Jennifer Brozek | Twenty Years in the Seattle Area

Twenty Years in the Seattle Area

In early 2003, I lived in the SF Bay Area and worked for a little company called Placeware. In February, we discovered that Microsoft was going to buy our company for its intellectual property (which eventually became Office Live Meeting). By May, I had found out that I was one of the one hundred Placeware employees being hired by Microsoft as subject matter experts. I was a senior QA engineer. I was thrilled to be hired (at a better wage) to move up to the Pacific Northwest (like I had wanted to do since college) with the ability to buy a house… instead of being fired during the Silicon Valley Dot Bomb era.

On July 20, 2003, I officially moved to the Seattle area. I had visited once before during the “Shock and Awe” week-long orientation trip where those of us who wanted to buy a house got shepherded around Redmond to look at houses. We were known as “the hundred” in the real estate market according to my agent. I didn’t move into my condo for a couple of months because it was still being painted and such and my household goods had not yet been delivered. Fun fact: of the 50 boxes that were shipped, 35 of them contained books.

Old house, new color.

Twenty years in one place still seems surreal to this former military brat. Fifteen years living in the same house? Almost unfathomable. Before this, the longest I lived in one place was five years. I still have to fight “itchy feet” and the urge to move. I fight it with deep rounds of decluttering. It’s been a few years. Another one is on its way. I’ve gone back and forth on the want to move and why, but the pandemic gave me a new appreciation for this house and my neighborhood. I think I’m finally actually ready to settle down here for real.

This house, this place, is the home I was proposed to in, have written 90% of all my novels in, have edited 100% of my anthologies in, and has been my touchstone for all the conventions I have attended and travel I have done. During that time we have remodeled our bathrooms, upgraded our kitchen countertops, replaced our driveway and walkway, remodeled our garage, added paver stones in the backyard, cut down a number of looming trees, replaced our fireplace, and mended the found dry rot. We have also replaced the roof once and painted the house twice (from beige to grey to navy blue). Decorated the front and backyards and added gargoyles on the roof. I think it is safe to say we have put our stamp on our home and marked it well.

Twenty years in one place. Maybe I’m not yet a native Seattleite and never will be, but I think I can state with great pleasure: I am home.

Asimov and Leeloo watching from their respective perches.

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