We were lucky enough to find a good place to live here last year (in the wonderful Wallingford neighborhood). We decided to stay another year so thankfully we don't have to move this summer. Some friends of ours weren't so lucky. On Saturday we helped them move from their expensive 2-bdr apartment on a busy street north of the University District into a quiet cheaper lovely 2-bedroom townhome over in Ballard. Ballard is a neighborhood west of us that was originally its own city (annexed by Seattle in 1907) and was centered around the fishing industry and the Fisherman's Wharf and the locks separating Puget Sound from Lake Washington. Until very recently Ballard was a very blue-collar neighborhood (like a lot of Seattle, but Ballard is even more so). Nowadays Ballard is an interesting mix of yuppie and hippie and working-class. It reminds me of the midwest (and it's flat like the midwest too). Importantly they've got a dense selection of historical and ecclectic bars and restaurants and markets over in Ballard that are all undiscovered by us thus far. Until Saturday we had only ventured through there once or twice but now we have good reason to go again.
So I should probably explain "Free Ballard." Apparently Ballard didn't want to be annexed by Seattle in 1907, but they had to relent due to a water shortage. The whole Seattle area was growing like crazy and they wanted to acquire Ballard and other suburbs so they could get all their taxpayers and census counts and really become the big city it was turning into. So in May of 1907 the city of Ballard became a suburb of Seattle, and the Ballard townspeople mourned. They got their water, but despite paying the same taxes Ballard has fewer policemen, less road repair (even we could tell this) and other problems that are getting ignored. So for the centennial anniversary of their annexation, Ballard had a sort of "anti-celebration" where people wore black, tolled bells, and drank from special black Ballard water bottles and put up "Free Ballard" signs and bumper stickers as a way to quietly and peacefully unite the former city against their unjust treatment. Interesting huh?
Well Ballard is fun but the move itself was awful. Our friends have a 3-yr old and another on the way, and they had so much stuff I couldn't believe it. We filled a 16-foot Penske truck up to the brim three times and still had stuff left over. The Studly Hubby and I helped move for 12 hours and were destroyed the next day. Next time someone asks us to help them move I think I'm going to hire a few movers to help them instead.