Old Town

Old Town
Pioneer Square

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Block 7: The Home Stretch: Part 3

So, here we are! The adventure that started on 3/20/14 concludes its incarnation as a story told in Live time of a cross-country move. Here's a little recap of the concluding timeline:

Tomorrow a co-worker will drive me to the baggage station with: one purple steamer trunk and two small boxes containing manuscripts, notebooks and personal papers. To travel more lightly and economically, I got rid of two boxes containing 99% of my books, plus all my DVDS...and CDs except for Queen. Though I've continued paring down the trunk, I can't know its packed weight till I reach the station--and more stuff may have to go to stay under the 50# limit.

The first of the three trains I'll take leaves Charlotte Monday, 9/1, at 7 p.m and I'll stay overnight in Washington DC before boarding train #2 on Tuesday.\

Wednesday I'll board train #3, a spacious superliner that will offer the journey's real fun.

Friday, 9/5, I arrive in Seattle, where I'll spend at least 3 nights in a good hotel, hoping my Seattle studio is ready by the 8th or 9th.

Sunday, 9/7, I begin work at my employer's Seattle location.

What a ride it's been so far! Come back to this opening 'movement' of the Seattle adventure from time to time for a quick reminder of the planning and action required to pull off my cross-country move. Then return to your life adventures, refreshed.


This blog will remain active, but in a different form, once I've settled in Seattle. You can look forward to either monthly or bi-weekly Seattle Chronicles. See you soon!

How I love the Cool Gray City of Quintessential Funk.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Block 7: The Home Stretch: Part 2

The apartment is, finally, empty, except for my bed, a dying lounge chair and a small TV. Lined along one wall are: the purple steamer trunk, three boxes, two carry-ons and my backpack.

The last remaining challenge--closing on the studio--has become my main concern now. The process must be respected. But I leave 9/1...arrive 9/5...start work at my new store 9/7...and still can't change my address.

Grace under pressure. I know, I know, I know...Nothing to do except wait, put in a great last week at work and keep tinkering with the contents of the trunk and my carry-ons. A half-year's labor's nearly done. Try to enjoy this last week, Reb MacRath.

The sweet payoff's coming fast:

The view from that studio window will look a little like this:

Yes, it's true, I'm really on The Hallelujah Trail!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Block 7: The Home Stretch: Part 1

This seems as good a time as any to bring to start phasing out of this part of the blog: plans and preparations for the cross-country move to Seattle.

--I've bought my train ticket, departing 9/1 at 7 a.m.
--I've successfully arranged a transfer to my employer's Seattle branch.
--Last night I ensured that the contents of the trunk weigh less than fifty pounds and reduced the boxes from 4 to 3 by pruning and combining.
--I've sent my application and fee to a studio apartment building in walking distance of where I'll work in Seattle. 

Major tasks remaining:
1) Arrange transportation of trunk and boxes to Amtrak Baggage the day before departure.
2) Try to avoid expensive cab fare to station at 5 a.m. 9/1.
3) Gently nudge employer into confirmation of salary and starting date.
4) Pray that studio building manager won't demand a full month's security and will pro-rate the rent for September.
5) Carefully, carefully, carefully pack the carry-on luggage--ensuring that it contains all necessary paperwork, charge cords for phone and Fire, address book, etc.
6) Clean the apartment a little each day.
7) Dry clean remaining shirts. 
8) Have laundry washed and folded--and wear as little as possible next week before departure.

Now's not the time to get sloppy or coast, not this close to:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Block 6: Putting It All Together: 6th Flash Bulletin

Train reservation's been paid for, along with a decent hotel room for the overnight layover in Washington DC. The hotel cost a little more but is less than a mile from the train station--and a cheaper hotel in the 'boonies' could easily have cost $30 in cab fare.

Train leaves at 7 a.m., September 1.

I need to drop off the trunk and check-in luggage on 8/31.

Today I burst into tears on the bus--pressure, I guess, catching up with me.

No time for the weepies now. More stuff to do!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Block 6: Putting It All Together: 5th Flash Bulletin

Events have taken a dramatic turn and everything is moving now at the speed of fright.

--Moving date has been bumped forward a couple of weeks--from September 10-15 to September 1. This date coincides with the end of a 7-night work rotation and the expiration of my apartment lease.

--A strong reference from my present boss led, today, to a confirmed transfer to one of two Seattle stores that interested me most. I'll start soon after I arrive, exact date to be determined.

--I've committed to moving by train, a journey of about 5 days, so I can carry on or check most of my belongings. May need to mail one box.

--Have begun looking into shipping my steamer trunk by Amtrak as well.

This week I must apply for the studio apartment I looked at last week. And next week I need to start cleaning the Charlotte apartment.

At the rate things are proceeding, it won't be long before I get another cat.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Block 6: Putting It All Together:4th Flash Bulletin

The tension escalates as I wait for one of the two stores to come through with a transfer offer--enabling me to apply for the apartment in Seattle.

I've verified with one store that my reference was solid but was told that the hiring manager is 'thinking.' Today I asked my boss to call the second store.

Meanwhile, he needs to fill my position and has a candidate in mind--but he'd like me to leave by or around the 1st. If I can do this, I can save a full month's rent on my current apartment, better setting me up for Seattle.

The clock is ticking.

I've emailed Amtrak about the price for shipping my trunk by train.

Am very nearly ready to go.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Block 6: Putting it All Together: 3rd Flash Bulletin

Yesterday, I raced straight from the airport to see my store manager. I announced my desire to transfer and asked where I stood for a reference. Though I'd done good work the past five years, we've had a few differences. He assured me there'd be no problem and thanked me for giving him ample notice to find a replacement.

I should learn where I stand by this weekend. Knowing that, I can complete the apartment application (which will require store salary verification).

For now, this one leaves one major hurdle: how to ship my trunk and boxes. So, rather than wait any longer, Reb MacRath--the fleet-footed warrior--Googled the morning away. Result:

Train will be the right way to travel and move. I can bring two carry-ons and check two boxes for free, then check in two more boxes (of 50 lbs apiece) for $20 each.

As for the trunk: I had to email Amtrak. If they can't handle the trunk, I'll contact truckers on my next week off.

Next step: prepare to step up roommate search if the studio doesn't pan out.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Block 6: Putting It All Together: 2nd Flash Bulletin

Keeping it real, my results have been mixed. From here on I'll need to be persistent, resourceful and lucky. No cause yet to panic but signs to take care.

1) I've gotten a feel for the city and know that this is It for me.
2) I've gotten my reduced fare reloadable bus card at half what I now pay in Charlotte.
3) I've established that the cost of living is not significantly higher than in Charlotte for a nonsmoker and nondrinker.
4) I've met with two branch managers of my current employer and have checked in with Randstad Staffing, who've asked me to email my resume.
5) I've found a studio apartment building that really rings my bells.

Setbacks and Hurdles:
1) The bookstore seems to be a bust. Reaction there was frosty and defensive. Failed to meet the manager, who was never there when I was told to come. Repeated remarks about not hiring part-time help seemed to show hostile awareness of my letter to the owner outlining part-time advantages with the new higher minimum wage.
2) Business there wasn't strong on the four days I dropped by...though it was bustling at Barnes and Noble.
3) The new minimum wage won't take effect till next year.
4)  A recent dispute with my Charlotte boss may pose a more serious threat than I'd feared. Company policy mandates that any other manager must approach him about a transfer. The first Seattle manager I approached declined to approach alternative store references--and I had no choice but to tell him I'd disputed my last review.  Couldn't quite read his  reaction to that, but he said have my manager call him. I tried a different tack with a second manager. Am guardedly optimistic but we'll see how it goes...soon.
5) The perfect studio for me would cost the same as my new Charlotte rent. But we won't know availability till 8/11. Next size up would be bigger and $100-150 -more.

And so the frontline battle goes. Stay tuned!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Block 6: Putting It All Together: 1st Flash Bulletin

The real hunt begins: I've arrived here for a 3-day scouting trip.

Saturday: Wrestled with the jet leg demons and, after checking into my hotel, set off to find Elliott Bay Book Company. A very long walk because of a confusing walking map which showed 10th Ave segue-ing off from Broadway. As I got further and further from the action, I became concerned. But no one had heard of the store or knew exactly where Broadway became 10th. I despaired. This made no sense! Finally, a lovely tattooed lady with a GPS, showed me the 10th Ave I wanted-- miles back...just blocks from where I had turned onto Broadway.

Found the bookstore, introduced myself and picked up an application, arranging to meet the manager on Monday. Walking back to the hotel, I passed a branch of the store where I work in Charlotte. Introduced myself, learned there may be an opening and arranged to meet the manager on Tuesday. And, just blocks from my hotel, I chanced upon another. So I dropped in, etc.

Sunday: My walking day. I decided to consult my map rarely if at all, walking as I like to walk, with my tootsies in the lead. In the course of the day I discovered Belltown, Downtown, the Public Market, the piers, Capitol Hill...And while I walked I also worked, noting the numbers of a leasing company advertising studio apartments and a Randstad Staffing office with a Jobs Now sign...and a giant Target for cheap water, snacks and personal fare.

Monday: Today I know I need to hit it on all eights.

Stay tuned. And sorry for the absence of pictures this time. Couldn't add them from my Fire.