3 types of homes on Mercer Island

We moved from Mercer Island last week [Frowny Face], prompting in me a renewed fascination with the place I called home for 18 months. It was the perfect home for the time we were there. A great little apartment with a lot of light and a little view. So close to everything (it will be hard to give up being able to go from jumping up from my pillow [late] to downtown in 10 minutes [including dress and basic primp time]). Moreover, I've been impressed over and over at the hospitality and kindness of Mercer Islanders, both at church with people I grew to know and strangers at the grocery store or the park. I guess being surrounded by water makes it easier to inspire that innate sense of community support, I guess. Islanders may be perceived as snobs to the rest of Seattle, but they do take care of their own.

That's three things I've loved about Mercer Island on its own (1. My apartment 2. Proximity to pretty much anywhere I needed to go 3. The people)

But outside my own experience, here's some other observations.

I took a wrong turn coming home from the JCC a while back (for the brief minute I had a Jewish Community Center membership)- a turn that took me halfway down the east side of Mercer Island (because heaven forbid there be through streets more than every 2 miles). It was a sparkly blue day and I caught more than I ever had the seriously beautiful architecture scattered throughout the island. The kind of home that is featured in architecture magazines, and interior-design magazines, and magazines about wealthy people where they feature them in their stately, ornate, or otherwise impressive home.

The fact that I was surprised to see these homes hit me as ironic, because these are the exact types of homes I pictured everyone living in before I moved to the island, and they are the exact type of home I see people assuming I live in when I tell them I live in/on Mercer Island - something in their eyes that is matching me as wife or daughter to one of those magazine folk, maybe guessing by my outfit (certainly not by my car) which brand of Mercer Island millionaire I am.

Funny thing is, it's all a sham. One I know most Islanders are totally over (except the ones that relish it, which I'll admit I do, only every once in a while when I feel out of my league and am trying to round up in grace, looks, and polished standing).

After finally making it halfway down the island and cutting through to the normal old houses, I realized that this is the real Mercer Island. Normal-sized houses with decor bought to just not look bad. Then I got home

1. Magazine homes

As described above. They're here, usually around the perimeter of the island, and scattered throughout the hills of the interior (view not required but certainly works for the magazine photoshoot). Proportionally fewer of these homes than any other style. But I guess it only takes a few to make a reputation.

2. Normal homes
This home recently sold for $850K! Waa waaaaa
Surprise, surprise, most Islanders live in totally average, if not less fancy than average fancy homes due to the cost of land itself. There don't seem to be many dumpy houses; most are well-kept, some with fabulous landscaping, most with, you know, a lawn and a few standard hedge plants. All are outrageously priced. But maybe weren't always??

3. Apartment homes
These fall into two categories themselves: older, average homes and brand spanking new "high rise" apartments (8 floors, with a pool, gym, etc). Some of the new high rise style apartments are pretentious and overpriced, but most apartments are- shocker- totally average and nothing sparkly.

Here, I made a map:
Made by facts and Microsoft Paint spray paint feature

Three Types of Baby Kicks

Baby kicks are perhaps the most delightful surprise of pregnancy. I'm sure I'd felt a pregnant belly before my own, but most often you put your hand on a belly and wonder if you missed something. No magic moment or anything.

But having a baby in me has been an entirely different experience. From the first little whirrrrs of movement that I wasn't sure were the baby to now that I can physically see the thing moving through my skin, it's like this little secret I have. I'll be in the middle of a meeting or conversation and I've got this party going on in my belly no one knows about but me. Like having terrifying food poisoning gurgles without any fear of diarrhea. Also it's a real live being inside me throwing the party so it's better than food poisoning by a hundred fold. 

Less than six weeks to go and I've identified three main kicks. 

1. The drum solo
The ones best for getting Porter (or anyone else) in on the party. Certain times of day are a straight up explosion of movement. Usually for me it's late morning and right when I lay down for bed at night. Sometimes if I've been on the move or dehydrated and I sit for a minute or drink a bunch of water, the drum solo will start, and sometimes it's random times of day, but it's the type of movement that makes people call them baby kicks. It feels like there should be cartoon onomatopoeia coming out of my belly. WHAM! BOOM! KAPOWWW! 

2. The lava bubbles
The most common feeling, and the one I'm least sure anyone else will feel but me. Early on it was like slow bubbling water, now that baby is bigger, it's more like lava or chocolate or something thick and oozy with slow bubbles popping at the surface. It's not actually liquid, I can tell (and, obviously), but that's the best way I can describe it. It's an indescribable sensation feeling these mini bumps in body parts that don't usually have things bumping into them (ovaries, bladder, stomach...). Who knew even organs can feel little kicks?

3. The alien crawl
NO ONE told me about the bizarre feeling of an arm or leg or, I don't know, shoulder (?) not just bumping into the belly that surrounds it, but slowly grazing the surface like an alien trying to find an exit. It is borderline creepy and would probably gross me out if it didn't feel so attached to my body. THERE IS A LIVING THING INSIDE MY BODY AND IT WON'T BE THERE FOREVER! 


3 Observations from church in/on Maui

Made it to church on the island everyone calls paradise. The parking lot- less paradisaical. More like crowded. But I found one of the last un-double-parked spots and slipped in the back.

A few thoughts in passing:

1. There's just 300 songs in the LDS Hymnbook. How is it possible there are still SO MANY I've never heard? Every ward/congregation has it's favorites, yes. And there are hymns that are go-to's everywhere (I Stand All Amazed, The Spirit of God). But love hymns. Consider myself well-educated about hymns. And I've been in the wards where whoever selects the hymns seems to be on a mission to educate the ward on the more obscure hymns and still am astounded at the times I straight up double-take from confusion (Truth Reflects Upon Our Senses, anyone?)

2. As someone who has never passed the Sacrament, I thoroughly enjoy when the logistics get messy and the Deacons get all stressed about keeping up with short rows, or the one guy who somehow has two trays. Services where attendance is constantly in flux (like a ward in one of the most touristy cities in the world, with close proximity to rich, west coast Mormons [a new gang I like to think exists underground]) it is, I'm sure particularly challenging. No less fun to watch!

3. Tourist wards are fascinating. It's a whole game in and of itself to play Who is FROM here, Who LIVES here, Who is VISITING? Tourists aren't hard to spot (usually more pink than tan). Locals aren't tough (especially if they are Islanders). It's the lives here group that are the wild card. Maybe they moved to Hawaii because they wanted to wear sandals to church, it's not that they didn't pack full church attire. Maybe they have that beachy feel because they're from California or Florida. Some people just love muumuus, no matter the occasion or location.