Danny asked me the other day if Isla and I wanted to go down to Olympia with him on Monday. I, being who I am, got super excited and acted like we were going on vacation. Because I LOVE ROADTRIPS. Let me say it again, I love road trips. Danny, knows this better than anyone. If you put me in a car and act like we’re going somewhere, anywhere, I get excited. I’ll grab an iced coffee and a bag of Sun chips and be in Heaven. Danny, my handy husband who works on cars, buys a lot of car parts off of Craigslist and he purposefully tries to get parts that are about an hour away. If its anywhere up north, or even better, east, he knows he can take me along and I will think he is the best husband in the world with the most creative date ideas (like picking up a set of spare tires in Lynden). I will sit in the passenger seat of his car with stars in my eyes happily munching on Sun chips for two hours and he doesn’t have to spend a dime, or buy me a dozen roses or a diamond ring…..because he knows his lady, and all she wants is a road trip.
So, when he told me he had booked an appointment with his tattoo guy (who recently moved to Olympia) to get some work done, Isla and I packed up our stuff to come along so that we could hang out in the Capitol city and enjoy the sunshine. We headed out yesterday as soon as I got off work. I had my iced coffee in hand, Danny was driving and sweet Isla girl was all buckled up in the back seat next to her 4 stuffed animals and the baby stroller she had to bring to push her animals around in. We made it through most of Seattle, listening to music, staring out the window and talking about how we used to make this drive all the time.
Which we did. Well, Danny did. I was supposed to. Here enters the story of how I moved to Olympia, worked at Starbucks, quit and moved home, all in 72 hours.
Danny and I had been dating for about 6 months when he found out he could transfer from the community college he was attending to Evergreen State, a college an hour south of where we lived. Straight from the college advisor’s office we went to the Lake Washington waterfront, where I started crying, because I was 21 and the love of my life was moving away. Also, I was 21. He told me that, of course I was coming with him, or at least he wanted me to. Then I cried some more because I loved him and he loved me and also, did I mention I was 21? (I need you to give me some slack here).
A few months later we were making all of our big plans. My mom and I drove down to Olympia to check out apartments. Danny applied for classes and bought tie-die t-shirts that said “Evergreen” across the front. When my dad and I drove down a week before we moved in to check out the apartment and drop a few things off, I set down a box on the carpet and could actually see a gaggle of fleas jump up on to my arms. I screamed, almost threw up, and ran for my life. So, we had the place flea bombed. And then we packed up our U-Haul and moved.
I had gotten a job at Starbucks, and was going to start there the next day. This was the second disaster (the first being the fleas). I had worked in coffee for 5 years at this point, I felt pretty confident that I knew what I was doing but I had never worked at a Starbucks and expected it to be a little different. I specifically remember going in on my first day and having to watch a SUPER LONG video about the cleaning products that they used and in what order they were supposed to be used and when and how and how much to use and how to scrub a drain and then to wash and rinse and repeat. I sat in the back of the Starbucks, in a little office, staring at the computer and wondering what I had gotten myself into.
Here is what I know about myself now, but I didn’t know then. I don’t like rules. Especially a lot of rules that don’t really make sense to me (do you know they have different measuring cups for their ice cubes?!) The thing is, I’m going to follow the rules anyways, I just don’t want to be told to follow them. It’s a lot like telling a kid to color inside of the lines. It annoys me when you tell me to color inside the lines, and the ridiculous thing about it all is that I would NEVER color outside the lines on my own. I’m a total rule follower. know, I know, its immature and a character flaw and I’m working on it. Just don’t tell me I should work on it.
Anyways, I sat and watched this video with another new hire and then we worked out front for a couple of hours. The next day when I came back (day #2) the other new hire had quit. Maybe she had a problem with rules too? I don’t know, but I had to work out front and try to learn a million different Frappuccino recipes. It was horrible. I quit that night. I just couldn’t take it another day. And I missed my mom. And my dad. And my sisters. And it was Sunday (we had moved in on Friday) and I wanted to go home. Once again, let me remind you I was only 21?
My cute boyfriend who I loved to death, said he understood and I took off for home. I said I would come on the weekends and he would come up when he had days off during the week. And that’s how we rolled for the next year. Sort of in two places at once.
All of these things I was thinking about yesterday on our drive down, and I was thinking about how far we had come. How we had this cute, amazing, beautiful little baby in the back seat…….and then she started throwing up. And throwing up. And throwing up. I quickly grabbed my empty coffee cup and held it under her chin. After the cup had filled to the brim with Top Ramen noodles, I crawled in the back seat and smoothed her hair back with my fingers and cuddled her. I taught her the best road trip remedy, how you can stick your fingers out the window and it will make you feel better. She smiled at me, with little tears in her eyes and wiggled those little fingers in the breeze.
When we made it to Olympia, we dropped Danny off at the Tattoo shop and my girl and I hit up park #1 because there is nothing like fresh air to cure some car sickness. We played for a while, had lunch and a Pepsi and we gawked at the insane beauty of the Olympic Mountains and how they look different from down south. We drove to park #2, got my girl a smoothie and played near the lake. Then we drove to park #3 and swung and ran and climbed and hiked down to the beach where we took off our shoes and waded out into the Puget Sound. It was amazing, it was beautiful and it was so much better than the last time I was there. (Only sand fleas this time)
We picked up Danny about 3 hours later, with sunburnt shoulders (me) and sticky coconut smoothie lips (Isla), and headed back north, to home. I was showing Danny some of the photos I took of Isla and talking about how much fun we had had. “Olympia is such a funny place,” I said, “It’s like, it’s kind of, I don’t know, It’s…”
“Like you can’t put your finger on it?” He finished my thoughts exactly.
“Yeah, it’s kind of weird. We had so much fun but I’m not sure I could ever live there.”
“No Laura,” he quickly interrupted, “we already know that you could never live there.” And then he turned to me, with the sweetest smile on his face because he loves me and he understood, I was only 21.
The rule follower/road tripper/sun chips lover