Mar/08
10

So here’s the deal.

In late 2002 Annie and I did something audacious, and it turned out to be one of the most liberating experiences of our lives.

Five years ago, we were living with our two children in a ~3000 sq ft house in north Seattle, busy filling up our house with crap(tm) along with the rest of our neighbors. During the Christmas holiday we visited my parents in Galveston, Texas and wound up spending a lot of time walking on the beach and talking about spending your time on the right things. We realized that we were spending most of our free time taking care of things…working on the yard, working on the house, cleaning the house, etc. etc. We were living in this amazing town, surrounded with mountains, forests, beaches and amazing museums and festivals and we were spending all our free time with each other and our children maintaining this bland old house and this assortment of stuff we didn’t really like. It was crazy.

At some point I think we started seeing who would blink first, and by the end of the night we had decided to sell all of our crap(tm), sell our house, and find a way to move downtown.

When we got back to Seattle, we rented a beautiful, but tiny, 800 sq ft two-bedroom condo on First Avenue at Virginia, just next to Pike Place Market. We went through the house and took literally the barest necessities for survival (4 cups, 4 forks, 4 towels, etc.), got the cat, hit IKEA for some bunk beds for the kids, and literally walked away from 95% of our former lives. We brought in an estate sale company and they sold off everything. The next week, the house went on the market and sold in a day.

Once we went urban, we never looked back.

We had a spectacular waterfront view, and were in easy walking distance to everything fun. We parked our cars on Friday and did not get back into them until Monday. Our children played in the International Fountain at Seattle Center. We rode the monorail, watched traditional Slovakian dancing, participated in the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, camped premium spots for the Thanksgiving Day parade, bought our food at Pike Place Market, ate duck in the International District, and just had a hell of a time exploring every nook and cranny of the city.

We were so happy and enjoying our kids so much that we eventually decided to add a little someone to the family. This was three years after we had moved in, and at this point Annie and I were sleeping in the loft, because a girl of 5 and a boy of 3 can share a room, but it starts to become questionable at 8 and 6. With another baby on the way, after searching fruitlessly for years for a big condo we could afford, we decided that it was time to call it a day and buy a house.

In early 2006 we moved out of our condo and into a ~4500 sq ft home in Madison Valley. It was new construction, thoroughly modern, and beautifully finished. We filled it with art, electronics, animals… and new crap(tm). It was unquestionably comfortable, and for two years we tried to tell ourselves that we could live there forever, but during an increasingly rare trip downtown for a walk in Myrtle Edwards Park, we finally admitted to each other that we were depressed in the house, that we missed downtown, and that perhaps it was time to do something audacious again.

Luck has been with us, as a dream urban property–possibly the only space in Seattle that is remotely in our price range with the square footage to make this work–came on the market just at the right time. Of course, we also had to sell our existing home, no easy feat in today’s soft market, but terrific buyers appeared the second day our house was for sale and we are heading towards closing quickly. In addition, we found a very comfortable rental home with a month to month lease (aka the beach house). Everything appears to be falling into place.

Finally, you might be counting out the members of the family and asking “What’s with the title?”–all we can say is that while we are five now, we may not always be five. Stay tuned as we move 3 kids, 3 cats, the chickens, and a salt water aquarium the size of a surburban back to the city!