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Ruby’s dad has more than a million frequent flyer reward points. Almost every Sunday he heads for the airport to catch a flight from the west coast to the east coast. When Ruby was little, she could count on a new snow globe every time her Dad returned from the corporate wars. She’s in college now, but snow globes still line the top shelf in her room. The Sweetie calls them shake-em-ups—the Space Needle is surrounded by floating green sparkles, palm trees and a hula girl stand tall amidst drifting white flakes, a Bavarian village braves a winter storm. Take one down from the shelf, turn it upside down, give it a shake, and the sky falls.
Our life is a snow globe: it has been taken off the shelf, upended, and the sky is currently falling. Painting the balcony railing pulled a thread and we’ve been unraveling ever since. Our soon-to-be not house is clutter-free, clean as a pin, and a welcome relief every time we come home from another house-hunting competition. Now, we are buyers not sellers, in a hot housing market—the shoe is on the other foot, the chickens have come home to roost, we are paying the piper, what went around has come around.
The good news is our closing date is only a few weeks away, the bad news is our closing date is only a few weeks away. We found a house we love with no view, a house we didn’t love with a spectacular view, a beautiful house in a not-so-beautiful neighborhood, a not-so-beautiful house in a beautiful neighborhood, and so on: Goldilocks’s complaints about porridge and chairs spring to mind.
We fight the urge to succumb to scope-creep. There is no end of beautiful houses in beautiful neighborhoods past the north end of our budget. But then, that is always the case. I remember reading an article in a Santa Barbara paper warning would be-buyers to “expect to compromise if you are looking at $2,000,000 houses” What, no helipad?
Driving north or south on I-5 between Seattle and Portland, you see evidence of incredible growth: highway construction, industrial development, huge cranes towering above urban neighborhoods (My son once said, “You can estimate the financial health of a city by counting the cranes.”), a constant stream of 18-wheelers hauling logs, building material, lumber, and all of our on-line Amazon purchases. The good news is, Tacoma is growing; the bad news is, Tacoma is growing. Real estate in Tacoma’s North end has always been pricey, but now, the march toward gentrification includes Hilltop, Lincoln District, 6th Avenue, Fife, and Parkland; leaving Centralia, Pe Ell, Doty, and Vader/Ryderwood.
Obviously it’s time for us to man up, make a list of our priorities, ramp up the energy, and tamp down the expectations. Hold on the ride is not over yet.
Completely off topic, my sister makes her own pizza, she even makes her own pizza dough. Last week, between house disappointments, we stopped at TJ’s and I saw a bag of pizza dough. Somehow the thought of making a pizza cheered me up so we bought the ready-made dough, pepperoni, mozzarella, eggplant, roasted pepper, and Romas. I roasted the pepper and eggplants, sautéed the onions and mushrooms, sliced the Romas, opened the jar of pizza sauce, lined up the pepperoni, rolled out the dough, and tried to remember how they do it behind the glass wall at Costco. Anyways, it turned out great. So great that we’re having pizza again tonight.
I may be the only one you know who had never made pizza at home.
Preheat oven to 500° F.
Sprinkle a flour/cornmeal mixture onto your rolling surface. Roll out the pizza dough to a 12″ circle. Ease dough into pizza pan, tucking crust around the edges. (I used a throw-away foil pizza pan from the grocery store. Ginny uses an upside down sheet pan.)
Sauté sliced onions and mushrooms until soft.
Roast sliced and oiled eggplant in 400° oven until soft and slightly brown.
Roast, peel, and slice red pepper
Peel and slice Romas
Spread pizza sauce over dough. (I used a jar of Sugo di Pomidoro pizza sauce. Ginny likes pesto instead.)
Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese
Add sliced Romas, eggplant, sautéed onions and mushrooms, or pepperoni. Season with salt and red pepper flakes.
Top with more cheese
Holding the pizza pan on the bottom, slide onto lower oven rack
Bake for 12 minutes or until the crust is brownish and the toppings bubble.
If you used a store-bought foil pizza pan, ease pizza out of the oven rack onto a flat surface—my bamboo cutting board worked perfectly. Once out, slide pizza out of pan onto cutting board.