Dorothy and Toto
Hail Dorothy! Photo copyright Warner Bros.

Not in Kansas Anymore

Three weeks ago, the Sulzbach family packed up all its belongings and moved to Spokane Valley. Talk about a whirlwind! I’m still trying to make sense of what happened. Erica and I had been discussing a major move like this for a while. Over spring break, we visited the area, found an apartment, and decided to make it happen.

The only hitch—and it was a big hitch—was whether or not my job would allow me to move over 304 miles away. I had already been working remotely for several months, but I lived close enough to show up in-person if needed. That would become more challenging if we moved to Spokane Valley.

Thankfully, the folks at Lake Stevens gave us the all-clear. I’m not sure what we would have done otherwise. I couldn’t bear the idea of spending another month in that cramped, noisy shoebox of an apartment. For the price, we were being robbed, and we didn’t even have air conditioning. We wouldn’t have survived last summer’s heatwave if not for our friends inviting us over.

After I received the thumbs-up from work, I immediately secured a fifteen-foot U-Haul truck and tried to pin down our move-out date. That was made tricky by the fact that our new apartment was still under renovation. We had been shown a sample unit when we visited over spring break, but our actual unit was unavailable for viewing. If we wanted to move into unit J301 at the Homestead apartment complex, we had to do so blindly. Talk about scary.

April 21 rolled around and we emptied our apartment. Everything went onto the U-Haul and just barely fit. Next, I drove that truck with my brother-in-law Andrew for the next five-plus hours while Erica and Olivia rode with Monica, Erica’s mom. Andrew and I stopped off once in Ellensburg to refuel the truck and empty our tanks (metaphorically speaking). Despite the lengthy drive, we had a great time talking throughout the whole trip. That’s a drive I’ll remember.

Erica and I were motivated to move east for Olivia’s sake. Erica’s folks, the Griffins, live only five minutes away in another apartment complex. Our daughter needs constant attention, so she spends many afternoons with her grandma and auntie Alyssa, both of whom possess a greater tolerance for our tiny tot’s shenanigans than we do. Our kid is exhausting! Anybody who watches Olivia overnight is bound to suffer broken sleep. My condolences.

So, how’s Spokane Valley? In a word, sunny. Even after a bit of rainfall or a freaky hailstorm, the sun pops out and warms up the pavement lickety-split. I’ve been seen outdoors wearing sandals—gasp!—on a few occasions. It’s not necessarily hot when the sun is shining. There have been plenty of cool winds, and it’s considerably drier here. Perhaps as a response to the change in climate, my hair now becomes greasier faster and my fingernails grow like weeds. Also, my innards have been… upset. We’ll just leave it at that.

There’s still a lot to do before our apartment feels like home. For me, home is less of a physical location and more of a feeling. If we can make our place feel cozy and inviting, I’m sure we’ll settle in just fine. I’ve already put up a few decorations and fixed several squeaky door hinges. Today I ordered a desk so I can utilize the nook area in our master bedroom as an office. The fact that Olivia no longer sleeps in our room has been the biggest change of all—and a most welcome one at that.

At the time of this writing, the Sulzbach family is starting week four of our new life in Spokane Valley. Oh, I forgot to mention! We have a donut shop within walking distance. It’s called Casual Friday Donuts. Farther down the road, there’s a Krispy Kreme. Yup, we’ve got donuts as far as the eye can see!

I think we’re going to like it here.

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