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Moving to San Francisco

Started: 2016-08-21 09:03:21

Submitted: 2016-08-21 18:39:03

Visibility: World-readable

In which the intrepid narrator moves away from Boulder after 25 years

I flew from San Francisco to Denver on Friday afternoon before Memorial Day. I hung out in Boulder on Saturday and Sunday, making final preparations for the movers to pack and load our stuff to move to San Francisco. We closed on our house earlier in the week, and kept possession until the following week to let us move everything out.

One of the things my new employer's relocation package paid for was a dumpster parked in the driveway. It was overkill for what we really needed -- we ended up giving away bulky things like the queen bed we had used in the guest room and the lawn mower, rather than throwing them away -- but we did end up throwing out a couple of cubic yards of stuff, more than we could have fit in our regular trash bin. I took a car-load of stuff to household hazardous waste and CHaRM, and ended up giving a bunch of propane and camping fuel (things we couldn't take on the moving truck) to a guy who happened to be coming out of the household hazardous waste drop-off as I was loading my cart.

On Monday morning I ran the Bolder Boulder, qualifying into wave CA based on my final time last year, even though I hadn't trained as well this year. (I didn't manage to get into a regular running schedule after moving to San Francisco -- I usually ate lunch with the rest of my team, and I found it difficult to wake up early to go running, especially since there was a shortage of good running trails immediately accessible from my house. What worked best was to wake up early, head straight to work, run along the Embarcadero, then shower and eat breakfast in the office.) As I was lining up for my wave start I counted and realized I'd run the Bolder Boulder 19 times in since moving to Boulder in 1991 (I ran in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016) -- more than half of the total number of times the race itself has been run since 1979.

I what I hoped was a sustainable pace on the high end of aerobic but still ended up having to walk for a bit in the middle of the race. I followed the race course through the sleepy residential streets of Boulder, up and over Casey Hill, past downtown, and onto Folsom for the final stretch. The bagpipers, playing "Scotland the Brave", were a few hundred meters north of their normal place, occupying the lawn in front of married student housing on Folsom rather than the corner where the race course turned off Folsom to enter the stadium. I picked up my pace as the course climbed the final hill into the stadium, and sprinted around the stadium to the finish. My final time was 52:53 -- respectable, but not my best time.

I headed home and grabbed a shower and breakfast before taking Kiesa and the rest of the family to the airport. I parked in the garage and helped them inside, burdened down with enough luggage for live a week or two in our new house before the moving truck arrived.

I returned home to get ready for the movers to arrive the next morning. My new employer's relocation package paid for a full-service pack-and-load, with packing scheduled for Tuesday and loading on Wednesday. I still had to get ready for them to arrive: I took down the baby gates in the living room and upstairs hallway, filled in the holes left by the anchors, and painted over the fill. I cleaned out the fridge, dumping almost everything and running a giant dishwasher load full of storage containers from the fridge. I ran several loads of laundry with sheets and towels and clothing.

The moving crew arrived on Tuesday morning and packed everything, going from room to room and packing basically everything that wasn't nailed down. I answered their questions and generally tried to stay available but out of the way. I was impressed by their technique: they were clearly an organized crew, dividing and conquering the task and efficiently packing everything into an array of boxes, labeling everything (though not always as clearly as we would have liked when we started to unpack). I spent the rest of my time working, trying to figure out what was happening with one particular customer that tried to overload their service every day.

I went out for lunch at Snarf's, as part of my farewell tour, then returned to get the van picked up to move to San Francisco. (I picked up a rental car at the airport when I arrived, so I still had my own transportation.) A guy showed up in a car transporter, a big semi stacked with cars on the back, including several cars with the Bolder Boulder logo on them. He expertly maneuvered the truck through the small residential neighborhood, then drove several of the cars off the truck to adjust the available space to fit the van. I watched for a while as he moved the cars around, then headed back inside.

The movers finished packing by mid-afternoon and left. I grabbed my laptop and headed to local coffee shop Tod's (another part of my farewell tour), where I pretended to work for a bit, then headed downtown to the Boulder Bookstore. I met a group of runners at Chautauqua, including one of my former coworkers who suggested I tag along. We ran/walked up to Royal Arch and back down again. I've been to Royal Arch many times but I couldn't help but think of my visit to the arch the day I graduated from high school, on Memorial Day weekend in 1998.

After the run, I ate supper at Tokyo Joe's, then returned home to finish packing: taking apart the cubicle desks, painting over one last hole in the wall in the master bedroom, and dragging all of the storage boxes out of the crawl space so the movers would actually be able to load them the next day.

The movers showed up Wednesday morning to load everything into the moving truck. The driver started by walking through the house, inventorying all of the boxes and furniture and everything that would be loaded into the truck, marking everything down on a sheet and putting barcode stickers on everything. The truck blocked the end of my street, but given the length of the full-size moving truck and the under-speced size of the street, it would have been difficult to do anything else. The movers carried everything into the truck, dismantling furniture where they had to so it would fit. I answered questions (mostly of the form "does this go", to which the answer was usually "yes") and generally kept out of the way while they worked, while I tried to work a little as well. I met an old coworker for lunch, at the mostly-Japanese pan-Asian restaurant in Gunbarrel, and returned home to watch the movers wrap up by mid-afternoon.

I had a few things left to do that night -- pack up the stuff I'd be taking with me on the plane and disposing of the last few things the movers uncovered while packing and loading that they wouldn't load. But the one thing I really wanted to do was add Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park to my farewell tour. I drove my rental car up US-36 through Estes Park, through the Trail River Road entrance, using the park pass I bought last year, and drove along Trail Ridge Road as it climbed above treeline. I stopped and walked through the snow and gaped at the mountains -- the mountains that I've loved for years that I'm now leaving behind.

Trail Ridge Road through a rear-view mirror
Trail Ridge Road through a rear-view mirror

I turned around at the road's high point and headed back to civilization, watching the road disappear in my rear-view mirror. The metaphor was so literal that I had to stop and get a picture.

Mount Julian et al
Mount Julian et al

I ate supper in Estes Park and headed home one last time. I slept on a sleeping bag in the now-empty master bedroom. The empty house was uncanny, a shell of its old self. I could see the flaws in the paint, where the baseboards had been bumped by vacuums and furniture and children; the dust where the beds and shelves used to be. The house was still dirty (and would be cleaned by our normal cleaners the next day, after I left but before the new owners took possession), but I knew we had left it in better condition than we bought it in. The house had been good to us for the four years we owned it, and we had been good to it.

House on Glendale Gulch Circle with dumpster
House on Glendale Gulch Circle with dumpster

On Thursday morning I threw out the rest of the trash that had accumulated around the house, packed up my sleeping bag, and left the house for good. I dropped by household hazardous waste again with a bunch of cleaning supplies that had missed my first purge. I headed to my new employer's Boulder office for most of the day, then swung by Boulder Public Library to drop off one last book, and Comcast to drop off the cable modem, before driving to DIA, dropping off my rental car, and flying home to San Francisco.

Beaver Creek under an airplane wing
Beaver Creek under an airplane wing