Welcome to California

Well, it is technically a “welcome back”, as I grew up here in Silicon Valley.

My job relocated us to Santa Clara, and over the last week, we made the “move“. The positive is that the movers rocked, and really got our stuff packed and loaded in record time.

After spending the weekend on a leisurely drive from Phoenix to Santa Clara (via the Hoover Dam, Las Vegas, and Lake Tahoe) we got to our temporary housing Monday morning.

Our last relocation to Tucson in 2003 found us put up in a decrepit Extended Stay America in Tucson. Shudder. Here our digs are a bit better (ok, a LOT better). We are in an Avalon apartment, well furnished, and a reasonable size. Sure, it has lousy appliances, and the washer and dryer sound like a mac truck is driving through, but it is very serviceable.

Our first trip to the grocery store was expensive (over $400). Partly because groceries are more expensive here, but mainly due to the need to stock up.

When I picked up my car, I lamented the fact that it needed to be less than 1/4 full of gas. First thing, a fill of premium. Gulp, it’s about $.70 a gallon more than in AZ. Sigh, might be time to buy something more fuel efficient than the S2000.

The weather is pretty awesome. Mid to upper 70’s during the day, and very pleasant at night. Humidity is high compared to what I am used to (low teens in AZ).

Tuesday was the first day in the office. The apartment is a hair over 4 miles from the office, a straight shot down Lawrence expressway. And I am going the counter commute direction, so it is a short commute. Sadly, the house we will likely be able to afford is not going to have such a wickedly awesome commute. Sigh.

Oh, and California finally figured out how to time their traffic lights. Today I didn’t hit one red light on Lawrence.

We do miss our dogs, so I am looking forward to picking them up in Tucson over the 4th of July weekend.

Now we just need our house in Chandler to sell. We are still priced the lowest of all the SE valley single stories, a good $12 – $18 per sqft under the area.

Fingers crossed.

Travel Log – Europe

This is going to be a tough expense report. We are supposed to use our corporate cards for everything. And some places that works well. In the US for example, it is getting rare to find a vendor that doesn’t take plastic. No problemo.

However, get outside the US, and it becomes more sketchy. In Europe (where I have been for the last 9 days) most places take cards, but they prefer the cards with chip’s and an associated PIN. But us in ‘Murika don’t get those cards. Often these vendors can’t or won’t fall back to mag stripe. Grrrr. So you have to use cash.

Then in England, for the last three days, and several cab rides, not one of which took plastic. Gulp. Add to that the fact that in London, cabs are expensive, (hell, even riding the trains/subway is expensive), and the pounds sterling have been flying out of my wallet.

Oh, and while I have in general found that internet is free in business hotels, that is NOT the case here in Europe. Every one of the hotels I have stayed in has required payment for internet (or, their “free” internet was SO bad that it was truly a travesty). Sigh. I have had better luck in public here.

I know that our expense policy is tight, and I know that they will likely badger me (and my boss) with all the cash expenses. Not looking forward to that.

I am here in Oxford, a bit to the north of the city and the campus, waiting for our seminar tomorrow.  I will be working on my slides, and preparing for the session.