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Steve & John's West Coast Move
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The Wrangler and the bears had a going away party for us yesterday. There are so many people that we're going to miss seeing on a regular basis. Still, we're moving somewhere that people want to visit, so we'll see most of them I'm sure.
The movers came to pack us today. It didn't start off well. The elevators weren't working early this morning, the building hot water was out, and the movers had the wrong address. They finally got started around 10AM and immediately said there was more than the sales rep had estimated. It's almost 8PM as I write this and they are just now finishing.
It's also been crazy because one of my customers has some issues that needed to be discussed today, so I was juggling conference calls and answering questions from the packers. I'm not complaining - these are not bad problems to have. I'm beginning to get worried about how we're going to fit everything in the new place.
Our friend Jim came by today to pick up some things that we're getting rid of. He said he's coming out to SF in February; that made it a little easier to say goodbye.
The day started early with us taking a sofa downstairs to give to a friend for charity. Then the movers arrived and began the move day in earnest. Again, this crew said there was more than estimated. Makes me a little worried about how we're going to fit in the new place.
We didn't get started on our drive until about 4PM. We were hoping to make it to Rawlings tonight, but with the snow(!) we decided to stop at 7PM in Laramie. Just yesterday it was sunny and warm enough that we were outside without shirts; 24 hours later we were driving in snow. When we moved from the east coast to Denver 13 years ago in January, we were worried about running into a snowstorm; we certainly didn't expect it for this trip.
One of our neighbors took Tasha for the day. It would have been too difficult to have her underfoot all day. She hasn't been eating much since the condo has been full of boxes. She's kind of freaked by the motel room this evening; she's never stayed in a motel before. At least she handled the drive well.
Laramie, WY/Winnemucca, NV
We got an early start - I told John I wanted to make up some time today. The plan is for breakfast in Wyoming, lunch in Utah and dinner in Nevada The weather was overcast and threatening to snow until about 10AM, but we never did get any more on the ground.
There's not much to see in this part of Wyoming - rolling hills with no trees and no sign of human habitation for miles. Every exit seems to include a sign "Next services 35 miles". I can't imagine how bleak this must have looked to travelers before the car. I'm just glad that I have lots of CDs and there's enough cell phone coverage that John and I can chat a bit. John says that Tasha is not happy - she just stares at the back of the car seat.
As soon as we crossed the Utah border, there are trees. Actually Utah is quite pretty. Even Salt Lake City looks good after the drive across Wyoming. We got through SLC much quicker than I expected and had lunch on the west side. We sat under a tree in a parking lot so Tasha could sit with us.
It's a similar situation west of SLC as it was in Wyoming - only it's salt flats instead of endless rolling hills. Why AAA lists this as a "scenic drive" is beyond me. As soon as we crossed into Nevada, however, the mountains were gorgeous - snow capped peaks to the south of us for hours.
We made it to Winnemucca, a bit farther than I planned. We actually got in fairly early, but there are no decent size towns between here and Reno (3 hours away), so we stopped. We treated ourselves to a good dinner at the casino across the street from the motel; we have been eating mostly fast food in order to minimize the non-drive time and make sure Tasha isn't left alone too long in the car.
Winnemucca, NV/San Francisco
When we left Winnemucca, the sign said "I-80 West", but we were heading toward the morning sun. I was a bit confused but the road turned west after a few miles. About 60 miles from Reno I noticed the odometer on my car said "123456". Ok, it's one of those stupid things that only I would notice, but I thought it was pretty cool.
We stopped in Truckee, CA for lunch. John said this is where I should take him if he gets homesick for Colorado. The milestone for me is that it is downhill from here to the coast.
We arrived in San Francisco about 2:30PM, ahead of my original plan. We had a little issue returning the trailer. We went to the address specified by the rental agreement, but they said we had to go to another place to drop it off. So we navigated through the beginnings of rush hour with a trailer, dropped it off, and then were told we had to go back to the other address to deal with the paperwork.
I introduced myself to one of our neighbors who promptly invited us over for dinner. Turns out he used to work in our unit when it was a commercial space.
We only have one parking space with the condo. John has the nice car; mine is a 15 year old Miata, so I'm parking on the street. I had to get off an office conference call early today to move the car to stay within the limits. Moving the car every two hours is going to get old.
We had set up appointments with DMV to get CA plates, so we did the smog checks this morning. DMV was actually pretty smooth. We had heard horror stories about how expensive it is to register cars in California, but our cars are older and so it was a lot cheaper than we expected.
The line to get resident parking stickers (i.e. so I don't have to move the car every two hours) was pretty bad and then they didn't want to take our closing documents on the condo as proof that we live here. They wanted to see a lease agreement and didn't seem to understand that we actually bought the condo. The acted like they had never seen anyone who wasn't renting. I'm not sure what to make of that.
Some friends had us over for dinner tonight. They have some houseguests in town for Folsom Fair. We swapped stories from our respective end-of-summer trips - ours about the gay cruise and theirs about Burning Man. We took Tasha; we've been leaving her alone a lot while we've been settling in and she's been acting pretty depressed. She perked up quite a bit to romp on the grass in the Dolores Street median. Despite the fact that we parked in what appeared to be a legal space, we got a parking ticket. The parking seems to be pretty incomprehensible.
The humidity here is driving me nuts. The condo is not air conditioned and it's easily 95 degrees inside in the afternoon. It's hard to get a good night's sleep even with the door to the patio open. People told us we wouldn't need an air conditioner here and most of the places we looked at do not have it, but we will probably be getting one.
Welcome to San Francisco - someone slit the roof on my car and stole the radio last night. Suffice to say I'm not feeling good about the whole move today; actually I'm pretty angry and not someone you want to be around today. I never had this happen even when I lived on a street in DC with drug dealers in front of my apartment. It's not even about the radio; it's the sense of being invaded. The radio was fairly inexpensive, but the top, that will be a bit pricey to replace.
I've had people tell me to just leave the car unlocked so they don't damage to car in order to get in. Then some other friends told me that they left the car unlocked one night in Castro (a lower crime neighborhood than SOMA) and someone used the interior of their car as a restroom. It seems you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. The good news is that there's nothing left to steal.
So far, dealing with DMV has been the easy part of the move.
From here on out, I'm only going start the entries with the city if I'm not in San Francisco. How long will I keep the log going? Not sure, probably until we've been in town a year. Of course there may be more time between entries as we settle in and fewer "adjustment" things are happening to us.
We went to a party at the next door neighbor's on Saturday night, then went out to get stuff for our party. Yes, we don't even have furniture yet, but we had friends over for drinks and pastries before Folsom Fair (which was two blocks away).
We had a great time at our party. Good to see some old friends and some new friends we met on the cruise. We spent less time at Folsom Fair than I would have predicted a few months ago. It was much more crowded than I remember from when we went to it in the 90s. For those of you not familiar with it, Folsom Fair is not for the faint of heart and definitely rated "R" or "X". After a while, the leather outfits all look the same, although certainly some look much better in it than others. Unfortunately, the people who chose to wear nothing were typically those that should have been covered; in a perfect world, I would get to choose who gets to be nude at the Fair. The crowds got to us and we really didn't stay very long.
We then headed up to the Asian Art museum. We've been seeing ads for a show "Geisha - Beyond the Painted Smile" all summer on our househunting trips and yesterday was the last day. Really enjoyed it and it's one of those things that probably won't get to Denver, so we started feeling a bit better about being here.
Today was the first full day back at work for both of us. It feels good to begin settling into a routine, although I did get tired of sitting on the floor. The moving company is saying our furniture should arrive by Wednesday.
Even Tasha seems to be relaxing a bit. She's starting to take time to smell things rather than just rushing down the sidewalk. She was a big hit at the party, so maybe she's starting to feel like she lives here.
The movers arrived with all of our stuff. We not only filled the condo, but most of the patio as well. John and I had a big argument when the base to our bed broke as the movers were carrying it up the stairs. John immediately told them to throw it away and he'd buy a new frame; he didn't realize that the bed represents the last major piece of furniture that I built that we still have. Eventually we decided to keep the pieces and try to put it back together.
Some friends came over to help us put stuff away. They were a big help - the kitchen is mostly done and there's progress on the bathrooms. Still it's going to be a tense night knowing that most of our stuff, including expensive stuff like John's Roseville pottery collection and sentimental stuff like my powerlifting trophys are outside.
Oh yeah, and the windshield of my motorcycle was broken in the move as well.
I work at home and I couldn't work today. First off, my desk is behind a mountain of boxes. Once getting through that, every time I started to do anything at work, I'd look around and get distracted by the stuff we have to do. John was having trouble concentrating too and came home from Menlo Park late morning. We found a storage unit and spent some time putting stuff into it.
We put in a real effort and got all the boxes out of the bedroom and most out of the dining area. The stereo is hooked up, and the monitor we are using as a TV is operating (we sold the big TV in Denver and still need to buy stereo speakers as we had them built in in the Denver condo). We went to IKEA and bought a few things to help us organize the space. It's starting to feel like we really live here. Now if we could just do something about the humidity....
Every time we take a step ahead, we take a step back. My car was broken into again last night. There's nothing left to steal, the car is 15 years old and has local plates and a resident parking sticker, so I don't understand what they tried to get. Back in 1992, when Colorado passed a major anti-gay initiative, I felt just like this. It's the admittedly illogical feeling that people (53% in the case of the Colorado law) are targeting you for no apparent reason.
We keep telling each other that it will get better as we adapt to living here, but so far it doesn't seem worth the expense, the hassles, the bad weather, the crowds, and the moving stress. A friend of ours in Colorado just told us that a friend of his is moving out here and asked us to give him some advice; I'm less than enthusiastic about saying anything other than "stay in Colorado" right now.
When I lived in Washington DC, the city would get to me if I didn't take at least one weekend a month and get out of town. As much as I have loved visiting San Francisco, I assumed that I would not need that escape valve here, but I'm rethinking that assumption. I took the car to the dealer to get a new top ($1700) and found a reasonably secure parking garage ($225/month), so I'm going to try one more time to keep the car so I have it available for those weekend trips.