Corin Anderson (magellanic) wrote,
Corin Anderson

Cow Hollow

Last Wednesday through this past weekend I moved to San Francisco's Cow Hollow neighborhood. I've decided to rent a flat for about 10 weeks to get a taste of what it's like living in an urban environment. All through college and grad school and for the last five years in California I've lived in the suburbs, which I very much like, but I've always been curious what life is like when you're actually in the city.

So far, so good. My rental started Wednesday and I've spent every night since then sleeping here. W, Th, and Fr of last week I drove to and from work, stopping by my Mountain View apartment to pick up things that I wanted in order to make this place feel more like home. The flat is already furnished so I need relatively little, but this does include clothes, toiletries, and my preferred cookie baking supplies. I ferried more supplies on Sunday and yesterday, but I haven't added anything new to my to-bring list since Monday, so I'm hopeful I have everything I need.

The flat itself is very nice. It's the bottom floor of a three-story building, and the door is at ground level (not even a walk-up). The flat has a bedroom with attached study, living room, kitchen, bathroom, central sitting area, and "the baby's room" (a small bedroom; the owner has a 1-year-old daughter). Wood floors throughout, tall ceilings, plenty of light, and very open interconnections between the rooms. For the space it has I'm pretty impressed. The flat also comes with a washer and dryer in the utility room, exclusive to the unit (as opposed to shared with the other tenants in the TIC). Nice; I'm drying a few items even as I write this entry.

The neighborhood is great. When looking for a room to let I focused on just a few neighborhoods: Marina, Cow Hollow, Pacific Heights. I wanted to live somewhere with restaurants and cute shops within easy walking distance, somewhere within running distance of the Presidio, Golden Gate Park, or the Marina, and somewhere near the shuttle stop for the free shuttle work provides. The flat I found fits all these to a tee. The main shopping and eatery avenue of Cow Hollow is Chestnut street, which runs parallel to Lombard one street north. I'm on Steiner and Pixley, which is 2.5 blocks from Chestnut at Steiner. I'm also 1.5 blocks from the work shuttle stop, and an easy run to the Presidio and the Marina. I couldn't have found a better location.

Parking was one of my concerns, really, my only concern, about renting this place. Street parking in SF is limited to 2 hours at a time unless you have a permit specific to the neighborhood you're in. Residents can get permits by proving their residency, but I'm just a temp. It turns out that it's easy to get a temp permit as well: just prove you live in the neighborhood and pay the fee ($50 for 8 weeks). Great; I can leave my car on the street without worrying about being ticketed, while I ride the bus to work. Of course, this also presumes I can find a parking space to begin with. It turns out it's not as hard to do even that, either. Last Wednesday evening I was surprised to find that the parking space directly in front of my bedroom window and flat door was available. Nice. My car is presently parked on the other side of the street, which is where I plan to leave it until the weekend. I've had to drive as far as four or five blocks to find a parking space in the past week, but only during the evening times when people drive here for dinner along Chestnut. By late night and during the day parking is pretty easy to find.

Commuting to work by the company-supplied shuttles has been disappointing. On Monday I planned to take the shuttle for the first time. The pick-up point is just about a block from my door; I couldn't ask for anything better. It leaves by a bit past 10a but it's scheduled to take 75 minutes to drive to work. Granted, even without traffic the route would take about 55 minutes to drive, but the extra 20 minutes is disappointing. It's needed, in fact, because the shuttle stops elsewhere in the city before heading to the highway. And, fortunately, the schedule is pessimistic about the arrival time. In point of fact I'm at work in about 65 minutes. Still, though, it's about 11:20p by the time I'm at my desk, and that's well past the start of most meetings I have during the week.

Yesterday I bailed on the shuttle because I desperately needed to sleep in past the next earlier shuttle (leaving at 7:30a) yet the 10:10a shuttle would have been to late for my 10a meeting. Today I worked up the fortitude to wake up early (6:45a!) and managed to make it to the shuttle stop in time for the 7:30a. On this shuttle, though, the wireless didn't work and the air conditioning was set to arctic. Hm. Coupled with the return shuttle on Monday starting out 10 minutes late I'm ratcheting down my expectations of the work shuttle.

This evening the return shuttle wireless actually worked, which was a plus, although the connection from bus to series of tubes was often flaky. It was steady enough for long enough to read about a series of street robberies near my flat (yeesh) but that was about it. The shuttle also either left 6 minutes early (and without me) or 30 minutes late. Again, by expectations are missed and subsequently reduced. In point about the shuttle schedule, though, work does provide a shuttle tracking service and automated alerts. I can see now why those are handy tools and not just someone's frivolity.

I'm now one week in on my 10 week rental. I'm now feeling settled in: I have possessions scattered about the apartment, I don't feel like I'm living out of a suitcase, and I feel I have enough free time in order to write a blog post. Open questions remain: will I be able to maintain an early-morning schedule, in order to catch the shuttles I want? Will I be able to make good use of the 2+ hours of commute time I now have? What will I miss most about living in the south bay? Life's an adventure; that's why I'm looking forward to this experience. More to be posted here in the coming weeks, I'm sure.
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