“Hope you like rain!”: The climatological facts about Seattle

July 26, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Do you know what is the appropriate thing to say when you find that someone is moving to Seattle? I’ll give you a hint — it’s not “Hope you like rain!” As it happens, I do love love love rainy days — but Seattle is not the rain capital of the world (or even the US) that everybody thinks it is. From Wikipedia:

At 37.1 inches (942 mm)[80], [Seattle] receives less precipitation than New York, Atlanta, Houston, and most cities of the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. Seattle was also not listed in a study that revealed the 10 rainiest cities in the continental United States.[81] … Thunderstorms occur only occasionally. Seattle reports thunder on just seven days per year … For comparison Fort Myers, Florida reports thunder on 93 days per year. Kansas City reports 52 ‘thunder days’ and New York City reports 25.

Don’t get me wrong — Seattle does have more rain than Austin. But as a rain-lover this is just fine with me. Whenever I see a glimmering 20% chance of showers on the weather forecast, I watch the radar all day in hopes that whatever little baby shower is floating around will float right over here to our house and then hang out for a while. (This happens wayyy less than 20% of the time. I think there must be some geographic/climatic condition that makes our particular spot receive unusually little rain.)

Another less popular but still frequent response we often get is, “Hope you like snow!” This is also not the right answer. Due to Seattle’s proximity to the ocean, the weather actually stays pretty temperate despite its northern latitude. In fact, Seattle gets an average of only 13 inches of snow per year. Compare this with Cleveland’s 56.9 inches, New York City’s 28.4, and Lubbock’s 10.2. In fact, Seattle gets the same amount of snow annually as Richmond, Virginia — not exactly the snow capital of the world. (You can check the annual snowfall for a bunch of US cities at the NOAA’s site here.)

If you compare Seattle to Austin, here’s what you get:

Two charts displaying weather statistics for Austin and SeattleYou can see that Seattle is only a little bit colder in the winter but way less hot in the summer (and there is way more rain). If you want to see these charts on Wikipedia, here are Seattle’s, Austin’s and a page explaining how to read this kind of chart. Although I’m sure I’ll be a bit colder in the winter, I’m generally pretty happy about the upcoming change in climate.

So! What is the correct response when someone says, “We’re moving to Seattle”? It’s “Congratulations!” :D

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What’s keeping us busy?

July 26, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The front room

The front room after painting. (The color doesn't look exactly right in this photo, but it's close.)

A lot of things! Apparently late July is moving season: parents want to get to their destinations while the kids are out of school. So although we had originally planned for Blake to start work at Amazon today, all the Amazon-provided moving services were so swamped that they couldn’t get that stuff done in time and we were forced to push back his start date to next Monday, August 2.

It’s a good thing, too, because there sure is a lot to do! It’s like Grand Central Station in here with all the comings and goings. Last week we had our listing agent, Sean McCormack, come  by and make recommendations for how best to  improve the house in the short amount of remaining time that we’re in Texas. He recommended painting the front room and the kitchen, which is basically how we spent last weekend. 20 hours and a lot of sore muscles later, the front room and kitchen are now a nice, bright, neutral “toasted oatmeal” (read: pale pale beige) instead of the god-awful dusty rose that was there before. Since then, we’ve had carpet people come in and give us an estimate, five painters stop by to give estimates for doing the rest of the interior, our listing agent visiting a few more times, a guy who tells the movers how much stuff we have, and all the hustle and bustle of Tom moving out. (He started looking for apartments once we received the offer from Amazon.)

The kitchen

The kitchen after painting - extra messy, but at least no pink. :D

Happily, the movers Amazon provides are full service — that is, they will be packing items in boxes and packing boxes in a truck while we recline on chaise lounges and sip cocktails with little umbrellas sticking out. Or, at least, we’ll be able to stand around and oversee and instruct and label while they’re doing the hard stuff. We were hoping they’d be able to start packing today (Monday) so we could get the carpet and painting done before we leave town, but due to their busy season the soonest they can start is this Thursday — just 48 hours before we leave Texas for good. They’ll do one day of packing and one day of loading, and then we’ll get on the plane Saturday morning with Pico in tow. (Our contractors will be working with Sean to arrange getting in and out after we leave.)

When we arrive in Seattle we’ll be staying in some nice corporate housing that’s just two blocks from the Space Needle! It’s pretty exciting and looks like a really nice spot. We’ll also get twice-monthly maid service and the place is fully furnished. We’re also really excited about having a 24-hour gym to use there. (I suspect Blake will have access to one actually at Amazon, but we don’t really know for sure.) With all the stuff keeping us busy since the honeymoon, we’ve both been a little bit less diligent about exercising lately. I’ve also gotten a little burned out on DDRing as my workout recently (DDR is Dance Dance Revolution), so I’m excited to have access to a stationary bike for a while and take a little DDR break. And although Blake hasn’t mentioned it, I’m sure he’ll be really happy to jog in a city where the temperature can be displayed with only two digits.

Well, I’m off to go separate things that will be packed from things that will be going on the plane with us. There’s a lot of work left to be done!

We’re moving to Seattle!

July 19, 2010 at 11:46 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Seattle Space Needle

Seattle Space Needle

We recently found out that Blake received a job offer from Amazon.com and we’re going to accept it. He’ll be doing front-end user experience programming (HTML + CSS  + Javascript) on amazon.com/giftcards, so eventually you’ll be able to see the results of his work live on the site. =) We’ll be moving to Seattle in time for him to start work on Monday, July 26 (which is one week from today), so we’re in quite the stuff-packing, room-cleaning, house-selling frenzy. (Anybody want to buy a house in south Austin?)

It’s pretty exciting — we’ve heard nothing but stellar things about Seattle much in the same way I heard fantastic things about Austin before I came here. We’re looking forward to balmy high-70s summers and a few snowy days each year (and no income tax in Washington either!). We’ve also heard that Seattle is even weirder than Austin (in a keep-Austin-weird kind of way) and we know it has a lot of contra dancing, so it sounds like a spiffy place. We’re not sure yet if we’ll be moving into another house immediately or if we’ll get an apartment for a while — Amazon is putting us in corporate housing for 45 days, so that will give us a while to do some research and decide what we want to do.

Also, Seattle is already home to a few good friends: Marianne and Richard, Kenneth, Hilton and Jocelyn, and my old friend Doug from NI who’s there temporarily on an internship. (Not the same Doug who was there when Blake proposed and works at Disney World.)

Unhappily, because of the extremely short notice it’s going to be difficult to see everybody here before we leave town. We’re repairing the house, painting a few rooms, packing up all our stuff, shipping our cars, and putting our house on the market all before we plan to fly out this Saturday morning. (And I thought I was busy planning a wedding!)

We’ll be sorry to go so far away from so many friends. After many years of fighting it, I am reluctantly forced to admit that, as my non-Austin friends can attest, I am a terrible long-distance friend despite my best efforts and intentions. But please don’t ever feel like my infrequent communication indicates that I am not still your friend to the same degree that I always have been! Please come visit us in Seattle, and — although I don’t know what kind of place we’ll have yet — we’ll be glad to have people stay with us if we possibly can.

Excuse me, then! you know my heart;
But dearest friends, alas! must part.
John Gay, Fables

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