Thursday, September 09, 2010

Gripes about finding housing

Karren and I are getting married a month from today, and we have no idea where we're going to live. (OK, maybe we have some idea, but haven't chosen a place.) We've been looking for housing, and I've noticed a few things about the process. Before I get all negative, though, I have one positive thing to say:

PadMapper (http://www.padmapper.com/) is awesome. Like, really awesome. If you need to find an apartment, you should use it.

OK, maybe one more: the internet is awesome. It's amazing that I can see hundreds of listings, with pictures and descriptions, and have my computer automatically filter them by criteria that I care about and plot them on a map. That's really cool!

Now that I've gotten all of that positive stuff out of the way, here are the promised gripes:
  • I wish there were an easy way to find places with features that we care about. You can search by number of bedrooms, or price, or square feet, which is great, but what about things like:
    • Washer/dryer in the unit
    • Dishwasher
    • "Nice" (good paint/floors/carpet/appliances/cabinets)
    • Kitchen fits more than half of a person and has more than 1 square foot of counter space
  • Everyone seems to think that their property is "adorable", "cute", "lovely", or "charming". Uh huh.
  • Why can't they show pictures of, well, you know, the actual apartment in the apartment listing? I mean, it's really great that the community has a nice sign with flowers in front, but I care a lot more about what our kitchen will look like. Or our bedroom. Or even the closet. I don't really care that much about the pool, the fitness center, the road, the office awning, the sidewalk, the lounge, random bushes, or any of the other things that everyone seems to include pictures of instead of the actual place that we're going to live.
  • While we're on the subject of pictures, why can't they be bigger than a postage stamp? It's not 1995 anymore; big pictures won't break the internets.
  • A 500-square-foot apartment is not "LARGE".
  • All caps isn't acceptable. The probability of me reading your listing goes up dramatically if you use some lowercase letters every once in a while.
Hopefully we'll find a place soon.

(And if you know of a nice place with a washer and dryer and dishwasher for [preferably quite a bit] under $1600 between Menlo Park and San Jose, let me know!)

Sunday, September 05, 2010

The week I moved, quit my job, and got engaged

Here's what I did a couple of weeks ago:
  • Monday: FHE
  • Tuesday: stained glass class
  • Wednesday: told my manager at Apple that I was quitting.
  • Wednesday evening: Karren and I decided to get married(!!!).
  • Friday: ring shopping.
  • Saturday: moved from the apartment I've been at for a year and a half to a house.
  • Also Saturday: bought the ring.
It was a pretty stressful week. :)

Moving

My current roommate and I moved from our cheap apartment to a really nice house that we're renting. It's way nicer (dishwasher! washer and dryer! granite counters! less than 10 years old! carpet! AC! a yard! heater that works! garage!), and actually slightly cheaper since we'll have four roommates instead of two. I really dislike moving, but this one was definitely worth it. I don't know why we didn't move earlier.

Quitting

I've been at Apple for about two years (if you count my internship, which I do, since I was doing the same work on the same team), and it's a great company to work for. They're releasing amazing products and doing very well financially. The people that I worked with were very smart. I worked on some really cool stuff.

"So why quit?", everyone asks. Unemployment is high, you have a great job at a great company, your career is really starting to take off, and you're leaving?

Yep!

Don't worry, though: I'm starting at Google a week from tomorrow. :)

I left for a few reasons:
  • I'd like the option of moving from the Bay Area (like, if I ever wanted to buy a house), and Apple's only engineering offices are in Cupertino. Google has offices all over the world.
  • Google has more rigorous engineering practices that I think will help me to become a better engineer.
  • I identify more with Google's values.
  • More freedom to work on different things. It's pretty easy to move from project to project, and I really like working on new things.
  • Free lunch. :)
I still like Apple a lot, and I like their products. The decision was hard, but it felt right, and I hope that it works out well. I'm excited to start my new job in a week. (Since I'm sure people will ask, I have no idea what I'll be doing there. They interview people for a general "engineer" position, and assignment to a team happens right around the time that you start. Hopefully it will be something cool. :)

Engaging

Last, but definitely not least, I got engaged! Karren and I have been dating for almost a year, and we're getting married on October 9 in the Oakland LDS temple.

There was no proposal.

Seriously.

Sorry girls looking for a story to gush about; you'll have to look elsewhere.

We've been talking about marriage for several months, but it didn't feel right until a few weeks ago. Something changed, and we both quickly became confident that it was the right decision. We were talking one night a few weeks ago, and realized that we were going to get married. We never had a conversation early on where we decided that we were officially dating; we both just naturally knew that we were. Similarly, there was no official proposal when we decided that we were going to get married; we just naturally knew that we were.

I had no idea that wedding planning was so much work (or so expensive!), but it will all be over in five weeks, and then my wonderful girlfriend (and now wonderful fiancée) will become my wonderful wife! :)