Living in Seattle(ish), Day 18(ish): Time for the mortuary, and I’m a bad driver

For a bit of context, here are my two previous posts in the series:

Living in Seattle(ish), Day three(ish): 10 things I’ve learned
Living in Seattle(ish), Day eight(ish): regret in a screenshot

I’ve been in the Seattle area for over two weeks now, and am more or less settled in. However, that won’t stop me from continuing to share my observations of the area.

I’m tired

I’ve have zero energy ever since I got here. I sleep nine hours a night and am still dead tired all day. The fact that I hate the Pacific time zone only makes things worse. I’m not sure if it’s the lack of sunlight, permanent adjustment to the new time zone, or what. Some have told me to get vitamin D supplements while others have suggested one of those sunshine lamps, so I guess it’s time for me to go with one or the other so that I can at least be mildly productive.

I’m warm and wet

On one hand this doesn’t really come as a surprise since I knew it coming in, but Seattle isn’t really that cold and it doesn’t really pour rain all that much.

Instead it has been in the mid to upper 50s with the occasional dip into the 60s. So the temperature actually isn’t bad, and I haven’t even had to use the spiffy North Face jacket I bought when I moved here.

The rain is a whole different story. It drives me nuts. In Florida I was used to heavy rain for short periods of time, but the weather in Seattle is almost like Chinese water torture. It’s never really raining and it’s never really not raining. It’s just constantly drizzling. And it drives me nuts. But I still love it.

Bellevue isn’t Vanilla friendly

When I moved here I was excited about the fact that there were three Office Depots that are a reasonable drive from where I live. I figured stocking up on Vanilla Reload cards would be easy. While they all carry them, they’re almost always out of stock, which wasn’t the case in Tampa, where they were always available. I guess there’s more competition here than in Tampa.

I called one of the Office Depots this morning and was thrilled to find out they had some in stock. I then went to check-out and the lady working the counter started with small talk — “oh sweetie, what kind of a business do you have?” I responded with “oh, it’s a travel business.” She responded with “oh sweetie, that means you can help me get cheap Korean Air tickets to the Philippines?” Rather than explain that I really can’t I said “oh, I focus mostly on hotels.” She then said “oh sweetie, so you can help me with cheap hotels in Italy?”

She then proceeded to write her name at the bottom of my receipt in pink highlighter and said “sweetie, you do me a favor and fill out the survey on and mention my service, okay sweetie?”

I’m the worst #$&%*[email protected] driver ever!

Aside from in parking garages I’d argue my mechanical skills are actually very good. But I’m so directionally challenged that I couldn’t tell you which direction is North if I were looking at a compass.

Prior to Bellevue I lived in Tampa for 10 years, and even days before I moved I’d still get lost on my way to the supermarket. I’m just awful with directions. Awful. Worse than Delta is at justifying their SkyMiles award calendar.

And the problem isn’t even that I’m awful with directions. It’s that I’m awful at listening to directions as well. Siri would be spoon feeding them to me and I’d still do the exact opposite of everything she says, completely unintentionally. 425, 520, east, west, how the hell am I supposed to know the difference?

Yesterday I tried to go to Walgreens. Anyone want to guess how long that took? 90-friggin-minutes. NINETY of them. 5,400 seconds. How far is Walgreens from my apartment? About a mile, apparently. On the plus side I got a tour of Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, and even the local hospital, all of which I interpreted Siri as directing me to.

And I should clarify that in the 90 minutes I spent trying to find a Walgreens, I didn’t even find one. I instead ended up at Bartell Drugs, which is even closer to my apartment.

Two nights ago I went to a restaurant for dinner. The drive took about 15 minutes with traffic and I paid $10 for parking. When I was done with dinner I realized the restaurant was really only two blocks from my apartment. FML. The joy of continuously making right hand turns.

So I’ve made a pledge to myself — if it’s in downtown Bellevue I’m walking. Period. End of story. And if it’s somewhere else I’m setting up an IFR flight plan with alternative diversion points before I leave home.

Should the perpetually terrified person go on a ghost mortuary tour?

I don’t watch horror movies because I probably wouldn’t be able to sleep for days if I did. But I have this odd desire to do one of the ghost tours of the Butterworth Mortuary, which is apparently really well done. But I’m scared that if I do, I won’t be able to sleep for days. Should I do it?

So yeah, hello from the Pacific Northwest!

Filed Under: Misc.
  1. Get the vitamin D supplement it is easier than been under a lamp for sometime, the lamp basically promotes creation of vitamin D.

    You need to use Google Maps when not sure if it is better to drive or walk it will tell you in average how much does it take you to walk. I always find it easier to just walk when the distance is not that big, I even find it relaxing.

    I haven’t hear of that tour! It sounds interesting I am always looking for new touristy things to do when I am in Seattle for visit, let me know if you want company I will check about it myself anyway. Also planning on going to King Tut’s exhibit at Pacific Science Center, you are welcome to tag along, probably going sometime next week

  2. Lol that would be hilarious missing all his connections. Maybe you should think of the city as if it were an airport and your destinations are gates ;P

  3. GROCERY DELIVERY! Everyone is doing it! Shop online at (Click Grocery Delivery from the to p menu). It looks like they deliver in Bellevue. Order a few days ahead of time, select your delivery time window, and voila: groceries! Granted their is a delivery fee, but it will be well worth it for you.

    SEE THE GHOST TOUR. Why not? You’re not getting restful sleep anyway. Nothing to lose there…

  4. Bellevue? I didn’t realize that’s the name of a city. I thought you had checked into a hospital in New York.

  5. You do know that today is your last chance to go to the ghost tour? I was checking on it to see if I could go and they are closing after tomorrow and reopening in the spring. Only tour not fully booked is today at 5. 🙂

  6. Funny post! Reminded me of a visit to White Plains NY some years ago, when it took me one hour driving in circles in the town to get to the hotel, which I could see from my car at various times while on their one way streets.

  7. Reminds me how I was driving to my high school when I was living in south jersey and ended up getting lost. I knew something was wrong when I was crossing the bridge to PA.

  8. I know this might be a shock for you because you’re from florida and you drive everywhere, parking is free or cheap, gas is less, there are WAY MORE FREEWAYS/BRIDGES here then in Seattle (I’m working in Tampa for 5 weeks and am from seattle). But unlike Florida, Seattle and Bellevue are REALLY walking friendly. learn to walk. We know you’re not use to drizzle so we’ll laugh at you a little bit when you pull out your umbrella, but we’ll just shake our heads and assume you’re another who moved up north from California.

    Otherwise enjoy Seattle (bellevue)!

  9. Ah, yes, Chinese water torture is an accurate description. The rain used to drive me NUTS when I lived there. I don’t mind rain when it has a purpose, but 9 months of drizzle is obnoxious! 🙂

  10. Am I the only one that actually enjoys walking under the rain/drizzle? Just find a nice rain jacket, water friendly shoes and bag and you are set.
    I might be crazy so don’t listen to me I’m the only person that during this time runs from Mexico to Seattle instead going the other way lol.

  11. you feel tired because you are probably a little depressed.Out of all places you picked Seatlle and it seems you are not too happy with your choice and I don’t blame you. Just go back to tampa find a great place to move and do it again.

  12. I can totally sympathize — I felt much the same way when I moved here (Seattle-ish) from California back in 1989 and it proceeded to rain/drizzle 18 days in a row to welcome me. Here are a few survival tips…

    * I second Rocky’s thoughts on walking — we live 10 blocks north of downtown Bellevue and walk to most things locally (grocery, restaurants, movies, comedy club, Nordstrom, etc.). Once you learn the downtown area, you may find you rarely need the car (except to find Vanilla cards). 🙂

    * Even better than walking in the rain is public transit — I take it every day to Seattle — it’s fast and convenient and makes traffic and parking a thing of the past. Get an ORCA card and leave the driving to Sound Transit/Metro.

    * Friends are important! Get out and meet some people here to hang out with. I moved to downtown Dallas for a year back in 2000, much like your West Coast experiment, and I HATED Dallas because I didn’t make any friends there.

    * “Friends” part deux: I didn’t like Seattle much when I lived here originally, but now that I have a wife who LOVES gray rainy days and whose eyes light up when the days get short, her disposition offsets mine and makes things much better. Of course, she does complain about the lack of rain/clouds in the summer, but it’s 70 and sunny, so who cares? LOL! 🙂

    * I’m not much for health fads, but I’ll second the Vitamin D (my level-headed doctor put me on it). Maybe it’s just the placebo effect, but it’s worth a try.

    * Ana’s right — grab the right jacket and shoes (“waterproof” not “water resistant”), leave your umbrella at home (we don’t do umbrellas), and start walking. 🙂

  13. I call it the Seattle Spittle. Wait until it gets really cold. Because nothing ever really dries out, it can be pretty biting.

  14. Walking is great, you’ll get used to the rain. I second public transit over driving.

    Sleeping – now you know why we’re so addicted to coffee. BRB, I need a cup..

  15. Come visit Port Townsend if the weather really gets to you. We get about 1/4 the rain Seattle gets and the scenery is unbeatable.

  16. I refuse to use a GPS system, because I think they impact our ability to think geometrically and to truly learn our surroundings. Instead of just listening to a voice tell you “turn right in 500 feet,” I would suggest looking at Google Maps each time before you leave your apartment, and then using written directions (if you still need them) so that you’re forced to learn road names, etc.

    Although I guess if you’re saying you get lost in Tampa, which is literally a north/south/east/west grid, you might be screwed.

    I would second all the comments about doing something locally that will allow you to meet/make friends, because then you won’t care about the weather!

  17. Maybe you should start a new business called Chaos Theory Taxi Services. People get in and let the universe decide where they get off. After two hours of continuous driving they’re delivered two blocks away from where they started with a taxi bill of a couple hundred dollars. 😉

  18. Absolutely loved the post! I’m sure most of your readers have done some of these things, they just would never tell anyone, let alone make a permanent record of it on the internet. Had me LOL.

  19. I imagine that part of the trouble is the rapidly-shortening day length.

    The best solution is probably to follow a routine, keep occupied, and spend a fair amount of time outdoors.

  20. And to expand on my above comment, be stoked for June, when the sun rises around 5:00 and sets after 9:00.

  21. @ Kai — Airports are the one place I’m great with directions. 😀

    @ Rich A. — That’s the thing, I kind of like Seattle. It’s not that it makes me miserable… at all. Just different than Florida!

  22. maybe it’s a good thing that you chose Bellevue over Seattle, then. I feel like Seattle is more difficult to navigate because of all the bodies of water. I got terribly lost trying to get anywhere when I first moved here. . . what I found helpful was 1) allowing myself to get lost 2) putting a huge AAA map of the area on my wall, marking spots that I frequented, and studying it to get a better understanding of the layout of the city. And ditto to the Vitamin D supplements. My doc recommends 2000 IU/day. Yup, that’s three zeroes, not two.

  23. Bellevue isn’t Vanilla friendly-

    When I read that, I thought you meant people..haha…(no malice in my comment to anyone)

  24. Ben, thanks for sharing these witty observations from your early days in Seattle. I feel like I’m reading a good Bill Bryson book such as the one he wrote about visiting Australia. Hilarious! Keep ’em coming.

  25. please be out of town over thanksgiving… I don’t want you running into me when i’m in Belleview

  26. It has nothing to do with the “time zone”. Your body’s circadian clock adjusts to a new time zone within days. The fact is, there’s a reason why most people think highly of climates like California and Australia and Florida. Most people like sunshine and warmth. It takes a very particular personality to enjoy gray, dark, gloomy, damp places, and you’re not it. I’ve done bad moves before and, in hindsight, I wish I’d cut my losses sooner and just got out when I knew it wasn’t for “me”. Give it six months, maximum, then try Southern California.

  27. I wonder if your zip code is where Amazon Fresh delivers. I’ve heard its cool and they come with colorful boxes!

  28. In AZ i enjoyed the being away from the east coast time. Sports would end 2-3 hrs earlier and prime time started at 7 pm (although with dvrs it doesnt matter).

    Being back east now I dread the rain, humidity and grey days. I have gained 15+ lbs since I have no desire to exercise. Probably po and depressed at having to move.

    Good luck

  29. and Shoprunner + UR = happiness in 2 business days.
    And you don’t really need to change out of your pajamas unless you want to. Although it is nice to frequent local businesses!

  30. hey, I’ve just moved to Downtown Bellevue as well (opposite sushi land) lets meet up sometimes since we both new to the area to explore the city!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *