Next week, 2014 will dawn on a much different life than the one I was leading 365 days ago. Different in very fun, happy ways. As this year comes to an end, I thought it would be fun to recount some of the big changes.
In March, I took a big step toward the stereotypical American dream and bought a new home in wide open Saratoga Springs, Utah. It was a new build, so I got to go through the exciting (and somewhat excruciating) process of selecting all the options — carpet, tile, paint, cabinets, door knobs, faucets, all of it. What resulted was a two-story, 2,000 square foot little slice of paradise.
I loved the home. And I had big plans for it. At the time, the three bedrooms offered way more space than I had anything to do with. Though, as I signed those seemingly endless stacks of papers, I had visions of a family slowly growing to fill those spaces. Of a wife who I would love dearly (had a strong prospect at the time, has since come to pass), of a toddler, taking his first steps on the carpet I so carefully selected, scrawling on the Pavlova-painted walls with his crayons. Maybe of a puppy that we would train to sit by the back door when he needed to take care of business.
I had big plans. But, as I've seen many times in my life, my plans mean pretty much nothing.
In late April, I proposed to my incredible girlfriend of 1.5 years. The funniest, most laid-back, patient, loving, and of course, beautiful person I've ever known. For some reason, she said yes.
Fast forward six months and there we were, legally wed, sealed for time and all eternity, and strolling through a bed of flowers.
The wedding day and ensuing week in Ohahu were the most incredible days of my life. Never did I think I could hold another person so dear. She absolutely completes me in every way another person can. And she is freaking funny. And hot. Oh and she thinks I'm funny.
And perhaps most important to the coming months, she was excited for adventure.
There are few companies that I esteem with enough regard to almost enjoy handing over my hard-earned cash. Amazon, the ubiquitous everything store, is one of them. One day, they gave me a rang (figuratively speaking). Though I wasn't actively on the prowl, I thought, "sure."
Thus began the marathon interview process, by phone and on-site at their picturesque Seattle campus. Wearying and at times grueling, the interviews revealed to me a company and a group of designers and product managers that were absolutely devoted to building revolutionary products that will change the life of millions. They invited me to come on board.
For numerous and varying reasons, I said yes. Among them: opportunity, growth, breadth of experience, diversity, adventure, Seattle.
When I made the decision, I knew it would be tough to say goodbye to my friends in Utah. Turns out, I had no idea just how tough it would be. I had worked at AtTask for nearly five years. Over that time I developed so many friendships with so many incredible people. So many hilarious, talented, genuine, caring people. Saying goodbye to them was so painful for me. As I left the AtTask building for the final time, I just sat in my car for a few minutes. And cried.
I miss those good folks. But I'm excited to meet, learn and grow alongside new people here. Early indications are good.
New home, again
Remember how I bought a new home eight months ago? I don't live there anymore. When I decided to come to Amazon, I decided to leave that home.
Lisa and I came up to Seattle a week after our honeymoon to look for a new home. In the spirit of taking this adventure head on, we decided to live in downtown Seattle. The options were expensive and anything but spacious, but we knew this was probably the only time in our life that we could do this.
After an extensive hunt, we decided on a high-rise apartment building at the intersection of Belltown and South Lake Union, a 10-minute walk from the Amazon offices. The foyer in the building is a block long, open air, with a restaurant, market (with all the essentials and then some), and a flower shop. There's a second level with a pool table and shuffleboard tables and TVs abound. A world apart from our home in Utah.
So far, it's been a blast. We are getting used to being able to walk everywhere. I walk to work. We walk to dinner, to the grocery store, to the movies, to shopping (Pacific Place, Westlake Center), all within a half mile of our home.
Luckily, the rental market back in Saratoga Springs is healthy and strong. We had our home rented out before we arrived in Seattle. It went without tenants for two days.