Some notes on settling in

My move went pretty well. There were some random frustrations with the movers and some continuing stress with some of their particular packing decisions, and of course lots of stuff with selling my condo that I wish I didn’t have to think about, but things are feeling really good overall right now.

My neighbors are really awesome people. They gave me a bunch of eggs from their chickens and a jar of amazing raspberry jelly (from raspberries they grew themselves). They also asked me my pronouns and talked a lot about how they have several trans friends and are happy to have a trans neighbor. I’ve also met the fellow in the house behind mine, who grew up in my house, and he also seems pretty nice too. He has a gruff exterior but I can tell he’s a real softie deep down.

I also received a thoughtful and nice letter from the son of the previous owner, welcoming me to the neighborhood and sharing some information about his mother. She sounds like a lovely person who I would have loved to have meet.

Basically I’m feeling incredibly welcome so far.

I haven’t yet met the folks on the other side of my home. I’m kind of waiting for them to introduce themselves.

Also, on Friday I got my gigabit fiber installed, and even over wifi I was getting a cool 300Mbps down and (somehow) 600Mbps up. Today the electrician came and installed a bunch of outlets in the basement and fished cat6 down there, so now I have my home wired with gigabit Ethernet, and well:

20210404 gigabit.png

So, yeah. Turns out that moving to a small town is a great way to get amazing connectivity. (It’s also nice that for my WiFi-only devices there’s only, like, three networks visible here. No more spectrum contention!)

Speaking of small towns, I haven’t really had much of a chance to check out the local restaurants, although there’s an amazing vegetarian Vietnamese place down the street from me. I went there for dinner last night, and ordered takeout pho without thinking about how it’s hard to eat takeout pho when you have no microwave or available bowls, and even though it was cold and I had to treat it like dipping noodles instead of soup, it was still tasty as heck. There’s a bunch of other pho places around too, as well as some really good-looking taquerias. Given that I grew up surrounded by Vietnamese and Mexican food this feels like home to me.

Another nice thing about this house is that the basement smells exactly like my grandpa’s basement, which gives me such warm and fuzzy feelings. I always loved visiting him and spending time in the basement, working on projects with him or perusing his museum of abandoned hobbies from bygone eras.

Tonight I suddenly realized I hadn’t eaten dinner and it was way past 10 PM, and I didn’t want to go to Taco Bell or McDonald’s, so I decided to check out the discount grocery store down the street (right across from the vegetarian Vietnamese place). I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw inside: an amazing assortment of Mexican and various Asian food! They had, like, every flavor of Jarritos, including several I didn’t even know about, and also every flavor of Fanta! And since I’m technically not in Seattle, there’s no sugar tax, either. I’ll have to mind my pancreas. The produce selection was pretty okay, too, although I’ll still want to compare it with the local QFC (which is technically in Seattle, although just barely within the city limits).

Other oh-yeah-I’m-in-a-small-town-now things that caught me off-guard: plastic grocery bags, no disposable bag fee, and having to wait to check out because the county sheriff had to arrive to break up some sort of gang activity happening in front. (I mean, having that sort of late-night shenanigans taking place at a grocery store is nothing new — there’s a reason the QFC by my condo had to stop being open 24 hours! — but the realization that the town is too small for a police department was something I’d considered in theory but hadn’t thought about in practice.)

Oh also, my cats are doing really well. Werner actually enjoyed the move, and he seems to have gotten a major energy boost in this home. He’s loving having so many places to explore and much better sunbeam napping spots and so on! Fiona is also warming up to the house but she’s been a bit more timid than usual. Also the new Roomba scares her, although I really don’t blame her for that. I’m sure she’ll get used to it soon enough. (Personally I’m just really glad I’m in a home with a single floor and no weird 1970s split-level terracing, so I can have a Roomba!) Fiona’s at least started playing with her toys again, so that’s a good sign of her recovery.

Before moving in here I got them a fancy food dish and water fountain and they seem to like those a lot better than the crappy dollar-store bowls they were using before, so that’s also nice.

As far as unpacking goes, my home is a complete den of chaos right now, but I have my office in at least a vaguely-functional state, and my bedroom can be slept in (although I still haven’t found my mattress pad) and my clothes are mostly unpacked and I am finally realizing just how little closet space I have now. I haven’t even begun on the living room or the studio/workshop, beyond getting networking set up. But it’ll all come together soon enough.

While I was completely upending my setup I decided to get a proper motorized standing desk. I went with the Monoprice Workstream frame and modular desktop, which are pretty great. The downside is that the frame doesn’t go quite low enough for me to have my keyboard on the desk (not that I was planning to do that long-term anyway, since I’ve got to put my Wacom tablet somewhere!) so I ended up getting a clamp-on keyboard tray which is similar to the one I had at the university job back in 2019 and which should help a lot.

Right now I don’t have any speakers set up on my computer and I haven’t found my good video cameras, but at least I found one of my pretty-okay webcams that’s at least good enough to join meetings, and meanwhile my Airpods work pretty well for audio (and honestly I’m glad they’re finally getting some use). Sunday I’m going to work on trying to finish unpacking the bedroom and start on the studio (mostly to extricate the office stuff from that mess) so that I can be in better shape for the coming week. I also really want to get some art up but that’ll probably wait until I’ve got everything else unpacked.

But yeah. So far, so good.

Anyway, my condo should be listed sometime this week, and with the recent Amazon and Google announcements my worries that nobody would want to buy a home in Capitol Hill anymore seem to be unfounded. (And meanwhile, Moz continues to be remote-friendly and are saying that Seattle folks will still have the option to keep working remotely even after the office reopens! Which was, of course, why I even decided moving to White Center would be feasible in the first place.)

Anyway. I’m feeling pretty okay now, and I can’t remember the last time I even felt this optimistic. Life is good.


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