Rob hadn't been back to Spokane since starting work at Vann's, so we shuffled his schedule and took off for five days early this month. We stayed the first night at "Miss Zula's." Blake gets confused about the city, Missoula, and the wife of the couple (some family friends) we stay with there. So Robin becomes "Miss Zula," though he has no trouble remembering Jack's name.
We weren't the only ones to visit Spokane that week. In fact, we brought an air mattress with us in order to crash comfortably (well, more comfortably anyway) on the floor, as an aunt and uncle were coming along with their family (four kids). As I imagined sharing the three bathrooms with the sheer number of people in the house (18 at its peak), I ruefully told Rob it would just be so CONVENIENT to own a home in Spokane, didn't he agree?
He didn't think that was as funny as I did.
And it turned out I needn't have worried - everything was smooth like buttah! We got to hang out with the two couple-friends we have in Spokane, where I know and love the wife as much as Rob knows and loves the husband - or close enough, anyway. Laughter and relationships over beer/wine/Chinese/kabobs were some of the high points of the trip.
We hosted our realtor and his wife for dinner at Cec and Joyce's during our first few days there. Kicking Joyce out of the kitchen, we whipped up scalloped potatoes, fresh bread and salad, and grilled New York strip. Over dinner, we shared with this couple-after-God's-own-heart how their (hopefully minor) sacrifice of refusing payment for his work selling the house blessed us enormously. The few thousand we got as a result enabled us to pay off all (ALL) our debt, except for the small mortgage on the condo. They were thrilled that they had been able to be part of something so life-changing for us...
Because it really is life-changing. I never realized how even the relatively minor debt of a low interest education loan affected me until all of it was gone. I was lighter. Free. Rather than hustle in and out of a store because I only needed a set number of things, I felt like wandering the aisles, just to see what they had. I still didn't intend to buy anything, but it was because I didn't want to, not because I wasn't able to. Huge difference!
Going to Spokane to bless others and invest further in relationship was such a lovely change from the frantic pace we'd kept up before now. Granted, I truly believe that almost everything we did to the house was needed just to get it "sellable," but it was a largely joyless experience for me. I really resented that property, and I'm happy to say that we didn't even drive by during our time there, though we toasted to its absence in our lives more than once!
Plus, I came home with TWO huge cans of white chocolate powder for making my own mochas, I had much-desired face time with both sisters-in-love, and I got to love on my nieces. One had a birthday while we were there, and the other wasn't afraid of me kissing on her cheeks, despite it being six months since she's seen me (because I can't imagine her remembering much at three months old). Blake played his heart out with all the cousins, since even the visiting ones were young enough or tolerant enough to put up with his near-total lack of boundaries. I also managed to embarrass my brother-in-law almost every time I opened my mouth in his presence, I kept the cussing to a minimum, and Blake and I got to know another branch of Rob's (extensive) family well enough that we all really want to figure out how to visit more of them.
We should go back more often. I mean, I've used half a can of white chocolate already!