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Started: 2018-07-17 12:01:19

Submitted: 2018-07-17 14:10:49

Visibility: World-readable

In which the intrepid narrator wraps up his time in San Francisco and moves to Seattle

Earlier this year, Kiesa's dream job as the systems librarian at the Seattle Central Library opened up. She applied, interviewed, and got the job.

There was only one problem.

I wasn't ready to leave San Francisco.

The first thing I did was double down on my todo list, trying to cram in as many things as I wanted to do before leaving San Francisco. Then I started looking for a job, starting in Google's Seattle office. After some twists and turns I ended up with a job on an SRE team supporting Google Analytics, encouraging users to buy ads (to make Google money) by showing them how they drive traffic to their site.

Kiesa packed up the house on the last week of June, and shepherded the movers who packed all of our stuff into storage in Burlingame while we figure out where we're going to live long-term in Seattle. She moved into a furnished house in the north Seattle neighborhood of Ballard on a temporary lease from someone going on sabbatical.

I lived in a mostly-empty house for two weeks, fulfilling my last on-call shift for App Engine, wrapping up my projects, and burning through the end of my todo list, including two trips to Point Reyes (hiking to Sunset Beach and kayaking on Tomales Bay). My on-call shift spanned the Fourth of July; though the service was mercifully quiet enough that I had plenty of time to get ice cream at Bi-Rite and eat it sitting on the hill in the middle of Dolores Park, surrounded by people celebrating the holiday. In the evening I headed to Pier 39 to watch fireworks -- fireworks that I could actually see because the fog stayed away; then I sent my handoff at the end of my shift while sitting on the steps as the crowd dispersed.

I spent my last week on App Engine paying down two years of accumulated technical debt on my project -- debt that I wasn't directly responsible for, but did accumulate on my watch while I was busy with other things. I detangled a hoary mess of configuration, built a new mechanism to roll out the configuration into production, and then threw together some Python code to automate the production rollout to make it safer and easier to use. (I still don't like Python but I can at least fake it. But you can't tell me with a straight face that the ternary operator syntax is any more readable than Perl or C just because it uses English words.) I closed old bugs, reassigned some to my colleagues, filed a few more for outstanding work, and fixed one last bug on my last day. I moved myself into the "alumni" section of my team's pager file as I reassigned my last scheduled on-call shift in August.

I left the office on the evening of my last day, Friday the 13th, an auspicious day for the occasion, bidding farewell to everyone I worked with. In my two-and-a-half years on the team, I completely rebuilt the rollout system used to deliver runtimes, creating a system that's more reliable and resilient. I'm quite confident I left App Engine in better shape than I found it -- and I think that's all I can hope for.

I'm taking this week off to move myself to Seattle. After seeing the Asian Art Museum on Saturday and kayaking on Tomales Bay on Sunday I had run out of excuses to stay in San Francisco, but I wasn't ready to deal with the final packing and the 800 mile drive to Seattle. I bought a last-minute flight to Seattle, leaving Monday, to spend a couple of days in Seattle to find my bearings there and see my family again. At the time I bought my ticket the price difference between first class and economy was small enough that I splurged for a bigger seat at the front of the plane -- and took advantage of the two free checked bags to try to carry as much stuff with me as I could. I'll return to San Francisco on Friday, which ought to give me enough time to finish packing, find a trash hauler to take care of all the accumulated detritus left over in the house, and spend the weekend driving to Seattle, in time to start my new job on Monday the 23rd.

San Francisco skyline in the morning sun
San Francisco skyline in the morning sun