It went something like this.
Sunday. I was all set to fly to Seattle out of [Product-placed jelly-bean-loving president] National Airport, but when I got there, I learned the flight had been cancelled due to high winds. The agent booked me on a flight out of Dulles, and I had to high-tail it down there as quickly as possible in a cab. Naturally, they picked me out for a random security search. I raced to the gate and made it with minutes to spare. The rest of the day was filled with me driving around Seattle, getting lost several times, and checking out various apartments, and not really liking any of them, and just generally freaking out about the move, and all the money it was going to cost me.
Monday. Interview with Mister Softee. You may recall that I interviewed there last October, and didn't get it, despite not getting voted off the island (i.e. I made it through the entire day). Well, despite not having as much time to prepare for the day as before, it went really well. I again did not get voted off the island. In fact, I talked to seven different people in all, and was there from 9 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.
Monday night. Still kind of freaking out, but the interview process was actually a little calming. My fears reduced further when I went to Crave, a restaurant, and had an amazing meal. Crave is an example of what eating out in the big city is supposed to be like: fun, creative, quirky, different.
I did run into a road block getting back to the hotel, literally: some trees fell down on the highway, blocking the way for a good 30 minutes. I opened up my laptop to have something to do, and was surprised to see it find a wireless access point. I was in the middle of nowhere, but sure enough, there on the screen, it said: "SoundTransit." I checked my mirror, and, sure enough, sitting in traffic behind me was a public bus. Turns out they're running a pilot program that offers wireless Internet connections while riding the Seattle-to-Redmond express bus. Or, to put it in a way that more appropriately expresses my feelings on this subject,
HOLY SHIT! YOU CAN BROWSE THE INTERNET ON THE FUCKING BUS!
If there was ever an indicator that Seattle is the town for me: that's it. Wow.
Tuesday. Now it was time to really hit the streets and find an apartment. I checked one or two places that looked interesting, off listings I had seen on craigslist. There were some kind of blah, older apartments, and some tiny houses that were hard to get to.
And then... I found my new apartment. I knew as soon as I stepped inside. It has a view of Elliot Bay, and of Magnolia Hill. Completely new appliances, renovated, quiet, in a cute four-plex on the west side of Queen Anne (I know I sound like one of those realtors with the big hair right now, but bear with me).
The property manager curses like a sailor. Because he is one. He's a ship's captain, and easily the most honest, friendliest person I have ever dealt with on the rental front. And, really, he sold me when he told me that DirecTV plus NFL Sunday Ticket was included in the price of the rent. I think I may have started drooling a little bit.
Anyway, apartment lease accomplished. I flew back here Wednesday. As we landed at DCA, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, around me, pulled out their Blackberries. One guy started talking to his row-mate about how he thought the Patriot Act was the one thing keeping up safe from terrorists. Aaaand, I remembered why I want to leave so badly.
I get home, and the phone starts buzzing. It's Mister Softee... and they're making me an offer... and it's way better than the offer I had already accepted from another company. Holy crap... the salary is higher, there's a signing bonus (which is something I've always wanted, just to say I had gotten one), and they cover all relocation fees, which is substantial. Plus an unusual array of insane benefits. All my financial worries just disappeared in one fell swoop. It's like I just won the lottery.
But it's not just the money that has me literally jumping up and down today. Getting a job there, in my field, is nearly tantamount to getting into Harvard. It's a very difficult process, but once you're in... you're surrounded by smart, passionate people who work hard on interesting things every day. I'm going to be able to say that I helped ship the next version of Windows, which is kind of amazing. It's probably going to be a lot of work, but I'm ready.
I realized today that I was experiencing something I hadn't felt in a long time... I was actually excited about my future. I've gone from being stuck in a boring job and not living up to my potential, in an bland, oppressive city that I hate, to working in an interesting field (software security, e.g. anti-hacking) at the biggest software company in the world, in perhaps my favorite city ever.
Everything is coming up Milhouse.
So of course, with all that's been going on, I haven't made any headway in judging the essay contest entries. Hopefully I can work on that this weekend. Meanwhile, if you see a guy in a green-and-yellow Sonics hoodie skipping down the street with an odd smirk on his face, it might be me.