New commute: 53x longer than before

Yes, it’s true. My new commute is 53x longer than it was before. Can you believe that!?

Perhaps it’s better if we put it in perspective a bit though. My old commute was about 30 feet bed-to-desk, including stairs.

My new commute is about 4 blocks, give or take. So while it really is 53x longer than it was before (new and improved: now with weather!) it really isn’t all that bad — even in the rain and snow :)

Everything but marriage

Two weeks ago before Benjamin’s trip to Kingsville for Uncle Sam’s funeral and my trip to Austin to move the family business to a new building, B and I got married. Well, as close as you can get to it in Washington state – which is pretty damn close. In fact, Washington state has Everything But Marriage-level domestic partnerships.

What did our ‘wedding’ entail? Walking a couple of blocks to the nearest Chase (where we bank), getting a piece of paper notarized, and mailing it into the State. When we got back, our certificates (one for each person) and domestic partnership cards (one for each person) were in our mailbox.

While better than what we had in Colorado, and way better than what we had in Texas, it’s still “everything but” marriage. Functionally, until the federal DOMA gets repealed it doesn’t really matter. In the meantime, we’ve got a bit more legal protection than we’ve had before.

Moving logistics and Send-off

Our original plan for the move from Denver to Seattle was to ship up a few boxes via UPS/FedEx and take the rest up in the car. We weren’t planning on taking much and our thought was that we’d have about 1.5 months before coming back to Denver at Christmas. If we decided we wanted bigger/more stuff we could always rent a Penske and drive it up at that time.

After some discussion it became apparent that there were more items we wanted to take on the initial load than we could cost-effectively ship. So we went route #2 and priced out a Penske. Ouch. Getting a bit creative I priced out the cost of renting an SUV and driving it up to Seattle. Including the cost of both the gas and the rental, the SUV approach was half the cost of a Penske/U-Haul. The SUV I reserved was a mid-level SUV along the lines of an Xterra. I opted to rent it from a Hertz Local Edition instead of the Hertz at the airport to avoid airport concession fees.

Fast forward to Thursday Nov 4th when I went to pick up the vehicle. The gentleman at the Hertz desk apologized that they didn’t have an SUV that matched what I selected, but they had upgraded me to what they did have available for no additional charge. Move over Xterra, hello Tahoe. And not just a standard-grade Tahoe. No, this puppy had leather seats, satellite radio, navigation system, and even iPod support. As a bonus, it automatically shut down 4 of the 8 cylinders if the vehicle detected they weren’t needed. Despite having the vehicle completely loaded (more on that later) we still achieved 20.5 MPG on the way up to Seattle. A far stretch from the 6-10 MPG estimated for the Penske. It felt like a boat to drive — particularly for someone use to a small car.

After picking up the luxury SUV I drove it back to the house for loading. Our very good friends Todd, Steven, Josh, John, and Meghann showed up a few minutes later and we had everything loaded in less than 30 minutes. It helped that Benjamin had expertly packed everything we were taking in small, puzzle-perfect sized boxes. That combined with Todd’s PhD-level packing skills made loading a breeze. [Aside: several people, completely independently, commented that we needed the Tetris music playing during the loading!] To top it off, Steve and Todd brought over chinese food for us (Taste of Asia – B’s absolute favorite).

After the gang left, B and I ate dinner and proceeded to pack those last few pesky bags and boxes you always have at the very end. During the course of the next couple of hours, Steve, Jason, Jonathan, Danny, Mark, Ken, Peter, Meghann (again!), and Laura came by to hug our necks and chipped in when we needed additional hands. It was a wonderful send-off and we really appreciate everyone for coming out, lending a hand, and wishing us well.

We were well prepared the next morning for our 6:15 planned departure … so well prepared that we were only 15 minutes past schedule.

Arrival in Seattle: A night of drama

We arrived safe and sound and almost on time in Seattle on Saturday evening. It was raining really hard through Snoqualmie Pass all the way into Seattle. We parked the cars in the apartment parking garage, took Riley for a walk, and headed straight to dinner. After dinner the rain had turned into a sprinkle which was a much more pleasant experience to unload the vehicles.

We aired up the air mattress and laid down with hopes of getting a good night sleep. As a bonus we were gaining an hour with the time change to boot. Except it didn’t turn out quite as we’d hoped — instead it turned into a Night of Drama.

It all started when Riley woke us up around 2:30. I’m pretty certain this was 2:30 pre-DST change-over. To add insult to injury the air mattress was mostly deflated. I took Riley out to pee while B aired the air mattress back up.

Except we wake up a couple of hours later with the air mattress completely deflated. I’m guessing it’s about 3:30 post-PST by this time. We’ve gotten virtually no sleep and we’re laying on the floor. At this point I’m very loudly cussing out the sorry excuse for an air mattress. Benjamin is past exhausted and crying about just wanting to sleep. I called the Hyatt Place just down the street to see if we could get a room there. Oh sure, for $200. Come on – really? It’s almost morning already! So we resort to getting one of the bags of clothes we’d packed and throwing it on the ground under Benjamin’s side of the bed and I end up sleeping on the floor.

Needless to say the first night in the apartment wasn’t exactly a success. It was, however, great motivation to go out and purchase a real mattress (it was delivered on Monday) and an air mattress for Sunday night (and will be used later for guests).

Seattle Apartment

Benjamin and I now have a place to live in Seattle. We rented a unit at the Axis Apartments at 123 2nd Ave North, just 4 blocks from my new office and one block from the Space Needle. We’re just blocks from the core of downtown and the downtown hotels where we’re hoping B gets a job. It’s a work/live loft configuration with two entrances, one from the street and one from the inside of the access-controlled building, In many ways it reminds us of the loft we had in downtown Denver — except instead of being 100 years old, the building is only 2 years old.

It’s going to be another drastic change from a 2 bedroom house with basement back down to a 934 sq ft apartment, but we’ve done it before. And once again we’re mostly starting fresh with furniture. We won’t have a spare bedroom but folks are welcome to come visit if you don’t mind an air mattress!

Pictures after the cut.