MonthAugust 2003

the hunt goes on

So, another week has passed, and I’m still looking for a job here in Silicon valley. Things have improved somewhat, I’ve had some interviews and have a bunch of on-site interviews next week. I’ll keep clammy for now about where exactly I’m interviewing until I pick a job, assuming I get any offers. But afterward, I promise I’ll give the full report. I’d like to say the key is patience and relentlessness; I’ve now sent my resume and/or applied to jobs at over 20 companies. But tragically, in the end, it seems like it’s just a question of whom you know.

The rest of my time has been soaked up doing mostly chores: getting cars maintained, shopping, cooking, fixing up the apartment. We still lack dining room chairs. I think I am cursed never to own any of my own. The trouble is at the moment I can’t borrow any from Ali. Maybe I’ll grab a couple when I visit him in Michigan.

Leslie has much more interesting stuff to report since this has been her first week of teaching, but I’ll let her tell her own story whenever she finds the time on puddledog.

Tomorrow, Leslie and I are heading into “the city,” which around here means SF. Maybe we’ll finally have some new pictures and interesting stories to tell then.

california pictures!

Ask, and ye shall receive. We’ve posted pictures on gallery of moving in to our apartment and Leslie setting up her classroom.

moving and job hunting

Another long stretch without an update, I know. I’ve only had internet for a few days now, and they have been busy ones.

Last Friday (a week ago), Leslie and I moved into a great little (well, pretty big, actually) two-bedroom apartment in Santa Clara. It’s fairly cookie-cutter, but we’re doing our best to make it into a home. It was found after two frantic days of house searching on our part on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week. The house hunting was complicated by the fact that Leslie was committed from basically 8am-9pm everyday. So mostly I drove all over South Bay looking for a place for us to live, knowing that we needed something we could get into by Friday when Leslie’s parents were due to arrive with all of her stuff.

We were originally looking for a two-bedroom house or part of a multiplex, but it turns out that in our budget range all of the duplexes and houses are pretty shoddy, or in bad neighborhoods. The standard housing for people our age around here is the two-story apartment called a “townhouse.” So we looked at a couple of those, had one rented out from beneath us, and finally were going to settle on a condo in Santa Clara. It was big (1100 sqft), but oldish, avocado green countertops and wood paneling everywhere. But it was available, and we were desperate. I had also looked at a 900 sqft apt in a big complex, and after accosting Leslie to show her the old condo, we discovered that the “old” condo was also surrounded by “old” people, and on a whim decided to go by the complex. For some reason, we just felt better there, and right there on her lunch break put down the hold fee on the apartment. A couple of days later we moved in. While we were signing the lease, her parents pulled in to the apartment complex with all of Leslie’s stuff in tow.

After we got it all moved into our new place, her parents stayed for the weekend and we had a great time talking, eating, shopping, unpacking. They headed out early on Monday, and Leslie started work (no kids until next week), and I started looking for work. Now, this was the least concrete part of my plan: I move down to the bay, Leslie and I find a place, she teaches, and I… get a job somewhere. It didn’t bother me too much that I’d decided to start looking for a tech job in Silicon Valley, in what might be one of the worst job markets ever. But here I am now, trying to find employment. I spend a few hours every day looking up companies and jobs and applying and sending in resumes. Really, online job hunting is like pouring your soul into a black hole and hoping for a response. But I’m better off than most. I’ve got several good possibilities cooking at big companies here in the bay, and with luck I should have a job somewhere around here in the next few weeks.

So I’ve sort of been acting as a housewife for the last week, getting stuff arranged and put away and set up and so forth. On Tuesday the cable guy showed up to bless us with sweet, sweet internet. That night I got a call from the people shipping The Box down from Seattle to here in the bay. So on Wednesday I recruited my brother, we rented a U-Haul truck and drove the 20 miles or so to where it was stored, transfered it all to the truck, then headed back down to Santa Clara and put it in my apt. Just really got most of it settled in yesterday, and all I can say is that the capacity of our apartment to absorb all of our crap is astounding. I must not think about all the work that will be involved when we move out, possibly in less than a year.

So next week Leslie starts actually teaching, and I languish here until I can find employment. I’ll try to get some pictures up on gallery soon; when I do, I’ll post another update.

a change of plans

It’s been a while since my last update. My vast readership is probably wondering how I’m settling into Seattle, whether I’ve picked a project yet, etc.

Well… I’m not in Seattle anymore. I left late on Monday morning to drive down to the Bay, where I’m going to be living and working for the next year (did I mention that this is where Leslie is?).

The people at UW, as always, were fantastic. When I explained my decision, they said it was fine, that I could defer my admission for a year, that they wanted me there when I was ready. It was hard to leave the great welcome I had gotten from the professors and the potential for some really fun work, but with any luck I’ll be able to pick things up next fall.

So, today was the second day of frantic apartment/house shopping that I did while Leslie attended training on how to use a scripted curriculum that she won’t be teaching. But hey, she’s getting paid, which is more than I can say for myself. We did manage to find a place; it’s kind of generic but large, cheap, and equipped with everything we wanted (except a trampoline room). It’s lucky that it ended up being so cheap because, since I don’t have a job, my income can’t contribute to the approval of our application.

Which brings up the other part of “living and working.” I’m now going to be searching in earnest for a tech job in what might be the worst place in the US to look for one–Silicon Valley. But what fun is life without a challenge? You really can’t swing a dead cat around this place without hitting several tech giants, and I just know that at least one of them has a job for me.

So, as I am trying to get my life the rest of the way assembled, updates might be a little spotty, but I’ll do my best.

here i am

i’ve arrived in seattle.

There is something very different about arriving in a place you’re just visiting and arriving in a place you think you might be living for 5 years or so. Everything gets judged, filed, every impression is stronger, and the things you know will be close to become so important. Do I really like this apartment? Where is the nearest grocery store? Is this really a nice campus? Will I be able to handle the rain? The clouds? Why is it sunny today? How much longer will it be sunny?

It’s thoughts like these that have made this first day sort of a mental and emotional marathon for me. Here’s basically what my day has involved so far:

1. Arrive at apartment building at 10am to sign lease that begins tomorrow. Have no quarters to feed the meter. Jog over to coffee shop to beg for change. Experience excruciating pain in thighs because you thought it would be a good idea to run a couple of miles two days ago after not exercising for two weeks. Feed meter. Limp into apartment building and fill out paperwork. Visit apartment to find it is still trashed–the lease doesn’t start until tomorrow, so they have until midnight to clean things up. Be suprised at size of apartment, but remind yourself that (in spite of strong personal inclinations) you’re living alone. Discover that waterbeds are not allowed. Sigh, and go to move your car before the meter runs out.

2. Park car in a free spot 15 blocks from campus that is tow-away from 4-6pm. Plan a 2pm meeting with advisor. Eat lunch at student union.

3. Meet advisor at 2pm. Many exciting projects are offered. Try to pick one to start work on by tomorrow at 11am. Try to arrange for building key, employment papers, budgeting forms, computer accounts. Realize that it’s 3:55pm.

4. Run/walk/limp 15 blocks to your car, reaching it at 4:05 unticked and untowed. Drive aimlessly looking for overnight parking, give up and buy a parking pass 4 blocks from apartment.

5. Limp some more to some random building and plug in your laptop. Post new pictures of UW on gallery and try to determine direction of your life for duration of Ph.D. program.

So this is the point that I’m at now. Maybe it was the 13-hour drive from the Bay yesterday, or the fact that I’ve been effectively on vacation since the beginning of June, or the stress of moving to a new city, but in any case I’m utterly exhausted. And the best part is that I can’t go to my apartment until around midnight, so no sleep until then unless I get a hotel again (and I’m just too cheap for that).

So hopefully I’ll have some pictures of the apartment up tomorrow sometime. Whee.

the last leg

well, this morning i’m driving from palo alto to seattle. it should take about 14 hours, so i want to get an early start, though i’m not sure it will help prevent this from being a really long day. hopefully the next post will be from my new apartment with pictures.

the last time i drove through oregon in the summer it was absolutely beautiful, covered in yellow flowers. i wonder if it will be now. i’ll try to snap a shot or two on the way if i can.

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