The Man I Married approaches the road’s narrow shoulder as if he’s hustling the VW onto the roomy Salt Flats, not parking on a makeshift pull-off overlooking a cliff.

Turns out the “affordable property” MIM’s checking out is the sheer drop-off that plunges down from my passenger side of the car.

“Wow, this looks great!” MIM opens his door during a break in traffic. He darts around to my door, waving to a logging truck that lays on the horn, and surveys the untamed wilderness he will conquer. I keep my seatbelt on and roll down the window.

MIM points to a shocked-bald tree clinging horizontally to the precipice. “Isn’t that a madrona? You love their red bark.” He hitches up his Dickies. “See? I’ve been paying attention.”

No way am I getting out of the car. Opening my door might upset the gravitational balance, and I’ll plummet to my death as the hatchback slides over the embankment—unless it gets hung up on the madrona. “It’s a cliff,” I point out.

“It’s waterfront. You’ve always wanted waterfront.”

I look down, down, down. I can see now that it’s more of an aggressive slope, plummeting to the frigid Puget Sound, where overturned kayakers die of hypothermia in 23 seconds flat before being swallowed by killer whales. “It’s not waterfront. It’s water.”Read More »