San Francisco, again

I spent the past week in SF for work, and it seems I still can’t get a good travel experience. Last time, I got stuck in Vegas for 12 hours. Having learned that SF arrivals can be at the whim of the weather, I booked my flight into Oakland instead.

The flight itself was fine, and I got in at the expected 9:05 PM. I had booked a Supershuttle because I figured it would be more convenient, and that’s where the trouble started. Called for my shuttle, went to the curb, and waited. 15 minutes later, with no shuttle in sight, I called again and waited on hold for another 10 minutes. Turns out my shuttle had developed a flat tire and the expected pickup time was another 30-60 minutes.

This, obviously, was not good, so I decided to take AirBART and BART into the city instead. Unfortunately, I just missed one while I was on the phone, so I waited another 10 minutes for the next one to leave. Got to the Oakland BART station and found that one of the tracks was out of service, so they were running trains in both directions on a single track, resulting in slower service than usual. I finally made it to the hotel at 10:45 and barely caught the restaurant before the kitchen closed. Sigh.

The trip otherwise was really good. Since the four devs on my team are all in different cities, we’d synced up our visits to meet up. It was the first time the entire team (minus the doc writer, who is in Seattle) was in the same place. Woo.

Monday was a holiday, that none of us had realized before we booked, so we all spent the day individually wandering. I’d tried to sync up with South Bay folks, but no one responded, so I made arrangements to meet up with SF friends for food and karaoke instead. Unfortunately, I was called in for a P0 around 5, so I missed karaoke and instead met up with Zeke and Ian at a bar for food around 8:30.

Wednesday evening was a team happy hour. Over a period of 5 hours, I had four small sangria pitchers (about 6-7 drinks), a couple of glasses of wine, and about 5 cocktails at a beautiful high-up bar called The View. Was fine afterward, and didn’t have a hangover the next morning. I think this might be a new record for myself as far as alcohol goes. Let’s not do this again for a long time, but it’s good to know I still have my tolerance.

The rest of the week was work and usual group dinners, except for Friday when we had a team trip to Napa and Sonoma for wine tasting. That was tasty.

More photos will be added to photos at some point.

I’m currently in Lake Havasu with my parents. The most interesting part of the city is that they purchased, moved, and rebuilt one of the London Bridges. Unfortunately the city itself isn’t all that interesting, especially given that pretty much everything closes down after 6 PM. But we’re enjoying the weather and change of scenery, at least.

Whee things.

Adventures in house hunting

We signed a contract on Friday and spent most of Saturday afternoon going to see houses with our now-official agent.

The first one we saw needed a *lot* of work. The bathrooms were rather old and hideous (and had tile coming off the ceiling), the front porch was having problems and was cracking and sagging, the kitchen needed updating, and the carpet was kind of sketchy. Cheap-ish, but definitely easy to pass over.

The second one we saw was huge and had a super-modern kitchen with granite, stainless steel, and the nicest fridge I’ve ever seen. The bedrooms were all large and one of the bathrooms had been renovated and looked really nice. The biggest surprise, however, was when we went down the stairs to the basement, opened the door that wasn’t to the garage, and found a full two-room apartment, complete with its own kitchen, shower, toilet, and entrance on the side of the house. It was cheap for what it was (especially given the complete apartment with the house), but the location (and lack of a back yard thanks to the hill) made it reasonably easy to pass over as well.

The last one we saw I had been excited about from the listing online, and the house did not disappoint. The bathrooms were fully renovated and so amazingly nice. The house itself had central air and forced air heating, really good quality hardwood floors, and updated wiring throughout the house. It also had a huge backyard, really nice bedrooms, and space for me to have an office on the third floor (which was also really nicely done). Its only real downsides were the lack of covered parking (but it had off-street parking) and distance from things we care about.
I spent the rest of the evening and this morning worrying about the house and wondering if we should make an offer on it or risk losing it. It had been on the market already for 2 months with no offers, so it seemed fairly safe to wait on, but I was concerned that we could lose it and not find anything remote comparable again (given that all the other houses we’ve seen so far have needed significantly more work than this one). Still, given that we’d only seen 8 houses total and were therefore at the beginning of our search in a slow market, it didn’t really make sense to jump on it. But it still didn’t stop me from worrying.

In the end, the problem was solved for us, as our agent called this evening and told us someone else had put an offer on the house, to see what we wanted to do. The result was a rather strong, “Don’t do anything now, and wait and see what happens” sentiment, and made the decision to potentially pass up this house much easier. (Neither of us was willing to jump on the house tonight, which is what would have had to happen if we didn’t want to risk losing it. So fate kind of forced our hand.)
Our agent also sent us examples of comparable listings sold in the last 6 months that did a lot to assuage my concerns, since there were many well-priced houses on the list that were also nicely updated and had many of the important features of this house.

So it’s been an interesting hunt so far. Things will continue more in earnest after I return from my San Francisco trip, and we will hopefully find something awesome.