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Fierce in Seattle: Yah, Sure, You Betchya I’m on the Move

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A blogumn by Kelli Bielema

I moved from LA to Seattle in September 2006. This weekend I am moving to my third residence in this fair city.  3 moves in 2 years. Someone kill me.

My first ‘hood here was Capitol Hill. Cap Hill, Crap Hill, Tha Hill is a neighborhood that is like a SoHo meets WeHo. The queers, the artists, the musicians and the yippies all congregate in this area just a little gay skip from the heart of downtown. I could not have picked a better place to be closer to the action of the Pike/Pine corridor which houses scads of live music venues, restaurants, coffee shops (er, duh), and funky clothing shops.  I could walk to a show, grab some dinner, get sloppy drunk & walk it off on the way home.  Ah, convenience.

As my loyal readers/trusty fan club may know, I moved from Capitol Hill to a small rental house in Ballard to fulfill my dream of once again being a dog parent.  The house would offer me the space that a dog would require, and also get me to an area of Seattle that gave me a homey feel, without losing any edge (‘cuz that’s me—sooooo edgy).  Recognized for its Scandanavian heritage and roots, Ballard is like a West Coast Midwest. You hear “yah, sure, you betchya” in this part of town as much as in Fargo.

Ballard is also a progressive arts community, with openings and art walks galore.  What I like best about Ballard is the neighborhood feel. I have seriously borrowed a cup of sugar from the couple next door.  Beyond that, this couple has become dear friends to me. My other neighbor and I swap dog-sitting duties, and another neighbor helps me with my yard.

While I lived in LA I barely knew my neighbors outside of those in my building. In Ballard I also have a coffee shop, a market where I can grab a sixer and a pub that allows my dog (look, I swear I do NOT have an “issue” with the drink).  So why would I leave all of these attractive amenities?  That darn real estate market! My current landlord has had my rental for sale for 9 months (I was the stupid-head who signed a 6 month lease, as I was told “no, we don’t have any intent to sell.”).  There has been nary an offer and quite frankly, the little shack is not worth the $379K they were originally asking. It’s now been reduced to around $350K. Still, it’s insane. And it was making me insane, not having any home security.

I got outta dodge and found the cutest little place a mere half mile away. My landlord is responsible, friendly and took me out to a glass of wine when I signed the lease. It doesn’t get much better than that.  Well, home ownership might be the better thing but not in this scenario. I really don’t know how anyone single can afford a house payment. I’m not talking condo, I’m talking a house. A free-standing building. What has become of this country where the American dream is no longer a dream, it’s a fantasy?  So, instead of fighting it, I am rolling with the punches and happily renting.  I’m packing up my life, the stuff I don’t need and the stuff I do, and moving on to the next chapter.  Now, did you say you owned a truck?