Thursday, January 28, 2010

Spotted today in Lowe's

Maybe it's time to invest in earthquake-related accessories? Maybe I should putty everything in the apartment permanently to the floor (including Stewie).

Speaking of popular ( person's) demand, a picture of a sleepy Stewie in his new dog bed from IKEA:

Things I've learned after one week of living in LA

1. Left-turn lanes don't exist here. That combined with a lot of one-lane streets means a green light rarely means go. As long as you accept that "green" does not necessarily mean "go," your road rage will be greatly minimized.

2. Following that realization, in some cases it can be faster to make three right turns around a block to get where you want to go instead of waiting in line to make a left.

3. People look at you here. Everyone's constantly looking at everyone else. Not so in NYC--if you make eye contact with another person there, they might get angry at you. New Yorkers are very much into their personal space (probably because they're always unnaturally packed together in tight public spaces).

4. Never go to Costco on a any of their locations in LA. Just don't.

5. People honk in LA. Not as much as people honk in NYC, but more than people honk in San Francisco or Chicago.

6. You can get 3 mangoes for 99 cents in January in LA.

7. Strangers try to help you here. N and I tried to load a huge box that was almost too big to get into our car, and several people jumped in to help us out. That was weird.

8. People are deathly afraid of homeless, Hispanic, and black people here. Very, very afraid. I'm sure a lot of New Yorkers are also very afraid, but the fear strikes me a bit differently here. Probably because LA is more integrated...NYC is relatively segregated, in my opinion.

9. There's a lot of men walking around outside, and very few women. I think it goes back to that fear thing.

10. No one walks their dogs here, but I know they must be around. They must all live on pee pads inside? Stewie and I have only come across one other dog outside so far this entire week, and I can feel people staring at us whenever we pass by because we're the weird ones.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Days #3 and #4 (this past weekend)

Day 3 consisted of buying a couch from Costco and a bed from West Elm. Combining various gift cards we've received from friends and family, we managed to get our bed with no out of pocket cost to us! I love using gift cards. The West Elm we went to was in Santa Monica, a city southwest from us right on the ocean. The place feels very Bay Area-esque to me...maybe more South Bay than the city. It's full of very clean outdoor higher-end malls and you can feel the ocean breeze wherever you go. It is very, very nice there. If only I could get a job at Google or Rand out there...

Day 4 involved returning the van to LAX (wow, car rentals are so cheap here!) and picking up our Civic, which all went very smoothly except for the fact that the Civic had absolutely no coolant in it and was on the verge of overheating. Now that I own a car there's a lot of things for me to learn about maintenance. One of them being--never open the cap to the coolant before the car has completely cooled down or you will become drenched in antifreeze. Poor N.

By the end of this weekend my muscles were about to give out from so much lifting and loading of furniture and boxes. I basically collapsed into bed both nights at 7pm and didn't get up until the morning. On the plus side, we went to a big discount grocery store a few blocks away called Food-4-Less and got 2-liters of Diet Coke for 98 cents each, the lowest price I have ever seen. I am getting so many thrills from how cheap (read: cheaper than NYC) everything is here! I also just discovered a new LA-based cheapie blog that shows you how to shop grocery and drug stores for FREE using a combination of sales and coupons:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day #2 (last Friday)

While we still had the van we rented, we needed to get all of the furniture we were going to use for our place. And no move would be complete without a trip to IKEA. It was definitely an all-day, energy-consuming affair that took a lot of measuring and planning. We got 90% of our furniture there, though, and ate Swedish meatballs in the cafeteria. We also got this for Stewie:It's supposed to be a toy for a kid's room, but Stewie loves it! He quickly learned how to go in one end and out the other with the help of some chicken treats (bought in bulk from Costco, of course). Maybe he'll become an agility dog! Haha--that is not very likely. He is a lap dog through and through. The one downside is that he's also learned to try to hide in it whenever we have to leave the apartment. That sneaky dog.

I think we'll try to use it to connect the bedroom to the living space and see if he uses it as a kind of hallway between the rooms...

awesome news for me, sad news for nyc

Zach Brooks, the guy behind the awesome blog Midtown Lunch, is moving to LA! The only reason I was sad when my office moved from Midtown Manhattan to Downtown Brooklyn was that I would miss out on his oh-so-useful blog posts. But he'll be in LA soon! I can't wait for his new blog to start.

Day #1 (last Thursday)

Once we unloaded all of our luggage into our new apartment (which is pretty great so far!), we did one thing we have always fantasized about--got a Costco membership. I love buying things in bulk...I love it a bit too much. There's a Costco in Sunset Park in Brooklyn, but without a car to lug big items home it's pretty pointless to go there. We got an *executive* membership (2% cash back on everything!) and went a bit crazy buying bulk toilet paper, bulk paper towels, bulk napkins, bulk kleenex, even bulk carrot juice. We also saw the biggest russet potatoes we had ever seen before (that's N's thumb below):

We headed over to Target to pick up some more items afterward. Wow, driving feels good. I love it! And we had our first meal in LA:

In-N-Out, of course!! I got a single with cheese and a vanilla shake. N got a double-double. In-N-Out is soooooo good.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

We're here!

Yes, of course I'll still be blogging from the west coast! I've gotten multiple queries asking if this blog has ended, which means I know there are people out there actually following it. Comment, lurkers! Don't be ashamed!

We arrived this past Thursday, but I haven't had a chance at all to write until now. So it's time to back pedal a little....

There's been torrential rain and storms in California this past weekend, and I was 90% sure our flight was going to be canceled. But somehow, miraculously, it wasn't even delayed! And thanks to our buddies who drove us to the airport at 5:30am (you know who you are; we owe you guys big time!), getting there with our 11 pieces of luggage went as smoothly as we could have hoped. We also mailed something like 15-20 boxes of stuff before we left that should arrive in LA within a couple days. The timing of everything has worked out very well.

Stewie was very good on the 6.5 hour plane ride. He whined a bit in the last quarter of the flight (he really wanted to get out of that bag he was in), but overall he was very good. Of course, he was the center of attention everywhere we went (the airport, the plane) and got a lot of petting from strangers.

Once we arrived, N gathered all of our checked luggage while I walked Stewie outside the airport. LAX has a cute little doggy break area that has fake turf and fire hydrant along with a faucet and water bowl just for traveling dogs like Stewie. We made good use of it.

Then it was time to pick up the van. We decided to rent a caravan from LAX even though we have a car in LA already for several reasons--one was that we could never fit our 11 pieces of luggage into our little C
ivic, and another was that we knew we'd have to do a lot of furniture shopping right away. N went to pick up the van while Stewie and I waited with the luggage:

We piled in and headed to our new apartment that we signed a lease for but still had never laid eyes on! We live on Sunset Blvd. It's kind of crazy in a way. But also pretty neat. Here's our palm tree-lined street:

More details of the apartment itself will come later. Oh, one last thing--the view from the back of the apartment (click to maximize!):

Saturday, January 16, 2010

friends and family

Could we have done this move without the help of our friends and family? Probably, but it would have been about a million times more tortuous and stressful. N and I woke up four of our friends at 9am this Saturday morning to haul ass down to Brooklyn to help us load up a 16' Penske truck with our furniture. We offered all of our furniture for free to N's extended family, and they snatched up about 80% of everything, which is very helpful for us. Dealing with craigslist and trying to sell pieces one by one is sooooooo frustrating. There's gotta be some kind of craigslist-frustration equivalent to road rage, because seriously, it makes my blood boil. I've been trying to get rid of a few items for FREE on craigslist for the past few days, and have already had 5 different appointments flake on me.

N's currently driving the truck upstate to parcel out the goodies to his family. His parents will drive him back down to the city tomorrow, and they are going to spend a day with us to tie up loose ends and to say goodbye. There's only two large pieces of furniture left to be rid of: my desk and a couch (both of which can go free) but I'm not getting any [reliable] takers. Anybody want a desk or an old couch?

So I am now sitting in a 95% empty apartment, and it's weird. You'd think that it would feel bigger with all the stuff out of it, but it actually feels smaller. What's up with that?

Stewie and I just got back from his vet appointment. He's got a little conjunctivitis going on, but the vet still approved of his flight on Thursday. And he's up to date with all his shots now! He will be getting a lot of antibiotic-laced cheese treats for the next several days, though.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

goodbye, office

Today was our office's goodbye party for us. It was something--quite literally the whole place showed up! Which was about 40 people that day, maybe. My favorite strawberry shortcake was there, along with mini falafel and hummus, stuffed mushrooms, and mini potato latkes with apple sauce. There's a lot of things I take for granted about my job now that I am definitely going to miss, and one of them is the liberal "multicultural" attitude everyone has. I'm guessing most offices wouldn't pick that diverse a spread of food for everyone to eat. And it's not like everyone in there knows what falafel is or have eaten it before...but everyone is at least definitely open to trying new things.

Both N and I will be working remotely from LA for a month or so after we get there, but after that we're on our own. Once we finally pack/sell/give away all the shit in our apartment and somehow haul our (and Stewie's) asses over there, that will be the next stressful drama. But one step at a time...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

only ten days to go!

I know I should be posting *more* as the move gets closer, but things have been so crazy that I just don't have the time or energy to think anymore! The big news: we signed a lease on a new apartment in LA. We had a couple generous friends look at some places on our behalf in person, but each one had one glaring issue or another (didn't include parking, the place was way too small, no dishwasher!! I can't live without a dishwasher anymore). We first wanted to take a cuter, older place in an interesting neighborhood like Silverlake or Echo Park, but we ended up taking one of those luxury high-rise-y places smack in the middle of Hollywood. Hollywood! Right on Sunset Blvd. Although that sounds glamorous, it isn't. Living in Hollywood is kind of living in Times Square. You just don't want to live there. It's full of tourists and pretty dirty and run down. Except at least in Times Square you have great access to all the subway lines...not so in Hollywood.

The apartment we took is about the same size as our current apartment but is a fully upgraded loft for $200 less than what we're spending now. I think there's less of a gamble taking a place like that instead of duplex or cottage when we can't see the place ourselves. We also had the option of signing a 6-month lease for the same price, so we did that in case we end up despising the place and want out early.

And wow, was it easy to get the place. We emailed the manager of the building our credentials, and got an email back in 30 minutes saying "you're approved!" We thought we'd get a bit more questioning since our jobs have us located in NYC, and we don't have jobs lined up in LA yet. But they didn't ask any questions. We also got to pick our move-in date (what a luxury) and chose the exact day we'll be landing in LA next week. No hassles, no guarantors, no brokers, no fees, no time pressure at all. What a relief. NYC real estate is truly psycho.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Snow nose

Stewie's got snow nose. His nose used to be 100% jet black.

Soon he'll never have snow nose again! T minus 17 days...