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The move, the SUV, and Valentine’s day

On Saturday, February 10th we moved to our new house in Castro Valley! We stashed Caligula in the bathroom at the condo for the move itself. He got to emerge a few hours later to an empty home.

Shortly after the move was Valentine’s Day. I spent the day working from the office in San Francisco and then MJ and I met at the condo to change and head up to Fort Baker for dinner at one of our favorite places, Murray Circle Restaurant. They had a beautiful Valentine’s Day menu which included options of scallops, mushroom ravioli and lobster. I snagged the wine pairing to go along with it.

We ate the meal indoors, but then retired to the outside for a bit to enjoy a view of the Golden Gate Bridge at night. The evening was cool, but those views are some of my favorite in the region. Had the menu not differed for outside seating, I totally would have eaten out there.

Over these past few weeks I’ve been back to San Francisco a bunch of times as we’ve had a bunch of repairs and replacements done. A new carpet in the bedroom, a new bathroom fan installed that should be better and easier for a renter to use, new shades ordered for the windows, a part for a leaky faucet has finally come in and I’ll be heading up to the condo tomorrow morning to see that finally repaired. Next up will be painting, which we’ve been trying to arrange after a couple of estimates we weren’t very happy with. In all, things are coming along, hopefully we’ll be able to wrap it up soon and get it on the rental market.

At the house, it’s been a lot of unpacking. I tackled the basics of my office first so I could resume work the Monday following the move. The kitchen was next. We eat out a lot, but depending on eating out for even breakfast got tiresome quick. MJ spent one night getting the TV set up, which was a good move since he had a minor surgery last week and relaxing TV time was a nice chunk of recovery therapy.

I wish I was moving more quickly on getting my office set up. I need to buy some nice bookshelves and get my books and other things out before I’ll feel entirely settled. I do have what I need though, and finally all my day to day stuff is packed away into my desk and both of my monitors are set up. I also got a new chair, which is the first time I’ve done that in years, having inherited all my previous chairs. It’s a comfy one from Serta that I’m very happy with, especially after a week in a chair from the dining room table.

For the first time in a long time, all my stuffed animals also have a home. I had to keep a box full in storage while at the condo, and I really didn’t want to do that now that we have a house. I ended up picking up THE ZOO to live in my home office. I had my doubts when I was assembling it, but it fits a surprising number of critters. It’s full, but not overwhelmingly so.

I’ve found Castro Valley to be quite walkable, and I even made my way to the Hayward Japanese Garden the other day when I failed to get into a local park that was closed for some reason. The Japanese Garden was a lovely oasis, I’m glad I found it and look forward to visiting again. I can also walk to various places for lunch, including the Taco Bell, Chipotle and a cheese steak shop. The second week we were here I even walked over to the grocery store, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but felt less so when I had to haul two large bags of groceries home. Still, I made it, and appreciated it the next morning when I had eggs for breakfast.

Walking to the grocery story wasn’t sustainable long term though, so after eight years of being a single car household here in California, we bought a second one. We drove over to nearby Dublin, where there’s a cluster of car dealerships and spent one Sunday test driving a few of them across different brands for three-row SUVs. We decided upon the Hyundai Santa Fe, which we had test driven when decided to lease the Acura MDX for Philadelphia in 2016. The price and the feature set was right, and I’ve enjoyed having it so far. It definitely has room for all my groceries. It does take getting used to though, some things about it are just different enough from the MDX back east to be confusing. Thanks muscle memory! The color is nice too, especially given how basic the Hyundai color palette in the US.

As this week creeps up on me, my month at home comes to an end. I’ll be flying to Pasadena on Wednesday afternoon for the Southern California Linux Expo! It’s one of my favorite conferences and I’ll be giving a couple of talks, along with having some dinners and visits with friends and open source colleagues lined up. Really looking forward to it.