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Rude People

There seemed to be more rude people than usual out this past weekend.

Saturday night we went to Cafe Borrone as we usually do on Saturdays, but since I was assembling furniture we didn’t get there until almost 8 pm, rather than our usual 6-6:30. The place was packed – a little surprising since I think Stanford is done for the year – but after walking around for a couple of minutes some folks got up from a table we were near and we went over to it. I was distracted by something for a moment, but when I turned around a woman had come over to Debbi and was telling her that they were ahead of us “in line” and that the table was theirs. For whatever reason – probably shock at her sheer gall – we gave her the table, but I argued with her for a minute about this ridiculous notion of “in line” – what line? I’ve been going to Borrone for 12 years, and plenty of other coffee shops for longer than that, and getting a table has always involved getting to the table before someone else does. As Debbi said later, if they wanted to make sure she got the table, they should have had someone waiting in that area of the cafe, not have both been standing around elsewhere.

On our way out I told her that I hope they’d have a terrible time. And I hope they did.

We went to Amicis for dinner and had a perfectly pleasant time sitting by the fireplace there. Then we came home and spent the evening reading in front of our own fireplace.

Sunday we were shopping at Safeway and I went over to grab some chicken sausage for the barbecue on Memorial Day. An employee was stocking the shelves, and a couple of other people were hanging around waiting to get in. One of them left and I said “excuse me” to the other guy who was standing there talking on the phone, and who had just been handed something by the employee. He didn’t move, so I stepped around him. Then I heard him say, “Well I’m not picking that up.” I picked out the sausage I wanted, and he said to me, “You realize you just knocked that out of my hand.” I looked at a package of sausage on the floor and I said, “No, I had no idea.” He said something like, “Well, you should be more careful.” I said, “Well, I was trying to get by, and I said ‘excuse me’, and you didn’t move, and you’re standing there talking on the phone…” He sighed and turned away.

I handed the dropped package to the employee and we commiserated about people on the phone living in their own little world. (Usually when I call someone in a supermarket I try to go off into a corner to talk to them.) Sure enough, later on we went down an aisle and there he was standing in the middle of the aisle, not moving to let us get by. He didn’t even have a cart or a basket.

This last story is a little more reasonable, but still a little weird. I ran by OSH on Memorial Day morning to pick up some more pads for our dining table chairs. Lots of places had sales this weekend, so it was pretty busy. I got into a pretty short line, and the guy in front of me was buying a big set of shears and three packs of flowers, and he had a coupon. Not bad, right? He tells the cashier he wants to pay for the shears separately from the flowers. She’s a bit croggled and says that he won’t get the discount on the flowers from the coupon if he buys them separately. He repeats that he wants to buy them separately. Then he pays cash for each transaction (though both are well under $20), so she has to fish out change for each transaction.

When I handed her my one item I said, “That’s all.” I was very tempted to say, “And I’ll pay for it in one transaction,”, but I decided that would be a little too snarky since the guy hadn’t gotten very far yet. But I’ve gone to this cashier before and I’m pretty sure it would have amused her.

It’s not really unreasonable to buy items separately, but it did seem a little weird.

Anyway, hopefully all these rude people will stay home next weekend so we don’t have to deal with them. One can only hope.

Unpacking Weekend

This weekend was mostly given over to unpacking. Debbi has been stressed out with all the boxes around the house and was frantically unpacking the kitchen, while I figured it would take several weeks to get most of the stuff put away. Eventually we came to a compromise where I’d prioritize unpacking the books in the living room, but have more time to do the study and library. So yesterday I anchored the tall bookcase to the living room wall, and then I unloaded all my hardcovers into it and the two short bookcases next to it, cutting in half the unemptied boxes in that room. Progress!

Meanwhile, we went to Ikea on Friday night and picked up a couple of bureaus (and they were heavy, so picking them up was no mean feat!). It turns out that Friday night is a great time to go to Ikea, as they were pretty quiet and we got through (and, in particular, got parking) in record time. I put the bookcases together over the next two days, which was rather a pain in the ass: Since all the drawers are themselves unassembled, it took about 2-1/2 hours per bureau to assemble them. But they look pretty nice now that it’s done, and we’ve unpacked most of our clothes. It also feels right to me to have a bureau on the wall across from the bed.

(By the way, our friend Chad pointed out that Californian for “bureau” is “dresser”.)

We also ran some errands on Saturday, in particular buying a couple of counter stools at California Stools Bars & Dinettes. While the price was more than we were prepared for, we had not had much luck finding what we wanted at places like Target and OSH, and admittedly the quality of what we bought at CSBD seemed better. And honestly I couldn’t fault their service on the showroom floor (yay for salesmen paid on salary and not on commission!). We’ve sat in the stools for breakfast the last two days and are very happy with them! (Blackjack also enjoys sitting on them sometimes.)

We’ve been in our new house a little over a week now and we’re really enjoying it. Debbi keeps saying how it feels right. The cats are all used to it, although Roulette still prefers the upstairs to the downstairs. We spent Saturday evening on the couch in the living room (a.k.a. “the room without a television”) reading, enjoying the gas fireplace, and the cats hung out with us.

We’re still moving the last items out of the old place. Almost everything left there is now in the garage, but we still have a few more car loads, not to mention stuff to throw away, stuff to donate, and stuff to take to the dump. It’s “the unromantic part”, Debbi said. But we’re getting there.

We wrapped up the long weekend with a small Memorial Day barbecue – though it hardly felt “small” since we had three couples (Subrata and Susan, Chad & Camille, and Joar and Karin) and their children (4 all together, each one 3 years or younger). Yes, the cats spent almost the whole afternoon hiding in the bedroom. But we got to show off the house to people who hadn’t seen it yet. I was able to use my grill to cook 12 hamburgers and 4 sausages all at once, and the kids enjoyed running all over the yard. We had a nice warm – if a bit windy – day. Also, Chad brought over his electric lawn mower which I’ll borrow for a while – I just need to get a long cord for it! (He hasn’t used it in years since they have a gardener for their place.)

We had a great time, but were definitely tired by the time everyone left.

Actually the whole weekend has been pretty tiring, even though we were very productive and had a good time today! But somehow I don’t think it’ll exactly be a relief to go in to work tomorrow! 😉

The Big Move

Buying a new house and moving sucks up all your available time, which is why I haven’t been writing here lately. Plus, we don’t yet have Internet at the new place. But! On Saturday we made the big move to our nice new home.

We closed on our new house last Tuesday, and we took Thursday off to be at the house for some appointments, including Comcast coming by to set up cable TV, and our washer/dryer being delivered by Home Depot. All the appointments went off without a hitch, and we were able to move some stuff over during the day as well. Susan and Ajay also came by to see the place, and Ajay enjoyed playing in the yard as well as running in circles in all the empty rooms.

We were packing right up until the movers arrived on Saturday, though we did go to bed and got about 6-1/2 hours of sleep the night before. Debbi called around to several moving companies and we went with Trusted Van Lines, based in San Jose. The phone contact was apparently very helpful and was the only place she called to give us a written quote. They also had the best price. Originally they were supposed to show up between 1-3 pm, but they called on Thursday and asked if they could come between 8-10 am, which was fine with us! They actually arrived around 8:40 am with a 3-man crew and a plenty-big truck.

I think we packed around 90 boxes all together, and the movers filled a couple of larger boxes with bedding and pillows. Plus our furniture, which actually was not as tough to move as the fact that about 50 boxes were filled with books, comics and CDs! Heavy!

But these guys were awesome. They were friendly, courteous and careful, and impressively efficient, only taking a few breaks. We had water available for them, and I went out to buy us all lunch from Quiznos. They trucked lots of boxes up the stairs at the new place (where they didn’t use dollies to spare the new carpeting; the old place didn’t need such care as its carpet needs to be replaced before I sell it), and got almost everything routed to the right place (3 boxes ended up in an adjoining room – hardly a tragedy!). Given the heavy stuff they moved for us, we gave them a pretty hefty tip (at least, I think it was hefty, from standards I’ve read about elsewhere), and the final total was actually close to what I paid for my 2001 move. It took about 7 hours end-to-end, which was slightly above estimate, but given all the books I wasn’t too surprised.

We would definitely use them again. In fact, we might use them again to empty our storage locker next month!

As the movers were finishing, Chad and Camille and the twins came by to give us a care package of mai tais, and we invited them in to see the place.

I locked the cats in one of the bathrooms in the old place for the day. Newton spent much of the day meowing, but I hope they were able to get some sleep after we left for the other house. Debbi and I made a run back to the old house to pick up some key items we’d been unable to pack, and then we picked up the cats, put them in their carriers and brought them over.

Newton is a well-travelled kitty, having done 2 previous moves (1 cross-country), and he was out of his carrier within 5 minutes, and trotting around with his tail held high within half an hour. Blackjack and Roulette, however, refused to leave their carrier after a peek outside, so we eventually pulled them out and closed it up. Blackjack started to come around, finding a good hiding spot but venturing out periodically to explore before retreating. Roulette, however, was miserable, looking for somewhere to hide and not finding one she liked. Debbi eventually took her upstairs where she hid under the bed for the rest of the day.

As I’d predicted, she came out overnight and had pretty much conquered the upstairs by the next morning, but she’s still very wary of downstairs and mostly stays upstairs. (I hope she comes down to eat at night.) Blackjack has gotten used to most of the house, has been scratching at various posts, and took off up the stairs at high speed this morning, so I think he’s used to the place. Roulette may take a week or so to fully acclimatize.

For Debbi and myself the house feels like home already (albeit home with a bunch of boxes piled in every room). She’s unpacked much of the kitchen, I’ve set up the computer, TV and stereo, and we’ve made another run to get more stuff from the old house. (We still have another 2-4 car loads in the garage to bring over, but we’re almost there!) But we’ve been there a couple of nights now, cats snoozing on the bed with us, and we watched an episode of Doctor Who while drinking mai tais last night.

We have several projects to get the place just right over the next month or two, but so far so good. I think it’ll be a great place for us.

A Bookstore-riffic Visit From Mom

I took a week off recently for a visit from my Mom, who hasn’t been here in a couple of years. We’d planned the trip a couple of months ago, so we didn’t know that she’d end up being here right in the middle of our escrow period for our new house! This had some pluses and minuses: The plus is that the day she arrived, Wednesday, we had a walkthrough of the house with the agents and the seller prior to removing the property contingency, so she was able to come along and see the house. The minus is that we were still working through the approval of the mortgage, so we had several times during her visit when I had to spend time sending more information to the lender. But despite some frustration over that, it all worked out.

House stuff aside, we had a very nice visit.

Thursday (two weeks ago) we drove over to Half Moon Bay and had brunch at the Main Street Grill, which has Mom’s favorite eggs benedict, or so she’s said. We walked around downtown and hit the used bookstores, and then went for a walk along the coastal trail, which was fun but a bit chilly and very windy. Then we went by the Bay Book Company where we talked with one of the staff at some length about mysteries and science fiction, and picked up a few things. On the way back we drove along Skyline Drive and stopped at various vista points.

Friday we had brunch at Stacks in Campbell, and then hit Recycle Bookstore where we ran into my friend Chad. Then we drove up to Big Basin Redwoods State Park, doing the redwood loop trail and visiting the gift store, which I hadn’t been to before. After a round of talking to Debbi about some new information needed for our pending mortgage, we were able to head down to Santa Cruz where we walked along the beach, got some frappes, and walked out the wharf. Unfortunately there weren’t many sea lions under the wharf, though we could hear a few.

Saturday Debbi joined us for a trip into the city. Alas Borderlands Books was having an event, so Mom wasn’t able to meet their cats, who were hiding in the back. (I found three hardcover books, however.) We went to Golden Gate Park to go to the Japanese Tea Garden, and then to Ghirardelli Square for ice cream.


The tea garden is always pretty

We also made a special trip to Pier 39 since Mom loves the sea lions.


There weren’t a lot of there, but there were some.

Sunday we had brunch at the Moss Beach Distillery and drove around the coast a bit. We stopped at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve where we saw – among other things – a beautiful hawk hanging out on the hill above the entrance:



Surfer girl car magnet I saw in the parking lot

We ended up at the Point Montara Lighthouse, which I’d learned recently had originally been built in Wellfleet, Massachusetts and somehow migrated to the California coast in the early 20th century.

Monday we had a fairly quiet day in the valley, dropping by Apple so Mom could pick up some swag at the company store (and so I could swing by my office and pick up my newly-delivered iPad), and also swinging by the other branch of Recycle Books. Yes, I think we hit just about all the book stores on her visit – which she was happy to do. Here’s a list of all the ones we visited:

Blackjack especially enjoyed her visit: She’s his absolute favorite house guest, and he’d be up on her bed at night meowing at her to go to bed. It was really cute. I think Debbi was a bit jealous, though. But for whatever reason he seems to like Mom better than any of our other visitors.

Tuesday I took her to the airport, the week having just flown by. We even spent more time than usual just hanging out at home (and of course plenty of good food), yet we still couldn’t believe it was time for her to leave. Hopefully it won’t be too long before she’s able to come back.

Doctor Who: The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon

We discovered that Comcast On Demand features Doctor Who, so we’ve been able to watch the first couple of episodes of season six despite not getting the BBC America station. Nice! (Sadly we haven’t been able to see the Christmas episode, but it doesn’t seem like we missed much.)

The season-opening two parter was a little disappointing, though. Spoilers for these episodes if you haven’t seen them.

Read on, Macduff! »