Take the Long Way Home – Part 2

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Tennessee to Illinois

The first state we entered after Tennessee was Kentucky, and I thought it was so pretty there. It was a really nice drive and the scenery was really beautiful.


Not ten minutes after crossing the state line and what’s the first thing we see? An Amish kid driving a horse and buggy! Awesome!


We stopped to take pictures of some corn fields because Chris’ uncle wanted to compare them to the fields in Washington.

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We saw a lot of these old barns and farm buildings during our trip and I couldn’t have been happier. I’ve always loved these types of structures and wish we’d had more time to stop and take pictures of them.


Our designated lunch stop for the day was Paducah, Kentucky.

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The Ohio River. That’s Illinois on the other side.

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Downtown Paducah and the Free Spirit Biker Church.

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We hadn’t anticipated that pretty much everything in Paducah would be closed on Sundays. We did find a restaurant called Shandie’s that was open for lunch and we were pleased with both the food and the service. We especially loved the fried green tomatoes and my catfish cakes were delicious!

After lunch we crossed over the Ohio River (via this awesome bridge!) and into Illinois.

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In Illinois, we made sure to stop in Metropolis, a town whose claim to fame is being the “Home of Superman.”

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These cutouts were in front of a gas station just off the highway.

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And the story behind this picture: while I was trying to take a picture with Chris’ phone, some random guy came up and pretended to grab his boob. He actually said “You need somebody grabbing your titty!” I admit I lost it.


We’d never heard of Metropolis until my cousin told us about the giant Superman statue. What?? Giant statue, you say? We are SO there!

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This was so ridiculously cheesy and touristy. I loved every second of it! 😉

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After Metropolis we set back on the road, on our way to O’Fallon, Illinois, where we spent the night. We encountered some really nice scenery and a gorgeous night sky along the way.

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That’s it for part 2. More to come soon.


Peace out!


Take the Long Way Home – Part 1

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Florida to Tennessee

One of the best parts of our move to Washington was the road trip we’d planned to get us there. I’d dreamed of doing a cross-country road trip ever since I was a kid, hitting all the roadside tourist traps, greasy spoons and national parks along the way. We timed our trip to take 8 days from the time we left Florida until we arrived in Washington on August 24th (we had an appointment with the builder for our new homeowners’ orientation scheduled for that afternoon, so that was our deadline).


I’ll spare you the dirty details of our 38-hour, no sleep, no shower, no food, packing marathon that started on the afternoon of August 16th and ended with us finally getting to my sister’s house (to shower, eat and sleep – FINALLY) just before midnight on the 17th. The next morning we hit the road bright and early with less than 5 hours of sleep under our belts and headed towards our first overnight location: Knoxville, Tennessee. My cousin, Jose, and his wife, Julie, live in downtown Knoxville and invited us to spend a night with them during our trip.

TomTom on the Florida Turnpike.


Northern Florida and Southern Georgia are exactly the same: hot, flat and boring.

Our first state line! (Including Florida and Washington, we visited and/or drove through a total of 14 states on this trip.)

Jerry Springer, y’all! What further endorsement do you need? (We have no idea what this sign was for but we spotted 3 more of them along the road in southern Georgia.)

This would be the time that I turned to Chris and said “don’t be Mexican here.” He responded with “que?” Dork.

Atlanta. We hit major traffic in this area due to an accident.

The memorial torch from the 1996 Olympics.

Northern Georgia was a much prettier drive than the southern part.

We made it to Tennessee!

We got to my cousin’s place around 7:30PM. They live in this really beautiful condo that has amazing views of downtown Knoxville and the nearby foothills of the Smokey Mountains, and it’s just a few blocks from the “trendy” area. After unloading our bags we walked over there and enjoyed a really nice dinner at Café 4, then headed over to one of the bars to sample a couple of the local brews. We walked back to the apartment after and sat around talking for a while. We finally headed to bed a little after midnight. The next morning Julie made us a great breakfast of pancakes, sausage and eggs and we got to enjoy some more family time while taking in the view from their floor-to-ceiling windows.

Mi primito! I love my cousin.


This was taken on their balcony just before we headed out. I really loved Knoxville and can’t wait to go back and visit again when we can spend more time there.

The view from their balcony.

Chris and I are both big fans of the TV show “Ghost Hunters” on the SyFy channel, so we were pretty excited to spot one of the TAPS vans from the show on highway!


We made a pit stop at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville just to take some pictures and pick up a couple of postcards.


As we were leaving the Grand Ole Opry Chris spotted this place just across the street. Cooter’s! If you were a fan of “The Dukes of Hazzard” as a kid (as we both were) then you have to remember Cooter. There was also a General Lee parked on the other side of the building but it was hard to get pictures from a moving vehicle.

That’s it for Part 1. More to come…

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu…

Part of relocating to a different city or state or country is saying goodbye. Saying goodbye to friends and family that you love, the people that make up your every day interactions. We say goodbye and share some memories and shed some tears.


We started our goodbyes with a going away party at Monty’s Seafood and Raw Bar in Miami Beach. We invited our coworkers and friends and family. We invited everyone that we wanted to see, that made our life in Miami special and memorable. Several people were unable to attend, but we were grateful to spend time with all those that came out.

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This get together happened to take place a couple of days before my birthday so my sister and niece got me a Snickers pie and everyone sang “Happy Birthday.” And my friends, Renee and Jose, gave me a garden gnome as a going away/housewarming gift! I love him!! (There is a whole long story/inside joke thing behind the gnome.)

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Gnomie made his temporary home on my desk.



Then our friends, Carl and Agi, hosted a small potluck at their house and we got to see a few more friends.

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This past Sunday we got together with some of my scrappy girls for brunch at Perricone’s. Unfortunately, not everyone could make it for one reason or another, but it was still a good time with good company.

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There was also a dinner at the home of one of Christian’s friends and a family dinner at my niece’s house, both of which I forgot to take pictures of.  This Friday we are having dinner with our friends, the Deans, and Sunday I’m having a “Girls’ Lunch” with my dear friend, Tere. It’s a lot of stuff, a lot of events to attend, a lot of people to see, a lot to keep track of. It’s a bit hectic but, to paraphrase Christian, “it should make you feel good and it shows who really cares about you.” 


And I care about them, too. These are the faces that I want to remember. Every single one of them is special to us in one way or another.


Peace out!

Home Sweet Home (or The Totally True Adventures of Building a Home from 3,000 Miles Away) – Part 2

And here are the remainder of the photos detailing the construction of our house.

The exterior siding was completed and shingles were added.

The front door, sidewalk, driveway and garage floor came next.

Drywall went up.

Masonry accents were added to the exterior.

The back patio was completed.

Drywall mud was added to the seams in preparation for paint.

Exterior painting was completed. Interior walls were primed, then painted.


Cabinetry got installed in the kitchen and bathrooms.

Entryway tile was laid.

Kitchen island and pantry were completed and baseboards installed throughout the house. Then the appliances were installed.

Ceiling fans were installed. Toilets were installed in the bathrooms. Countertops and backsplash were added to the bathrooms and kitchen.

Carpeting was installed and all the interior doors hung.

The final step was landscaping the front yard.

And that is how this…

Became this…


The only thing left to do now is move in. That will be happening in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait!


That’s it for now. Peace out!

Home Sweet Home (or The Totally True Adventures of Building a Home from 3,000 Miles Away) – Part 1

We are lucky that our really good friends live about three blocks away from where our new house is located because they were able to take pictures of the entire building process for us while we are in Florida. The total build time for our new house was just a little over three months from start to finish.  We are amazed at how quickly the builders were able to complete the project.  I suppose part of it has to do with the fact that the weather in southeast Washington is very cooperative. Construction in South Florida tends to get delayed often due to the typical thundershowers we experience for at least seven months out of the year.

The first step in the process was to select our lot. We chose this particular lot because there wasn’t a premium on it, the road dead ends in front of our house so there would be no house directly across the street, and we would have a great view of the mountains to the south and west, as well as the nightly sunset.

Then came choosing the floor plan. We selected The Edgewood floor plan, which is a medium-sized (1,408-sq.-ft.), three bedroom, two bath home with a two car garage. The home is the perfect size for the two of us and still allows us to have plenty of yard space on all four sides, so we are not on top of our neighbors. That was very important to us me as one of my issues with apartment living is having to share walls with neighbors.

After that came the dirt work and laying the foundation.


Next step was the framing.




Then came the siding and roofing, and the framing for the back patio.

Insulation, duct work and electrical were added.


Showers were installed in the master and guest bathroom.


I find the whole process fascinating, just seeing it all come together.

(Part 2 coming up in a few minutes.)

New Beginnings

Welcome to my (our) new blog, Washington or Bust.


I was thinking about it one day and it occurred to me that my Searching for Normalcy blog is really part of my old life. My singular life. But now that Christian and I are moving forward in life as a duo, a twosome, a partnership, if you will, it only made sense that we should have a blog to reflect our new life. Oh, I’ll still keep my old blog around but I think that will be primarily for sharing craft-related things. But all of our new adventures and experiences will be here. Everything, from the construction of our new home 3,000-plus miles away in Washington (we are still in Miami Beach for the time being) and the epic road-trip we are planning as part of our relocation, to the family functions and local events we hope will be part of our future small-town life, THAT will all be found here.


So I guess I should kick things off with a little “why.” As in, why in the world did we suddenly decide to pick up and move all the way to the opposite side of the country?? Well, it actually wasn’t all that sudden. We’d discussed moving to Washington many times throughout our relationship. I pretty much fell in love with the state, the people, the lifestyle and Chris’ family my very first time visiting. It was just all so different from the hectic, stressful pace of Miami. Even in a big city like Seattle people were always so welcoming and polite. (That is something that I’m sad to say is sorely lacking in Miami.) But in all our conversations it was always a “someday maybe” kind of thing. That pretty much changed last year when Chris’ paternal grandfather passed away. I think that really jolted us both into realizing that time is fleeting and we wanted to be closer to his mom and grandma and the rest of the family while we still could. The decision was made even easier when Chris’ best friend, Brandon, and his family relocated from South Florida to Washington in July of 2010. Brandon returned to work at his family’s vineyard in Horse Heaven Hills and his wife, Kim (also a Florida girl like me), gave up her career to be a stay at home mom to their two adorable little girls. Seeing how well they adjusted to their new lifestyle – especially seeing how well Kim adapted – was the catalyst for us to take the plunge.


When we started talking about where we wanted to live we went through a list of places. At first we discussed living on the western side of the state. Places like Seattle, Bellevue, Everett and Redmond. But we found that all of those areas are pretty pricey and we’d have to continue apartment living which is something I was anxious to leave behind. We also talked about living in Othello, the rural farming community where Chris spent most of his childhood and where his mom still resides. But it’s a small town, like REEEALLY small, and we decided that we would probably get really bored really quickly. We finally decided on the Tri-Cities area after visiting Kim and Brandon there a few times. I really liked that the area retains it’s small town charm but is still populated enough that you can maintain some anonymity. We really loved the subdivision where Kim and Brandon purchased their home and began looking at the community’s website religiously. We finally took the plunge in April of this year and started the process to purchase and construct a new home in the same subdivision. Just three blocks away from our friends to be exact.


The house is just about ready now. There are still some last minute touchups to be done. But in just a little under a month we will be in Washington, ready to move into our new home and ready to move into our new life. (I’ll share some photos of the construction process in my next post.)


We’re looking forward to the future, to seeing where the road ahead takes us. And you are more than welcome to join us for the ride.


That’s all for now. Peace out!