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OUR SOUTHERN EXIT: Leaving Louisiana – Pt. 5

June-July 2022: Our journey out of southeast Louisiana after living there as a transplant for 15 years.

One Way Ticket to Washington: Going in Blind.

As I look back through my photos, I am surprised at how quickly things moved along. At the time, it felt so overwhelming juggling work, my son’s house and house hunting with my husband from a distance. I was so tired.

At the end of June, I bought a one-way ticket to Washington. I didn't know how much time I would need after buying our house, so it was easier to just fly up and play it by ear. At this point, I would still need to make more progress on client projects, shut down my shop, pack the rest of our belongings and drive my van from Louisiana to Washington. I wrapped up as many projects as I could at Drake’s house so that it would be all ready for him when he drove his moving van down in July.

Have I mentioned how wild this whole relocation has been? To recap, our son moved from Louisiana to Washington in the summer of 2019. He lived with my parents and secured an apprenticeship at an auto body shop. Near the end of the three-year program, he started searching for houses in Louisiana with plans of returning and continuing his career. Simultaneously, my husband was given an opportunity to return to Washington state. That is something we always hoped for, but I sure never imagined it would go down like this. Yes, I miss my son. But knowing he is “home” and thriving gives me comfort.

After landing at the airport in the Tri-Cities, my husband drove me by our future house. I couldn’t get out and be nosey because it was still occupied by the seller. But it basically looked like the listing photos. It all felt foreign and unnerving, but I looked forward to finally being settled again.


Moving trucks were non-existent on the western side of the mountains, so our son had to drive 3.5 hours to Pasco to obtain the moving truck and trailer he had been promised. My parents drove over with him so we were thrilled to be able to visit at the Richland apartment for a couple hours. My in-laws visited a few days after that and would stay for the next several weeks on their cross-country RV trip.

We closed and got the keys to our house the first week of July (the same day our son arrived at his new house in Louisiana). So many feels!  My husband had to work that night, but we met our Realtor at the house to get the keys and I had my first tour. After Jason went back to work, I stayed until roughly midnight just taking it all in, drawing out the rooms, taking measurements and trying to get inspired in this very large beige box.

Ultimately, my goal for this house was to take it slow. I wanted to live in it for a while before making any major changes. It was still new and unfamiliar to me. I think living in a home helps you identify what works and what doesn’t and I welcomed that. Because we needed a new washer and dryer, I did want to make some no-brainer changes in the laundry room right away. I removed the sheet linoleum flooring (that was a workout!), wire wall shelves and the sliding closet doors. Most of the house had 15-year-old beige carpet that we planned on keeping for at least 5 years, so I chose a contrasting black and white peel and stick floor tile for the laundry room. It would double as a mud room being that it is the entry from the garage and I knew I would thank myself later for tackling it prior to moving in. I did reach my goal of finishing the paint and flooring before the washer and dryer were installed!

We had the furnished apartment through the end of July, so I spent my days working on the house and retreated to the apartment when I needed rest. My mother-in-law graciously cooked meals at their RV and helped clean our new place while I focused on painting. Our furniture and most of our belongings would arrive later in July, so I painted as much as I could beforehand. Instead of donating the dated curtains left behind, we used them as drop cloths since all of my painting supplies were still at my shop in Louisiana. Painting ceilings are the worst (for me) and thankfully, Jason helped me with a few on his days off. We got a kick out of him in his "astronaut" suit, lol!

Yes, I said I wanted to decorate slowly, but one thing I knew was that the beige had to go, especially on these low 7½’ ceilings. While beige may be back, I couldn't take it in paint form. I aimed to create a blank canvas for future creativity. Before my in-laws left in August, I also painted the kitchen cabinets in their fifth wheel. I was on a roll but, man was I tired.

A week later, we would face our next big hurdle since moving to the Tri-Cities. I can't make this stuff up . . . which is why I don't write fiction.

If you have read only this post, consider starting at the beginning of the series to see how it all began.


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