Tags: moving

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things in motion

We started moving things to the house yesterday. (Now we need to have a distinction between "house" and "townhouse" in our speech.) The first trip was most of our books; I campaigned to organize them before putting them back on our shelves, but we ended up being too tired by the time we finished doing everything else for the day (around 1am). Perhaps today. The second and third loads contained a bunch of stuff out of "storage" (the office closet), as well as random stuff we saw around the townhouse that wasn't going to get used in the next 3 weeks. Neither was all that effective at producing more space in the townhouse, but hopefully it at least saves us some time the week when we come back after the wedding.

I recall that when I first went to college, some, oh, 12 years ago, I was able to carry almost everything I had. I think I had a large backpack, a large duffel, a box containing my stereo (which I still have!), and some other fourth bag. Granted, I wasn't able to carry it very far; I remmeber having some orientation people watch my stuff as I shuffled it in parts between wherever the Greyhound dropped me off and my room in Village 2, and my computer got a separate ride from a friend. But still, a far cry from the current state when 3 Prius-loads of stuff make a barely noticeable dent in my possessions. And I fear that moving into a house with ample storage space, thereby removing the pressure to get rid of things, is only going to make things worse. Well, hopefully we won't be moving again for some time.
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new experiences


Heh, it's been a while since I've seen this little icon in my local weather forecast. Guess it's time to learn how to translate the temperatures in the below-30 range on the Fahrenheit scale. (Though this may be premature — they're saying there's only a 20% chance of snow.)
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things going wrong

This week started off with me spending the better part of two days fixing my printing. It was frustrating, because I'd debug it for a while, then decide to move on to something else, only to try to print a paper to read 20 minutes later and going back to debugging it. (In the end, it turned out that MacOS X doesn't deal well with SMB printing if you have special characters in your password.)

Then came the Verizon hassle. We put in an order online Saturday to get service with Verizon (I get a discount through the University). Monday they sent me email requesting faxed copies of some documents for a credit check. I faxed them off, but also replied to the email asking them to confirm that they received my fax. Silence. Tuesday, I called the customer service number, to see how things were going. The people there had no idea how to contact the actual State of Illinois Employee's Program people (who wanted my documents) other than the (non-responding) email and a 1-800 sales number. I called the number and left a message. Silence.

Today I called the customer service number again, got transferred four times before speaking to someone helpful (the last person I talked to asked "how did you get this number?"). She told me to fax the documents again to the "correct" fax number and then things would be fine. I had fanlain fax the documents, as well as a note asking them to call or email me to confirm they got the fax. So far? Silence.

Since I was doing phone errands, I figured it was a good time to call Wells Fargo and close my accounts with them. I checked my online banking to check if anything was still autopaid from the account, and noticed a charge from "Digital Age 888-529-98 Cyprus" for $24.99. I was trying to remember who that might be and did a quick web search, at which point I realized that I had been had. I called my bank to reverse the charges, which they promised they would do after they received an affidavit from me stating I didn't order anything from Digital Age. They also cancelled my card and tried to reissue me a new one, when I told them about my plan to close my account. It looks like this won't be possible until the money's back in the account, but hopefully everything will be cleared up in a couple of weeks.

Sigh. One thing that I expected to go wrong but didn't was getting my new Illinois license. It took just over an hour from arriving at the DMV to having a license in my hand. (When I moved to California, it was over a year before I got a license.) Most of the process was automated, with a touch-screen test, a digitizer for your signature, and a funky machine that makes the cards for you in about 30 seconds. But their "take a number" queueing was done manually, with cards that had numbers handwritten on them, which I thought was very quaint.

So step by step my permanence in this state is increasing... I would feel a little sad to lose some of my ties to California, but I was never a great fan of Wells Fargo, and as for the DMV... the less said, the better.
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arrived

I think my flight ticket was designed for maximum complication. I was connecting in Chicago from a United flight to an American one, which meant changing terminals, waiting through another line to check in, and clearing security again. At least my bag was ostensibly checked in through to Champaign. Having a paper ticket, I had to wait in the slow lines in both places, and because of the weirdness, I got flagged for extra security again, though only in Baltimore. (Extra security there meant puffs of air from the fancy new machine and swabs for explosives on my luggage, but no hand search or pat down.) In retrospect, I should have probably paid extra for a simpler flight with one airline.

On the plane to Champaign, I ran into one of my new coworkers, which I'm told will be a common occurrence. We had a nice chat about settling into both the department and the area, and then he gave me a ride to the Toyota dealership, after we determined that my luggage did not in fact make it onto our flight. There I picked up the shiny new Prius, which had only 2 miles on it, and not 4 as I expected. I drove it to our new house, picked up the keys and the DSL modem, and finally got everything working.

Right now I have a few errands I need to be taking care of, but I didn't get much sleep, and when I'm tired it's harder to get motivated to close down the computer and actually do something productive. So I'm sitting on the floor of a completely empty house, surrounded by a bunch of mail, laptop in hand and attached to the DSL modem. (fanlain is bringing the wireless router tomorrow.) I have a feeling I'll be spending most of today in this position...

Update: my luggage is here and my errands are at least halfway done. The Prius now has 10 miles on it!
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leaving on a jet plane, I don't know when i'll be back again

Actually, I've already left and arrived in Baltimore, but really, jet planes aren't much out of the ordinary for me, it's the not coming back part. I keep mentioning to people that I'm never coming back to the Bay area, and they all tell me that I am. Perhaps they're right, but what bugs me is that I don't have any definite plans to come back. Well, ok, I'll almost certainly be back here in May, but that's a million miles away from right now. All I can say, I guess, is send your party announcements a bit in advance and fanlain and I will be on the lookout for free weekends and cheap airfares...


My last day in town was pretty good, except for the very end. I thought everything was going well and we had lined up people to take a look at and hopefully take care of my motorcycles, when I discovered that 1) I had left the lights on my good bike and the battery had run down, and 2) I somehow lost the title to my "bad" bike. This makes getting rid of both of them frustrating. I spent some time trying to push start the bike. Since I no longer have any gear at home, I was playing with fire, or rather, a 60hp engine, but I managed to escape with only a slight cut on my toe, and I think I got it charged enough so that the starter now turns over. (fanlain has not had a chance to test this out yet.) I printed out a duplicate title application for the other one and put down all the appropriate signatures, so hopefully the transaction can go on without me.

I was tired from the stress and from pushing a 450lb weight around (the wheels help, but not as much going uphill), so I collapsed into bed while waiting for the laundry to finish, but wasn't really able to sleep most of the night. Thinking too much about what's up for the next, week, month, year, life... all in all, lots of exciting things, but I was exhausted by the time I made it to the airport (and underwent the ridiculous one-way ticket extra security check), and the dreams I had on the plan were all about my fantasy book, and not about moving, research. Speaking of dreams, I have to be up in a few hours and thinking about research, so it's time to go to bed.

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this is where it ends

I know that it's better to focus on the new things that are coming in life, rather than wax nostalgic about the things from the past, but I can never manage to do that. And it's getting harder and harder to deny that I'm leaving the Bay area in a matter of days. I said that there would be no tears at our going away party last night (except for in a specially designated room), but there were a few close calls for me. After saying goodbye to several close, wonderful people and realizing that I have no idea how long it will be before I see them again, it was pretty hard to retain my composure.

But, safe for a few such sad moments, the party was really great. Many thanks to eviladmin for hosting and for everyone else for coming. eviladmin's house is a pretty good space for a party: we had a dance floor, a comfy room to hang out in, and many spots for overnight crashers. One thing I didn't expect is that because there is so much more space than our apartment, the party was much lower energy, as everyone could spread out, become more horizontal, and not be within earshot of 7 different conversations at once. (Which reinforces my argument for higher population densities.) But it did have the nice feature that I spent more time talking to people one-on-one than I do at a usual party.

We stayed overnight and in the morning eviladmin cooked us an amazing breakfast of belgian waffles, fresh fruit, and pancakes. We hung out for a while, rearranged some furniture, and attempted to hang a painting using such common engineering tools as dental floss, lifesavers, and candles. Unfortunately, we did not quite succeed, but I'm sure that something will be worked out at a future bab5. We left around 2:30 because I still have a bunch of things to take care of in the day and a half I have left in the Bay area.

I've been feeling pretty down about leaving, but when I can manage to look forward instead of backwards, I am pretty excited about the move. I can't wait to move into our townhouse, pick up our new car, and start my new job. I also have to remind myself that I was pretty lonely when I first moved to Berkeley, but I eventually got over it. It took me most of a year to get to the point that when I would go on one of my frequent visits back to Canada, I would look forward to coming back. So I'm sure that with time, we will adjust to Chambana (or "banana shampoo," as a friend of mine calls it) as well and it will feel like home. I just wish it wasn't so far away...
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gone

It's all gone. Professional movers are kind of surreal. This morning at 10am I had a mostly normal looking room in a mostly unpacked state. Four hours later, it was all inventoried, packed up, and loaded onto a truck, not to be seen again for at least 10 days (hopefully not much longer). My room has an echo now. And it's starting to sink in that I'm in fact moving away. I'll still be living at "home" in El Cerrito for the next three days, but without any stuff. Well, there's the suitcase of clothes I packed, and a futon we'll be using to sleep on, but that's it. Literally.

Yesterday I took another step towards moving away and moved out of my office. It was interesting to discover that there was in fact desk under all those papers; I don't think it's seen the light of day, or even fluorescent light, for years. Most of the papers were actually thrown out, but there was also a hefty amount of conference proceedings that needed to eventually make it to my new office (once I have one, that is). To help with this task, we rented a car from City Car Share, which turned out to be... a blue Prius! It felt kind of strange driving one of their cars since we actually own one of those, it's just inaccessible. (Well, perhaps the Toyota Finance Company owns it.) But I managed to put more miles on it than the total number that are on our Prius (4, at last check). Note to self: must disable the reverse beep! But other than that, the car was fun to drive; in fact, enough so that we're renting it again tomorrow to take care of more errands.

Despite not having done any actual work today, I'm feeling totally exhausted, so it's time to collapse on the futon in my empty room. I'm sure waking up will be disorienting...
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accomplishments

Yesterday:

  • Cleaned & took photos of two motorcycles - Seca II and CB350
  • Updated ad on craigslist with CB350 address
  • Sent info for H-1 visa application
  • Discussed invite list with fanlain some more
  • Called a venue in Toronto
  • Sent out party invite
  • Sent off receipts for a conference
  • Forwarded (snail) mail
  • Called apartment complex to let them know move-in date
  • Played with battery acid ("Real acid?")

Today was less productive. We woke up to early to CalTrain to Belmont and talk to a fanlain's CFP friend about retirement planning projections. Afterwards I made a spreadsheet to better understand the scenarios she was computing. I think I'm convinced that if my salary and benefits were to stay the same, I should have no problem retiring. Of course, there's planning for adversities... I spent a long time just playing with numbers (which, of course, are just numbers, but it's somewhat unreal to see the projected balance in your retirement account after 30 years and count the digits) instead of reading the papers I was supposed to.

In the evening we watched a bunch of anime. It was nice to see people and to watch anime again, but I was too tired to really be social. Fell asleep during the last few episodes of Tsubasa Chronicle. I'm awake now, but fanlain is immovable, so I figure we'll crash in Redwood City and then CalTrain home tomorrow. Between the movers and the paper review deadlines, I'm not so sure I'll be able to make it to bab5 tomorrow. :( But everyone should come to our going away party Saturday!

Oh! I lined up 3 or 4 people to come see my bike; hopefully one of them will like it and take it off my hands. And looks like wealhtheow will take our old Honda. So all that's left is to get rid of the old Ninja that's in parts and doesn't run. Hmm...

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yes!

Well, I still haven't found my motorcycle key, but I found my spare, so I can finally put my bike for sale!

So now there are only 999 things left to do before we have to move. This has been a very frustrating time, since despite being unemployed and between jobs, I have a lot of things to do. However, because of being unemployed, I have no structure to my day and often don't get very much done. In addition, when I do get something done, there's no real sense of accomplishment, since it's all just errands.

Well, a week I'll be going to a conference and then to flying to Champaign and starting work. Which means, unfortunately, that I only have 7 days left in the Bay area. Ack!
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Trip successful

fanlain is much better than I am at blogging in realtime. I can only offer a retrospective. We managed to do the things we came for, which is find a place to live and buy a car. Actually, we only planning to reserve a car being currently shipped, but then we found out that someone else's deal on a blue ("Seaside Pearl") Prius with the package we wanted (AM) fell through, so we stepped in and picked it up.

The whole financing deal felt weird. You give them a small amount of money down, sign some forms, and you get a car. In our case, we nearly skipped the money down part because the finance guy at the dealership forgot to take our cheque, and we only remembered while walking out to take this photo. I suppose in some sense, they really win, since we didn't so much get a car but a bunch of pieces of paper. (The car will sit at the dealership until we come back in August.)

We also managed to find a place. We looked at about 10 places in total, some of them fairly nice, while others were cleary a dump, and finally settled on a townhouse that's not too far from campus, but not too close either. I like the idea of a townhouse because it makes a good intermediate step before buying a house, which we will likely do next year. And with no downstairs neighbors, I can keep playing DDR! The lease signing was a little painful; we had to read and sign more documents than for the car purchase, but I guess that's what you get with a lawyer-happy nationwide management company.

Tomorrow we get to wake up way early and drive our rental car back to O'Hare (which I discovered is not a convenient airport for getting to U-C) and fly to Toronto for nearly a week. We still have a lot on our todo list, and I suspect this will remain the case for the near future, but it feels good to get a couple of these big ticket issues out of the way. Now, once my visa paperwork clears, I'll be really happy.