Seattle

Congo music was my first mistake. Why in the hell did I think I would want to wake up to Congo music at 3:15 in the morning?! To make matters worse, I put my pants on backwards and put on two different shoes. But it all worked out in the end, I got to the bus station with everything in-tact and on straight.

My flight was an hour earlier than my family’s, and we were changing planes in different cities, so when I landed in Sacramento, I didn’t look for them; I bought a hot chocolate and a muffin and tried to make “BILOXIFY” exist on Words with Friends.

When I landed in Seattle, I made my way towards baggage claim, shuffling through angry parents and fancy businessmen. Distracted by the fish pattern on the tile, I got stuck in a door and yelled “barnacles!” into the ear of a senior citizen. (DOING GREAT SO FAR.)

Kristine, Natalee, and my dad landed about 30 minutes later and found me sitting in a chair, next to a woman who just finished expressing her intense desire for a taxi and a tall glass of egg nog.

After they grabbed their luggage, we made our way out to the terminal and found my dad’s friend, and our gracious host and tour guide for the weekend, Darryl, waiting for us in a white Honda Odyssey. We gave hugs, and made a few bad jokes, and then we made our way to Pike’s Place for some window shopping, fish smelling, and lunch eating. Some memorable moments include Natalee falling off a golden pig, a man in orange overalls hurling a 24 inch steelhead passed a woman’s head, and a jolly bearded man selling identical replicas of Zelda Ocarinas.

We then made our way around the harbor, popping in and out of miscellaneous shops, taking a lot of touristy pictures, and trying a local gin that said “hey tongue, ever wondered what a leaf tasted like?”

It was a beautiful day. Sunny, with slight breeze, like the beach. It made me start to think that all the non-stop rain was a bunch of Hawk s***. (Seattle football reference) (#winning.)

Just as the sun began to set, we made our way to the top of the Space Needle and took in what is probably the most beautiful view of Seattle you could ever find. Then, just as our stomachs were starting to growl, we pulled into Teatro ZinZanni (TZ, as we will now call it) and took a seat at our reserved table. TZ is a 5 course dinner theatre production. Dinner on steroids, if you will. After our orders were taken, the lights were dimmed and we were transported into a world with acrobats, dancers, and a pink stiletto heel wearing man, named Lupe. It was a fantastic show that made me gasp, dance, laugh, and wish I was in better shape.

The next morning, we were up at 7:30—no Congo music this time—to make our way to Treehouse Point, a bed and breakfast comprised of a number of unique Treehouses built by the man, the myth, the star of Treehouse Masters, Pete Nelson, and his crew. We had a tour set for 11:30, so Darryl, my dad, Natalee, Kristine, and I hopped in car around 8:30, cheered Darryl’s daughter, Kyleigh to victory at her soccer game, and then met her, Dee Dee (Darryl’s wife), and their two sons, Casey and Cody at Treehouse Point.

Our tour guide defined jolly. He bounced around the trail, spewing facts and anecdotes about the houses with a bright smile and an unbreakable enthusiasm.  The treehouses were majestic, to say the least. Each one had a different story, a different source of inspiration, and offered a different adventure to its lodgers.

After some lunch, we drove to Snoqualmie Falls, which was breathtaking in its own right. We hiked down and around every which way, wanting to see them from every angle. We hopped fences, climbed rocks, and stepped in puddles. My only regret was wearing leather boots.

The next morning was THE MORNING. The alarm went off at 8:15 and we were up before it finished its first round of uppity bells. We layered up, pulled on our football jerseys and shrugged our shoulders in the mirror. Maybe we’d freeze to death, maybe our team would get slaughtered, we were just happy to be there.

“I have a system,” Darryl had said the night before and the first stop was Pyramid Alehouse.

We arrived around 10:30 and took a seat at a table centered among many others, surrounded by TV’s playing the NFL morning games. Nachos were ordered, football was watched. Pizza was ordered, more football was watched. When we were full, we made our way to the stadium.

CenturyLink Stadium lived up to its hype in every way shape and form. The stadium was massive and beautiful, the fans were loud and passionate, and Russell Wilson was muscly and adorable.

For the first three quarters we played way better than all of us expected. It has been a rough season for the Giants, riddled with injuries, but the G-men came out fighting and made the Hawks fans groan at least a few times. But, in the end, the Hawks finished strong, and we got to hear the “SEAHAWKS FIRST DOWN” cheer one too many times.

On Monday morning, after a quick dance party and a cinnamon roll, we packed up our suitcases and headed for the Experience Music Project Museum (EMP). We took a walking tour of a Nirvana exhibit, where I learned enough to carry me through any bout of future trivia on the Aberdeen born band. We learned about Jimi Hendrix and how it was casual for him to receive fan letters asking for locks of his hair. We explored the Science Fiction Exhibit, where Natalee learned that she doesn’t have a good enough scream to be murdered in a horror film. (We still love you) And we popped in and out of a series of booths filled with musical instruments that were sure to jumpstart our careers as musicians. Example: I spent a few minutes jamming on an electric guitar and I wrote a song called “Guitar in a Booth.” Look for it on iTunes.

Our last stop was the brand new “We Are 12” exhibition that showcases the Seahawks. In the center of the room was a rectangular booth that had a sound cancelling door in the center, creating two separate rooms. One person was meant to stand in the first room, where they would be given a football play that they had to shout through the sound cancelling door to the person in the noisy second room who was to decipher it, and choose the correct play on the screen. The idea was to recreate what visiting teams experience, when trying to hear one another amongst the screaming fans of CenturyLink Stadium.  (FYI: We got the correct play, and we probably scored a touchdown.)

We finished off our last day in Seattle with a quick lunch at Famous Dave’s which, YUM, and we headed to the airport smelling of cornbread of BBQ sauce—a new perfume I’m launching this winter.

Big thanks to the Beliel family for housing us and to Darryl for carting us around everywhere. Truly grateful for you bunch of champions.

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