We’ve been in Seattle almost a couple of weeks now, and are beginning to blend into our new environment. We are still living in corporate housing, but have found a rental house in a nearby community. It is currently occupied, so we can’t move in until the second week of October. We didn’t really know the area and that had us at a severe disadvantage because of the weather and traffic patterns. Eventually, I would like to live squarely in Seattle, but for now, we have decided to stay close to the Eastside. We considered Redmond and Bellevue for about two minutes, before ruling out both. Redmond is pretty, but very much a company town. Bellevue has a lot to offer, but the Redmond-Bellevue I-405 corridor is the equivalent of the Highway to Hell. Traffic is beyond ridiculous, and I couldn’t see subjecting myself to that twice a day. I can’t understand how a city so deeply engrossed in technology (Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, etc.) could be so dysfunctional when it comes to mass transit or infrastructure capacity. High-speed rail should be totally justifiable in an area with almost two million people and an unemployment rate that hovers just under 5%.

We got lucky on the house. I was very upset about leaving our little beach house in the Bay Area, and while it is not the Pacific Ocean, we did manage to get a large house with amazing views of Lake Washington. It’s on a little hill, on a dead end street, and about 1/4 mile from the shore. It is centrally located, so we can be in Redmond or Seattle within 15-20 minutes. The airport is a little far, which is weird for me, as being within 15 minutes of a major airport has always been a requirement. However, I don’t plan on traveling much, so we’ll just have to deal with it. I am anxious to move in and have all my stuff back, especially my office. At the moment, I have taken over the dining room table in the apartment, but miss having large, multiple monitors for my workspace.

I finished my first week at work, and am suffering from information overload. There is no “new hire” grace period here. You are expected to come up to speed quickly and dive in. As I am on a team with a deep, technical implementation, my brain is just swarming. I finally resorted to hanging three styrofoam boards in my office and am mapping everything out for all the different areas I deal with. Eventually, I will transfer all that knowledge to Visio drawings and detailed written specifications, for historical purposes. The team I work with is awesome, and not what I expected at all. Everyone has been very welcoming and eager to provide all the tools that will allow me to be successful long-term with the company. As with any large organization, there are some delicate politics to maneuver, but I am just maintaining a vigilant awareness of my surroundings. Context is key.

Bri made it here, and at first, hated it. This weekend, I took her to downtown Seattle and we did some shopping. She hates it a little bit less now. However, the rainy season is starting, so we’ll see how long she remains satisfied. She has already been checking out some music stores in the area, and is hoping to get a job in one of them. I think that would be great for her. She might be able to find an outlet where she can teach lessons to aspiring young cellists. She won’t start school until January, so that gives her some time to map out her schedule and get settled. In the new house, we were able to get one with an in-law unit on the ground floor, so she has her own space independent of us. There shouldn’t even be a need for her to come upstairs if she doesn’t want to, and that suits her just fine.

The dogs have been amazing throughout the whole move. We were very concerned about living in an apartment where they didn’t have a yard. However, they figured out the walk thing very quickly, and we have had no incidents inside. The city noises are still an adjustment for them, and they vocalize their disdain frequently throughout the day. For now, we pretty much have to take them everywhere we go. No use in pushing our luck by leaving them alone in the apartment. That’s not a damage bill I want to take on.

So, for now, I am just working, working, working. I know: same stuff, different city. I think it will calm down once we are settled. I am looking forward to exploring more of the area and connecting with the few people I know here.

northward bound

My life is in a spin right now. The movers are arriving on Thursday to begin packing all of our stuff. They will pack for two days and then pull out on the third day, headed for Seattle. The movers are taking one of the cars, and Mark and I will follow in the other with the dogs. Microsoft offered to fly us and take the other car too, but I wasn’t comfortable putting my dogs on a plane. Plus, it’s such a pretty drive and Mark has never seen this part of the country.

Bri (the smart one) has decided to avoid being cramped in the car with the dogs for the 12-hour journey. She is heading to Vegas the day we pull out, and will fly into Sea-Tac a week later once we are settled in the corporate housing. That was actually a blessing. It gives me an opportunity to get some of the critical stuff done in that first week without the concern of entertaining a disgruntled 17-year-old that has once again been displaced from everything familiar. She says this second move is worthy of me buying her a pony. I offered free rent and car insurance, instead.

We are not driving all the way through in one day. We plan to stay overnight somewhere near the California/Oregon state border, and then continue on the next day. I will probably stop in Portland briefly for lunch, and try to catch up with my former executive producer at TechTV, Paul Block. He and his wife relocated to Portland a few years back, and his daughter owns Compote, a cafe and bakery where Paul always posts pictures of her latest gourmet offerings. Every time I see the pictures, I always want to have a taste of whatever yummy morsel has been displayed. So, I figured at minimum, I would stop and check it out.

For the last couple of days, I have been taking all the prerequisite final drives through the Bay Area to say my farewells. I have instructed my mom to rent out the house, but not to sell it. You never know what the future brings, and I’d like to keep the option of coming back to my little beach house if the need arises. We also still have the house rented out in Vegas, but once the market creeps back up a little more, we will probably let that one go and use the proceeds to buy a house in Seattle.

In the middle of this, I am also trying to wrap down my final deliverables for my clients. They have all been informed of my pending departure, and I am doing everything possible to make sure they are squared away before I leave. Once I finish, the laptops go back in the boxes for the journey to Overland Park, KS and my experience at FishNet is over.

If you’ve made the drive from San Francisco to Seattle, I’d appreciate insight into major points of interest. We don’t have a lot of time to stop and will have the dogs with us, but if there is something you think we should see, let me know in the comments.

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