Last week we headed north to Washington to celebrate Jeff’s grandson’s second birthday. The original plan was to visit over the weekend, but the place we wanted to stay at was only available a few days during the week (booked the rest of the time.) It also happened to be much more affordable than anything available over the weekend and since we were wanting to keep our spending down, it seemed like the best option. I’m glad we decided to do that because we liked the place we stayed. It was a small, cozy, cottage-like space that had a kitchen and was surrounded by gardens. It was only a few miles from family we were visiting, so the location was ideal, and it was also very close to the water.
We felt lucky we found that place to stay, especially when we walked down the garden path to the bay on the first morning and saw a bald eagle on the dock. It was the closest I had ever seen a bald eagle before and was absolutely amazing. We hardly spent any time at the water while we were there, but we enjoyed looking at shells and rocks (different than the ones we find along the Oregon beaches) during our few brief visits, and I can still feel that cold, refreshing water on my feet when I think about our time there. (Turns out it’s challenging to walk over barnacle covered rocks with bare feet. Ha!)
Our time with Jeff’s daughter and her family ended up being shorter than we had planned because we got a flat tire, which led to hours (and hours) at the tire shop on our one full day there. (One day driving up, one day there, and one day driving back.) A few essentials were left behind when we had packed for our trip- like a warm coat for Jeff. He had a thin rain coat, but nothing warm. We all got soaking wet while Jeff put on the spare tire (lucky he was even able to because we learned the jack that came with our car didn’t have the right handle with it) and then the tire shop, where we spent the rest of the day, was freezing. It was packed in there that day, making the wait longer, and I found it funny that despite our best intentions to keep our spending down during our visit by cooking meals and finding an affordable place to stay, we ended up spending much more than we had expected. Our car, being all wheel drive, couldn’t just have one tire replaced, it had to have all four replaced, so we ended up buying four new tires and needing to have the front end aligned.
We chose a very stormy time to visit too. The drive is a long one and on the way back the rain was so heavy it made for poor visibility at times, and every time we went past a semi on the interstate the water would splash up and cover the windshield. So the drive back was not fun, really, and was mostly stressful. But those times are always good for practicing gratitude, right? I reminded myself of that. I counted my blessings that we got our flat tire on a quiet back road rather than on the interstate (it was annoying and inconvenient, but it could have been so much worse!), that we arrived home safe and sound after our crazy drive back, and that we had time with family even if it didn’t go the way we had planned it. We didn’t get to make them the delicious meal we were wanting to, or do the other things we would have liked such as playing at the beach together, and our time was cut short, but we were able to make the trip and I’m grateful for that. And hey- we got to see that bald eagle which was pretty cool too!