through eastern Washington and the Snoqualmie Pass — there were two emotional outbursts from the back seat. Jeffrey became so excited by seeing the boats on Lake Union and Lake Washington that he begged to go “boating” right away; meanwhile, Eleanor burst into tears and continued to sob until we reached our new house.
That pretty much sums up the kids’ different reactions to our new home. Even though we took a boat ride the very next day after arrival (we rode the water taxi from the waterfront over to West Seattle) Jeffrey still begs for sailing lessons, and carries a Washington State Water Safety pamphlet around from time to time, endlessly reading up on life jackets and signal flags. Occasionally he wistfully talks about how much he misses his best friend, Win, but otherwise he’s been the same.
Meanwhile, Eleanor has been a nuclear bomb of angry, mouthing-off, screaming and crying Girl Drama. She hates that we have moved, even though she’s already made better friends here than she had in Salt Lake. She balks whenever we suggest replacing any of our old furniture. We recently acquired a new living room couch, which caused her to hide in her room for an hour; replacing the scratched-up television console caused another similar outburst. Practicing piano has become dreadful — the first day I attempted it, she had to curl up and cry with each song we played, missing her piano teacher so much — and now it’s just known as the Daily Argument. I hate it, I want my sweet little girl back! Not this surly teenager-ish waif.
I can only hope that things will improve when school starts. (Tomorrow! Yay!)
Already Shoreline House is beginning to feel like home. Little patterns of our daily life are falling into place: remembering which light switches to turn off, how the windows lock and unlock, only a slight pause at the top of the stairs as I remember which way to turn towards Katie’s room. (It’s to the left.)
It didn’t feel so homey at first. Our house had been unoccupied for five months, and the whole place smelled musty. With no carpets or furniture, our voices echoed too loudly against the walls. Apparently crows are common backyard birds around here and their caws easily woke us every morning — the first morning we slept here, Jeff and William arose early and ran around the house yelling “squawk! squawk! squawk!” I’ve been homesick, too. There are things about our house that are great improvements on Retro Acres (such as a lovely dark-colored kitchen floor that hides dirt) and things which are not (no basement! I’ve never lived in a basement-less house before).
Every now and then I yearn for my old neighborhood, my old routines, like a cultural jet lag. But it’s getting better.