Monday, January 25, 2016

Day 25: 157 Days to L.A.

Half of the kitchen is a different color. Lori and her mom painted multiple coats of a new color on the wall. I really liked our bright yellow color before, but I really like this modern (grown up? sophisticated?) new color Lori's chosen for the kitchen and the hall bath. The color originally slated for the bathroom was discarded as soon as the edge was painted.

We also met with our painter today to get an estimate on some of the bigger interior painting jobs. He said we shouldn't bother with the ceilings and I'm always a fan of someone who talks you out of something they can get paid for. The contractor was like that, too, identifying a few things he could fix cheaper than our original plan to replace. We're waiting for his estimate that we thought we'd receive today.  The painter could be back as early as next week to get those massive walls taken care of.

Joining the first buffet in the middle of the living room is the second hutch. I carried up all the pieces from the wrong one, apparently. Ah, well, I'll finish assembling it and then we'll set it aside.  It's a lot of work and I think I'm getting some carpal tunnel from all the work with the screwdriver.  If I can do more when the children are awake or at school, I can use a drill and give my wrist a break.  Once the kitchen is painted, we can put the first buffet and hutch in there.  Once the dining room is painted, we'll put the second one in the alcove.

I also did a little cleaning in the garage, but it would be difficult to actually even tell - it's a giant mess right now, though I'm working to get things into distinct groups: trash, recycling, donation, give away/yard sale, packed and still-to-be-sorted.  I can't wait for the weather to turn nice - I plan to put a bunch of stuff out in the driveway for a free/pay-what-you-want garage sale.  And there's lots of weeding that needs to be done.  Also need to climb up on the roof and lay down moss killer.  Need the rain to activate it, but need a dry day if I'm going to be climbing up there.  Also need to fix the chimney cap while I'm up there.

Tomorrow Lori will turn her attention away from renovations to pre-surgery nesting type activites - tidying, making sure she's got everything she needs for long periods of resting, things like that.

Still not seeing much on the housing front.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Day 24: 158 days to L.A.

Finally, a productive day for me.  I chopped up an old dresser into pieces that fit into the trash can, put the new car seats in my car, and with Rachel's help, assembled a buffet. I also removed some stuff from walls that were nailed or screwed into place. And re-arranged Rachel's room. We should have done it long ago, it feels so much more open now.  And moved some stuff around in our very packed garage.

One more buffet and two hutches to go.

Tomorrow we should get the estimate from the contractor and the painter is coming by to give us an estimate. A few days remain before Lori's surgery.  She wants to get some patching and painting done before then and also get the refrigerator and freezer cleaned out.  (People have signed up to bring us meals while she's recovering - that's pretty cool.)

We're seeing new houses come up in the listings but most really don't work for us. We're seeing houses sell at or below asking though our realtor in L.A. says the market will heat up as the we move into the year.  (The same news our realtor here is telling us - he's predicting multiple offers in the first week of listing.)

Today in church they were announcing events in church that are taking place in July and it was a little sad to think we'll be gone by then. Life here will move on without us.

We've begun to think about what we'll do once we get there, like get a membership for the L.A. Zoo and some of the restaurants we're looking forward to, both old and new.  Hello, Islands. Hello, Chick-Fil-A.  (My co-workers want to start a chain of chicken restaurants that are only open on Sundays called Chick-Fil-B.)

L.A. Metro has pledged to announce the opening date for the Expo Phase 2 within 30 days of the handover of the maintenance facilities in Santa Monica.  The line itself has already been turned over to them and they're testing trains on the line.  Right now they're projecting a May 2016 start, but nothing's official yet.  They have noted that they will launch without all the trains they need.  They're also just about to open the Foothill Extension of the Gold Line and between those two openings this year and the Blue Line renovations, they don't have all the trains they need.  We just got a hotspot so that I could work on the train, but I wonder if it will be standing room only when it first launches.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Day 23: 159 Days to L.A.

Time is moving way too quickly. I don't think I did anything today that worked towards our move. We celebrated a family birthday party. It was a nice time and our son did really well for most of the car trips.

Last week, the contractor came to walk through the house and talk about what we wanted done and to give us some of his recommendations. We're expecting his estimate on Monday. The carpet cleaners also came last week, so we moved a lot of stuff to the garage and haven't moved much back since then. It's so open and clean in here, it's nice. The guy who painted the outside of our house in 2014 is dropping by on Monday to talk to us about painting some of the high walls inside our house. That means I need to patch the corners of the walls that have been dinged up, or, um, chewed on.

We've got a really big Google Doc of all the stuff we need to get done and we've got the plans for house hunting and for listing our house. Now I just really need start actually crossing things off the list.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Day 19: 163 Days to L.A.

19? 19??? Nineteen?!?! Already? Dang.

It's been over a week since I last wrote. It's been busy. I was down in L.A. for a few days. Without a car. That was a pretty big accomplishment, I think.

Things are underway. We've met with the realtor, got our comps. The contractor is coming tomorrow to talk about the work we need done. We've put together the shopping list for Home Depot. We've already gotten a bunch of stuff delivered waiting in the garage. Lori's cleaned all the tile. Professional carpet cleaning is coming on Thursday. Our realtor in California is passing along matches and we're planning our trip down to house hunt.

You'd think with that much time elapsed, I'd have a longer post, but no, haven't really had time.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

@Lyft made me a fan of ride-sharing

This week, I went to L.A. for work.  Usually, that means over $350 dollars on car-related charges - over $100 to park my car at the airport, about $100 for a rental car (because my employer gets an amazing discount), $150 for parking my car at the hotel (they charge $25 a day and the city of Santa Monica tacks 10% to the cost of the entire hotel bill as a special parking tax) and then my employer pays another $20 a day for me to park the car at the office.  And then there's about $5 in gas to cover the drive to/from the airport in L.A. and then 2 mile drive each way to the office for a few days.  This trip, I decided I was going to do L.A. without a car.

Lyft had recently gotten approval to pick up from Los Angeles, so I signed up with them.  (A few years ago, in some really nasty traffic here in Seattle, I had needed to change lanes and no one would let me, until this car with a furry pink mustache on the front held back to let me in.  They don't still wear the furry mustaches, but that act of kindness by a Lyft driver had stuck with me.)

My first ride wasn't the best introduction. The guy had a 3.5 rating and I watched on the app as he had trouble finding my house.  A lot of people have trouble finding our house, but if he'd paid attention to his GPS, he would have gotten here quicker.  He showed up in a very nice and comfortable Acura MDX.  He had the heater on to 80 degrees for the first half of the trip but I decided not to say anything.  He finally turned it down partway through.  His lane control wasn't quite scary, but I hoped it wouldn't set the tone for the rest of the rides.  Near the airport he missed the exit and had to slow and cross a painted median.  It was my first ride, so with nothing to compare it against and gave him a 4 with no other feedback.  After my other three rides, I might have revised that to a 2.  Hopefully he improves.

At LAX, I had trouble finding the pickup location at first and had to resort to some research on Google.  I knew I was looking for a brown sign, so I figured it was like these on the arrivals level:

But it turns out they're small round signs on the departures level:

Of course, I had problems with getting a signal and I was worried I was going to get rejected or a bad rating.  Fortunately, since Lyft told me what kind of car, its color and its license plate number, I was still able to connect with Mohammed even though our phone calls kept getting disconnected.  So got into his nice Honda and we drove to Santa Monica.  He had a rating in the high fours and was a really nice guy.  He drove well, with confidence and safety and in a very direct route.  I learned that he'd only been driving for Lyft for a few months, having just moved from Lebanon.  He was driving a lot, so that he could save money to bring his wife and five children over.   He said he only went to LAX when he needed a rest, knowing that there was so much competition at LAX (even with just Lyft serving the airport) that it would be between 30 and 60 minutes from when you arrived to when you'd be assigned a fare.

The next few days I used the Santa Monica Bikeshare to get to and from work.  There's a few large roads to ride on or cross (in the dark in the evenings) but it was fun and felt safe.  The final day I used the hotel's shuttle to get to work since I had all of my bags with me.  The guy who drove me was filling in for the guy who normally shuttled people around.  Turned out he was the hotel's manager of housekeeping, which wasn't even a full-time job so he had the same role at another hotel by the airport and that he had a 90 minute commute just for his two part-time jobs.

After work, I summoned a car from work.  The first Lyft drive assigned rejected the fare and then a second driver (Levon) was assigned who was there in a few minutes.  He theorized that the first driver wasn't registered to serve LAX.  Levon had just finished medical school, had $200k in debt and was driving with Lyft while interviewing with hospitals looking to get connected for a residency.  The flexibility of Lyft allowed him to book a lot of hours when he was available, but then take days off so he could fly to various places for interviews.  The first thing he said when I got in the car was "buckle up" - not in a "this is gonna be scary" way but in a "I care about your safety and the rules."  He too, was a competent and safe driver.  He pulled off one move I would have never even tried and it paid off awesomely when the GPS told him to do something legal and nearly impossible.  I was well-impressed.  His last fare, a trio of teenage girls had asked him to write a note for them posing as a parent excusing them from school but he declined.  Levon had gone to school with the founder of Uber which was part of the reason he went to work with Lyft and not Uber.

I had been worried about Seattle - I had read that a Lyft driver had recently gotten a ticket for driving someone to Seatac.  But the Lyft people on Twitter said that if it was in the coverage area, it was covered.  So, after deplaning, I made my way to the curb and summoned a lift.  I was told that the car would be there in less than a minute.  Again, I had problems with the phone, but the driver had stopped about 15 feet ahead of me, so as he got out of his car with his phone to his ear, I waved my phone and he waved back.  And off we went.  Roman had been driving for Lyft for only a few months and had only learned the day before that he could pick up people at SeaTac after dropping off his brother and then signing in and immediately being assigned a pickup at the airport.  The day he drove me he had gotten up at 6 am, drove up to Seattle, worked for two hours, made $80, drove home and got home just after his wife woke up.  They spent the day together and then in the afternoon he went back to work, planning to work until later into the night.  Roman's been married 11 months and likes Christian music and really loves talking to people, so loves getting to meet lots of people as a driver.  The last three drivers all spoke highly of Lyft, saying that they really felt like the company supported them, worked to constantly make things better and were really invested in their success.

These four experiences - even the first one - were so much better than the two taxi rides I've taken in my life.  One was straightforward, but I remember sitting on seats covered with duct tape.  The other taxi ride was much longer than it needed to be, we're sure.  These experiences were much closer to the few limo rides we've enjoyed.  I'm definitely sold on RideShare.

Lyft gave me discounts on those rides as a new customer so I was happy to give big tips to the drivers.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Day 10: 172 days to L.A.

Today was another day of massive decluttering and cleaning. The realtor comes on Tuesday to lay things out for us and we were going to have the carpets cleaned on Wednesday, but we're going to need to delay that. We've got a plan in place for what renovations we need done and Lori's identified a contractor to call for a quote.

One of the things that's bugged me is the length of the commute I'm facing in L.A. But I realized that most of the jobs in this area would also mean a commute of probably almost as much, the jobs wouldn't pay as well, and the only option here for the commute would be by car. In the rain and snow and dark. I did that for six months and it was pretty brutal. And that was a really mild Oct.-April where there wasn't any snow. However, in L.A., the potential will soon exist to have almost the entire commute by rail. We're getting a mobile hotspot soon and I could definitely use that to do some of my work while in transit. That would be a much better use of my time. I hate to leave Seattle, as near as we can tell, this is the best option. Well, that and I love working with these guys. They're smart, they're driven and there's a lot of potential for me. It's not Kingdom-work, but I can still pray that somehow it means something beyond just supporting my family and having fun doing it.

Speaking of cars, this is a weird one, but one thing I've noticed about California versus Washington - people are a lot more respectful of others' cars in California. You're a lot less likely to come out of a store and find a fresh new ding in your car door down there than you are up here. This is from a sample size of 3 or 4 cars, but especially Lori's, people up here have just not been kind. It's really quite disappointing.

And speaking of cars, I'm looking forward to the Peterson Automotive Museum. It's fresh off a major renovation and I don't know why I never made it down there before. Of course, if you like cars, you also need to see the two LeMay Galleries up here in Pierce County - they are really amazing. One of them we didn't even get to see all of because it was just so big and we knew our son wouldn't be able to make it all the way through.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Day 8: 174 days to L.A.

Lots happened today. Not my doing, I was at work. But Lori scheduled carpet cleaners, tried to engage a tile guy, found a great tile project when the tile guy declined, priced more stuff, ordered a few things, and did a lot of cleaning and decluttering. I did a little bit of decluttering, but not much. I need to do some patching of corners - our son has literally chewed on the wall. We think it's in anger. We haven't seen it in awhile. Not since the last time patched the walls. Life with autism, yup. We had a long talk with our daughter tonight, too. She's starting to get anxious about missing friends and things she knows here.

I'm really tired. The phone call with KMart this evening just cast a pall over the whole evening and I'm really bummed by it. I exercised a lot today while working so that's also made me tired. But I'm way under my calories. I've started watching The 4400 (no one told me it takes place in Seattle, British Columbia. I like Seattle, B.C. almost as much as Seattle, Washington). I would have watched it much sooner had I known about the Seattle connection. We're also watching another Seattle, B.C. show - iZombie which I'm also enjoying. Also fun - I recently saw "RoboShark" which took place in Seattle, Bulgaria. I liked how the first half the movie they had signs with the City of Seattle's logo and the cars had Washington State license plates on them but by the second half they were mispronouncing Bill Gates (Glates) and you could easily see those round European-style speed limit signs and all the names of the shops in the mall were stores you'd never heard of.  (To save you the trouble - a UFO crashes in the Pacific, a shark bites it, becomes a robo-shark, snatches a Kenmore Plane out of Lake Union, then is back in Elliot Bay (geography was all wrong) and works his way inland through the sewers, eating people.  The Navy sets up tents in a field and catches the attention of a reporter (apparently the Bulgarians and Canadians who made the film didn't realize Seattle is full of real permanent Naval bases) until finally Roboshark ends up in a swimming pool (the kids are all saved because they send a Tweet to the High School's Twitter account and all the students follow the HS Twitter account) where Roboshark starts Tweeting and they start Tweeting back and his eyes change from red to blue (he's no longer a murderous Roboshark) but then the government blows up the pool and I can't remember what happens next but his eyes turn back to red and then  the Space Needle gets damaged and they try to aim the top part at Roboshark who's in a grassy field next to the Space Needle and I think they miss but something else kills Roboshark but then someone's Chihuahua now has the red eyes as the credits close or something like that.  (And yes, the Roboshark ate Bill Glates.)

Our daughter's been leaving for school in the mornings in the dark. Seattle's weather changes so much that some parts of the year it's still dark at 8 am and dark again by 4:30 pm and other parts it starts to get light in 5 o'clock hour and says light until  10 pm. It's disorienting and confusing. I am looking forward to the move back to where sunrise and sunset are more consistent. I have fond memories of going out at 7:20 and turning the water on to water the roses and then popping back in to help make sure our daughter was ready. Then we'd all come out, I turned the water off, we'd get in the car and get on the road, dropping her off at daycare, then me at my job and my wife would head on to hers. It's better now to be in a position where she doesn't need to earn a paycheck and can stay home and run the house and be available for doctor's appointments and therapy and all the other stuff we need, but I really did enjoy those mornings. But, like Don Henley says, "Everything is different now." He was talking about a change I had already made, I know. But, it is. So I don't know what I think I'll reclaim by moving back, but I'm definitely looking forward to the weather.

Privacy Alert: Avoid @Kmart and @Sears online

I am so frustrated right now. There's two people who think my email is their email address. One guy in L.A. has one that's mine + one extra character. I don't know if people type it wrong or if he's sloppy, but I get emails intended for him often, including employment contracts from TV studios and people who want to be on one of the reality shows he produces. Most recently I've been getting emails from Hilton confirming trips he's taking. Hilton was quick to get my email address removed, thankfully.

Now there's another guy(?) in New York who keeps using my email address when he buys stuff. He did it at Nordstroms - it took a quick online chat to get my email address removed from the account. He did it at Wal*Mart - again a quick online chat got my email address removed, unfortunately, canceling his order in the process. He did it at KMart and here's where our story is today. He's not making fraudulent purchases, he's just apparently unaware of what his own email address and not at all puzzled about why he's not receiving confirmations when he places online orders.

First, that got me on the mailing lists for Kmart and Sears and unsubscribing did not work. I finally had to tweet to them and their ESP (Epsilon) before I was able to convince Sears to work directly with me to stop the marketing emails (that's the promise - they say it'll take 7-10 business days before we'll know for sure).

Second, I keep getting confirmations for orders this person is placing. I've tried to remove my email address online, but to no avail. I've tried to delete the account, but to no avail. I even changed the name on the account in the hopes that it would get someone's attention, but that hasn't helped.

So today I tried again to remove my email address from Kmart's system. There's no online chat and you have to call a 1-800 number. There's no option to talk to customer service. I pressed zero a bunch but it just kept repeating the same options. I eventually went with "cancel my order" for a lack of anything better.

So I got this person with a heavy accent who had trouble understanding what I was trying to do. Trying to be helpful, she shared details about the order and the last four digits of the credit card that was used. This was before I had even given her the order number. All I had provided was an email address.

Eventually I had to ask to be transferred to a supervisor. Again, the supervisor wanted to talk about the order and address me as the person in New York and give me additional details about the person in New York - I think she was closing to giving me their address, even though I'd explained that I was not the person in New York, I've never met the person in New York and this email address is mine, not theirs.

She reiterated that an email address cannot be removed from an order. Best she could do was submit a request to IT to do... (something)?

Apparently, the bottom line is that if KMart gets your email address, they own it, not you. You can't get out of their system without extraordinary measures (if at all - we'll seE) and they're not going to make it easy for you.

But, they will give out all kinds of personal details if you call 800-735-6292 and provide an email address.

So, I would recommend avoiding shopping at KMart and Sears - at least online - because I don't have a high confidence in their ability to keep my (or your) data safe. (and if you shop in a store, for goodness sakes, don't give them your email address.)

I don't know what's next... Better Business Bureau? Federal Trade Commission? I hope it doesn't come to that but I will go there if I need to because this has to stop. I can't go around signing up at every retailer in the world in the hopes of preemptively keeping this guy from New York from signing up.

Update 1: My wife's Google skills outshine mine today. She found the person's Facebook page (all I could find was their property tax payments). So I've emailed them and asked them to stop using my email address. Sears sent me an email that links to the dev instance of an internal tracking dashboard. I don't think that was supposed to come to me. At the very bottom it humorously says "This message, including any attachments, is the property of Sears Holdings Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. It is confidential and may contain proprietary or legally privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, please delete it without reading the contents. Thank you." (How are you supposed to know not to read it if you don't read the disclaimer?)

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Recommended: River on @netflix

Netflix knows I'm a Simon Pegg fan (who isn't?) and so it recently recommended Hector and the Search for Happiness.  It took me about 23 minutes to realize "This is a really good movie, one Lori will really enjoy."  For New Years she finally watched it with me.  We really enjoyed it.  So I'd recommend that, too.

It's just about 23 minutes in that Stellan Skarsgård appears in a small role.  I don't know if that was coincidental or not, but Netflix started recommending River to me.  And now I'm recommending it to you.

River is a drama set in modern-day London.  A dark, gritty drama that follows John River (Skarsgård) and his partner as they, well, the less you know going in, the better, I think.  I knew a tiny bit, but I hadn't been spoiled.  It's a six-part mini-series.  I think it would be difficult to tell it any quicker, a lot would be lost if it were a movie.  (In some ways, it felt like watching a Denise Mina novel.  I also got a little bit of an Awake (NBC, 2012)-vibe.)  The ending left me really satisfied and by the end, I really had only one question remaining that I didn't fully understand, but I suspect that was intentional.

I enjoyed the London setting, often at night - it was dark, rainy and gritty, so foreign. Well, not the rain part.  The only time I felt like I was taken out of it was when I spied a Subway restaurant in the background of a shot.   Man, those are everywhere.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Day 6: 176 days to L.A.

If you came into the house, you might look around and see clutter.  But, I can tell things are changing. Boxes are moving, boxes are being filled.  The living room and dining room are getting cleaner. Lori's getting to do a lot more right now than me.  I did some work on a maintenance project tonight, but that's about it.   (And I was under my calories, yay - though only barely.)

There's a neighborhood in Los Angeles called Westwood.  It's Westside, right on the edge of UCLA.  It's a very walkable place, a very alive place, even into the late evening (though you'll find many places that are very walkable thanks to the great weather).  And with UCLA nearby, lots of college students also gives it a youthful vibe.

I remember Scott (a friend and co-worker from UltimateTV) and I going over there to hang out and see a movie at the Fox Theater and Lori and I went there to walk on a number of occasions.  Elysee was a great bakery I would liked to have visited more often and, well, now I can probably look forward to it again on a future date night.  I don't recall what a lot of the other shops were like in Westwood, but I just remember it being night, dark, the warm dry air and it feeling like a safe, carefree place to just walk around without a burden in the world.

Way to #underwhelm, @FedEx

Apparently, FedEx is too efficient.  They almost got my package here a day early.  But that wouldn't do, they can't give you more than you paid for - so they delayed my package by a day and they're happy to note that on their website.

click to enlarge
And I was just thinking the other day that if I were running FedEx, I would take every 100,000th package, expedite it to overnight and slap a sticker on it and announce that they'd gotten an free upgrade.

Last time I had a package from FedEx it was supposed to be delivered on a Saturday.  It arrived the following Tuesday with several big bright "Saturday Delivery" stickers on it.

I have another FedEx coming next week the same day I'm scheduled to go out of town. I'm worried it'll arrive a few hours after I head to the airport.

I'm a big fan of FedEx (and a minor shareholder).  Why do they keep making me sad?

From last year:

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Day 5: 177 days to L.A.

I didn't feel like a lot was accomplished towards the move... by me. Lori got some boxes cleaned up, a few things packed that she won't need again in the next six months and she worked on the list of items to buy. One discussion we had today was the stove. When I had the hot water heater installed under the house (moved from its old location in the laundry room), that was also to get the gas line plumbed to right underneath the kitchen. So... if we're replacing appliances, do we get a gas stove, or a new electric stove? Just another one of the many decisions I'm bummed to have to make. There was so much more I had planned to do here. I thought we'd be here a long time.

One of the things I'm looking forward to is Aloha Food Factory, a really wonderful family-run restaurant in Alhambra. We went there pretty frequently when we lived down there, especially when it was just the two of us. (The 210 to the 605 to the 10 to the 710. Or shoot down Rosemead to Valley - slightly easier to get to than Maranation Ma Kai) Clearly a former Taco Bell, I'm guessing it's been AFF longer than it ever was a Taco Bell. We even had them cater a luau we had with our church group. Great orange chicken, pork, shave ice and really phenomenal macaroni salad - oh, and the macadamia nut pancakes A few years ago when Lori I went down for an overnighter to see John Williams at the Hollywood Bowl, it was a given that we'd be heading over to Alhambra as well.

Man, that sounds so good.  Now I really want Hawaiian food.  I am under my calories yet again today thanks to a lot of walking while I worked today.  Woo.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Day 4: 178 days to L.A.

Today, today felt like we actually got some stuff done.  I took down everything off the walls, except the big mirror and the stuff in the children's bedrooms.  Lori researched paint colors and window treatments.  (She has already been doing other planning exercises, like looking for good furniture for staging and researching other purchases like new countertops in the kitchen and some new sinks.  We had a chance to talk about it briefly, but we were both running in opposite directions today.)  I also cleaned off a bookcase.  Some stuff will need to get packed and I put think or two in the donate pile and cleaned the area underneath the TV.  If you came over today you might be hard-pressed to see a huge difference from yesterday to today, but I feel better about having gotten something done.  I also did some consolidation of stuff, put away my Christmas gifts and got my next two L.A. trips planned. We also talked more about the actual logistics of the move. Soon I'll probably need to adjust the countdown (there probably isn't 178 days left). No new listings yet in our desired neighborhood. Zillow got a little loopy tonight and suggested a property in L.A. proper on Rampart St. Not that desparate, Zillow. Sorry, but perhaps that street should have been renamed. Either way, can't do L.A. city because of the schools.

I'm going to do something daring for my next trip: I'm going to go carless.  The last few trips have spent so much on cars that it's ridiculous.  Over $100 to store my car 18 miles from my house, another $100 to drive someone else's car from the airport to the hotel, and then to and from work twice and then to work a third time and back to the airport.  And then close to $100 to store that same car at the hotel for a few hours each night while I slept.  Crazy.  So this time, I'm going to go Lyft.  I can get a ride from my house (I know! Even way out here!) for about $34, I can get a ride from LAX to the hotel for about $22.  I bought into the Santa Monica Breeze Bikeshare so I can ride my bike to work while I'm down there.  And then on the last day when I have my suitcase, the hotel can give me a ride and then I'll catch a Lyft from there back to LAX and then a Lyft from Seatac or the nearest Link station.

When we lived in L.A., we had a membership with the L.A. Zoo and went regularly.  It was a pretty good zoo and you didn't have any of that indecision about whether to go to Pt. Defiance or Woodland Park, both of which are also great zoos, but a bit of a drive.  Also, unlike PD or WP, there was always ample parking.  (It was also where we'd park when we'd visit the Hollywood Bowl.)  Sure, there's a bit of a hill at the start, but it's not as bad as the San Diego Zoo and it's good exercise.  I'm excited to see what's changed since we were there last.  I don't know why, but beyond the Capybera exhibit, all of the zoos kind of blend together in my mind.  I always thought they should call it the Los Angeles International Zoo and Botanical Gardens, personally.

There was also a slightly dated, slightly cheesy lighting exhibit put on my LADWP.  It was a long street with different lighting displays along one side in Griffith Park adjacent to the zoo.  I'm reading now that they stopped doing it for five years because of construction on the street but brought it back in 2014 with a lot of enhancements and moved it inside the zoo itself.

I'm also way under my calories because I did a lot of freestep today. And my work-provided Fitbit is on its way. Woo!

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Day 3: 179 days to L.A.

I feel like I'll be thinking "give or take" every time I write that heading.  There's way too much waiting right now.  Waiting for our realtor to tell us what we need to improve in order to make it easy for him to get a great sale price... waiting for our realtor to tell us what he thinks he can get and how quickly... waiting for people to start listing houses for sale in our target area..  I'm not sure.  I don't feel like I should be waiting, I feel like I should be doing more now, but it's tough.  Today got sucked up with bill paying and getting Quicken up-to-date.  And family stuff. And this cold that still plagues me.  I'm impatient and frustrated.  I think I need to take the timeline we created and break it down into much smaller pieces.

I am breaking even on my calories (day 3) and I did thin out my wardrobe slightly in advance of the move (decluttering).

The Getty Center opened while I lived in L.A., it was a big deal.  It took months to get a parking reservation.  I got one, but then for some reason, I was unable to attend.  I never got around to getting back to it.  I'm looking forward to visiting The Getty Center.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Day 2: 180 days to L.A.

I didn't do anything today that should really count towards getting us any more ready.  We decided to do some family stuff together instead because we needed to get out of the house after a few weeks of pretty much being indoors due to the cold.  We went to the local mall(ish) because it meant a place to walk around indoors and a play area for Ben.  He had pretzels and it was mostly a nice time.

We're still trying to figure out how to get everything and everyone down to L.A.  There'll be a few cars, some driven, one shipped, three adults, two children and a couple of cats.  And then all of our stuff.  The stuff part is easy - some people come, pack it up, drive it own and unload it. But one of the big questions is Ben... 20 hours in a car, or 3 hours on a plane?  I'm leaning towards plane, but that means taking his car seat or attempting to rent one with a rental car.  Unless I can get my car delivered to airport parking.  Not sure if I could pull that off, but that would be amazing.

The desk I left out front got snagged, so maybe it's time to leave something else out front.  And I've been under my calories for two days in a row.  So there's that. Yay.

One thing I regretted not seeing during my last residence in L.A. was Angel's Flight (wikipedia). Sadly, it appears to be closed now with no known reopening date, due to poor design and apparent negligence by the part of the operators.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Day 1: 181 days to L.A.

Give or take.  So, 2016.  A dual-residency year.  The first half in Seattle, the second half in L.A.

I've accepted a full-time position with a company in L.A. and one of the terms was relocation - as a contractor, it was fine to work from home, but as a full-time employee, they want me to share in the culture and collaboration that can only be gained from being physically present.  So, back to L.A. we go.   I was able to negotiate a delayed return in order to let the children finish out the school year, but that time is going to go very quickly.  By the time six months have completed, we will need to sell our house (after some pre-sale work no doubt), find a buy a house, get everything packed up, find new providers for our children, and get ourselves to California.  To make it more challenging, my mother-in-law is coming with us, so we need to find a place for her as well and I'm going to take another run at some weight loss.  Oh, and 5-6 trips to L.A. to work from the office for a few days at a time.  I'll also be disolving my Washington State Small Business and continuing my contract work as simply an independent contractor.

It'll be an action-packed six months, but we're excited.

Day 1: Starting slow - we were up late for New Year's so it's been a slow start to the day.  Our son went to bed early and then got up early.  Bleary eyed, we put on a movie and sat around slightly in a daze (my wife retreating to the kitchen to stream the Rose Bowl parade re-broadcast on KTLA's website.)   Immediate actions for today: Cleaning, decluttering, more Christmas packing.  Continuing to watch Zillow, Trulia, Redfin and Realtor for new listings. I'm spot-botting some stains in the living room.  We'll replace the carpet, but until then, it needs some love.  Light colored carpets and a child who intentionally spills stuff are not a great combination.  Also, sticking to a calorie plan.  I've used Lose-It successfully in the past to lose a lot of weight, but then birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas come along and I chuck it all out the window because I love sweets.