Hello friends and family,
I hope that since you are reading this you are having holiday cheer and a bit of fun on your Christmas weekend. Stephanie and I want to share a few things and a let you know that we had an awesome year this year!
First up, as some of you are already aware of, we moved. So Merry Christmas from Mt. Vernon, Washington! Stephanie and I sold our Lemoore house in February 2017, headed to Palmdale, CA and completed a retrofit on our gifted 1985 Holiday Rambler RV in March. From the end of February through December 1st, we lived in a motor home. For real!
To be perfectly honest there were a whole slew of adventures and things that we did and learned while living together in an RV with two cats and three dogs. On our way out of California, we got to visit some of Stephanie's top 10 places including The Winchester Mystery House and Colma, California, the setting of her recently re-released short story Forget Me Not - the cover of which was created using a photograph she took during that trip. We also stopped to visit with our long term friends the Greens!!! The kids are so big and we missed them quite a bit. We then trucked up to Washington and spent nearly six months searching for jobs, while also enjoying and exploring our new state by staying at friend's and family's houses along with RV parks in Monroe, Blaine, Birch Bay, Whidbey Island, Bellingham and Seattle. I was particularly fond of the sleepy little vacation community at Birch Bay, there was a restaurant with amazing Salmon Benedict.
It was stressful, wonderful and most of all an adventure, but by the time I got settled in my new job in Anacortes at Sugiyo, Stephanie had already managed to acquire a realtor and a pre-approval letter.
Our realtor, David, was great. We really had a blast looking for our next home, and he even let his hair down in response to Steph's and my own fun-spirited attitude in the face of some pretty horrendous housing options. Unfortunately, it's a seller's market in Washington, while it was a buyers market in Lemoore, so there was a shortage of affordable homes in the areas we wanted to live. (I think that is universally true for home-buyers).
We went to a really promising home in Mt. Vernon only to find it was previously inhabited by meth-heads that had rendered the home all but uninhabitable. It smelled like disinfectant and rat poison. We also found a house that I really, really liked on Whidbey Island. It was set back in the forest on the north end of the island and had about 10 acres plus a 4 car garage. Soon after arriving we learned that the house had multiple secret rooms for growing cannabis. The odor was 'pungent' and the 4 car garage was just a facade. It had potential, but it gave Steph the hee-bee-jee-bees. By this time we had been living in my friend Steve's side yard for about a month, we were seriously abusing their hospitality. He and his wife Brandy played host and hostess to our 34 ft. rig and our menagerie. We had my sister up for Thanksgiving and enjoyed the long weekend. While we were looking for houses I enjoyed sun rises and sun sets on deception pass as we came and went from work.
Finally, David the realtor came through in a big way. We really, really liked this house. So we made it ours: 13775-Bradshaw-Rd. Click the link to see it! With a twinge of sadness we packed up the Rambler and drove away from the Kedzie's feeling like we were leaving a second family behind. (they are only 30 mins away) This is the house though! There is only a little work to be done as the previous owners were the builders and maintained things in amazing condition. There are a few long term projects that we are already pricing out, but both of us agreed not to put things off. This time, this house, we will get it right. 🙂
We ended up in Mount Vernon, a little agricultural town known for it's annual Tulip Festival and which is not even 15 minutes from the Lido sailing in Anacortes. I started working for Sugiyo USA Inc as the Senior Production Manager; it is a small food manufacturer that makes 'imitation crab' which I have since learned is not the preferred way to describe our product. We prefer to call it by the Japanese name: Surimi. The folks at Sugiyo brought me on to modernize and expand their operations since I had experience with bigger manufacturing environments. It's a challenge and a lot of fun because of the group of people working there, many folks have been working with this company since the doors open. I am looking forward to staying at the same place of employment for decades to come.
Even though her agent is in the process of selling her second novel, The Binding of Saint Barbara, to a publisher, Stephanie also found a job in Anacortes as the Marketing Manager for Extreme Metal & Paint, an auto body shop that specializes in hot rods, classics, and muscle cars. She's never been what you would call a car girl, but Stephanie has really found an enjoyable workplace and a fun group of people.
For those of you who don't know, we moved to Washington State because my sister Stefanie lives in Seattle, and my beautiful, intelligent, and artistic wife loves the rain. We also realized, after I left the Navy in 2013, that we had never gotten to choose where we lived and we never felt like we could officially settle in any place. We want to settle in Washington, move forward with our plans for adoption, and convince all of our closest friends and family to move here too because the only thing Washington is missing is all of you!
We hope you have the warmest and most blessed of holidays and a happy New Year!
Love Jonathan & Stephanie!