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Eight Things I Hate About Olympia, Washington (My Hometown)

Updated on December 10, 2014
Olympia, Washington on a rare sunny day.
Olympia, Washington on a rare sunny day.
The Farmers Market; the parking lot is filled with SUVs.
The Farmers Market; the parking lot is filled with SUVs.
Boats owned by SUV drivers
Boats owned by SUV drivers
One of many signs ignored daily by drivers in Olympia.
One of many signs ignored daily by drivers in Olympia.
A day when it didn't rain in Olympia
A day when it didn't rain in Olympia

I have a love-hate relationship with the city I live in, Olympia, Washington. I moved here in 1990, completely torn apart from my moorings, fresh from a divorce and looking for a new start. I found that start in a new teaching job in Olympia and although the teaching job is no longer I still remain in what I now consider my hometown.

When I first arrived I was enthralled by the city; nestled between the Cascade Mountain Range and the Olympic Mountain Range and hugging the shorelines of the inland sea we call Puget Sound, it was easy to fall in love with the beautiful natural scenery and the eclectic mix of its inhabitants. Having come from a much larger city (Tacome, population 150,000 at that time) I was thrilled with the small town atmosphere and the laid-back feel to the capitol city.

Now, twenty years later, the bloom is off the rose; in fact, the whole damn rose is shriveling and starting to get a musty smell to it. I suspect that most of the problems now faced by Olympia are related to the population increase that has happened in the last twenty years.

Olympia Population:

2011 estimate* 46,780
2010 census 46,478
2000 census 42,514
1990 census 33,729

As you can see, we seem to be experiencing some serious growth while other parts of the country couldn’t hold onto their citizens with a lasso and an offer of free beer for life. My suspicions are that most of the influx in population is coming from Southern California. Truthfully, who can blame them? When smog is your greatest export you have some serious issues that can only be masked by glitter for so long.

The population spurt in Olympia reminds me of a pre-teen who suddenly grows six inches over one summer. All of a sudden the pants don’t fit, the voice changes from baritone to soprano and a walk to the park involves tripping eighteen times on cracks in the sidewalk that do not exist. That, in a nutshell, is Olympia in the year 2012.

Without further delay I give you my list of Eight Things I Hate About Olympia,Washington. The list, by the way, is in no particular order. There are only eight items listed instead of the five or ten you see on most lists. Why? I guess because I am, and always have been, just a little bit different.

STATE LEGISLATORS….this distinguished group of men and women drop by for six months each year for a howdy and a cup of coffee. During their stay they worsen the already congested traffic situation, pass legislation that makes life harder for every citizen in the state and, pounding the last nail in the coffin, they get paid for it from our tax dollars. No further explanation is needed to justify their place on my list.

CAR AND TRUCK DRIVERS….the concept of traffic laws is a foreign one to those who travel our decaying road system. Stop signs simply mean slow down; turn signals are silly little levers on the steering column that hold a cell phone attached by a strap. Mirrors are for applying makeup and combing one’s hair and everyone is quite adept (or so they think) at steering with knees while talking on the aforementioned cell phones. The crowning glory of their driving ineptitude is the ability to get angry at anyone who dares to actually follow the traffic laws.

EVERGREEN COLLEGE STUDENTS….this one may seem a bit strange at first but hear me out. Evergreen State College tries very hard to live up to its reputation of being a very Liberal college; the professors and students all look like they just stepped out of a time machine from the 60s, and body hygiene is actually looked down upon because deodorant and name brand soaps are not “natural.” Seriously, though, I have no problem with that; I went to college in the 60s and I remember smelling so bad the neighbors thought there was a toxic waste spill. No, my problem is the half-hearted attempts at protesting that this college and its students do daily. Drive through downtown Olympia on any day and you will always see little groups of students, five to ten in number, with their signs protesting whatever issue is popular that day, and therein lies my problem: five or ten students does not make a protest! It makes a darn good sewing club or two sides for basketball, but a protest it is not. March 20,000 strong down the freeway and then we’ll chat about a protest and I might, just might, be willing to overlook their hygiene.

INTERSTATE 5….in November of 1969 the final section of Interstate 5 was completed and the day that happened it was outdated and too small to handle the growing traffic numbers along Puget Sound. It has only gotten worse since that day. Why is an interstate highway on my list? Simply because the overblown chunk of concrete runs right through the heart of Olympia. Two problems with that: one, if you want to sit outside on a lovely summer evening and listen to the frogs croak forget about it; all you can hear are the thousands of cars rushing by the city. Two, if an accident should occur on I-5, and that only happens once or twice an hour, all traffic is diverted to the roads of Olympia, meaning a five-minute trip to get milk will require packing provisions for a trip on the scale of the Oregon Trail journey. Have I mentioned lately that I hate car and truck drivers in Olympia? You should catch their act when traffic backs up and they are late for their non-fat latte at Starbucks!

PEOPLE WHO USE UMBRELLAS….we live in Olympia, Washington, on the western side of the Cascade Mountains, recipients of some ungodly rainfalls during the year. In a good year we will have eighty sunny days; for those of you who are math-challenged that means that it is cloudy in our fair city 285 days per year and many of those days it rains. Anyone who has lived here for a few years becomes accustomed to raindrops pelting our skulls and drenching our clothes and we take a perverse pride in living through those conditions without having the urge to kill anyone. We do not use umbrellas if we are natives and if you use an umbrella that means you are from California and for that reason you have made my list.

SUV DRIVERS….why do you need a SUV in Olympia, Washington? Are you planning on doing some serious off-road driving on the way to the food co-op? Maybe you need to traverse a river while taking the kids to daycare? Does it really require 4,000 pounds of steel to drive little Johnny to his soccer game? The citizens of Olympia love to tell the world how Liberal they are and yet they can’t wait to deplete the world’s oil supply by pulling in at the nearest Arco and filling up their tank with sixty gallons of Premium gasoline. Anyone silly enough to ride a bicycle in Olympia is placing their lives in jeopardy because the SUVs need the entire lane plus the bike lane to maneuver. And speaking of bicycle riders…..

BICYCLE RIDERS….there are designated bicycle lanes all over this city and I have no problem with that; if they are deranged enough to risk their lives then I say more power to them. But when did it become okay to ride the bike in the traffic lanes? A bicycle travelling at five miles per hour should not be in the twenty-five mph lane slowing me up as I weave in-between Hummers. I wonder if it would be alright with the bike riders if I drove my Geo Tracker in their bike lanes? Make a game out of it and award a certain number of points if I can push them into the hedge or send them flying over the neighbor’s white picket fence. Maybe they could get a group of five friends together and hold a protest!

STARBUCKS….I’m sure you think I’m going to start in on a rant about the coffee beans being picked by underpaid workers in Third World countries and the unfairness of it all, but you would be wrong. A few years back the CEO of Starbucks, one Howard Schultz, sold the Seattle Supersonics to a buyer from Oklahoma City and the team was subsequently moved to Oklahoma, leaving this region without a professional basketball team for the first time in forty years. I will not shop at Starbucks and yes, I do hold grudges. It’s not like I can’t find a vanilla mocha if I don’t shop at Starbucks; there is a little barista place on practically every corner in Olympia because all those SUV drivers need their caffeine fix before four-wheeling it over the rugged paved roads of our city.

So there you have my list. I could go on and on but I need to leave early for an appointment and it takes quite awhile to get across town when I’m driving behind a bike rider and nudging them occasionally with my bumper; I also get delayed when I slow up to laugh at the Californians with umbrellas who are protesting the lack of sunshine. I may complain a lot but that doesn’t mean I don’t have fun at the same time.

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    • Drjacki profile image

      Drjacki 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I read this with great interest (and amusement) since I was once a resident of Olympia (1989-90)myself...and before I bought my home there, the realtor asked me if I was from California...presumably, she wasn't going to sell me a home if I said "yes"...but I am not from CA, so I got the house, loved the community, and was sad to leave! Great hub.

    • kingmaxler profile image

      kingmaxler 5 years ago from Olympia, Washington USA

      So funny. I hope it prevents more people immigrating to this city that I call home also. Thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Drjacki...thanks for taking the time to read and comment...I actually love this city so this was pretty much in humor...except for the comments about Californians of course. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      kingmaxler...glad you liked it; I'm sure you know exactly what I am talking about.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi, this was so funny! I love your humour, but oh so agree with everything you say! I may live in a little town in England, but the same things apply, why the great big off road cars in a small village? arghh! drives me mad too! the funny thing about umbrella's, everybody thinks England is wet all the time, in fact, especially down here in the South, we have so little rain I can't remember the last time it did! up north, yes, but here? no way! lol! funny really, as everyone thinks it's a given in England, my main gripe is similar to yours about the people coming into the town, but in my case its the snobs, posh call them what you will, they have money, their noses are stuck in the air, and because of them the town is now so expensive we normal everyday people can't afford to live here! you do make me laugh though! haha! thanks!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nell, you are welcome and I'm glad it brought a chuckle to your English heart. Some day I will visit that wonderful country of yours; maybe I'll rent a Hummer and see it in style. :)

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I've never been to Olympia though I used to live in Seattle. Based on your hub, I'm glad I stayed away. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      alocsin...thanks for reading and commenting...it's not as bad as I made it out to be but it is getting worse for sure.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      This was amusing. :) Now, I challenge you to a list of positives. I'm originally from Colorado and it has been overrun by Californians. Perhaps I'll move to Olympia with my TINY car and garden. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      cclitgirl....I'm amazed anyone is left in California. :) Oh, I'll write a positive list sooner or later; since I've lived here for twenty years and plan on remaining here I'm sure I'll think of something nice to say. Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • poetvix profile image

      poetvix 5 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

      This was great. I love the tongue in cheek humor while making real, valid observations on the situation. You touched on one of my own pet peeves here, what I like to deem as road hazards. I am, of course, speaking of the loons on bicycles. We don't have hardly any lanes for them here so I'm forever trying to just get past them without running them over! We are many states apart but it is a small world after all. I felt like I could have been reading about Houston except for the rain part.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      poetvix...always a pleasure to hear from you. I actually write for a company out of Fort Worth and let me tell you, I'll take the rain over the summer you folks had any old time. Having said that, about May when it is still raining I will be more than ready to book a flight to anywhere outside of Olympia. Thank you as always for reading my hub and for being so supportive.

    • profile image

      iamaudraleigh 5 years ago

      Bill, I would not tell Aurelio you hate umbellas...lol! He is from California!

      Lol...like your creativity here :)

      Voted up!!!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Audra, I'm sure I have a couple twenty-year old umbrellas I can send to him. :) Thanks my friend and have a great weekend.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I think wearing an umbrella hat is very Northwest, which I'd rather do than wear an umbrella. Alas, never had the chance to visit Olympia when I lived up there in Seattle. Yes, that's where I'm originally from, though currently living in California. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shame on you, Aurelio, for living in Seattle and not visiting Olympia. :) I lived in Seattle for four years and loved the vibrancy of the city but now, at this stage in my life, I need the country and a more relaxed way of living.

      Peace and happiness to you my friend.

      bill

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 5 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      I don't have an umbrella Bill. I do sort of resemble Clint Eastwood though.....

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mark, I knew I respected you for some reason. :) Now I have two reasons because I love Clint Eastwood.

    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 5 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      All 8 are excellent reasons not to like your hometown :) I could not imagine living somewhere the sun doesn't shine almost every day! Kudos to you for living there. At least there are only 8 things you don't like about it LOL

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cassy, here's the thing about Olympia....it is gorgeous country here...so much to do for the outdoor enthusiast....if it only would stop raining!!! I could put up with the other things on the list, but the rain....my goodness, it does wear us down.

      What am i going to do with you? All of a sudden I'm answering your comments all morning today? LOL Thank you kind lady.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Ah state legislators, a blight to every state oh and bicycle riders, why do they think riding a bicycle gives them the right to 'own' the road and make the cars move over...here that can mean onto the dirt shoulder.

      I can't speak for California but in New York we squirrel away umbrellas everywhere so we don't get wet if it rains! One in the car, one in the pocket book, ten in the closet....go easy Billy we're used to sunshine here.

      This was another look inside Billybuc and his humorous day-to-day.

      Voted up, funny, and interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, ya gotta love life, right? There is so much to be thankful for and so much to enjoy. I can't stand the thought of being serious all the time. Thank you as always; you are a rock star follower.

    • profile image

      Dbk78 4 years ago

      You over exaggerate greatly. Maybe you should move?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dbk78, of course I over-exaggerate....it is all in fun and I love it here! Thanks for reading!

    • profile image

      KathleenNP 3 years ago

      Mr. Buc,

      Pray tell where-oh-where do I register a complaint against your Hub?

      You, Sir, as a direct result of your rapière wit, have single-handedly slayed me, manifesting a mirthful and merry medical diagnosis, which, while delightful, has to my great dismay made me miserable and morose, as I strive to survive severe spasms that are stabbing my sides.

      According to the ICD-9-CM this anguishing affliction is

      authoritatively referred to as "Stitches".

      {see 2013 edition}

      "Stitches-Syndrome" presents with acute merriment and critical mirth, happy hysteria, belying a severe and sharp stabbing from non-stop silliness, stemming from a subcutaneous bilateral paroxysm, generally located in the side regions of one's body.

      "Stitches" can develop quickly into a challenging medical concern, as they are frequently accompanied by a pre-existing condition characterized by uncontrollable fits of roaring laughter alongside chortles, chuckles and charlie-horses.

      While the research has yet to be released as to the long-term effects of this dire disease, it is doubtless attributed to the prolonged exposure to your riotously funny but irresponsible reportage, according to this New Yorker who is in desperate need of sleep.

      In light of the fact that I hit the proverbial hay at 12:35 a.m. EST, and it is nolw almost 6:15a.m. EST this

      long-suffering self-diagnosed insomniac made the grave error this evening of Googling (is this yet included in Merriam-Webster's, classified perhaps as a verb?) the average temperature of Olympia in order to purchase appropriate outerwear for her son...a remarkable young man soon to embark upon his lone adventure to your great city.

      He is soon to attend an institute of higher learning that may perhaps be visible from your house. Or am I confusing that with the view of Russia from Palin's house?

      He'll be studying at Evergreen State, majoring in consciousness-raising, and philosophy, in addition to a minor in basket-weaving and the ancient art of creating macramé plant-hangers.

      As a freshman, he's been forewarned to eschew any and all non-recyclables, pack only garments woven from hemp, which would actually serve two purposes, thereby being greener still...in addition to donning the garment, he can smoke it too! In fact there's a class that demonstrates how to extract just enough hemp fiber from the garb, and they even get to roll and smoke their own clothing.

      Now what parent wouldn't be proud of such an extraordinary demonstration of conservation and embracing a multi-use garment.

      Oh, that reminds me I'd better pack his rolling papers! Anything for the cause.

      In addition to eschewing the aforementioned, I do believe he's eschewing shoes, to boot!

      (*cringe-worthy pun*)

      In keeping with the proud traditions of those hallowed halls, he'll also be eschewing soap, shampoo, deodorant, as Gaia has supplied enough of earth's bounty in the forest, so if they use a tad of creativity they may even create a start-up in natural personal-care products.

      As for toothpaste...the website assures us that the Greeners tradition is to rub your teeth on the bark outside of their dorms...doubles as an exfoliant!

      School is constantly on my mind. As I was unable to sleep this evening, tossing and turning for the better part of five hours, I thought I'd pick up my iPhone from my bedside table for a quick Google (there it is again...convinced it is indeed a verb) in order to answer a question that is as old as the ages...To pack light, or Not to pack light, THAT us the question.

      I'll have you know, Mr. Buc, while in the midst of perusing your list that were singing the praises of your fair city, I was overcome with sharp pain akin to the knife that was stuck in my heart by my former spouse. I somehow managed to escape your list by blindly clicking the link to your second list whereupon you proceeded to refute any and all statements made in the former list. I'm not quite sure how I made it to the end of the latter list, as my breath was quite taken away as is wont to occur when one is overcome with uproarious laughter accompanied by excruciating paroxysm, which in turn led to the aforementioned insomnolence.

      "Stitches-Syndrome" is a serious ailment as the pain from the side-splitting laughter is accompanied by significant vision loss, as the flow of tears is as voluminous as the Puget Sound.

      So Señor" Buc, just as soon as this Luddite can figure out how to register and post, you can be sure my people will contact your people to discuss terms of our agreement. You've simply got to step up and take responsibility for writing the sort of tabloid fodder that aims for the funny bone, while not thoroughly assessing the health risks of your readership! Insomnia is nothing to laugh at, and any court of law would clearly make the connection between "Stitches-Syndrome" and the resultant side-effect Insomnia. Case-Closed.

      Why not cover more pressing issues such as where have all the flowers gone?

      Peter, Paul, & Mary have given up the search...they're too pre-occupied with the great sunglass hunt of '13.

      It would make for a great photo-op for your next column:

      "Fall From Grace:

      From Flowers to Shades,

      or How We Went from

      Puff The Dragon, to:

      Ray-ban's & Umbrellas"

      My how the mighty do fall.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathleen, that might just be the best comment I have ever received, and I have received over 250,000 comments. I just now caught my breath from laughing. If this is what insomnia does to you, then you really should not be allowed out in public. LOL

      So your son is coming to our fine city, eh? Well have him look me up....I'll be sitting on the freeway with my thumb out trying to catch a ride to Shangrila with the rest of the 60's washouts. You can't miss me; I'm the one dressed normally.

      Seriously, I could go on and on, but my work is calling me. Thank you so much for the laugh and I hope all goes well for your son in basketweaving or whatever the hell they are teaching over at Evergreen these days.

      bill

    • profile image

      DoomsdayJesus 3 years ago from Fort Lewis, Washington

      While I agree with most of these, hate bicyclists, Washington drivers who become helpless as newborns when precipitation starts to form (you'd think they'd adapt over time rather than repeatedly fall prey to natural selection), I disagree on the SUVs. Drive 10 minutes in any direction outside of Oly and you need an SUV. Capital State Forest, Yelm, JBLM... Any day I go salmon fishing my outback comes in more than handy. Any time it rains and I'm dodging mentally incapacitated drivers texting and slamming brakes when the first drops hit their windshield, I thank God for AWD. Plus it gets pretty great mileage and fits my family/dog. It's less emasculating than a minivan and twice as useful as a crossover, and cheaper than pretty much any hybrid crunch box.

      I can understand if you primarily live in a metropolitan area, but we're 10-15 minutes from hundreds of miles of washboard/potholed dirt roads that take you to the fun. Also, those boats provide a ton of employment for the people maintaining them and the docks, I don't get the point of demonizing them, either. They're harmless.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Doomsday....the whole article was supposed to be humorous; I have no real problem with SUVs at all.

    • profile image

      Greg 3 years ago

      What a dipshit IMO but who cares what you think this planet was not just meant for you stupid so deal with it asswipe

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Greg....LMAO...have a great day my unhappy friend.

    • profile image

      Olympia does SUCK 3 years ago

      I totally agree with this article. We moved here in 99 to get away from all of the people. It has become so overpopulated with people the rent prices have skyrocketed. The traffic is horrible and trying to get anywhere on the freeway is a joke. Especially thru JBLM. They have moved so many people here. Between that and the legalization of marijuana, this place is terrible now. Colorado has the same problem and the tech job boom. I cannot wait to move from this state and it's sad cuz I was born in Washington. Californians always ruin it with the trash they throw, their rude attitudes and who the hell gave any of them a license? Sad. Washington will be ruined especially Oly. Thanks retards.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Olympia, thanks for your viewpoints....it has definitely changed in the past twenty years.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 3 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      This balances your articles on the wonderfulness of Olympia and gives me a balances view of the town.

      To be her cheery self my wife must be proactive against depression, so I don't think she would opt for us to move to a very cloudy and often rainy city when she retires. Yet she is drawn to the northwest, as am I.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, there is no doubt we have cloudy. Count on about 85 sunny days per year, and that certainly is not a drawing point for the Chamber of Commerce. :)

    • Talers profile image

      Alan 22 months ago from San Diego

      I find the Evergreen College anecdotes amusing; I'm actually considering going there; I can play the overly liberal agenda, but then again I do like my artificial soaps manufactured from suffering and environmental destruction.... What a conundrum...

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Talers, that was great...a conundrum for sure. Thanks for stopping by and if you end up at Evergreen, best wishes.

    • profile image

      ElijahWhite 16 months ago

      I understand that there are frustrating aspects to any city. Even Olympia. But if you are considering a move to Olympia I would suggest checking out this all-inclusive guide first:

      http://www.olympicmovers.net/moving-olympia-wa-com...

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Elijah! I actually love Olympia. This was all tongue-in-cheek.

    • profile image

      Lizero 10 months ago

      Thanks for the funny yet informative article. Tell those Indians not to kill the state bird. I will soon be moving to the Boardwalk senile apartments. Rescued from Montana. Hope to find more articles written by you for me to read. Liz

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Liz, and an early welcome to Olympia!!!!! Look me up when you hit town and I'll buy you a coffee.

    • profile image

      lisajon 9 months ago

      Wow, do you really hate Californians that much? Are we really all alike to you, all 38 million of us? My husband and I are thinking of moving to Olympia because it seems like a nice place to retire and because his son and his wife live there and are soon to make us grandparents for the second time. But I really don't want to deal with snobbish, bigoted attitudes because we happen to come from California. I hope your comments were also tongue-in-cheek. It always makes me laugh when people say they go someplace "to get away from all the people." We're all people!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      lisajon, don't take it too literally...in fact, don't take it literally at all. It's a standing joke about Californians up here. In truth, nobody gives a rip where anyone is from. No offense meant and hopefully none taken. I hope you love Olympia as much as I do if you do move here.

    • profile image

      Mike 4 months ago

      Love the list above billybuc especially the Evergreeners. It is not a sin to take a shower every once in a while. To the retirees above my advice would be to check out Olympia in the winter. You will want to Snowbird during this time of year. Global cooling takes over this time of year and its a wet cool.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      it really is, Mike...I've been in these parts most of my life, and winters are getting damper and cooler. I have yet to acclimatize myself to the new winters here.

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