Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The (mis)Adventure Part 2: Seattle; or, I Hate Arachnids

I have been telling people that this trip was both the most stressful and the most relaxing trip I've been on in a long time. That's probably a lie: I'm pretty sure my most stressful trip in recent memory was the one where I ended up in a hotel in Paris, caught in the middle of a fight between my pregnant sister and our mother. But this one had its fair share of stress, some (most) of which I could very easily have dealt with before leaving town, if I had just been brave enough to deal with it instead of a procrastinating mouse.

At any rate, what did I do in Seattle? Absolutely nothing. Nothing of any intrinsic touristy value, that is. I arrived Friday evening, and we pretty much just spent the weekend eating
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and drinking
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around the table, playing Sorry and a slew of other board games that they'd accumulated over the years.
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(By the way: Sorry when you're drunk = teh AWESUM. I love being mean.)

I'd brought a bag full of (slowly fermenting) blackberries up from the Portland area (Steph and I had gone stabbing our hands into the bushes along the Willamette River), and my friends' property in Kirkland was surrounded by more berry bushes. On Saturday Uck and I decided to pick some more and experiment with jam. Thirty minutes or so of picking, another hour or so of boiling down, and we had these:

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Eight jars of preserved goodness. Yes, on the right that does say Blackberry and Black Pepper — it was my idea to throw some ground pepper into the jam, and it came out surprisingly good. I'll have to try that again sometime.

When I arrived in Kirkland, after being ritually greeted by Windy ("TITS! Get in here now, young lady."), and presenting my gift cases of Anchor Steam (apparently Puget Sound is lacking in the good microbrews), I was asked the most important question of the weekend: "How do you feel about spiders?"

Later, I found out why that question was so important:

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Now, this is not the largest uncaged spider I have ever come face-to-face with in the wild, but ugh! My sleeping pallet — for lack of a better term — was pretty much on the floor, in a room with lots of great hiding places for many-legged creatures to creep. After seeing this lovely palm-sized octoped, I spent a lot of insomniac hours jumping at every tickle before I finally gave up and just went with it.

Beyond a breaking point on around Tuesday (poor Emily had to deal with a grumpy, weepy me), the rest of the week was pretty smooth sailing. I saw Emily, of course
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and spent that week working out of my company's Seattle office.

One of my favorite perks in working at this company is the fact that we have an office in nearly every major U.S. city, and a few offices overseas. And the nature of my current position means that I can pretty much work out of almost any one of them. Not everyone is fond of a working vacation, but I've (ab)used this privilege to my own advantage: I get to visit friends, spend some time on vacation, without using paid time off. Plus, I get to meet coworkers from around the country. It's ... well, it's really swell.

In this case, our Seattle office is the one my direct supervisor actually works out of, and it was fantastic to actually get some real face time with her. That, and the truly beautiful commute over Lake Washington every day, even with traffic, made me sorely tempted to just stay another week (or so) up in Seattle. Stupid duty calling in San Francisco.

The one touristy thing I did end up doing while in Seattle was visiting Pike's Place Market. Three times. (One of which was a mission! to buy salmon! That's not really being a tourist, right?)

And I did take pictures of this, which was parked in a lot between 2nd and 3rd Ave.:
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Really great pulled pork, by the way. I went there twice for lunch in the week, it was that delicious. And by the way, the license plate? "SOMEPIG".

On Friday, my boss and some coworkers took me out for happy hour, and I ended up staying out until around 12:30 or so drinking and BSing. (Another great thing about working out of other offices on your vacation: you get to talk with people who actually understand what you're bitching excited about!)

The trip home was uneventful, except for the fact that I came thisclose to unknowingly transporting guns across state lines. Glad I didn't have to worry about that. I stopped over in Eugene, OR, to spend the night with my cousin and his girlfriend — thank you, Ryan! I had a great time, even if it was brief. I owe you ice cream — and then drove eight-plus hours straight in the rain on Sunday to make it home. Trust me, no matter how much you love your vacation, there's nothing to make you want to get home more than a workday's worth of driving in the pouring rain.

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