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Moving into Loma Prieta

Started: 2020-08-30 21:31:55

Submitted: 2020-08-31 00:03:50

Visibility: World-readable

In which the intrepid narrator moves into his new home on Loma Prieta

After we signed a lease to rent a house at the top of the Santa Cruz mountains, the next step was to actually move into the house. The movers warned that they might need two or three weeks lead time to set up the delivery — or four or more weeks in the summer high season. So I requested delivery with a window starting on 10th August, the date our lease started, expecting them to set up delivery in the week or two starting on that date, hoping they'd be able to deliver within a week so I could have the house set up before bringing the kids back to live in the house — and they came back with delivery scheduled first thing Monday morning 10th August (which was actually slightly inconvenient because it meant I had to scramble to make sure the house was ready for them when they arrived).

Monterey Peninsula and Santa Cruz from Loma Prieta
Monterey Peninsula and Santa Cruz from Loma Prieta

I flew to Seattle for the weekend to help Kiesa move out of the furnished house she rented in Queen Anne, then returned to Bay Area on Sunday afternoon ahead of the movers showing up first thing Monday morning. On my return flight I was impressed that I could actually see the Pacific Ocean — my flight path took me over Longview, and because the sky was clear I could see all the way down the Columbia River to the mouth of the river at the Pacific Ocean. (I think, on every prior flight I've taken up and down the Pacific coast over Oregon, the sky has been cloudy so I haven't been able to see the ocean.)

Mouth of the Columbia River at Astoria
Mouth of the Columbia River at Astoria

I drove up to the new house first thing Monday morning, aiming to be there in case the movers showed up right at 08:00. (I didn't expect them to show up at 08:00, but I assumed that, if I wasn't there, they would absolutely be there right on time.) I set up my little camp chair on the deck, set up a hotspot on my phone (I put my phone on the wooden railing and there was just barely enough signal), and did a bit of work before the movers showed up around 09:00.

The movers arrived in four small box trucks (though they only needed three trucks to fit our stuff), carrying our stuff up from storage in Hayward. (I was worried that a large, articulated moving truck wouldn't be able to make it all the way up the driveway.) I walked them through the house, explaining what each room was supposed to be (trying to remember what the rooms were identified as when the boxes were packed, though I wasn't actually there during the packing) and gesturing vaguely at where the furniture was supposed to go. Then the movers started unloading, carrying the boxes and furniture and everything else we owned out of the back of the trucks into our new home.

Movers at Loma Prieta
Movers at Loma Prieta

I spent much of the day directing traffic as the movers showed up with a stack of boxes and we tried to read the inscription describing the contents and map the origin onto the new arrangement of our new new house, and send the movers in that direction.

Couch surrounded by boxes at Loma Prieta
Couch surrounded by boxes at Loma Prieta

I ended up with more boxes in the master bedroom and the living room than really belonged there, but that was easy enough to sort out once I started unpacking.

Master bath filled with wardrobe boxes
Master bath filled with wardrobe boxes

The movers spent all morning unloading the three trucks, then took a break for lunch and half of the movers departed for their next job, leaving three of the movers to assemble the furniture that had been disassembled (except for the futon, which ended up in Calvin's room but didn't appear to have all of the hardware it was supposed to have).

Master bedroom filled with boxes
Master bedroom filled with boxes

The movers departed by the middle of the afternoon, leaving me alone in an empty house filled with boxes. I started unpacking the kitchen, on the theory that I needed a kitchen more than I needed anything else. I assumed that Kiesa would want to reorganize the kitchen once she arrived, but I started unpacking mugs and glasses and plates and bowls near the dishwasher, and pots and pans under the stove, and spices near the other sink. (The kitchen, for reasons we don't totally understand, has two sinks. One is obviously next to the dishwasher, so it's probably supposed to be the dishwashing sink; the other is near the oven, so it's probably supposed to be the food preparation sink. This is, by a fairly significant margin, the largest kitchen we've ever lived in.)

Unpacking the kitchen shelves
Unpacking the kitchen shelves

For supper I brought an electric teakettle (the gooseneck kettle I bought this spring to make pourover coffee from home; I carried it in my suitcase coming back from Seattle over the weekend) and a couple of packaged soups I could cook and eat with only hot water. I unpacked enough of the kitchen that I could plausibly claim that I could probably find enough dishes to feed myself, then I drove back down the mountain to my temporary apartment in Cupertino for the night.

Internet radio mast
Internet radio mast

I returned to the house on Tuesday at noon to host the "third-party service" that was coming to put together the treadmill (the one thing the movers didn't want to disassemble or reassemble themselves), and to host my Internet install.

Where I sit in the Santa Cruz Mountains the only good option for Internet is a line-of-site microwave link connecting my house to a tower somewhere within reach of a fiber optic cable. (On the bright side there are several providers that compete in this space, probably because the addressable market is so big.) My new house is high enough on the hill that I can see a good chunk of Santa Cruz (and Watsonville, and (gestures vaguely in the distance) something that's probably the Salinas Valley or at least adjacent to the Salinas Valley, and also the Monterey Peninsula), so I have a great line-of-site to all of the hills where one would presumably want to host the base stations. I chose Surfnet because the previous occupants had used them, and although the previous occupants had taken the equipment, they had left the mast (and Ethernet cable leading inside the house) still mounted to the side of the house, facing in the general direction of Santa Cruz.

I had ordered a fancy wifi router for my network, and expected it to arrive on Monday, but shipping was delayed by a day so when my installer arrived I had to dig around the boxes in the office to find my old wifi router. I found it just in time; and then I had a good fast enough Internet connection (15 Mbps down, theoretically symmetric but slightly slower on the uplink).

Surfnet antenna installed
Surfnet antenna installed

The last service to be installed was propane. We are far enough away from civilization that we get to have our own propane tank to supply the hot water heater, gas range, and furnace (during the winter, at least, when we get around to using a furnace again). The propane company was supposed to show up on Wednesday afternoon, and before then I wouldn't have hot water and couldn't use the gas range; I didn't feel compelled to try to live in a house without hot water so I went back to my apartment in Cupertino on Tuesday night and was planning on returning to the house by the afternoon. But Kiesa got a call from the propane guy who happened to be vaguely in the neighborhood and wondered if he could show up that morning rather than that afternoon (so he wouldn't have to drive down the mountain and back up) and I wasn't quite ready to leave yet but I scrambled around my apartment packing everything up (including several week's worth of food in the kitchen, excluding my last load of laundry, which I left in the dryer when I left) and carrying it all down three flights of stairs to my car, then driving 45 minutes up the mountain. When I arrived the propane guy was parked on the driveway; he walked me through the relevant features of the propane tank (the shutoff valve, the pressure release, the gauge), then I let him into the house to make sure all of the relevant pilot lights were lit. He verified that the range worked, but it didn't automatically light; he needed to light it externally, then it worked well enough.

I still had a lot of unpacking to do, but I had a bed and clothing and a kitchen (and hot water and, most importantly, Internet); so I had everything I needed to live. I spent the night at our new home on Loma Prieta.

Loma Prieta deck at night
Loma Prieta deck at night
Unlike most of you, I get to bed at a reasonable hour.
- Dr. Show, to physics class, 20 August 1999