First Weekend in Redmond

Hey! Hey! Hey! I’m here.
Sorry for keeping you all in the dark for so long.

Friday January 14th
05:30 CST – A dream about missing plane flights woke me up early. I’m excited about leaving, but really nervous about clearing customs. Waking up early wasn’t too bad, because I got to say bye to Mom who was leaving early for her excersise class.
09:00 CST – The plane is taxiing off from the runway; it’s a full load, but I have a whole row to myself. I wonder if Microsoft reserved me the whole row?
09:03 CST – Liftoff. I can see Meadows West out my window, but I can’t pick out our house.
09:30 CST – The seatbelt light has been turned off, so I moved to the middle seat (because I can) and pulled out A Brief History of Nearly Everything. What a great book.
08:58 PST – We’re racing the sun now and flying 3900 feet above the Rocky Mountains. I can’t believe it’s earlier than when we left. I just glanced out the window and noticed all the moutains. What a breathtaking view. I don’t think I’ve ever flown over the Rockies before. I moved to the window seat (again, because I can) to get a better view. Wow. What a view.
10:00 PST – Touch down. I have 90 minutes to clear American customs and board my flight to Seattle.
10:40 PST – I just cleared customs. A few hiccups, but not as bad as I feared. I didn’t have boarding pass for my Seattle flight, so I had to figure out how to get one of those. And the customs officer was a humorless man who sent me to the back of the line when I forgot to fill out a N-2019 form. When he asked for it, I just dumped a bunch of papers in front of him and said I think it’s in there somewhere. Turns out it wasn’t. Once I got that filled out, it was smooth sailing and I made it to my flight 20 minutes early.
11:25 PST – I just boarded my flight to Seattle. I was surprised when I walked outside to board my plane (without a jacket, mitts, or a toque) and I didn’t instantly freeze solid. Just a little taste of the weather to come. The plane is a little 40-seater propeller plane.
12:23 PST – Touchdown. Wow that was a short flight and scenic too. Again, a whole row to myself, but I was afraid to switch seats because I thought I might tip the plane.
12:30 PST – I’m riding a subway between terminals to pick up my baggage. How cool is that! And the subway has a talking computer voice in Enlgish and Mandarin (is that the unofficial 2nd language here?).
12:35 PST – I got my bags. Looks like I’ve made it without any problems. But the funky arrival board says Greg’s plane is delayed by 2 hours. He did say I should leave without him if he was delayed for too long, but I contacted the lady we’re renting off and she’s busy cleaning the place and would prefer if we arrived together. So, I thought about getting my rental car (Microsoft is giving me a car for the weekend) and doing some touring before Greg arrives, but I thought it would be safer to just wait for my faithful navigator.
14:20 PST – Greg is finally here. Tyler and him just arrived on the flight from Toronto.
14:40 PST – Jumped into my white Chevy Classic (what is a Classic anyway?) and drove down to Redmond. Greg did an excellent job navigating and I cruised along in the carpool lane (you only need 2 people to be in the carpool lane and there are hardly any cars in it).
15:30 PST – Arrived in Redmond and found our house with only a few wrong turns. Our street is crazy steep. We live on the side of a mountain. It’s like San Francisco here, but with redwood trees everywhere. The house is beautiful (details to follow). Christina (the condo owner) gave us a tour and gave us lots of tips about the area and sights to see.
16:30 PST – Went to the Safeway across the street to do some grocery shoppping. One thing to note: everyone here seems overly friendly (I thought that was a Canadian thing. I guess not, eh). The stock boy said hi to me. Too weird.
17:20 PST – Greg and I went out for dinner and after a bit of driving found a little Thai restaurant. Had a nice romantic dinner by a fireplace. On the way home we drove by a Veterans for Peace rally. We must be in a blue state.
21:00 PST – I’m starting to fall asleep, so I’m off to bed. I noticed Greg sleeping on the floor in our living room. When I said good night he jumped up startled and stumbled off to bed.

Saturday January 15
06:00 PST – I’m wide awake and it’s still pitch black out. I’m still on Winnipeg time.
08:00 PST – It’s light out now, so I went for a run to check out the city on foot. It’s a little brisk, but nice for running. It’s so hilly here; every run is going to be a hill workout.
08:30 PST – Greg and I are heading to a little breakfast restaurant that Christina mentioned – The Brown Bag Cafe. The portions were huge. I was starving and I didn’t even eat half of my fruit omelette. They must have used a dozen eggs in it. And again, the waitress was really friendly. She kept coming by to chat with us.
12:00 PST – Road trip to Micrsoft time! We looked up directions on a map and headed out the door. But we did forget to bring any maps with us. No problem though, we no where we’re going.
12:20 PST – We finally found the on-ramp to the highway. Got a good tour of the neighborhoods around here.
12:30 PST – Missed the first turn off to Microsoft, so we took the second one. No problem Microsoft should be right around here somewhere.
12:50 PST – Found a little tech campus for a company called Guardco. Looks like my mental images of what Microsoft should look like. Still no Microsoft yet. Can’t even find Microsoft Way, which should be a major street.
12:55 PST – After driving around down windy, hilly streets we’ve decided to give up and go back onto the highway and take the other exit.
13:00 PST – On a hunch I’ve decide to try one more look for Microsoft behind the hospital here before we head back up the highway.
13:05 PST – YEAH! We found Microsoft. Or at least building 22. No to find building 43 where orientation will be.
13:15 PST – The Microsoft campus is huge! I can’t begin to explain the number of building here. We found some people playing cricket in the rain. We finally found building 43 (it was right beside 22, but be missed it).
13:20 PST – Parked and started walking around the buildings on foot. Found a waterfall and a cafeteria. Wow! It’s so nice inside the buildings. Can’t wait for the real tour on Monday.
13:30 PST – Found the west campus where I’ll be working and the Pro Club where we get free gym membership. The place looks really classy. I’m going to feel a bit out of place there. We’re going to try driving home down back streets instead of taking the main highway.
13:55 PST – After 25 minutes of driving around we’re lost. We think we’re in Bellevue. Turns out we’re back beside Microsoft. Somehow we went in a big circle without going anywhere near home. Going to have to look at a map when we get back.
14:00 PST – Well we’re finally back. It took us 1 hour to get there and 30 minutes to get back. It should be a 7 minute drive.
18:30 PST – We’ve decided to ignore the warnings on the news (“It’s snowing, please don’t drive!”) and go over to Sarah’s to help her move furnture. This time we’re taking every map we have.
19:00 PST – Again we got lost, but we finally found her place. The hardest part was finding her unit within the condo complex. It didn’t take us long to move her furniture from the garage across the street up to her place and assemble her furniture. Greg and I did a great job, we even had screws left over. And it only took us two tries to figure out how to put the legs on her kitchen table.
22:00 PST – I managed to stay up one hour longer before I crashed. All I had to eat all day was half of that huge breakfast and some chips and salsa.

Sunday January 16
Uneventful day. Went for a run again and found a great mall. Did some more grocery shopping. The guy at Safeway in the fish department kept calling me Sir. What’s with the people here.

So, the house is great. My favourite parts:
We have 300 channels on our satellite dish, surround sound, DVD player, fireplace, dishwasher, trash compactor, wireless internet, and I found a yogurt maker in one of the cupboards.
My bedroom is funky – it has gold blinds, a private deck with a little hammock, a huge closet, and the bed has a flowery, lacy comforter and flannel snowmen pajamas.
Our bathroom was two doors and his and her sinks.

This place is awesome. As Greg has said, it’s more like we’re house sitting and less like we’re renting.

It turns out that everyone I’ve talked to so far had a whole row to themselves on their plane rides. Maybe Microsoft did reserve whole rows for us.

For an alternate account of things, check out Greg’s journal @ indiglo_i.

Tomorrow’s my first day of work. It’s orientation day. Should be fun.

4 thoughts on “First Weekend in Redmond”

  1. Like I told your housemate, welcome to America!
    When I read Greg’s post, I commented that NYC people are friendly too. But after reading yours, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s a major difference. People initiate conversation in your neck of the woods, that’s not so here. It’s up to you, otherwise everyone keeps their mouths shut.
    That’s a hell of a lot of details!!
    Well, have fun at orientation. I’ll be celebrating Martin Luther King’s birthday with a day off work.


  2. Wow Chris…..that was incredibly detailed…..
    I definitely wouldn’t have put it past Microsoft to reserve you a whole row….almost creepy, eh? I laughed my ass off at your being afraid to change seats for fear of tipping the plane….
    It’s definitely a good thing that you tried out the drive to Microsoft before you attempted it biking….you might have killed yourself.
    I hope you’re enjoying yourself as much as you claim to be….who knows, maybe Allison and I will decide to pay you a visit.


  3. cool
    Were you dictating these events into a tape recorder as they happened? Or do you just have a perfect memory of what happened at what time? Sounds like you’re going to have a really good term. đŸ™‚ I hope you had a great first day.


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