Moving and Settling In

July 31st, 2019

Moving day was Saturday July 5th. Erv had borrowed a “box truck” from work, so Friday evening we loaded it up with most of the stuff from the garage that we had never unpacked in Sandy. We pretty much filled it, so we resigned ourselves to two trips, getting the remaining garage items and the stuff from inside the house on the second go-around.

Saturday morning we loaded a few more things into the truck, packed up most of the items from inside the house so as to be able to re-load the truck quickly for round two, and were about to leave when disaster struck: the cat had got out! In all the moving back and forth with boxes, I had propped the front door open “just for a minute” to get a few things out. But that “minute” lasted longer that originally planned and Isis went for a walk. I searched the house, thinking she was just hiding somewhere, but she was nowhere inside to be found, so we all took to the streets and fields (yes, fields!) around the house to look for her.

After much fretting, searching, and worrying… Maverick escaped. He’d managed to force open the side gate, so as I’m coming back to the house to check the bushes again, I see Maverick running by going the other way with folks chasing him. “Great. Just great.” I think. I sigh, and begin searching around the shrubbery again. Someone else will get the dog, I figure. But, I soon see him racing back towards the house, so I figure at least I can shut the gate behind him and solve one problem. However as I go to do so, I see the cat! Just right there in the open gate! So I herd the dog through, grab the cat, and call out that I have them both! Much happiness, and now our day can proceed.

We drove to the house and our good friends The Chorpennings meet us there to help with the unloading. We get everything off the truck and generally into the rooms the items/boxes go into in rapid time, and then it’s time to split up for lunch and return for the second load (as well as the pets!) Loading up the truck again went much smoother and no more pets were lost. Got the last of our stuff to the house, with all life forms accounted for, the Chorpennings again coming to our aid with unloading and even helped assemble our borrowed futon without any instructions!

By the end of Saturday we were tired, but officially in our new home!

Cat, kid, and futon
Cat, kid, and futon
Kid's bed, assembled
Kid’s bed, assembled
Obligatory post-move pizza
Obligatory post-move pizza

House Hunting

July 23rd, 2019

So, at this point I’ve started work at New Relic, Sammy has started at a new kindergarten in Fairview, and Megs has began studying for the July Oregon Bar Exam. And most importantly, we’re all living at Megs’ folks’ place in the sticks of Sandy, OR. It was time for us to find our own place, and we were sick of renting, so time to finally buy that house we’ve never been able to afford in Los Angeles.

We went about it straightforward enough–got a realtor, and started cruising Zillow, Redfin, and the rest. Now, I don’t know what it was like when/if y’all ever tried to buy a house, but these days the good ones go really fast. The first weekend we went out and looked at four houses, liked one enough, so we put an offer in the next day, and were promptly outbid. There’s no time to dwell on it. If you like it, you gotta move on it right away or it’s gone, which sucks. So yeah, first week was a bust.

The following Wednesday or Thursday we go out to look at three or four more houses with our realtor, one of which Megs and I particularly excited about, because it ticks just about all of our boxes, even stretch goals. We wanted to see that one ASAP, rather that wait for the weekend, since now we knew how quickly the good ones go away. We checked it out, as well as a couple others, and yeah, that one we were excited about was our favorite as we thought. There was an open house the following Saturday and they would be accepting offers then, so we gathered our paperwork.

That weekend, we went to see the house again, pretending to be first-time visitors at the open house. We’d gone with our mothers the first time and Megs’ dad wanted to see it, too. We still had a good feeling about it, so after checking it out a second time, our realtor sent over some digital papers to sign for an offer–We signed them with my laptop over lunch at the table in McMenamins.

After lunch we parted ways with Megs’ folks and went to go see Detective Pikachu with Sammy. Fun film! We all enjoyed it. Anyways, after the movie, we got a call from our realtor telling out we were massively outbid. That was very fast, and we were very crushed. We went home, dejected and frustrated at the modern housing market. Over the next week we had no choice but to continue our search, and went back to browsing the websites.

The following Friday (the last day in May), we were out getting pizza when we got a text from our realtor–the buyer on the house we loved had backed out, and we were in! The owners accepted our original bid and we were off to the races, thus beginning a long month of paperwork, frantic back and forth with various financial organizations, and some sleepless nights. There are too many various little issues to go into here, and this post is already super long, but tl;dr (too late!) everything came together and on July 3rd, Megan and I received keys and became homeowners!

Shortly after receiving keys and gift basket from the realtor

I was going to go on to talk about moving in, but this post is already much too long, so I’ll save that for later.

New Life Begins

July 19th, 2019

So, in my last post I left off with us arriving in Oregon on a Wednesday evening in April. After spending a few days getting acclimated, unpacking and setting up the few things we had brought in the cars, and generally settling in, it was time for me to start work on Monday!

New Relic, Inc. is in a building nicknamed “Big Pink” in downtown Portland. I’ll let you click the links to learn more about what New Relic does and what the building is like, but what I will say is that it’s an amazing place to work, and the people I work with are awesome! I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to find a new “work family” like I had at Disney, but it appears my fears were unfounded. Every is super cool and good at what they do. My title at New Relic is “Senior Software Engineer” and now after I’ve been there for a bit, I feel like I know where ~all~ most the systems are, and can contribute to my team.

Being downtown means a couple things: 1) lots of interesting, non-chain food options at lunch, including the famous Portland food carts, and 2) no parking. At least, no free parking. To save on time in traffic as well as parking fees, I’ve become a mass transit convert very quickly. When living in Sandy, OR, I would drive 15-20mins to the Gresham Park & Ride, then take the Blue Line MAX light rail train downtown (50 mins). Not a short commute, but the train was nice because I wasn’t driving anymore and it took me within a few blocks of my building.

Now, living with Megs’ folks was very pleasant, with no friction to speak of. We could not have asked for more in our temporary lodgings, but of course we wanted to find a place of our own reasonably soon. Especially once our moving POD caught up to us a week after we arrived. We needed a place for us and all our stuff. So we began looking for a house to buy…

Massive Life Changes

July 19th, 2019

Oh man, where to start? My last post was about pumpkins back in October, which was nine months ago. A major life event has happened since then, so let me fill you.

Most of the people who are likely to ever come across this ancient and oft-neglected blog will already know this, but I’ve left the Walt Disney Company and the whole family and I have moved to Portland, Oregon! Yes, we are back in the great Pacific Northwest once again! So long California, you’ve been great! Oregon, it’s nice to be back!

So, what brought all this about? Well, last summer Megs got let go from yet another lawyer job in Los Angeles, which makes twice in 2018. That was so disheartening that we took an impromptu road trip to Oregon the very next day. We quickly asked Kim to look after the cat, checked with friends and family up north, and hit the road! Maverick the dog came with us this time, and our route took us through San Francisco where we stayed a night with Jacques, Hanh, and Ellie. We got to see their new house and how much Ellie has grown! The next day we were off to Bend, OR, where we stayed two nights with Chris, Megan, and Hazel. Bend is a lovely town, if a little removed from the big city life. After that we drove to Sandy, OR, where Megs’ folks live about half an hour outside of Portland. We stayed the next week there, visiting with friends and family, seeing the sights, and generally falling in love with Oregon all over again.

The long and short of all this, is that somewhere in this trip we decided to actually move back to Oregon for real, not just talk about it like we’ve been doing for years. And thus vague plans began, with the promise to each other to make serious plans starting in early 2019. Well, 2019 came around and in February I started applying for jobs in Portland. I was cruising LinkedIn and saw a bunch of Software Engineer postings for a company called “New Relic”. I also saw that a friend of mine worked there, so I hit her up and asked if it was a good place to work, to which she replied in the strong affirmative! So I applied for six Senior Software Engineer jobs there on a Monday afternoon, and within a day I heard back from them to set up a screening call within another day! That Friday I had a video interview with an Engineering Manager, and the following Wednesday they said they were going to fly me up to Portland for an on-site interview the next Monday! To recap, I’d gone from applying online to an on-site interview in two weeks, which was much faster than I’d expected! Anyways, long story short (too late!) I flew up to Portland, had great interviews with a half dozen people, and by the end of the week I had a job offer! I gave my two-weeks notice at Disney and then the cat was out of the bag!

After getting a new job, everything was set into motion. We had to tell our awful landlord we were ending our lease two weeks early, and of course he had us pay out the rest of it and tried to stiff us on our security deposit–that’s another story, but it’s fine, whatever. We had to arrange movers, Megs gave notice at her job, we had to pack, we had to arrange with Megs’ folks to have us live there for a bit when we first landed, we had to arrange driving and drivers, etc. Lots to do and suddenly very little time to do it! We’d started this adventure in July 2018, and now we had four weeks to get to Portland, because I started work on April 29th and it was now the beginning of April!

I arranged for one of those PODS moving thingies, so I hired movers to just pack our stuff. Two problems there: one, the PODS people grossly overestimated how much stuff their biggest POD will hold! We ended up leaving a buncha stuff in L.A. due to lack of space. Second problem, movers/packers don’t know your stuff. Their jobs is to put all your stuff in boxes as fast as possible. We had each plate wrapped in many layers of paper. We had loaves of bread packed. Honest-to-God trash packed. It was a mess, and very expensive. As much as it sucks, you gotta pack your own stuff, guys. You’re the only ones who knows what you need and what you don’t.

PODS storage container
We had to put all our worldly possessions into this thing.

Anyways, we got our stuff (mostly) packed, and the next day we hit the road! Megs’ mom had come down to help, so it was Megs, her mom, and Maverick in Megs’ car, and me, Kim, Sammy, and the cat in mine. We caught a lucky break the previous weekend (Easter) when we went down to Long Beach for Easter at Grandpa’s, but we visited our friends Kyle and Liz at their place nearby. Kyle’s folks happened to be there, and they happen to live up in Redding, which happens to be about half way to Portland from Los Angeles. They kindly offered their home as a mid-trip stopover, and when we got there after a very long day that started with the tail end of packing, and ended with 10 hours in the car, it was a glorious oasis! So nice to not have to stay in a hotel and deal with the dog, cat, and kid there. Our eternal thanks to them for being a shining light in an otherwise fairly stressful time.

We rolled into Sandy, OR around sunset on April 24th. We were so tired, but Megs’ dad had already got the rooms ready for us, so we could just crash. It was great to be back in Oregon!

I’ll post more about the new job, our security deposit, and our current lodgings in a future post. This one is long enough, but stay tuned–there’s more story to tell!

Sammy Pics and Pumpkins

October 23rd, 2018

I started using Instagram almost exclusively as a place for Sammy pictures, because I didn’t want to clog up Facebook with them. If folks were interested, then they could go there. Anyways here’s the link here. It’s a private account, obviously, so request access if you like. Most recently, we went to a local farm to get pumpkins, so all that and 690 other photos are there.

Sammy with a pumpkin

Sammy with a pumpkin

Testing? Are we back?

October 4th, 2018

Hello ChrisWeb! Miss me? I’m Chris! The namesake of this pointless domain.

I’ve recently pulled back from Facebook and Tumblr, leaving only the posting of Sammy pics to Instagram and chatting with friends on Slack. I felt like I still needed some kind of general shouting into the void space, so here we are.

Big news today–I paid off my car! Yes, my 2012 Dodge Charger SXT is now all mine and no longer the shared property of my credit union. Seems fitting that some of the very first posts on this blog were about a new (to me) car back in 2000, and now with this revival we’re back to cars. Guess I’m a fan.

In other news, I’m still working for Walt Disney Imagineering and Megs is still lawyering. Sammy’s 4–almost 4-and-a-half–, and everyone is in good health. More posts to come, I hope.

Paternity Leave: Final Day

September 6th, 2014

I know I still have the weekend, but today is the official end of my paternity leave. As I’ve said before, each week has gone faster than the previous, and this one was no exception. Excluding being rear-ended by another car yesterday, it wasn’t a bad week.

Matt and Skye came over this evening, and in fact just now left at 1:30 a.m. Matt made us stir fry and we’ve spent the last few hours playing Magic cards. We got a new box of booster packs and we all had fun with a draft round as well as just some regular opening and sharing of cards. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry about it. What matters is that we all had a lovely evening.

Samantha went to bed a few hours ago and has been sleeping soundly. She was very well-behaved for most of the week, in fact.

I don’t know exactly what the future of this blog will be, but I do plan to keep posting here. Hopefully more than annually this time. The subject will probably return to more general “Life of Chris” stuff, but to be sure Samantha will always feature. I was able to fill the column inches the past few weeks because unlike more normal workday stuff, paternity leave isn’t full of Disney secrets. When I blog in a normal work week, all I can usually say is “I went to work and did amazing cool stuff that I can’t go into detail on, or I might get fired.” Gets repetitive after a while. I’ll probably at least give further details on the saga of my poor car and her busted up rear end for while. And always pictures of Samantha!

To conclude, here’s me sans daughter, but there’s sure to be a nearly inexhaustible supply of photos in the days, weeks, and years to come.

Just me

Just me

Paternity Leave: Day 32

September 4th, 2014

Today was probably the worst. Started off normal enough, although I didn’t sleep great. Also found out Disney didn’t pay me this week, which I am looking into. After some phone calls to HR and Payroll, Sam and I went out for lunch, I ran a couple errands, and then BAM! Got rear-ended by another car when I was stopped to make a left turn. Wasn’t high-speed and everyone is fine, but this sucks. Now the back end of my car’s all f*cked up and I’ve just run out of time to deal with that fact. The other vehicle was a City of Pasadena vehicle for the Rose Bowl. One of those cars with a license plate that never expires and is all numbers? Yeah, that. Anyways, after exchanging information, I took Samantha to the pediatrician to check her out. Doctor said she’s “perfect”, (well, duh, I knew that, but thanks!), so we went home. Never did make it to Vons.

Here’s some pictures of my poor car:
20140904_150921
20140904_153738
Here’s a couple of much nicer pictures of Sammy:

At the pediatrician's waiting for the doctor

At the pediatrician’s waiting for the doctor

SOCKS!!!

SOCKS!!!

And to top it off, Megs also had a shitty day. It’s almost 9 p.m. and she’s still not home from work! I’m glad we’re all fine, but I need a hug.

Paternity Leave: Day 31

September 3rd, 2014

Holy crap, we’re nearing the end! Only two more days left, not counting the weekend. Each week went by faster than the previous.

Today was nice; Samantha and I went out to Fry’s and stopped at Panera on the way, only to run into Mikey and Scott from work. What a pleasant surprise! We had a nice lunch, and Sammy and I continued on to Fry’s where I got a faster network switch for the living room, some more solder, and an empty project box for a speaker wiring thing I’m planning on doing. See, the surround sound is great for the living room, but the kitchen is just a splice off the left and right speakers, and anything that’s more than 2.0 sound (e.g. 5.1 surround) typically has the dialog on the center channel. This means no dialog in the kitchen. I’m trying to come up with a box that takes the L/R/C output from the stereo in, and has jacks for the L/R/C speakers in the living room and the L/R speakers in the kitchen with everything properly patched inside. I had to order some speaker jacks online (Fry’s didn’t have what I wanted), so I’ll finish this project later.

Shortly after I got home, I fed Sam and managed to get her down for a nap. A little after that, Kim arrived to do her laundry and have me fix her microwave. I am best brother today! We had a nice time hanging out this afternoon and eventually Megs got home, Sam woke up, and we all had dinner. I had prepared some white chili in the crock pot in the morning and it finished its long journey to delicious-ness at 7:00.

I know you’re not here for dinner talk. You’re here for baby pictures, so here they are!

She's taken to sticking out her tongue lately.

She’s taken to sticking out her tongue lately.

Kim got one of her sticking her tongue out while playing with her little elephant thing.

Kim got one of her sticking her tongue out while playing with her little elephant thing.

Here's Kim and Sammy

Here’s Kim and Sammy

Sam looking thoughtfully happy while Kim holds her

Sam looking thoughtfully happy while Kim holds her

Paternity Leave: Day 30

September 2nd, 2014

Today was pretty chill after the weird hours of the weekend. After my last post at 5:00 a.m., I went back to sleep until noon. Good baby! I actually got up before she really demanded my presence, but I figure upwards of 16 hours of sleep was enough for any one man. I think I may have be suffering from some kinda illness, because even for me, that’s a lot of sleep! At any rate, I feel good now.

Today we did our usual trip to Philly’s Best, even though it’s Tuesday, because yesterday was a holiday. Went grocery shopping after that, and then went home. Adventure!

After feeding her and hanging out for a bit, Sammy went down for a nap for a few hours, which was very nice of her. I managed a few chores around the house like dishes, laundry, etc. Also, my guv’ment money finally came in the mail today! Yay for paid family bonding time! Now it’s just another couple days for Bank of America (the government’s choice in debit provider in this case) to transfer it to my credit union where it will do some good. A load off my mind, believe me!

Here’s a picture of the dog, Sammy, and Megs from the other day:

Maverick, Samantha, and Megan.

Maverick, Samantha, and Megan.

And here’s proof that I was able to get Samantha to take a nap this afternoon!
She naps!

She naps!

And lastly here’s me and Maverick hanging out front while Samantha naps:
Me and Maverick out front just hanging out

Me and Maverick out front just hanging out