We pre-screened many, many places out here prior to moving, and there were two that we had a good feeling about.
The first place was up in Kenmore, and it was absolutely beautiful. They're completely new units, never lived in. They were intended for sale, but are being rented instead. They have marble counter tops, hardwood floors, amazing bathrooms, tons of storage... I can't even stop describing how awesome they are. They're really amazing. And they have Verizon FIOS service there! That's 50 mbits up and 20 down!
Unfortunately, the joy turned to concern as we drove back to Redmond. Drive time was about 35 minutes. Compared to the 40 or 45 minutes commutes I've had the last four years, I suppose that doesn't sound like that big of a deal. But there's so much congestion, and the traffic can be horrible, according to everyone we've asked.
The next one we looked at, in Issaquah, was about nine years old. The area is not congested, close to I-90, and we clocked it at 19 minutes to the Microsoft main campus. It's also 20 minutes at most to Joe and Kristen's place. It's not nearly as nice in terms of construction on the inside, though the outsides are fairly attractive. The thing to decide is whether or not to get a three bedroom unit, without seeing it first (there are no models), or get a two bedroom with Den, which is frankly a lot like a three bedroom.
Either way, we know that the Issaquah place is the right thing to do, but it kills me to not take the nicer place. It really troubles me. But Issaquah is more what we're used to, less crowded, and faster to work.
In any case, we've done a whole lot of driving today, and I'm starting to get some feel for how to get around. We noticed there aren't a lot of franchise places in many of the cities on the east side. Lots of Asian, Thai and Indian places though, almost as frequent as Starbucks. I suppose that makes sense, since the "majority minority" here is Asian, not black or Latino. It actually pleases me that McDonald's are really rare around here.
We're also starting to get a feel for food costs. Milk is crazy expensive for some reason, but packaged food goods at Target are pretty much the same as what we had back in Cleveland. I'll be interested to see how it goes for meats. Of course, we also have to figure in prices at Costco (likely better) and Whole Foods for our organic likes (likely higher).
We spent some of the late afternoon with Joe, Kristen and Nina. Kristen is expecting to have the second baby this coming week, so we'll likely get some quality time with Nina, which I'm really excited about.
Overall, I feel less displaced today since we're working toward a permanent place. I'm still exhausted, but feel better about getting established. I can't wait to start working. I don't feel like I've had the chance to be at peace with leaving the old place. It'll be nice to move in to the real joint, with my familiar dishes and furniture and all of that. The temp apartment is kind of a dump.