After waking up at the unpleasant hour of 6:00 AM and only making it to the airport by 7:40, I was just glad to make it through the security line in time. Fortunately, by having been through Lambert several times in the last semester, I already know not to take the C/D/E security checkpoint and detour around to Checkpoint B... A bit of a walk back to Concourse C, but not a big deal. The flight itself went pretty well; I had an exit-row seat, so I got plenty of legroom. The gentleman seated to my left had questionable personal hygene habits, but other than that, there weren't problems.
I wandered around to the baggage claim (at least the signage in the airport seems to be fairly good) and discovered a surprisinlgy heavy crowd. Apparently, despite there being nine baggage claims, only one of them belonged to American Airlines, which had about three flights arriving at the same time. Flight 1799 (the one I was on) hadn't even shown up on the signboard yet, so I sort of hung back from the crowd and looked for elynne, who was going to pick me up.
She found me before I found her.
"Are you looking for a dragon?"
"Well, I happen to be one."
My luggage did eventually turn up on the baggage claim, although in less-than-perfect condition. (Since getting in to my apartment and getting unpacked, I've found that everything is there, but the suitcases have been completely demolished. There was a little apologetic note from the TSA about the damage, for whatever it's worth; I'll still have to buy new luggage to go back home in a few months.) elynne took one of the two suitcases for me and promptly discovered that I do not travel light. I travel at about 40 lbs. a suitcase, which is not very light by any stretch of the imagination, although just barely within the 50-pound limit imposed by the airline. Fortunately, the baggage claim was not far from the parking garage, and after a confusing moment with open elevators that refused to display any sort of indicators as to which way they were going or that they had any actual inclination to move anywhere, we got to her vehicle with a minimum of hernia.
More important than finding my apartment, of course, was the process of finding lunch. That wound up to be at an Azteca. (elynne, I hope you didn't have any allergy troubles- have you now discovered another gluten-free menu item, or was my lunch suggestion ill-advised?) That food was good, especially given that it was the first real food I'd had all day: the only thing other than just a bowl of cereal or a granola bar. Better than the food was the conversation, which just proved that elynne somehow manages to be more interesting offline than online, and her readership list should point to how she tends to be interesting online. That was, of course, a constant throughout the entire afternoon; conversation topics drifted to a wide and creative variety of things that I usually only get the chance to discuss online. Equally useful was the list of things I should probably try to sightsee for in the general area, given a chance!
elynne took me to visit her home (and a gaming store having a closeout sale along the way), and to get instructions more reliable than the questionable set I had transcribed from one of the e-mails I received. The apartment key depot turned out to be across the street from Microsoft. In the meantime, I got to meet elynne's family, both (outwardly) human and feline, the latter of whom were certainly unimpressed with me and the former of whom seem to be interesting people. We then headed for the apartment key depot, at Timberlawn Apartments right next to Microsoft. This gave me hope for a short commute and easy access to interesting places.
Those hopes were dashed when I actually got the map, showing the path to my new apartment as around the lake and in the next city. Sammamish is a nice enough place, but the bus routes are neither well-timed nor frequent, and while it is convenient to be across the street from the grocery store, the apartment is, relative to bicycle travel, in the middle of nowhere. But then, if any of y'all actually do live in or near Sammamish, maybe we'll run into each other some time.
The general lack of labels on the map and only minimal turn-by-turn instructions on it did turn out to be a problem for us as we overshot a turn by somewhere around ten miles (at least we found a gas station along the way). On the other hand, we did discover that Sammamish is pretty and has nice terrain to show off. That's good, because I'm going to be in the area for a while, and I don't even have a bike yet. Anyway, it was rather comforting when we saw the street we were supposed to turn down at some distance closer than how far we thought we had gotten lost by; as we hadn't made any wrong turns, just a wrong lack of turns, we didn't get nearly as badly lost as I have been known to get lost in the past.
We did eventually make it to my new apartment, and found that neither of my two flatmates were there. This was bad, as there was nobody to let me in since my key didn't work. The people living one floor below shared the fascinating information that the vast majority of Microsoft interns moving in this weekend had the wrong keys, and I had merely failed to beat the odds rather than being uniquely unfortunate. Several phone calls and a hike to the front desk later, and I had a replacement key which did work. What I did not have was muchi n the way of dinner, leading to the fourth and fifth granola bars for the day having to suffice. This later resulted in the expected conseqence of a great deal of fiber in one's digestive system, unfortunately.
Today, I found out where the grocery store was, bought supplies, went back to get what I forgot, and am now starting a shopping list of what I forgot the second time. I also went with one of the down-the-stairs neighbors in an expedition to a bike shop, and discovered that the bicycles they offered there were in the $2000 range. This was a mere $1700 above the budget Microsoft gave me for the company-provided bike. I do believe a search for other bicycle shops is in order.
It was one of those days that was a lot more interesting to experience than to write about, but then I suppose most days are like that. Now to attempt to prepare some semblance of dinner without setting anything on fire, now that I have actual supplies with which to cook.