Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Surprise, Surprise!!

This week Matthew decided that he wanted to take me on a surprise date on Friday night. I told him that I would accept an invitation as long as there was dinner involved and it was something creative yet cheap. Well, Matthew did not disappoint!

When I got home from he work he let me change and then we hopped in the car and Matthew plugged a secret address into "Mandy" our GPS. When we got on the freeway and I noticed we didn't have long to drive and I figured out that we were headed to Mercer Island. This is the island that I was originally supposed to work on when we moved up here, but we recently found out that the company I work for didn't get the contract so for now I will be working in Issaquah. Matthew decided that since this island was "what brought us here" and neither of us had yet to visit it, we should spend some time exploring.

Our first stop was for some dinner. I think Matthew was planning on making dinner, but he had some unexpected delays and ran out of time. Since moving to Washington we have missed a few of our favorite spots to eat, especially the Costa Vida/Cafe Rio type places. Matthew has been searching around for something similar and tonight we tried out a place called, "Qdoba" and I have to say that it was pretty great. The restaurant had a very similar feel and although the burritos weren't quite the same (they weren't "smothered" in cheese and hot sauce) they did have their own yummy twist (you could add a nacho cheese to the inside along with your hot sauce and guacamole).

I thought we were going to eat at the restaurant, but Matthew informed me that we had "reservations" somewhere. This confused me, as we already had food. What could he possibly have reservations for?

He had me put the next location into Mandy and all along the way I tried to guess what we were doing. When we seemed to be in a wooded area I guessed that he had reserved a campsite or picnic area. Nope. Then I remembered we were on an island, maybe he reserved something on the beach. Nope. Then we pulled into a QFC (grocery store) parking lot. What? What could he possibly have reserved at a grocery store, especially when we already had food? And then I thought that maybe this was just another stop on the way to this "reservation," so I asked Matthew what we were doing here and he just smirked and said, "You'll see." As we went into the QFC we turned straight away and as we approached the red machine I realized the reservation was for a movie.

After picking out two movies we headed back towards the car and Matthew had me put in the cross streets for our last destination. He said that he was given the idea for this last spot from the missionaries. I thought, "What do the missionaries know about dates?" but I tried to trust Matthew. So we followed Mandy's directions and the cross streets took us to a spot under the I-90 bridge that went over the island. Matthew then confessed that the missionaries weren't sure of the exact address to the place they suggested, so we pulled up the map in Mandy and looked for the closest park.

Matthew said that he had jokingly asked the missionaries if they new of a romantic, cheap place to take a girl on a date and said that it would be best if it were somewhere on Mercer Island. Of course the missionaries in our area did not know of a place, but they did know the missionaries on Mercer Island, so they called them and they suggested this park right on the North end of the Island.

Matthew and I eventually found our way to the park and expected to see a great view of Lake Washington and maybe even a bit of the Seattle skyline, but instead we were met with a big hedge. We were both sure that if we took the path we would be able to get around the hedge and see the view, so we decided to go on a little stroll. As westarted to walk down the path, it hit me what path we were on. This path was the bike/pedestrian path that ran just parallel to the I-90 bridge over Lake Washington. I had gone over this bridge several times while driving to and from work and I thought the view was spectacular. I had often thought it would be fun to come to the pedestrian path and take some photos. So, we kept walking and sure enough we walked out onto the bridge just next to the freeway. At this point the sunwas already pretty low in the sky, but I still think I got some fun shots. I definitely want to go back sometime in the daylight.

After taking in the beautiful scenery, Matthew and I headed back to the hedged in grassy area to eat our burrito and watch our movie, out on a blanket. We almost got through the entire movie before getting too cold. Near the end we headed for the car and finished the last 20 minutes or so with the laptop in my lap.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

All We Do is Work

In celebration of the Labor Day holiday weekend Matthew was scheduled to work everyday!

Matthew started working for a bike shop not too long ago. Most of the time neither of us minds him going into work because 1) he is only working part time, 2) even though it doesn't pay that great it still brings in a little extra money, 3) Matthew is now not completely bored out of his mind and 4) most of the time he works when I work, but this weekend it was a little bothersome to find out that he had to work at least part of the day for every day of the 3-day holiday weekend. We were hoping to go camping or on a long hike, but our plans were foiled.

However, during the time that we did have together we still wanted to do something and when Jack and Steph showed some interest in hanging out with us we decided that we needed to do something adventurous, so we decided to go on the Underground Tour of Seattle.

Did you know that what today is known as Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle completely burned to the ground way back when? What's more, no one died in the fire. And even more impressive, that fire actually made it so that Seattle is now on a more firm foundation. Needless to say the tour was very interesting.

Most of underground Seattle is a bunch of "basements." When rebuilding Seattle the people purposely built the buildings with the intent that the 1st floor would be underground and the 2nd floor would eventually be the main entrance. The 1st floor would become a basement because of the retaining wall that would be built around the city blocks. It was quite fascinating and I don't think I could adequately explain how all this was done, so this is my plug for the Underground Tour; anyone visiting Seattle should take the tour!

Above left: old elevator pieces being stored in one of the "basements" Above right: a piece of the old sewer system in Seattle

Above left: An entrance way to one of the buildings from the old first floor, now basement Above right: An entrance way to one of the buildings from the old 2nd floor, now main entrance

Above: Random cool shots of structures in the underground of Seattle

Above: The two pictures above show window-like structures from two different views. The one on the left is from underground and the one on the right is the same window on the sidewalk. They built these window-like structures so that those shopping while the retaining wall/sidewalk construction was in process wouldn't be completely left in the dark.

After the tour we took Jack and Steph to see the gum wall at Pike Place Market. It was just as gross as it was the first time we went. This time we remembered to bring gum, but I couldn't get myself to contribute to the museum.