The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

July 22, 2010

Moving Up and Moving On

Filed under: Random Stuff — Brian Lutz @ 1:48 am

One of the things you might have noted about me if you’ve been reading this Blog for long enough is that for better or for worse, I tend to get myself attached to things.  This is perhaps the singlemost reason that I spent a decade (and, all things considered, at least three years longer than I should have) driving a beat-up old ’84 Toyota Camry in spite of being able to (usually) afford a better car.  Actually, at that point I’m pretty sure just about anything this side of a 24 Hours of LeMons paddock would probably have been an improvement, to be perfectly honest.  Of course, it’s only been a little more than three years since I finally sent it off to the farm to go live with all the other Camrys (I’ll keep telling myself that, thank you very much) but by now it all seems a world away.  On at least one occasion that car was written up on some sort of a “May be living in vehicle” citation (it’s a long story really) and I’m pretty sure I can still recite from memory a laundry list of the various ailments that car had become afflicted by in its advanced age, but somehow, in spite of it all, I found myself inordinately attached to that car.

Several years later, I find myself in the process of moving out of the apartment that I have spent the past five years in.  Yet in spite of my tendencies, I don’t seem to feel any particular attachment to this place.  I don’t think there’s been anything particularly memorable for good or bad that has happened here in the past five years unless you count the two instances of leaking pipes from upstairs, and I don’t think either of those ever made it much past being a bit of an inconvenience.  It actually has been a pretty decent place to live, even if the appliances are a bit old, the ceiling leaks every so often and the neighbors have the occasional tendency to crank up the volume on their Mariachi music every so often (which, all things considered, is still better than some of the alternatives.)  I might put a qualifier or two on a recommendation for this place, but I wouldn’t hesitate to provide one if someone was looking for an apartment around here.  And yet, when it’s all said and done, ultimately it’s all just a bunch of walls and a few appliances.  As I’ve said before, five years in one place that I don’t own seems like just about the right amount of time, and one way or another, it’s time to move on. 

It actually would have been rather easy for me to just decide to stay put, have my rent actually decrease again (not quite as drastic a rent reduction as it was when I renewed last year, but a decrease nonetheless) and go on living my reasonably comfortable yet somewhat mundane existence without having to worry about moving for at least another year.  And yet even as I made that decision a year ago I was pretty sure it would be for only one more year, and then one way or another I would be looking for a new place to live.  As that year has elapsed and I do move on from this place, I find myself in very different circumstances than I was in a year ago, and in many ways this move represents a move up as well as a move on (if for no other reason than the fact that I’m seven stories higher off the ground in my new place than in my current one.)  Somehow I suspect the hustle and bustle of urban living may take just a bit of getting used to after spending the last fifteen or so in a relatively quiet suburban existence, but Downtown Bellevue still isn’t quite THAT urban, at least not yet. 

One of the main reasons I could never live in Seattle is that in a lot of places, it’s just plain too crowded there.  Nowhere is this more in evidence than in the Northgate North development next to Northgate Mall.  Even though this particular place is well outside of Seattle’s urban core, they still found it necessary to stick basically an entire strip mall with 4 anchor store spaces and all the parking for it into two city blocks, and the result is, to put it bluntly, a mess. And the area they put this into isn’t even all that dense, all things considered. I could see something like this working (sort of) if you were putting in the Pike/Pine area of downtown, but there’s no real reason to build something that dense, especially when there was a significant amount of vacant space next door when it was built.  This whole project just seems like density for the sake of density, and it doesn’t really fit the neighborhood it’s located in. 

Downtown Bellevue, for all its faults, still has a relatively small urban core, and has also allowed for a lot more open space than Downtown Seattle.  This means that the parks in Downtown Bellevue actually have grass instead of paving stones (Downtown Park in Bellevue is one of my favorite places to go out for a walk on a nice sunny day,) there are actual grocery stores within the Downtown area, and if I ever start to feel just a little too crowded there, I don’t have to go far to find much bigger open spaces.  The location I am moving to also comes with really easy access to buses and almost direct access to I-405, which should allow me to dodge most of the major traffic chokepoints in downtown.

For better or for worse, this is going to turn out to be a rather significant change for me, something I’ve probably had a lot less of in the past few years than I really should.  To be perfectly honest, I am still not entirely sure that I am not making some horrible mistake by doing this, but I think I can make it work out… for a while, anyway.  They say that the only thing that is constant in life is change, but every once in a while it does become necessary to help the process along a bit.  Now if I could just stop writing long enough to finish packing stuff…


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