Wouldn’t be a Party Without You

Last night I had one big final get-together with a bunch of my current and former AOL coworkers at Breaker’s Billiards in Herndon. Beer, pool, food, and friends. Now I remember why it was such a hard decision to leave.

A big thanks to everyone who came out, and to everyone who pitched in for the really really cool schwag. And a huge thanks to Jill for putting it all together. You guys rock, and I’m definitely going to miss you.

Cleaning House

The following is a list of stuff I’d like to sell before moving. All of it is lightly used, and all of it hasn’t been used in a while, which is why I’m bothering to sell any of it. Photos and additional information available upon request.

  • 28′ fiberglass extension ladder (paid $250, asking $200)
  • 5500 watt gas generator (paid $659, asking $525)
  • JVC stereo VCR (paid $289, asking $100)
  • Technics component stereo (paid ~$800, asking $200)
    • 40 watt x 4 channel tuner/amp w/ remote
    • pair of 3 way, 12″ speakers
    • dual cassette deck (both decks record)
    • cd player
    • turntable (SL-1200 motor)
  • 2000 Nissan Xterra SE, 4WD. 116,000 miles. Dented rear passenger door (wife bumped a pole at the gas station) but otherwise in very good condition. New tires, timing belt/water pump/belts, all fluids changed. $6,500.

All prices negotiable, but note that I already know for instance what CarMax will give me for the Xterra, and I’m not planning on dumping stuff if I don’t get a decent price for them.

Whiplash

We’re looking for a house in Vienna, VA. Scratch that, they’re too expensive and without any character. We’re buying a cute bungalow in Herndon. Hmmm, too many problems the seller won’t fix. A job offer in Kauai? Hard to pass up, but we don’t want to be that far from family. Four interviews and four pending job offers in Chicago. Okay, so I’ve accepted a Sr. Web Developer position at Mbira. Trying to manage the logistics of relocation is stressful and far more expensive than I thought, but we’ll mange.

Then this week I got the official offer from Citadel Investment Group. And as cliche’ as it sounds, they made me an offer I can’t refuse. Full relocation, buying out the stock options and bonus I’m leaving on the table at AOL, and a significantly better salary and bonus. So with yet another change of course, today I’m officially accepting it. Starting January 29, 2007, I will be a Unix Engineer at Citadel’s Chicago, IL office. Here’s to hoping the financial industry is everything I expect it to be.

A One Man, er, Woman Band

I saw K.T. Tunstall on Conan O’Brien a few months back, before her album was getting any airplay. Through copious use of analog delay pedals, she managed to perform entirely by herself. Normally this sort of thing is poorly done with drum machines and pre-recorded vocals, but in this case, it was very cool. If you haven’t seen it, take five minutes out of your day and go here to check it out.

Celebrations

This evening we celebrated our daughter;s first birthday with Thai food at 4912 in Sterling. Okay, so it’s not quite cake and ice cream, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a one year old eat so much steamed broccoli, rice, chicken, and potstickers before (and besides, she’d already stuffed herself with ducky cake at her birthday party two weeks prior. When we got home, she opened her birthday and Hanukkah presents. All in all not a bad day for a one year old.

As it so happens, today is also my parents 30th anniversary. It’s easy to remember how long they’ve been married, since I’ll be 30 in May. We’ll be taking them to Hawaii in January to celebrate (by the way, if you ever visit there, be sure to pick up a copy of The Big Island Revealed, which is the best travel guide ever).

After Christi said the word “presents” this evening and the little one looked to the bedroom and pointed at where they are stacked, she jokingly wondered last night what eight nights of presents will do to a one year old on Saturday when Hanukkah is over. I think she’ll forget rather quickly about her new nightly ritual of opening them. I think.

High-priced Moves

Oh the joys of relocation. Yesterday Christi met with JK Moving & Storage to get a moving estimate. When she called me to tell me their cost, I spit my coffee across my desk. Then I drank some more, and spit that across the desk, too. To pack us, load a truck, store our stuff for 60 days, deliver it, and unload, they wanted almost $11,000. ELEVEN GRAND! Funk that.

So last night we started working on a plan. We’re still weighing our options, but I think our plan will be to pack our stuff ourselves and rent an 8x8x16 portable storage container and a 14′ Budget Truck. Unless we go with a 6×12 trailer, I have no intention of using U-haul after the awful experiences some of my friends have suffered at their hands.

Packing ourselves will save us about $2,000, and the PODS container and self-service moving truck will save at least $3,500 (possibly more if we take more than 60 days to find a house, since their storage cost is 40% of what JK Moving charges). I’ve tentatively set up Beltway Movers to load our stuff in Virginia, and All Star Movers in Chicago (Note: there are a number of companies in various states DBA “All Star Movers”, but I don’t believe this company is related to any of them), at a cost of about $600 and $300, respectively. All told I expect this move to run us under $4,000 including packing materials – not insignificant, but not nearly the $10,700 JK Moving & Storage was talking either.

Our next step is to sign a lease on an apartment, which we hope to do on January 3rd. And of course, start packing.