Hello Seattle

This is the view we could have seen in person...if the keycard to our Airbnb worked. We saw something similar from the window as the access lock beeped red, again and again.   :) photo courtesy of unsplash.com

This is the view we could have seen in person...if the keycard to our Airbnb worked. We saw something similar from the window as the access lock beeped red, again and again.   :)

photo courtesy of unsplash.com

We had a really busy summer. We celebrated our ninth year of marriage on August 1 by moving to our 4th place in three years. Now that we're all settled, my amazing mother-in-law came to town for a visit. She also allowed the grownups to escape for a few days to Seattle. People say that if you're serious about your career and you want to get ahead in life, move to Seattle. If you want to be the captain of your own kick-ball league, move to Portland. We were excited for a little hustle and bustle. Despite a few hiccups, we had a great time.

 

AIRBNB FAIL

I'm a modern man. I order my Christmas trees on Prime Now. I Grubhub Thai food for special (and normal) occasions. I've met every Uber driver in Portland. I use my phone to rent cars by the minute when I need to get somewhere in a hurry. When it came to booking a quick vacation on a budget, I headed straight for Airbnb.

THE ROOMMATES
I made sure to filter my Seattle results to "entire place." I wanted to make sure Andrea and I had a spot to unwind on our two-day getaway. Our son will be born in 2.5 months. Life is changing. We wanted to rest-up. When I checked my email confirmation at the gas station on the morning of our trip, I realized I had made a mistake. Somehow I rented a private bedroom in the downtown condo of two lovely women. They, of course, would be asleep in the room next door. Good thing I packed modest pj's.

THE LOCK
The door had very special "unlocking" instructions which I promptly ignored. "I'm pretty great at keys," I foolishly thought. We stood on the outdoor patio staring at the metal door. The Facebook Seattle headquarters was one block away. Every few minutes, an intelligent-looking engineer would walk past wearing a sleek backpack. I wasn't about to embarrass myself in front of one of Silicon Forest's finest. I twisted the lock, turned the handle, and pushed. The door fell back off of its hinges. Not all the way off. The bottom stayed connected. It turns out it was a vented door. The entire thing can pop open like a 1990's sunroof.  Coooooool. #science. After an extensive study of the instructions, we finally made it into the apartment. I stopped caring what the Facebook engineers were thinking of me as I peeled my hang-up clothes off the ground and shoved my way inside, Clark Griswold-style.

THE STUFF
As we were looking to unpack a few things, Andrea and I accidentally got to know some personal information about our hosts. Not really knowing the exact protocol for the private-room-not-whole-apartment experience, we opened a few closets and drawers. The room was small. We thought we could throw our bags on a small corner in the closet. Maybe tuck something small into a drawer. Bad idea. We learned the medical ailments our hosts were being treated for, what generation of iPhone they were on, and the color of Crocks they still needed to complete their collection. We hadn't met them in person, but we could guess their hair color by the samples we found on the bathroom floor. It wasn't gross. It was just very lived in. It was like showing up at a friend's house for a birthday party, and realizing it's starting to get late. One party host is like, "You should just crash here - we hardly ever use the guest room." The other party host gives the first party host a look that can only mean, "Why did you just say that? I totally wasn't expecting anyone to crash here. Now we HAVE to let them stay. I THINK I changed the sheets..." Then, you write them a hotel-sized check. 

THE HEAT
It turns out that the door was the only window that really opened. The apartment wasn't sweltering. It was just about 20 degrees warmer than the outdoors at any given time. Dream dilemma for a baby moon. Option A: go to bed covered in cool, damp towels. Option B: wake up sweaty on a cool, damp pillow case. The lack of airflow made the room pretty stuffy. I love meatballs. I just don't like sleeping in one.

THE DISCLAIMER
Ok ok. These are 100% first-world problems. It's just fun to make fun of my lack of research and not-so-careful planning. We left a good review for our hosts and we wish them well. They have a really nice apartment in a great neighborhood. Upon review, everything we encountered on our trip was clearly spelled out in the online information...expect for the broken rooftop keycard. :)

 

THE REST OF THE TRIP

We had a really great time exploring Seattle together. It's a lot bigger than our sleepy little city. Lots more traffic. Lots more energy. It has bigger buildings and a gorgeous downtown market. We still pick PDX, but Seattle is a really fun place to visit. We also got to grab coffee by a beautiful lake with Andrea's high school friends Lauren and Adam. We got to meet up with some of our church team members and their parents for lunch by the bay. We ate some amazing tacos, had an incredible breakfast at Citizen, and tasted some Amalfi-quality gelato. 

More than anything, it was just really fun being together. As parents, we miss the opportunity to be spontaneous as a couple. Sometimes that spontaneity looks like heading to a swanky downtown Jazz place for club soda and risotto. Sometimes it means stopping at the jumbo baby store to test drive the newest double stroller. Either way, it was so nice to be able to do it all together. I love my wife more with every passing day. I love road trips, picking podcasts, and talking. Lots of talking. We never got interrupted to be assigned our daily Disney characters or to talk about Night Mare Moon vs Twilight Sparkle. We didn't have to brush another person's teeth. We didn't have to lead a church or run a business. For two days. Two whole days. It was magic. It was also magical to come home again.  See you later Seattle. Hello Portland.

 

Aaron is the pastor of Spring of Life, a new church in Portland, Oregon. He's the owner of Amplify Creative.