Moving and New Job and Other Miscellaneous Things
August 4, 2019
Author: Bianca Yang
Note: This post is heavy on the complaining.
Update 08/22/2019: Did I mention that the house doesn’t have air conditioning? This past week has been absolute brutal. Temperatures have been over 90deg, reaching probably over 100deg in this 50 year old (almost 60 yr old) house with insulation so bad that it traps heat. It’s practically inhumane to be in this house in the summer.
Hello all, it’s been a while since I last posted. For those who have the luxury of idle time and pliable, trigger-ready thumbs and an internet connection fast enough to browse the hottest social network, LinkedIn, you may have noticed that I’ve added a new position for the month of July. I am now the lead software engineer for a stealth fashion startup. That’s been keeping me reasonably busy, but so has iQiyi 2018 (愛奇藝) hit television show «延禧攻略» and buying (way too much) stuff for the house I’m currently renting in the permeated with Chinese money and yet completely lacking in Asian stores and supremely overpriced and a prime example of suburban America Palo Alto.
First, moving. Moving literally only makes sense by car. As much as I’d have preferred to cut the travel time by half and fly from San Diego to San Jose (SJC), my family “road tripped” up to the Bay Area. I put road trip in quotes because I don’t really consider a barely 8 hour drive, with ample stops in the middle for bathroom / stretch breaks and gas, a road trip. A road trip should involve multiple days of driving, like Casey Neistat’s road trip from NY to LA.
Anyway, once you get past LA (where there is inevitably a slowdown on the 5 or 405), you hit Bakersfield and the land of central California, which is basically just the land of cows and farmland and golden grass and nothingness… Life is not that bleak there, but don’t expect to see the glitz and glam of LA or SD or the Bay, the three major metropolitan hub of apparently the country’s most desirable state to live in, California. Do note that highway 152, which takes you from the I-5 to Gilroy, is a prime road along which to stop at any of the roadside fruit stands and pick up some real good prices for avocados (we were seeing 6 for $1…I’ve only seen corn at those prices, at Sprouts) or peaches or cherries or strawberries or garlic ice cream. Check in at another season for the local produce.
The road trip was otherwise uneventful. The minivan we rented was packed to the limit, with every gadget and gizmo I still had some sentimental value for packed into some corner or cranny of the spacious Grand Caravan. We arrived in Fremont in the evening and ate an authentic Taiwanese dinner at 渡小月, which is across the freeway from the Tesla Supercharger Fremont Factory. (Tesla factory tours are not bad, but I’m not sure if they still do them.)
The next day (8/2) was moving day 1. We met up with our realtor’s assistant, Nima, to go over the house. I can’t say the house was a disaster, but it certainly had (has) some problems that should have been fixed a while ago… ahem. Major issue one: ants! Gah, ants are disgusting little creatures that require serious extermination effort, like a Terminix service appointment, to get rid of. Some of you are brave enough to just spray Raid and but bait down, but putting bait down means you will have a whole stream of ants swarming the bait pad and Raid has not seemed to be effective enough for us. Issue number 2: Side and back doors were not functioning. We had to bother the assistant to get a handyman to fix this for us. Issue number 3: Smoke detectors were not properly installed, so a handyman had to fix that for us. Issue number 4: furnace not functioning properly, so the handyman also adjusted that for us. Issue number 5: shower produces black water when you first turn it on. I assume it’s an installation issue, but two days and it’s still regurgitating watery coal.
Luckily, the Xfinity cable guy, whom we paid $90 for, was efficient and effective. Thanks to Xfinity for my <=150Mbps download speed internet @ ~$60/month.
Note on utilities. Trash here, for a 96-gal trash bin (recycling and compost are included, no matter the size), is $150 a month. It costs no more than $100 a month for water AND trash, with 96-gals, even multiple gals, where my parents live…jeez. Also…the house has been vacant for a few months? Another issue: recycling cans were full, trash pickup is on Tuesday, and we had about a million and a half cardboard boxes we needed to crush.
So after all the nonsense with the house was either fixed or put on the list of things to fix for the assistant and realtor and owner, we started to move in and assemble all the furniture and whatnot we ordered and brought up.
Note to self. I really really really hate assembling furniture and will never agree to do another Ikea type DIY assemble your own furniture like a hillbilly with too much time on his hands. I nearly lost my mind trying to put together a chest of drawers from Wayfair. Was supposed to take 45 minutes for one person…we took many hours and produced a few white hairs in the process. And the instructions said not to use power tools?! We did get a beautiful adjustable height desk from Costco, though.
After day 1’s move in was completed, we went to Tea Station in Newark for a late dinner.
I am not going to deny that this piece is a complaining piece. What I will say, though, is that I hope this record of my first real move-in (last move in was to college, and that was insanely painless because housing there actually takes care of most of these things) will be useful for future moves.
Note to self on rent. Rent is $6000 / month.
Day 2 of moving (8/3), back to the house to complain about some ants and assemble more furniture and buy food. Oh, I almost forgot. I was supposed to pick up my Tesla today (shiny). But…someone screwed up and our car was sold to someone else on Day 1 of moving. Why did that happen? Well, Tesla model 3’s are popular…so the company only holds cars for 7 days. Fine, fine, I understand. But no one told us the car was ready for delivery on Jul 26. We thought it was ready for delivery on Jul 31. Jul 26 + 7 days = Aug 2, the day our car got pawned off to some other eager customer. Jul 31 + 7 days = Aug 7, plenty of time for us to get the car. So we go to the delivery center in Fremont, practically get on our knees to beg some floor manager sales lady for our car, escalate to some division sales manager, again practically beg for our car, some kind of compensation for this injustice, a loaner(?) for a few days, more supercharging miles(?), and they say they’ll ask the factory for a rush delivery for the next day (8/4). Say what you want, we didn’t know that our car was due to be booted on 8/2.
Day 3 of moving (8/4), go pick up my Tesla. Literally no one is at the delivery center. We go over the necessary paperwork, do a walk through of the car, go over some features with the delivery specialist, and then I drive off to lunch with a Caltech classmate who is interning at Facebook. We eat at Ramen Nagi, a tonkotsu only place in Santa Clara and Palo Alto that the Bay apparently thinks serves the best bowl of noodles known to the world. We got to the Santa Clara mall around 2:15, and were quickly led inside the small but noisy (they were blasting some Japanese pop rock) dining area. The ramen is totally customizable and cost about $17 after adding an egg and tip. This ramen scares and disgusts me. The chasu (you can swap for pork belly) comes out pink. I don’t like the look of pink pork. I don’t know if I’m mentally convincing myself that the pork tastes gamey but I almost threw up while eating one of the pieces of chashu. You could taste the fat and I couldn’t help but want to die because the pork was pink. The soup was super super extra highly visibly oily. Tonkotsu broth should be a beautifully creamy white mixture of fat and water. This was not that. It was white broth with a layer of fat on top. Like you could run this broth through a strainer and you could peel off that layer of fat bubbles. The broth didn’t taste bad, but the look of the fat also nearly made me want to hurl and throw myself over the banister. The noodles were an ok texture. Needless to say, I did not like Ramen Nagi and will happily go back to Pasadena for Hiro Nori or Chibiscus Ramen.
After ramen, I drove back to Palo Alto to unload some foods and to get ready to go out to eat again, this time at the renowned Madras Cafe in Sunnyvale. Why is this place renowned? You’ll need to ask my Indian friends, but it apparently serves great dosas and other South Indian foods. The mango lassi was good, but I really don’t understand how to eat dosas. Food is cheap though, lassi at $3.50(?) and dosa at < $8. I ate with another friend from Caltech, who will be starting work at eBay once her work authorization goes through. She was supposed to start 8/5 but is now delayed until at least 8/19.
The most interesting part of our conversation was her statement about how she doesn’t think life in the suburbs is right for her. I was going to write another post just about “why not to live in the suburbs”, but I guess I can save you the wait and spill the beans here:
- Car dependency
That’s all you need to know about why the suburbs are bad for your health, your social life, your mental resilience, your happiness, your everything. So pack your bags and move to a real city, like Vancouver or Tokyo or Melbourne, or anywhere else on this list.
Check back in another day for the rest of the reasons why I don’t like the suburbs. Tomorrow is my first day of work at Thoughtspot. I will see you soon.