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Living in San Francisco

Started: 2016-07-09 15:34:00

Submitted: 2016-07-09 19:07:43

Visibility: World-readable

In which the intrepid narrator lives in San Francisco for four months, mostly on his own

I spent February and March living in my employer-sponsored temporary apartment in Mission Bay. We signed a lease on a house in Glen Park and took possession of the house at the end of February, but I stayed in Mission Bay for a couple of weeks because it was actually furnished, and it was more convenient to get to work. (Once I finished my two weeks of new-employee orientation in Mountain View, I biked to the office when the weather was reasonable, or took MUNI when the weather was rainy.)

Bay Bridge in fog
Bay Bridge in fog

Kiesa visited twice while I was living in Mission Bay: once in February, as the "preview trip" that was supposed to be used as a house-hunting visit, and once in March to attend a conference conveniently located in San Francisco. She brought Calvin along on the first trip, which turned out to be less about house-hunting and more about figuring out how to use the house we'd rented. She spent almost all day on Saturday exhaustively taking pictures and measuring the inside of the house trying to figure out where everything would fit, then made an elaborate SketchUp model so we could arrange our furniture. I took Calvin to Fort Point, then to the Golden Gate Bridge overlook. (I did not take any pictures because I was under a self-imposed photo moratorium until I finished going through my hundreds of pictures from China.) I took Calvin to lunch at a burrito shop in Richmond (the neighborhood of San Francisco, not the city in the East Bay), then we went to play in the sand at Ocean Beach.

Calvin at the Exploratorium display at the Golden Gate Bridge
Calvin at the Exploratorium display at the Golden Gate Bridge
Calvin runs at Ocean Beach
Calvin runs at Ocean Beach

On Sunday we visited Alcatraz and the Exploratorium, then picked up Frozen from the Mission Bay library to watch it that night. On Monday Kiesa and Calvin met me for lunch at my office before heading home.

Calvin and Jaeger in the Exploratorium's distorted room
Calvin and Jaeger in the Exploratorium's distorted room

I bought a couple pieces of furniture to furnish my house in Glen Park. I bought two chairs on Craigslist: a purple armchair and an Ikea chair with a footrest. I picked up a brightly-colored rug being sold by a coworker, and this gave me somewhere I could live in for a couple of months.

Craigslist living room in San Francisco
Craigslist living room in San Francisco

Kiesa ordered a kitchen island from Target, which I got to assemble myself when it arrived. (This required a trip to Lowe's in the middle of the project to pick up adequate tools; I'd left almost all of my tools in Boulder, not realizing that I'd need a better screwdriver. I thought this was more fun than it probably should have been; it was a bit like assembling a large-scale Lego set. I briefly considered hiring myself out to assemble other people's furniture.) The island, plus two bar-stool-sized chairs from Walmart (which also required assembly), served as my dining room table and desk.

Kitchen island as dining room table
Kitchen island as dining room table

I wanted to be able to actually sleep on a bed, but we also wanted to avoid getting too much duplicate furniture, so we ended up with a twin bed from Ikea that I moved into our au pair's room before the rest of the family arrived at the end of May.

Pedestrian bridge over I-280 in Glen Park
Pedestrian bridge over I-280 in Glen Park

When I moved into the house after returning from spring break, it was the first time I'd really lived on my own in my life. Kiesa had packed a skeleton kitchen for me, but I was still responsible for my cooking, cleaning, and groceries. I rattled around in the mostly-unfurnished house, leaving some rooms entirely unused, just waiting for the rest of my family to arrive. I settled into a routine: wake up, shower, meditate, take BART to work (10-minute walk to Glen Park station, a 10-minute ride to Embarcadero station, finished with a 10-minute walk to the office), eat breakfast and lunch at the office, come home for supper. I ate frozen Indian meals from Trader Joe's, pasta (with a great tomato-basil-cream sauce I found at Trader Joe's), or drunken noodles (the one thing I figured out how to actually cook on my own). I flew back to Boulder for the weekend to visit every two or three weeks, and spent the other weekends playing tourist and occasionally setting something up. I liked having my schedule entirely up to me, and not having to worry about Julian or Calvin's schedules, but I missed spending time with Kiesa.

Well, this was a family outing. Ya know, one of
those occasions where four people try to get
together for an evening, and it's considered a
success if no one has been murdered by the time
it's over.
- Bitscape