So far, so good.

Our move was hard work but mostly uneventful. The movers appeared a few days later than expected, but we just enjoyed staying in the RV in our new driveway. When the movers arrived, they were quick to tell us that we had gotten a great deal, which we already knew. The salesman had grossly underestimated the total weight by thousands of pounds (by about 40%), the basis for interstate move pricing. We had insisted on a firm price, not an "estimate", so we ended up saving $2 or $3K - no complaints from us!

While waiting for the movers, we were getting acquainted with all of the house systems - telephone PBX; alarm system; paging system; elevator; backup generator; high tech controls for hot tub (1), hot tub (2), pool; water pump and filtration system (we draw directly from the lake - the system has 4 or 5 filters, a UV system, pressure regulators, etc); computer network, patch bay and router; boilers; central air conditioner; fire suppression system and a bunch of other stuff.

To give you another idea, I have counted over 140 light switches and 300 power outlets in 5 separate buildings. So, it's all a little more complicated than our old house.

The only glitch so far has been the arrival of our cars, which we had shipped from Redwood City on one of those big car carriers. The cars have simply not shown up, despite being due last Tues or Weds. The shipping company agrees that they were due then, says they might arrive today, and blames the 3 day weekend. They can not explain why one extra weekend day has added a full week to the ship time. They say they will cover our rental car cost, but I am suspicious. Compared to everything else that could have happened in this major move, I suppose a rental car is minor.

More importantly, we are settling in, unpacking, and getting to know Bellingham. The weather has been pretty good, and the people in town are really nice and friendly. The life here is far less stressful than in the Bay Area - everyone in the stores, the electrician, the fence guy, etc. is happy to chat about everything because they have the time to do so.

The dogs grasped the concept of their new home immediately. They love to run up and down the stairs and around the whole house. The lake gets some waves on our shore if the wind is up, and the dogs find it exciting just getting their feet wet and barking like crazy at the waves.

The Bay Area concept of what makes a traffic jam and what constitutes lines in the stores is very different from the local concept. There is one major intersection that during rush "minute" can require you to sit through two traffic light sequences. The locals are horrified - we tell them to see 101 at 5 PM. In the local Haggans supermarket (the regional chain - the nicest supermarkets I have ever seen in my life), and in the Walmart, the cashiers apologize if there is one person in line in front of you.

Despite the small town feel, we have found nothing lacking. The many book stores are well stocked and diverse - dozens of great local restaurants, ranging from upscale fancy to neighborhhod ethnic frequented by the college kids. The people in town are pretty sophisticated and know they have a good life here. Our neighbors are the best selling author Steve Martini and his wife and daughter (he sold us his house, then moved next door and has been very helpful and friendly about seeing us get settled) and on the other side, an attorney who has a seaplane at his dock.

It is really nice in the morning to walk in our backyard and look at the lake and mountains. There is a pleasant 1/4 mile walk to a small heavily wooded park where the dogs can run and a 7 minute drive to a large county park with hiking and mountain bike trails.

We have a lot of work to do in getting the house set up - we are stimulating the local economy for decorators: drapes, rugs, light fixtures, painters, furniture, more kitchen stuff and of course, setting up the whole guest house.

Speaking of the guest house, we look forward to seeing all of you (but not at once!) later this summer. An hour from Vancouver and 90 minutes from Seattle, Bellingham is a great base of operations. It is kind of cool to listen to Canadian radio stations, and see French/English on the packages instead of Spanish/English.

Email is the same for now (stevef@pacbell.net), but as soon as the cable modem is hooked up, expect it to change. Cell phone remains 415-516-2421. New home phone is (360) 756-6956 or (360) 756-NYLON.

- cordula & steve -