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Mission Accomplished – Reflecting on moving cross country

Complete.  The long transition that Keturah, Mason, Jude, and I began in Northern California this past April and took us through a summer in Connecticut, finally came to a conclusion in Sudbury, Massachusetts on September 1 when we closed and moved into our new house.

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Moving a family of four from one coast of the U.S. to another was no simple task.  I’m hard pressed to think of many things I’ve found more challenging.  I’m struggling to completely encapsulate all my thoughts about this journey, but mostly I’m happy it’s over.  I’m happy that the moving company showed up on September 3 with all the stuff we’ve been missing since April.  I’m happy that the cable company showed up on September 9, plugged me back into the Internet, and hooked me up so I can watch Red Sox games on NESN every night.1  I don’t even care that I’ll probably have cardboard boxes in corners of some rooms for months to come.

So instead of a structured post reflecting on the finality of the big move, I give you this random list of thoughts…

  • You can go home again. But don’t stick around too long.  Yes, it was nice to be back in Glastonbury for a few months, but it never felt like a place I could permanently be. My time there was over.  It was over when I was 18 to be honest.
  • Speaking of Glastonbury, it’s completely frightening how much Sudbury, MA reminds me of Glastonbury. Really scary.  I may not want to live in Glastonbury, but some part of me wanted to raise my kids in a safe place just like it.  Which means, Mason and Jude will probably grow up to be completely bored with Sudbury, count the days until they can get out, and kill time via meaningless acts of youthful rebellion.
  • There’s just no way you can totally outsource a cross country move with two little kids.  I’d say that I outsourced a lot of the heavy lifting and pain points, but I didn’t even come close to making things totally easy on myself.  I’m not sure it can be done.
  • I highly recommend Moovers Inc for any big interstate moves.  They were recommended to me by Delancey Street –  and anyone who has ever hired movers in SF knows that Delancey Street is the way to go.  Moovers Inc was totally professional, friendly, and fair priced.  They were definitely not the most expensive movers I spoke with. Far from it actually.
  • Things I missed the most while Moovers Inc was storing most (almost all) of our stuff: my roadbike, the king size bed Keturah and I have, and our espresso machine
  • Mostly what I was missing was having our own space.  It’s nice having our own closets, our own beds, etc.
  • Redfin was a great service for finding a house.  We started out with a list of about 12 towns in metro Boston that we were considering living in.  Redfin was instrumental in helping us quickly whittle that list down to towns that we focused in on (Sudbury and Wayland) and was also very helpful in helping us find preferred neighborhoods and schools. The people that work for Redfin Boston are great. Highly recommend them.
  • Many thanks to Ryan and Sheri Neuman for helping us with our financing.  Our personal finances are ridiculously complex and without their help, we never would have been able to acquire the great home that we have. 

  1. Despite the fact that the Sox are totally stinking right now. The Bad News Bears would shut them out right now, especially if Amanda was starting. 

Now, where was I?

Nothing can ruin your summer more than having the flu for a week. I’d rather be caught outside in the forest without any bug spray than go through another week like that. Here’s randomly assorted list of thoughts for this Tuesday morning.

There is no bigger lock for this Christmas than Santa bringing the just announced LeapPad tablets for Mason and Jude.  LeapFrog products have never been a disappointment to the kids (or to Keturah and I).  The first paragraph of this New York Times article is spot on…

All parents who own an iPad know this: Their kids want to play with the iPad as much as they do, and that means they have to share.

It’s probably worth another blog post, but a story last week on NPR touches upon some of the reasons why Keturah and I moved the family away from San Francisco.  Census data is now confirming what we suspected as reality –  families are leaving SF.

Some good fall tours shaping up.  Wilco is playing the Wang Center in Boston in September.  Definitely in for that.1 And The Pixies are touring some small venues and out of the way towns.  Places like Hampton Beach, NH and Waterbury, CT.  The chance to see The Pixies at a small venue is definitely intriguing.


  1. And the new single sounds good.  Hope that bodes well for the rest of the album coming out this fall. 

The post where I finally talk about leaving San Francisco

I’ve had a hard time getting myself to actually write this blog post.  In fact, I can’t believe I’m about to type the very next sentence.

My wife, our two sons, and myself are moving away from the San Francisco Bay Area.

When I moved to San Francisco in 1999, it was a dream come true.  I’ve said many times over the past 12 years that there was no way I was leaving SF for another city in the United States.  I would now like to retract all of those statements.

 

North Beach in San Francisco

So what’s happening?

We are relocating to Boston.  The movers are coming tomorrow to pack our house.  We already shipped one of our cars eastward. A few boxes have also been sent in advance.  We have plane tickets to Boston for Wednesday, April 13.  One way tickets.

Obviously, this has been in the planning for months.

And it’s been stressful.  Especially for the last month.  And it’s bittersweet.  San Francisco is an amazing city.  Living a few blocks from the beach in Half Moon Bay has been (for me) a dream come true.

For me, relocating east is a move back to New England, where I lived for the first 23 years of my life.  I’ll be moving closer to my Mom.  Immersed in Red Sox Nation.  Surrounded by many of my friends from my days at the University of Vermont.

For Keturah, it’s an opportunity to experiencing living in another state for the first time in her life.  In addition to going through all four seasons every year, she’ll be moving closer to her grandfather.

And for our kids, it’s a better educational system.  Apologies to people who grew up in California and to my friends raising kids here now, but simply put, the public schooling in California is not nearly as good as what can be found on the East Coast.

Regarding my position at NASA.  I’m keeping it.  It makes me extremely  happy to say that I work with a supportive team and people willing to let me continue performing the job that I love from afar, via a full time telecommute agreement.

Believe me.  It’s not easy leaving Northern California

There is so much that I love about living in Northern California.  I am nat moving a family of 4 all the way across the county1 because San Francisco sucks.  It doesn’t.  San Francisco is my favorite city in the U.S. and I don’t imagine that changing anytime soon.  I am going to dearly miss things like wine tasting days in Sonoma, Tahoe skiing, staring out at the Pacific, mouth watering burritos, the ever energetic tech scene, bar hopping North Beach, and seeing bands plat at The Fillmore.  As well as the friends and family that we are leaving behind.

San Francisco is the place where I met my wife.  Keturah and I were married in Golden Gate Park.  Our children were born here and took their first steps in the house that we are now boxing up.  The area is not lacking in once-in-a-lifetime memories.

Thus, the obvious question is “why leave?”.  As mentioned above, the quality of the public school systems is probably the single biggest reason we are doing this.  But there’s more to it than that. Things which I’ll share over time.  In short, it feels like the time is right for us to experience something different.

Boston, here we come

To our Boston friends and family.  We’re excited.  Very excited.  Moving is extremely hard.  The past month is as stressed as I’ve been in a long time.  Our entire focus has been on packing and preparing.  There hasn’t been a ton of time to think about all the great things ahead as we venture into New England living.  No, we don’t have a house yet.  Working on it.  For the next few weeks, we’ll be staying with family in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

And there’s plenty to be excited about.  I know that I’m looking forward to baseball games at Fenway this summer.  And camping trips to Vermont.  And swimming in the ocean with my family.

 

Fenway Park

 


  1. It doesn’t get much more cross country than what we’re doing 

5 Things to do in SF to get off the beaten path at web2.0expo

After recently exchanging tweets with Richard McInnis , I found out it’s going to be his first time in SF.  So was thinking about some stuff he should do and came up with a short list of things to consider doing.  Especially if it’s your first time to SF and you want to escape the Web2.0Expo chaos.  All of them are within walking distance or a very short cab ride from the Moscone Center area.

Hang out at Tunnel Top

It’s my favorite bar in the city.  Has that beat up neighborhood bar feel.  Great art on the walls.  If you’re staying at a hotel in Union Square, you have no excuse to hit this place up on the way back to your room late at night. 

http://www.yelp.com/biz/tunnel-top-san-francisco

 

Ask for “The Hong Kong Stuff” at Buddha Lounge

http://www.yelp.com/biz/buddha-lounge-san-francisco

Think you’re tough?  Hit Buddha Lounge in Chinatown and have a shot of the “Hong Kong Stuff”.  You may have to talk the bartended into giving it to you.  I’ve seen grown men have half of this shot, then start running like mad, like they are trying to escape something they can’t. 

Bourbon and Branch

http://www.yelp.com/biz/bourbon-and-branch-san-francisco

Get your brown liquor fix at this speakeasy styled bar. This no place to order a chardonnay.  This place can be a challenge to find (as speakeasy’s are supposed to be) so make sure you have the address handy.

Climb the Filbert Steps

Oh man, these are all bars.  So how about a good urban hike?  Sneakers preferred.  Sandals will work too.  Dress shoes?  Forget it.  When you get to the top of the stairs, you’ll be at Coit Tower and rewarded with killer views of Alcatraz and Golden Gate Bridge

http://www.yelp.com/biz/filbert-steps-san-francisco

Go to the View Lounge at the top of the Marriott and pretend to be the emperor

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“Now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL battle station!”

This one is pretty easy since it’s right across the street from Moscone at the top of the Marriott Hotel. Great view of the galaxy, I mean downtown San Francisco.  Be warned – drinks here aren’t dirt cheap and you probably won’t be escaping the Web2.0Expo chaos.  But you’ll feel like you’re in the Death Star.  Isn’t that worth a $9 vodka tonic?

http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-view-san-francisco-2

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