My first week

I’ve managed to survive a full week in Seattle, now. It’s honestly not that hard. I’m not murdered yet.

I even managed to run into a celebrity at happy hour last night, but I didn’t know she was, except from watching the reactions of all the lesbians around me, falling all over themselves.

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Megan Rapinoe, from the Seattle Reign women’s soccer team, who was also on the 2011 Women’s National soccer team, showed up to a third-Friday lesbian happy hour networking event last night.

I’ve managed early starts at work all week, and am loving my new role and new employer. It’s so refreshing to start fresh, move to a new city, and focus solely on doing a good job. Cheddar has adapted surprisingly well, becoming less aggressive when we play, and more affectionate over all.

I’m ever closer to closing on my condo later this month, and have not yet hit any snags with financing. My final paycheck from my former employer finally found its way into my hands, tremendously relieving the tight cash flow I’ve been living on. I can take a deep breath now, and not have to pinch all the pennies to get by.

At some point, I’ll begin shopping around for a new car, but for now, a Zipcar membership will suffice. I’m not in spend mode, despite having a new condo triple the size of my old apartment to furnish. I want to take it slow, choose timeless pieces, and really do it properly. If I can avoid IKEA furniture, I’d like to, but to be practical, it would make a lot of sense to use some pieces from there.

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I joined a real, grown-up gym this week, too. I’ve always been a member of 24 Hour Fitness, or its equivalent in Australia, Fitness First. This time around, I’ve joined the Washington Athletic Club. They have groups and activities for members in their 20’s and 30’s to mix and mingle, a golf club, wine tasting club, not to mention a full service discounted spa for members to get massages and have other treatments. If wine tasting is done through the gym, it’s healthy. *pinky up* There are multiple floors of facilities including a pool, men’s workout floor, women’s workout floor, a co-ed floor, racquetball and basketball courts, and tons of classes. I’m really looking forward to taking weekly yoga classes, which have super-convenient times, too. I’m very excited to begin a more regimented workout routine again, without the crazy hours public accounting threw into the mix.

I’ve even managed to make a couple new friends in my new city. And avoid the crazies as much as possible.

There’s so much good stuff in my life right now, and none of the bad stuff I was trying to get away from.

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In a good way, of course.

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Let’s do it

Soldiers do it. Kids hopped up on sugar at birthday parties do it. Not to mention the homeless. I’m not talking about falling in love, like the old diddy by Ella Fitzgerald. I’m talking about sleeping on the ground/floor.

By choice, I’ve resigned myself to abstaining from a night in a San Francisco hotel since all my furniture and belongings have been picked up. I can’t bear to pay close to $300 a night, nor can I bring myself to pay for an Airbnb in the city that started the initial housing crisis nearly all by itself.

So last night I “slept” in a sleeping bag on hardwood floors. By “slept” I mean I tossed and turned, had to contend with a kitty bed-hog who in the end just wanted to touch me at all times, and was able to conclude there are NO comfortable sleeping positions without a mattress. I do miss it so already, and I still have one more unbearable night like this. Let’s just say I’ve rediscovered that I do, in fact, have all the muscles required to get oneself down onto and up off of the floor. Nothing like doing pushups to get oneself out of “bed” in the middle of the night, only to step in wet cat vomit, I always say.

Why did I do this to myself? Oh yeah, that’s right, I didn’t want to be wasteful, didn’t want to impose on friends, wanted to save money, and have as few interruptions for Cheddar’s routines (like food and litter) as possible. Boy, he’s lucky he’s cute. Cause if it was just me to look out for here, I’d like to think I’d have a much softer place to rest my back and knees.

I’m a little brain dead and delirious because of the horrid sleep last night. I’m catching things the maids didn’t clean this morning that they really should have, had they any attention to detail. But bad on me for not catching it while they were here. And little sleep means less patience and general crankiness.

Despite that though, I’ve eaten at all the restaurants I could think of to google before the move that won’t be in Seattle. I had my last Ike’s Sandwich today… oh man, I am gonna miss those.

A good part of my luggage is also full with stuff just for Cheddar – a small makeshift litter box, a clean pooper scooper, toys, treats, food… so high maintenance, that one.

Once I get him settled on the other side, I’ll feel a lot less stressed. All I need to do after that is focus on my new job, until I can move in to the new place.

Yes, my apartment is empty, but my heart is full. Because of this little guy and all the good things we have coming our way when we start a new chapter in Seattle tomorrow.

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Moving day

The movers arrived halfway through their estimated 8am-10am window this morning. I was ready for them – I’d packed everything I could. The only items left with me in the apartment are going in the garbage before I go, or on the plane with me.

My bed for the next two nights is a sleeping bag on the floor, no pillow. I bought it in Sydney when I anticipated I’d be going camping with my girlfriend at the time, after I’d purchased her a tent and some camping gear for one of her birthdays we celebrated together. It’s never been used and was first unfurled here in San Francisco, today, actually. In the back of my mind, I half expect a cockroach or huntsman spider stow-away to jump out from the sleeping bag at any moment. I wouldn’t be surprised – put it that way.

The lead mover, the one who could speak English (for his customers) and Spanish (for his employees) was a straight-up dick when he first arrived. Besides trying to pull some shit on the phone scheduling the move, asking if he could come a day early, which would mean a third night on the floor for me, he proceeded to try to give me shit this morning upon his arrival about not acquiring a parking permit for his truck in front of my building. I quickly deflected it back to the person who arranged the estimate and coordinated them – no one told me the permit was my responsibility. I told him he sounded accusatory and not in the spirit of helping things, and to tell me what I could do now to help. He asked if they could come back in a couple weeks and I told him that wasn’t an option, and that I fly in 2 days. Quit your bitching and do your job. That’s what you get paid for. The customer is always right. Make it work.

Stress levels have hit the high I anticipated, as I said goodbye to the things and minutia that made my apartment my home. They’re just things, and I’m not attached to them. But they represent comfort. Home. And it’ll be another 3 weeks once I land in Seattle before the condo closes and I can move in my things. The sellers delayed closing because they failed to tell their real estate agent before my offer came in that since their place wasn’t selling, they told a friend they could stay in the property until mid March. So my closing date was pushed back 10 days, and they had to find accommodations for their friends after February 29, 2016. I’ve scheduled my stuff to be delivered on March 2, just in case the property is not in good condition when they turn it over, after having houseguests.

I’ve arranged for an Airbnb in that interim time frame, but it could be a questionable part of Capitol Hill. Some advice from a new friend in Seattle was, “Don’t. Get. Murdered.” Thanks for that one. It’s a tiny efficiency unit I’ll be sharing with the ever-messy Cheddar. It remains to be seen if the close quarters will make him go extra bonkers. But when he gets to running up and down the apartment at top speed, that’s plenty bonkers. It also remains to be seen how bonkers it drives me. Luckily, I’m hoping the focus of a new job and being busy during the days will leave me tired enough at night to be able to sleep through the time in the tiny Airbnb.

I will say, my San Francisco apartment has lots of appeal with nothing in it, and it makes the view outside the windows to the south, overlooking the Mission district quite a sight to see.

So move-out cleaners come tomorrow morning, final walkthrough with the on-site property manager tomorrow evening, and then early Friday morning, I fly one-way to Seattle. Here goes nothing.

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One day a butterfly

I’ve had an interesting first week of funemployment. I’ve taken to sleeping in until 8:30 (as much as I can with a little Cheddar kitty stepping on my face, poking me and standing on me to see if I’m alive, burying under the covers next to me, and nearly mauling my arm, then cuddling it, then mauling it again.) I enjoy my morning coffees, until my coffee machine must, too, be packed away. I’ve cleaned out old work notebooks, which helped to unclutter my mind. I waved goodbye to those things I needed to know about the things for my clients. Bye, Felicia.

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I’ve made considerable progress in the seemingly never-ending and daunting task of packing. I’ve returned to the gym on a daily basis again, which is doing wonders for my mood. Good old endorphins. I have had productive days, but there are definite moments of this:

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All of my worldly possessions, fitting in my 419 square foot apartment, are enduring my merciless sorting process, of whether they get to go to Seattle or not. I’m also doing this on a subconscious level, with baggage in my mind, and in my life. Some things will go with me, some won’t. As I said in my farewell email to coworkers and colleagues:

“Some things are over /
Some things go on /
And part of me you carry /
Part of me is gone.”
– Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, “Walls”

It’s not easy, changing jobs and moving cities. I’m definitely more stressed with this move than I was with my move to Australia. Firstly, I had a job in Australia when I landed with my firm – and I knew what to expect from that job. This time, I’m leaving my employer and its comforts and pains after almost 12 years for an unknown job. Yes, I’ll have a job when I land again, but this is also the start of a new chapter in my career, where I’ll be doing different things, on the different side of the table, and with new coworkers to boot.

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Secondly, I am buying a house. Now, when I landed in Australia, I had to utilize the services of a real estate agent to find an apartment, but that was nothing like buying a condo, which I am doing in Seattle. There’s this dirty little word whenever you spend a lot of money you don’t have at this exact moment… financing. While I had good credit, a signed offer letter, and good agents, I’m stretching myself to make the down payment. The savings nest egg I had in predominantly stocks took a beating the week I had to sell them to make them liquid for transferral into escrow. I haven’t even started thinking about the tax liability incurred for capital gains on those stocks. Some of my holdings quintupled in value. Ugh. I’ll be stretching myself even more with the monthly mortgage payments – they’ll be approximately $500 more per month than my current rent in San Francisco for my little shoebox. But it’ll be equity in my home, and not lining the pockets of a corrupt and greedy landlord any longer. That’s my primary purpose for purchasing, but it doesn’t mean it’s not terrifying.

Let’s not even talk about how all my furniture fills 1 room, and I now have essentially a 3 bedroom/3 bath home that needs furnishing. I hope my guests like the floor for a little while, cause that’s what they’re getting.

Sending me on my merry way in my final days in my city by the bay is the Superbowl City in downtown SF, making basically everything, harder. By, like, 10-fold. All the things. Public transport, crowds, just walking on the sidewalk is a pain, and then factor in the increased occurrence of gun-held muggings happening near Superbowl City and it’s enough to make anyone go home to stay out of the hassle.

The only thing more annoying than Superbowl City itself is what it stands for. I actually think the city spending that much on a fake city for rich people is an incredibly stupid idea, when you look at all the homeless people on the streets in tents. Given that it takes, what, like 3 weeks on average, for an opening to come up at a shelter, the homeless need real places to sleep, not under city freeways or in city parks. This fake city they’ve put up for rich sports fans will be taken down, but for the same cost, a sustainable shelter could have been erected not downtown for them. Jobs could be created to manage it. So this is all I have to say to San Francisco in its final stupid idea before I move:

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for the next chapter of my life. But it’s also a lottle (it’s like a little, but a lot) terrifying, and a little lonely. Cheddar gets to come along for the ride, but I’m moving from a city of comfort that I have known for many years to a place I get to learn from scratch. I love learning new cities, but it’s outside my comfort zone for sure. I don’t get to take my best friend with me. I don’t get to take the people I hang out with when I go out. I have to meet new people. Just the thought makes me cringe:

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I realized today just how overwhelming this process has become, in my final days here in San Francisco. I think combining all that stress with living amidst boxes stacked nearly to the ceiling, starting to eat take out more and more because the cooking paraphernalia is packed, and reality setting in that I’m frankly terrified, has me desperately clinging to anything familiar in which I can cocoon myself. One day soon, I’ll emerge, a home-owning jobbing adulting butterfly, but today is not that day.

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