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33 Years So Far

October 30, 2019

This journal seems to have turned into nothing more a travel diary in recent times. Going through the photos from trips makes me think I should write about them, at least a little, so I can look back and remember them later. This is especially true since I have given up on doing physical photo albums, at least for now (where “now” means “approximately the last decade”). I didn’t want to let October slip past without writing here at all (gotta get in shape for Holidailies, assuming that’ll happen again this December), and conveniently enough, Mr. Karen and I took a long weekend trip mid-month to celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary.

We started our weekend in Spokane on the day before our anniversary, a Thursday. Our first stop was a place that at least one website thought had the best pie in the area; they had many flavors and the two we tried (huckleberry and pumpkin) were tasty but the crust wasn’t our idea of ideal. We browsed the fishing/camping/hunting/toy store next door since we’d never been in there either and ended up buying a new travel companion, a black and white guinea pig stuffie that I found in the “varmit” section.

 

Then it was on to dinner (yes, we had pie before dinner … it was a celebration weekend and also the pie place was on the way to dinner) at a new-to-us Mediterranean place that did have schwarma (chicken only) but otherwise was mostly Greek. It was good and I’d go back; I’m just still searching for somewhere to get the flavors I miss from metro Detroit. (I fear I am bound to be disappointed, as the Yelp list of top 10 best Mediterranean restaurants in Spokane has only nine places on it, one of which is a pizza place—they have a Mediterranean pizza, apparently—and three of which are various locations of the Pita Pit, a fast food place.)

When we left the restaurant and I went to put in the address of our next destination, my phone locked up to the point that I couldn’t even get it to shut down normally. I used Mr. K’s phone to find out that there was a Verizon store just down the street, so we went there and I was both relieved and embarrassed to find that the solution was to take off my phone case and press and hold the power and volume down buttons until it reset. Then it was on to the theater for a fundraiser for our local avalanche center (which works on education and prediction, not causing them). On our way in, I took this picture of a mural on the back of a building by the parking lot.

Mural

 

We ran into one of Mr. K’s kayaking friends in the lobby and another inside the theater before the show, so that made me feel almost like a local. The show was two winter sports movies interspersed with raffle drawings. The skiing and snowboarding in the films was of course nothing I’d do myself—backcountry (some of it in the dark, wearing headlamps), steeps, urban skateboarding-type stuff—but it was entertaining to watch. On our way to the truck after things wrapped up, I realized my keys were missing; they’d been in one of my jeans pockets earlier but weren’t there now. We looked on the floor and under the seat of the truck then went back in and searched by our seats; I looked in the ladies room then checked at the concession stand, and they checked their lost and found—no keys. I left my number with them in case they turned up later and we headed off to our hotel a couple miles down the freeway. I of course spent much of that time mentally beating myself up about the keys. These were the same ones I’d lost in South Dakota last spring; they spent a few weeks in the manager’s office at a Sinclair station there before we picked them up on the return drive. So I was especially mad at myself for not learning the keys falling out of my pocket lesson after that earlier incident. I eventually was able to put those thoughts at the back of my mind and focus on enjoying the rest of the weekend.

We got up the next morning (Friday) and drove to Seattle on our actual anniversary. We played tourists the rest of the day, going to the aquarium on the waterfront (my favorite exhibits were the octopus and all the varied corals and sea stars and other invertebrates), having dinner at Pike Place Market, riding the big wheel and the flying over Washington ride, and picking up a mini version of purportedly the best pie in Washington state (triple coconut creme from Dahlia’s) to share in our hotel room later. Because we are not fancy people, we accompanied the pie with a mango-flavored alcoholic still water we bought at the gas station next door to the hotel.

Starfish

 

Looking up

 

On Saturday, I called the restaurant and the Verizon store to see if anyone had turned in my keys at either of those places; they hadn’t (and the dude I talked to at Verizon seemed put out that I’d even asked him to check for me). We drove north to Bellingham to see Joan (Mr. K’s mom). I visited with her and played with her careworker’s tiny Chihuahua while Mr. K caught up on the financial stuff and filing he’s taken on for her. . Joan doesn’t go down for meals in the dining room unless we force the issue; this time we decided not to, and I went out and got us pizza instead. I freely admit I ate one of the bacon garlic twists on the drive back to the retirement village; that was better for everyone, I think. Saturday night we visited with Kathy (Mr. K’s sister) and her family, digging into the full size pie we’d also gotten at Dahlia’s and managed to not eat any of before arriving at her house.

Pie the dog in a sweater that's made from a sock

 

Sunday Mr. K and I ran errands with Joan, looking into why her credit card on file was no longer working at Walgreens and taking a look at her storage unit, which she’d never seen in the year she’d been living across the street from it. There were financial things to take care of there, too, as the credit card that wasn’t working at Walgreens was also the one setup for autopay on the storage unit rent. Turned out she’d missed several calls and texts from the credit card company telling her the card was shut off due to potential fraud (there wasn’t any; we suspect it was just an unusual travel pattern for her that got the algorithm concerned). After some effort, Mr. K was able to get that straightened out and we pulled a couple boxes of mementos and photos out of the unit for Joan to look through in her apartment later. One of my favorites in those boxes was this snapshot of one of her sisters having a beach day with friends back in the day.

Snapshots

 

Joan took the whole family (minus the one nephew who had to work) out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary that night. The restaurant was in a beautiful spot right on the water and had great food and atmosphere. They were having a sort of huckleberry festival, with special cocktails and desserts (why now, after the season, I’m not sure) so some of us enjoyed those treats along with items from the regular menu. We had a good time sharing appetizers and desserts, only getting a little rowdy when the kitchen ran out of the huckleberry slump (sort of like a cobbler) and it looked like we’d only have one for the whole table. They expedited two more and things turned out just fine in the end.

Monday we drove home through the rain. I persuaded Mr. K to swing by the theater in Spokane on our way so I could look for my keys one last time. I’d developed a theory that they’d fallen out of my pocket when I pulled out my camera to take a photo, either of the mural or of the neon theater marquee, and someone might have found them on the ground later and turned them into the closest business. By the time we got there, it was dark, but we had a flashlight and looked carefully on the ground where I was standing to take the photos. There were no open businesses in the strip on the other side of the mural for us to ask at, but I went into the theater and checked there; they had a set of keys but not mine. We were just about to give up, waving the flashlight over the ground by the mural one last time, when I looked up and saw my keys. Someone had found them and hung them on top of a sign at the edge of the parking lot. They’d been out in the rain for four days but they still worked (despite the remote being taped up from getting broken on their last lost adventure.) I was ecstatic! A great end to the weekend!

(Photo set from this trip is here.)

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