Tuesday, May 13, 2008

WESTWARD! HO! Or How I Got to Seattle

No, it didn't really happen that way. In fact I got here  by driving Northward from California, but that title sounded so much more John Wayne-ish, so Hollywood, so much more exciting!

And the reason had nothing to do with the Pioneers or the Gold Rush or Microsoft.

It was simply this: Grandchildren.

My son left California for Seattle after graduating from USC largely because his future wife lived there. My daughter also came here from California along with her dormmate from USC.

For a few years after that my wife and I lounged about our empty nest, using about one third of it. We talked on and off about downsizing or moving away, but with no great urgency. Then our first grandchild was born and a second and third were on the way. We began getting those Might Be Nice to Be Around the Grandchildren feelings.  

One night what we thought would be one of those annoying unsolicited marketing phone calls at dinner time turned out to be a genuine offer to buy our house even though we had not even advertised it. The grandchildren popped into mind, and in a couple of months we had emptied our garage of twenty-seven years of accumulated junk, sold or gave away all but essential furniture and other belongings, and our son had found us an apartment in Seattle. Freedom! No more home maintenance! 

No covered wagon, but a U-Haul truck driven by our son transported our remaining treasures north along the Freeways of California, over the mountains of Oregon into the Pacific Northwest. I followed some days later in our car, crammed to the roof with the leftover odds and ends. 

And my wife? She took a plane, wouldn't you guess?


Rita Ho said...

This is a enjoyable read, Louis, very well written. Now I know which lifestyle brought you to Seattle. Do you miss California? Now, I am curious about pre-California. Haha!

Pak Idrus said...

Hey! Louis, that was a great episode of an adventurous journey. How interesting life became when the calling of the grandchildren comes your way. The making of a great movie, maybe a comedy call 'The adventure of a Trinidad grandpa...'

Me and Mrs were somewhat lucky that our daughter bought a house just about two kilometers away. So we did not have to move like you did.

Well, Louis, that is life and we all should makes hays when the sun shines. And enjoy life.

Have a nice day and take care.

louis said...

Hello Rita,

I enjoyed California a lot while I lived there and it holds many important memories for me. Besides, the weather in Southern California (your friend in Orange County there...I lived in Orange County..would confirm) is as close to being user friendly as one could find. But I have not missed it so far.

Perhaps it's because of Seattle's charms, perhaps because the frequent rain, gray skies and chilly weather remind me of Ireland. Perhaps its the lakes and the Sound: water has always attracted me like a magnet. I'll have to explore this issue in my posts.

Thanks for your positive feedback.

louis said...

Hi Idrus,

My grandchildren are very skilled at making me confront my own realities, in hilarious ways at times, and I will get around to writing about those.

I do have to avoid the grandparent syndrome though that prompts grandparents to sometimes whip out stack of photos of their grandchildren too quickly or talk about them as though they invented grandparenting :)

You and Mrs. Idrus may be lucky that your daughter got a house only 2 Km away, but she may be even luckier, probably planned that purchase with babysitting in mind :).

I appreciated your positive comment. Thanks.

Fauziah Ismail said...

Hi Louis
And I thought only Malaysian grandparents, especially among the Malays, get the grandparenting syndrome.
My mother has since moved in with my brother to take care of the two grandchildren. I visit her whenever I can and she'll come over with the kids during the school holidays.

p/s I've added you onto my list. I hope you don't mind.

louis said...

Matter of fact I am thankful for your adding my blog to your list, Fauziah. I hope you don't mind that I have added yours.

Sometimes our son or daughter complains that we were much less tolerant of their behavior when they were kids than we are of our grandchildren's. They say we must be trying "to buy our way into Heaven".

I would say your brother is really fortunate that your has volunteered to stay at his house to look after her grandchildren.

Hi&Lo said...

Hi Louis,

Greetings from Malaysia. I had come across your remarks in Pak Idrus blog and I mistaken you for being a Malaysian. Now, this is a great surprise to discover you are American with a Malaysian air.

Found out you blog from Rita.

I tumpang gembira (sharing of your joy) your grandpa-hood. How lucky the kids are to have you and your significant other to be with them.

Buying your way to heaven, aha, that's a good one. Me can't stop grinning from ear to ear.

Jeffrey Chew said...

I am getting more excited just reading about your stories. Tell me more...tell us more!

louis said...

Selamat, Hi&Lo,

Thanks to Pak Idrus and Rita's publicizing my blog, I am meeting more and more people, like yourself, and that is delightful.

I have always felt very comfortable in Malaysia because of the friendliness and generosity of the people.

Looking forward to more conversations with you. I have read your comments in Rita's and Pak Idrus' blogs.

All the best

louis said...

Hi Jeffrey,

Glad you liked the posts. Ok, I'll tell you whodunit as I go along.

Who knows, I might even have a series like Rocky and its sequels :)

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