Archive for the ‘Mt. Baker’ Tag

The Cost of (NOT) Living   3 comments

When we decided to leave North Carolina, at least for now, and transplant 2,786 miles to the left coast, just north of the Socialist State of Seattle, in Everett, Washington, a common question was “Yeah, you will be retired and drawing a decent check from the retirement system here, but won’t the cost of living out there eat up the difference even with your new job?”  There is more than one way of looking at this.  Yes, some things here are more expensive.  Sales taxes are higher, property taxes are higher and with recent changes in pot laws there are lots of people higher.  But there are flip sides to every story, but not to be flip, you may not know what you are talking about.  Several things ameliorate the impact of these points.  Some utility rates are quite good because this area depends on hydro power to such a large extent.  They would be even lower if they didn’t spend millions on some “green”, as in the color of money, projects that often don’t work out or produce electricity at much higher rates such as the stalled, ever more expensive, tidal power generation system that now appears to be going nowhere.  This is particularly true as their electricity is already so “green”.  But with a need for air conditioning that is not a need at all, except for a smidgen of days in the late afternoon, overall utility bills are lower anyway.  There is no state income tax…yet, anyway, though there are rumblings.  Fruits and vegetables, as fine as anywhere, are cheap and plentiful in season.  While it may not balance out completely, the difference is not as much as might be expected.

But so what!


Packing for the move.

Packing for the move.


Straining under the weight of pillows!


Obligatory selfie…now that we have that out of the way!


Halfway from there to over there.


I have lived in two states my entire life, and I regret that it was only two. That is twice as many as a large number of people, probably a surprisingly large number.  Not that there is anything wrong with making a choice and sticking with it.  That is, if it is a choice.  Inertia is not a choice.  There was nothing essentially wrong with North Carolina.  It is beautiful but planning at any level of government for the future, such as for roads or education, sucks.  In Seattle, the leadership doesn’t want to build roads or add lanes because it thinks that if the freeway is continually in gridlock then everyone will go to the park and ride so that they can get in a bus or will carpool and sit in the gridlock anyway.  Just not going to invest more in petroleum based energy, even though waiting in traffic, stopping and starting, probably averages 17 miles a gallon in a auto designed to obtain 32.  Everyone should just ride their bikes in the drizzle.  In North Carolina, they are just  inept in their planning, little sense of the long term.  They would make terrible Chinese who seem to think longer range than most of us here in the west.

I will not recall living in Louisiana.  I begin to sweat profusely and my underwear starts to stick.

I regret not living in other places, even outside the United States.  Yes, we are avid watchers of House Hunters International.  Perhaps that is not yet too late.  Though, I do have some difficulty with the euro concept of a toilet separate from the bath/shower and sink.  One mistake and it is a looong way to the faucet and soap.  Bidets are cool, child accessible fountains.



Megan and Nana share a jig celebrating sighting of Washington across the Columbia River!



Even if the cost of living overall is higher, why not, at some time in your life, just go where you wanna go?  Do what you wanna do?  And take the kids!  Living in one place, especially if you are not a traveler, is like looking at only one spot on the body with a magnifier, blind to all else.  That one spot may be quite interesting, but are there not other interesting, maybe more interesting spots?  I should think so.  Much has been written on the richness in one’s life that comes from moving about for travel or to live.  Nana has found herself with tears sparkling in her eyes as they absorb patterns of light that form images of this new world that are stimulating and beautiful.  While not quite driven to tears, each day as I drive to work the world can be different in clear and even measurable ways.  Yes, now that we have left summer, far underrated by those outside the Pacific Northwest, there are days of watching rain sloughed off the windshield by friskly moving wiper blades, but there is so much more.  The Cascades may be enshrouded by thin clouds turned orange by the rising sun, or there may be bands of light and dark streaking out from behind the trees or ridges through dense fog.  But there can also be a crystal morning where our world is guarded to the north by Mt. Baker and Glacier and to the south by Rainier.  There is the unique, once per year, morning where a glistening white shimmers from the nearby peaks with the first snows at elevation.



We have approached this as a working vacation.  I work and Nana vacations!  No, just kidding!  Sorta.  She is now a lady of leisure.  Well earned.  Each weekend we try to find the opportunity to explore more of our new world.  I do not pretend mountaintop guru wisdom.  The move largely evolved out of economics, not philosophy, so there is no room for arrogance.  This is a finite life being lived in, for a given lifetime, an infinite world.    But I have not been able to avoid pondering what is the cost of NOT living? I think the costs are quite high.  As a school psychologist we are known to talk about a certain poverty of experience that many children bring to the school environment. From the outside we can see the impact this has on their functioning in school.  I contend that there can be adult versions of a poverty of experience.  It may not be so obvious from the inside but, like an alien might look in on human existence, it may be very obvious from the outside.  I could have dismissed existential crises by just accepting what was and turning way from the choices available.  I have never heard of or known of a person who said that travel to new places and experiencing other parts of the world ruined their life, with only a few exceptions related to going to war and such.  In coming posts, we will share some of the sights and experiences that have begun to transform our aging brains creating a certain newness.

Mt. Rainier, the perfect backdrop for a city!

Mt. Rainier, the perfect backdrop for a city!


Nana and Mt. Baker on a perfect day.


Arrival   2 comments

Daryn, searching to rescue his soul.

Daryn, alone in the wilderness, destitute in spirit and soul.  Lost amongst soaring fir and spruce.  What fate awaits him this day?  Starvation? Slowly freezing to die a solitary death in the icy waste land below soaring Mt. Baker.  Survival uncertain, he staggers onward.  But lo, on the horizon, rescue!  His family has traveled over 3000 miles to find him.  Given up everything to bring him to safety.  They slowly move closer together and in a moment of poignant reunion, break into cheers, giggles, joyful exaltation!

Reunion at last. Who knew he could survive 30 days in the wilderness eating nothing but his underwear and pine cones.

In their joy, they break into playful song and dance.  They soon begin a snowball fight in the freezing lofty heights.  They ARE somewhat surprised at his condition after such an ordeal.

Little Nora gives a snow-splash to Nana. This is an important religious ritual in the far northwest among the natives that once roamed here signifying love and celebration.

The family, having only donkeys for transportation, fine, sturdy animals traversed snow mounds and glacial streams, themselves struggling to return to civilization.  At one particularly dangerous crossing they thought their way was fully blocked but all made it safely jumping from boulder to rock and boulder again until safely beyond danger.

Dangerous traverse for Papa, Nana, Daryn, Robin and tough little Nora.

After many days, with swollen feet and empty stomachs the family finally made the coastline.  Pressing northward along rocky shores, jutting high along the coast, around gently curving bays and fording rivers and streams flowing out to the sea, the family arrived at a seaport.  There they boarded their tiny sailboat and set forth, gerning the jib and flousting the foremast, across the stormy passage to their destination, Pender Island.  There the natives are thought to be kind, gentle and often appear to find certain herbs useful in improving their mood.  A place of peace and respite for the tired and struggling family.

Land ho! Pender Island comes into view after the family’s journey across the Strait of Georgia. After weathering stormy seas, great white whales, killer squid and packs of gangster Triggerfish, very aptly named, landfall!

Arrived in their Canadian paradise they were warmly greeted by traveling troubadours. A festival of food and crafts was presented for our benefit.

The Stella Sol troubadours celebrate our arrival along with the natives of Pender Island who brought forth their crafts and food for the family to enjoy.

Little Nora makes an offering to the Stella Sol troubadours.

Accepted by the natives, the family, famished from their epic journey, begin to enjoy life again purchasing the bounty of the deep blue sea to consume in their humble abode.  For additional documentation and images of their journey please see the Roadtrip 2012 Part II page.

Posted June 23, 2012 by papaandnana in Attempted humor, Roadtrip

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