We’re here. In Seattle. Where the skies are still cloudy while the rest of the country bakes and burns. We’re in our new, old home – built circa 1928. It is a cozy craftsman-style house with a city view overlooking the neighborhood of Ballard. It is quite small compared to the Mouse House, but we have found things to love about this new, nameless abode – the coved ceilings; a built-in floor length spice cupboard; the matching, beveled tulip-windows on each side of the fireplace. The most troubling bit about our new house is that my cherry-red, energy-efficient, front-loading washer and dryer don’t fit. Anywhere. Boo hoo hoo. Instead, in the upstairs bathroom, sits an old, stackable one-person washer/dryer combo. A single load can withstand approximately eight items of clothes. So – I will be living mostly in the upstairs bathroom. Thankfully, this is the view out the windows:

Right next door, in the master bedroom, we’ve shoved all the bookshelves that used to line our living room walls. Each morning as I wake my eyes focus a foot away at the various title’s lining these shelves: So Many Steps to Death; Pure Drivel; Heart of Darkness; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Wicked. None of these titles inspire confidence or cheer. I now must rearrange my books so that only optimistic, inspiring titles greet my eyes first thing in the morning. So far I have one cookbook called ‘Hello, Cupcake!’ lined up right in my field of vision. This is a cheerful greeting to read each morning first thing as I rise and shine. I quite like saying it to myself – “Hello, Cupcake!” along with “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” which sits next door.

The best part about the new house is not so much the house, with all its fancy bits and foibles, but the neighborhood. It is walkable! And whimsical! There are houses with lime-green front doors and steeply pitched roofs and best of all, across the street from us lies a P-Patch. This is a community garden where neighbors rent wooden plots to grow their own produce. Our P-patch happens to scramble up an enormous hill, and at the tippy top lies a great view all the way out over the Sound clear to the Olympic Mountains. So far the girls and I have scaled the P-Patch thrice, each time met at the top by an all-black, melancholic cat named Spider. He sprawls out on the sidewalk with his tummy thrust towards the heavens, meowing ferociously until someone stops huffing and puffing and bends down to pet him. He wanders all over the neighborhood, meeting us on our return from the Seattle Zoo and Woodland Park, his little name tag flapping under his chin as if he’s the local security guard, out to escort us home. The girls rush over to rub his tummy again as we all gush, “Hello Spider!”

It is great to have a home. Even a new, old home that doesn’t quite feel like ‘us’ yet. But we are starting to settle in. The boxes are slowly folding flat. And the town outside our windows is starting to make sense. Hello, Cupcake! Hello, Spider! Hello, Seattle!