Never Fall in Love

On August 16 of this year (my 43rd birthday), my husband and my Persian cat, Carrie said goodbye to the bay area and our condo of five years and trundled along in a Uhaul hauling our electric Fiat which could only move under its own power for 100 miles. We headed for Salt Lake City with only the glimmerings of a plan.

About a year ago my husband had a spate of funerals to attend in Vernal, UT where his family lives. They had him brooding over mortality, and the fact that we had no family or ties to the bay area other than a job that has been very good to him for the better part of a decade. When his mother reluctantly disclosed that she had cancer he began seriously considering moving back to Utah closer to family. And when he asked work whether that would be possible they gave him a green light to work remotely. 

That’s how we ended up driving across the desert in a Uhaul with a disgruntled cat, a disgruntled me (who wants to spend their birthday in a Uhaul?) our condo sale not finalized, and a 1 bedroom apartment that we had never seen awaiting us.

We initially thought we would look for a house in the Heber City area. It’s a bit closer to his family, but not a terrible drive to Salt Lake. I was on board with this plan even though the only place I’ve ever been to in Heber is the WalMart. His family are not city people. They do not drive in Salt Lake. We didn’t think they’d come to Salt Lake. But since his mother got sick they come to the city for treatment. She came for treatment two days after we arrived and over dinner she asked us if we were looking for a house in Salt Lake. We hadn’t been. Looking in Salt Lake was like having our cake and eating it too.

I am not a country girl. I grew up in the suburbs of southern California. I went to the University of Utah on a whim. It’s where I met my husband. My best friend from high school also went to the University of Utah, but after college he stayed in Utah. He lives in Millcreek with his wife and 3 boys. My husband and I often stay with them before heading out to Vernal to visit his family.

After having my husband’s parents open our eyes to the fact that Salt Lake was on the table for home buying I did what anyone would do in this day and age. I took to the internet. Our condo hadn’t closed yet. The date kept getting pushed back. We didn’t have a realtor. I didn’t initially think I’d look over by Millcreek. I didn’t know where the heck to look. Or what to look for. All of the real estate agents we meet tell us “oh you know what you want”. And no, we don’t. Not really. I mean, I thought I wanted a new house in Heber with a Hallmark kitchen (you know, the giant kitchens they’re always baking cookies in in their Christmas specials). After living in an 1100 square foot condo for 5 years that seemed like something I should want. 

I stumbled on the Victorian house in Millcreek and I loved it. I didn’t want to. It has stood on this earth generations longer than I have. It is not new. It has a galley kitchen. A feature that ordinarily is an automatic no for me. But the kitchen is sunny. And wide. And I can see myself making Christmas cookies in it, without the island so prevalent in newer homes. After looking at the pictures of the house it dawned on me that it has no garage. I have an electric car. No. I thought. Can’t work. I thought. But I still had to see it.

On August 31st, the day after our condo closed, my husband and I drove around the valley in my orange electric Fiat, and looked at open houses. We made a list of times and addresses. We stopped whenever we saw a sign for one that we hadn’t written down. You never know which house could wow you. We saw a lot of remodeled kitchens and bathrooms. We saw a lot of houses where people dwelled in their basement. We saw beautiful dark woodwork that sucked the light out of the room. We saw uneven fun house floors, houses with jacks in their basement.

The Victorian was later in the day. I was hoping to go see it, and like so many houses that day, find that deal breaking flaw since we didn’t have funds yet. Unfortunately I was enchanted. There were koi in the pond! I wanted to show the koi to my Persian cat. She’s never seen fish. Or a pond, come to think of it. I could see myself on the covered porch with a book watching the porch light sway in the wind. I loved the add on to the back porch. The huge wraparound windows. I can almost see the snow blanketing the little garden out back. I love the molding. I love the lights. We had to jettison our dining room table on the move because it wouldn’t fit in the moving truck. I imagine scouring estate sales to find a table worthy of the house. Oddly I want to find pieces I think the house would like. I’ve never thought in those terms before. I’ve always just thought oh, I like this table. But about that house, that I think looks on my 43 years and still calls me a child, I think that house needs furniture that it likes. I’m not certain it would approve of my electric reclining couch with USB ports. But at the same time, I think, that house has seen the rise and fall of generations. Maybe it’s up for a little change.It has certainly seen its share. And while I have no children, I want to invite my best friend to bring his 3 boys over to run up and down the stairs, maybe to skin a knee on the stones outside. They live 2 miles down the road. They could visit all the time and steal peaches from the peach tree, like I did on our second visit. I want to have a giant Christmas tree and host my mother for the holidays. She’s upset because at the same time I moved further away, my niece moved to Chicago. I want them both to come for Christmas and sip cocoa by the fireplace and fall in love with that house like I did.

When we decided to move I bought a book about moving. It told me not to fall in love with a house. And against its advice, that’s exactly what I did. Because I can see myself there. I can see my family there. And I don’t want to. I’m kicking and screaming and telling myself that my stupid electric car should not exist with a heavy gauge extension cord until a suitable garage that the house would approve of could be erected.

But our condo took too long to close. And we couldn’t put in a serious offer on time. And then our bank would not call us back even after we deposited more money than I’ve ever seen in my life. So I am clinging to the idea of this beautiful old house and praying the mortgage lender calls this morning and green lights our loan so that we can put in a backup offer and this dream that I didn’t know I had can live for at least a little while longer.

Now Playing

Since I’m not streaming regularly and I don’t get to talk games much I thought I’d take the time to write about what I’m playing and what I’m looking forward to.

US Games

Monster Hunter Generations

I’m still enamored with the hunting of large terrifying monsters. The US version of Monster Hunter is always more accessible to me than the JP version, so while I play the JP version I always pick up the US version (they’re not cross compatible). The hubby and I hunt together and we’ve finally reached hunter rank 7. He is using the adept long sword and I have ditched my beloved dual blades to try out the aerial switch axe. I love this game because you can hunt a monster or two and then put it down without consequence. So I play a lot for a week or two and then don’t touch it for a while. I’m currently in that play a lot phase because I want to unlock the rank cap and get decent gear before the Monster Hunter tour arrives in San Francisco on October 20th.

Pokémon Y

I picked up another copy of Pokémon Y when I realized that I needed a ton of Pokémon from X/Y to reach my goal of a completed pokedex in ORAS. I already had the game, but I hadn’t played it since it came out and I have a really hard time diving into the middle of a game and trying to figure out what I need and where to get it. I figured starting fresh would help. And it has, but for some reason I don’t like X/Y that much. I’ve played I think around 20 hours and I just barely got the second gym badge. Granted I spent quite a bit of time on the hunt for pokémon to trade back to ORAS, but still, it feels really slow to me. The cities are huge and unwieldy. The roller skates annoy me. And OMG I miss the DexNav. That is the greatest addition to the games to date. Please bring it to Sun/Moon!!

How’s my pokedex coming in ORAS you ask? Well, it’s kind of stalled out while I play this game, but I have a running list of all the pokémon I can only get from XY to trade over + how to evolve them. It’s a lot more work than I imagined and I’m only up to 400 something out of 718. Will I make it by November 18? It’s not looking like it, but I’m still trudging slowly forward. Maybe if I can get through Y I’ll find more momentum.

Japanese Games

世界樹の迷宮5ーEtrian Oddyssey 5

I first played Etrian Odyssey 2 on the DS when it released in 2008. That was before I started studying Japanese, so I’ve only really played them in English. If you’re not familiar with the series, it’s kind of an old school dungeon crawler. You have to map a labyrinth and find your way to higher floors battling horrible boss monsters about every 5 floors. The series is hard and usually involves a lot of level grinding and screaming when you accidentally encounter a FOE—a boss-type monster that usually squashes you dead if you try to fight it when you first see it. My favorite aspect of the game is the mapping. I don’t know why, but I love drawing the map and finding hidden nooks and crannies.

As for the game in Japanese, I definitely would not recommend it to a beginner. It has no furigana whatsoever (that’s the kana above a kanji that tells you how to read it if you’re unfamiliar with the kanji). So unless you know a lot of kanji, you’re screwed. The game is not geared towards kids (unlike something like, Yokai Watch or Pokemon) and there’s a lot of reading with quests and missions that you kind of have to understand to be able to do. I usually get the gist of what’s going on, but have to look a bunch of stuff up and often allocating skill points is a crap shoot because I forget what the skills do and I get lazy. 😛

PC Games

Um…nothing right now

While I played Diablo 3 a lot at the beginning of season 7, I finished the season journey (a set of tasks that gives you extra stash space—think storage space in animal crossing, and new portrait frames and pets) and now am back to being bored with the game. It goes in waves like that. I play a ton and then find myself with a lot of free cross stitching time.

Honestly I don’t play a lot of PC games so this isn’t terribly unusual for me.

On the Horizon — what I’m looking forward to

I broke down and ordered Dragon Quest VII in English. I played it in Japanese in 2013 when it released and I didn’t enjoy it, but I think that may be because of language barrier. I constantly got lost and had no idea where I was going. While I think I could replay it in Japanese now and be much more comfortable (it’s way easier than Etrian Odyssey), I think I’ll give it a whirl in English instead.

Monster Hunter Stories releases in Japan in October and I’ve preordered it along with 3 of the 6 amiibo. I’m super excited to try an RPG and should probably watch more of the trailers to get on the hype train. I’m notoriously bad with information hunting before a game comes out.

I am cautiously optimistic about Animal Crossing New Leaf Welcome Amiibo. I want to be really really excited. And part of me is. I stalk amazon daily to see if I can order the Japanese cards. And I love the Sanrio crossover in Japan I hope I can find those cards too! But we haven’t seen much gameplay. I don’t really know what the update entails. Sooo there are RVs with villagers and adorable new furniture. Can you get the furniture? Can you convince the Hello Kitty gorilla to cut her road trip short and move in to your village? I doubt it. So what can you actually do other than roll around in their bed and pretend to have a cup of tea? I’m hoping there’s more to the update than just RVs. I don’t know what the heck is up with wisp turning into villagers in the video clip. If the update doesn’t suck and I can get some cards I’m hoping to stream it a little. And I’m hoping maybe I can get a few more of my favorite villagers in my towns (Annalise I’m looking at you!). Please if there is an Animal Crossing god, let them increase the storage space and update Brewster to hold your gyroids again (gyroids are my eternal bane).

I’m sure there’s more, but this has already reached tl;dr proportions, so I’ll leave it here. What are you playing and looking forward to?

P.S. not super interested in iPhone Nintendo games. Miitomo is boring, creepy, and repetitive, it feels like a weird 20 questions dating app. The pachinko games are also not fun and the clothes are expensive. Will not shell out money for it. So Mario on the phone? Meh. A turn-based game like Fire Emblem makes more sense to me, but I’m old school and would rather play on a handheld console.

Animal Crossing US Card Wanted List

I didn’t intend to collect US amiibo cards, but of course I started. Here is a list of those I need.

Series 1

  • 043 Puck
  • 080 Eugene
  • 082 Goose
  • 084 Benjamin
  • 086 Chief

* denotes awaiting for arrival.

Series 2

  • 105 Copper
  • 108 Tommy
  • 110 Leila
  • 113 Isabelle
  • 114 Blanca
  • 124 Harry
  • 125 Gwen
  • 126 Coach
  • 127 Kitt
  • 131 Pate
  • 132 Vladimir
  • 133 Savanah
  • 136 Egbert
  • 137 Cookie
  • 140 Avery
  • 143 Olivia
  • 148 Whitney
  • 150 Coco
  • 155 Butch
  • 159 Zell
  • 160 Pekoe
  • 164 Bianca
  • 167 Beau
  • 168 Nan
  • 170 Ruby
  • 173 Julian
  • 178 Hugh
  • 184 Anicotti
  • 190 Vesta
  • 191 Marcel
  • 193 Keaton
  • 194 Gladys

Series 3

These are the ones I have, since I’ve only bought one pack.

  • 213 Digby
  • 219 Anchovy
  • 246 Eloise
  • 262 Blanche
  • 272 Skye
  • 292 Baabara

Curious what I have to trade? The list is over here. All cards listed are Japanese unless otherwise noted.

Plushie Collection

People were curious about my plushie collection, so in a moment of procrastination I photographed them all.

The plushie shrine.

The plushie shrine.

Izzie-chan purse from Pikopuri

Izzie-chan purse from Pikopuri

Top shelf. Mostly pokemon, Bunnie, coasters from Square Enix cafe in Tokyo, Zelda pin, Popolocrois lanyard.

Top shelf. Mostly pokemon, Bunnie, coasters from Square Enix cafe in Tokyo, Zelda pin, Popolocrois lanyard.

2nd shelf. Mostly pikachu. Handmade kirby, Chun Kitty. Stuff.

2nd shelf. Mostly pikachu. Handmade kirby, Chun Kitty. Stuff.

Bottom Shelf: Lots of Harvest Moon plushies. DQ Slime, Monster Hunter mail airou from capcom cafe in Tokyo, cat bus, Prince Pietro from Popolocrois

Bottom Shelf: Lots of Harvest Moon plushies. DQ Slime, Monster Hunter mail airou from capcom cafe in Tokyo, cat bus, Prince Pietro from Popolocrois

Overflow + Sophie's carrier because she's kind of Plushie-like and she sleeps in it.

Overflow + Sophie’s carrier because she’s kind of Plushie-like and she sleeps in it.

New additions who are as yet homeless. (Need to frame that cross stitch)

New additions who are as yet homeless. (Need to frame that cross stitch)

Rathian is homeless too, but I'm afraid she'll eat the Animal Crossing plushies.

Rathian is homeless too, but I’m afraid she’ll eat the Animal Crossing plushies.