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My signature

This will take me some time.

I use Yahoo! for email, and I have an email signature that defaults onto every new email message I compose.  The email signature says:

Adam K. Felson

“…stories of a man, his pregnant wife, their son, one car and a bus pass…”

There are some people who I send messages to who I am not ready to know about the recent postings of this blog.  I don’t want them to know that we’ve decided to pack it up and move in sometime soon. 

So I delete the signature.

And that’s ok.



If you were to tell me a month or so ago that I’d be browsing Lafayette homes on-line, I wouldn’t believe you.  Okay, well to be honest, I’ve always known that it was possible, though I just can’t believe that this is really the direction we’re going.  What I really think is amazing is how I seem relatively okay with all this.  While I constantly think of all I will miss, I also know what is ahead isn’t half bad…

My ten step program

I haven’t posted since I poured my heart out to the cyber universe on 6/21/10.  Or at least to the five or six of you who read this. 

I feel like I’m participating in a ten-step program.  I’ve gone through more emotions than I think anyone – even those closest to me – could ever imagine.  Fear, Depression, Anger, Denial, and now Acceptance.  I’ve accepted the fact that our growing family needs more space than we probably can find in San Francisco.  I’ve accepted that it’s become increasingly more difficult to enjoy many of the advantages of City life (3 yr. olds aren’t great company at Zagat rated restaurants) and there is value in living closer to our families in a larger house with a pool in a place with warmer summers.

My mind has been spinning endlessly over the last week or so.  Perhaps by choice I’ve bottled up these emotions I’ve had because I’m still trying to come to terms with a decision I’ve made.

I had been debating with posting this (and can’t believe I am), but I think it will help clear my head. 

My wife and I moved to San Francisco in about 6 years ago, immediately sold one of our two cars, and without hesitation grew to love the single car, urban lifestyle of the City by The Bay.  We walked and used public transportation all over the place, while discovering the City’s eclectic neighborhoods, restaurants, and treasures.  I grew to become very initimately familiar with all corners of the City, and people would tell me that I would make a great tour guide.  The City truly became part of me, as when people made comments (good and bad) about the City, I would take them personally. 

We both grew up on quiet suburban streets about 35 minutes outside of San Francisco, and as our love for the City matured, the idea of raising our future family within the urban, cultural playground seemed very appealing.

I never really talked about it much, but I became extraordinarily obssessive of making this dream happen.  Like other urban centers, San Francisco is a haven for young adults who often sprawl to greener pastures after they get married and start a family.   But despite this, the more urban families I met, the more realistic it seemed to raise our kids here.  I was okay with the fact that we’d have to sacrifice living in a smaller house that was more expensive and in a chillier microclimate (specifically in the part of town we were considering) than regions outside of San Francisco.  But conversely, there is something incredible to be said about having a commute under 30 minutes (which nowhere I’d want to live has), access to world-class dining, and being near endless attractions such as the Zoo, Golden Gate Park, the Ferry Building, theatres, etc.  Sure, suburbanites can always visit the City, but I know that when your life gets busy with soccer games and birthday parties, it’s difficult.

The biggest monkey on my back was the question I would get from people after telling them that we wanted stay in the City.   “What about the public schools?” they would ask.  After six years of living here, I did an embarassing amount of reseach on the topic.  Admittedly, I often wasn’t really thinking “I want my kids to have a good education”, but instead, “I don’t have to leave town” .  After endless efforts of talking to people, reading articles, blogs, and checking out school profiles, I learned two things.  First, San Francisco Unified School District is doing some very innovative things, and even though test scores shouldn’t be the be-all end-all way to judge, the District’s high scores are considered among the top in the country for urban areas.  Second, I found that a ridiculous amount of people are drastically misinformed how great of a District we have.  Most of the people who say negative things don’t have kids in the public schools, overheard things at the playground, and / or haven’t done the research themselves.  Over the past decade or so many people left the City or went to private schools because of the complicated and uncertain assignment process, but starting this year the new neighborhood assignment system will be in place, which should be much more favorable to many families.

So to summarize, the three biggest factors that generally are the reason for San Francisco exodus – sunshine, square footage, and schools – were generally “non-issues” for me.  As for my wife, she made it clear that she could be happy inside or outside of San Francisco. 

Strangely, practically overnight, several thoughts started to hit me very hard.  I started to think that perhaps I should think  more about my family (boy #1 is three, the other on the way), and less about myself.  Deep down, though my wife said that she could be perfectly happy in San Francisco, I knew that she would live a happier life in the East Bay, closer to our families (she’ll do less schlepping!).  I remembered how growing up my brother and I enjoyed running through the sprinklers and riding our bikes through the neighborhood.  The suburbs will always be boring compared to City life, but they are probably an easier place to grow up. 

I also feel like if we got settled in a house in San Francisco, I would constantly feel on edge that my wife and I may at some point realize we made the wrong decision.  Despite the fact that the notion to move away kills a longtime dream I’ve had, I feel like I’m now comforted by the fact that we will not be living in uncertainty. 

…so, when are we moving?  Well, our baby is due at the end of August, so we’ll most certainly lay low for a while and stay put.  The place we live now has a fair amount of space – we’re not in a huge rush.  My guess is we’re about a year away from being serious. 

…and where will we be looking?  Our top choice right now is Lafayette, which is between Berkeley and Walnut Creek, on the BART line.  Location-wise, it’s about 20-30 minutes to both sets of parents, 15 minutes to my grandparents house, and about 30 minutes to the City. 

What will I miss most?  I’ll miss running along Crissy Field on a day with all the boats out starting at the bold, International Orange paint (bet you didn’t know that was the official color) of the world’s most beautiful bridge.

I know I’m going to miss some of the pizza places such as Tony’s, Pauline’s, Paxti’s, Little Star, and Pizzeria Delfina.

Driving through town in the midst of all of the historic architecture, including the “they-don’t-build-’em-like-that-anymore” Victorian homes will be something I’ll truly miss.

…But come to think of it, I can’t narrow down what I’ll really miss most – there is so much.  All in all, I just have been so proud to be a San Franciscan.  It’s a wonderful city.

Hey, at least I still get to work here everyday…

Cab Stealer

The big bosses of my company were in town visiting this week and they took us to The Cliff House Restaurant – where you can take in a killer oceanside sunset AND have an incredible 5 course meal.  At dinner, I sat next to a girl we just hired a few days ago and we had a nice conversation.  We happen to both live in the same neighborhood, which is on the other side of town.

After the group was done with dinner we thought it would make sense to call a cab and split it since we live so close.  I called Yellow Cab.  The cab arrived and it wasn’t until we both jumped in that I realized that we had stolen some other guy’s cab.  She clearly knew it because she wanted to get out of the evening chill, but wasn’t completely aware.  When she was directing the driver to her place, she wasn’t giving clear and timely directions and even at one point practically demanded he drive down a short one way street against traffic because he pasted her house (due to her delayed navigation).

Who was this girl that we hired?

Cabbie with TV

I’m writing this post from the back of a cab. The cabbie is watching a Russian television program on his dashboard.   Yes, there is a TV on the dashboard.  WTF – How is this legal?   Here’s a photo – though it’s blurry because he is driving like he’s part of the Indy 500.

This post was written 366 days ago…

Following up on my post after the first two business days after the iPad’s release; I finally, finally saw a girl with one of these puppies hop onto the 30-Stockton bus on Chestnut & Fillmore Street in the Marina. 

The girl had what looked like a pink rubber casing around the iPad that is similar to what lots of people use for iPhone protection. 

Will iPads grow to become a common accessory for San Francisco bus riders?  I’ve seen quite a few people on their Kindles reading books…

More efficient cabbies

Last night I came back to the City on BART after the class I’m taking in Berkeley got out.  It was 10pm, and it had been a really long day.

From where I live, a bus ride home from downtown is unfortunately not so swift at 10pm.  Other neighhorhoods have more direct and frequent service in the late evenings.  I always resort to the taxis after coming back from class because it’s late and I figure getting home fast is money well spent.

I often try snagging a cab in front of the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero Hotel, were there is typically a line of cabs waiting along Drumm Street.  But last night was different.  As I got above ground from the subway station, I saw that there were about a dozen people waving their arms in the air trying to catch a taxi.  Strangely, no little yellow cars were driving by.  When one finally came up, I started to approach it even though I felt bad because I knew there were other people who started flagging down a cab before I got there. 

The cab driver turned off his car, and quickly ran into the hotel while telling me, “I gotta pee… Give me 5 minutes…”

I sort of gave up at this location and walked a few blocks down the street, which allowed me to finally catch a cab. 

On the quiet ride home, I got to thinking about the following possible way cabbies could make better use of their time:

CD stuck on repeat

Our son’s first year of preschool is about to come to a close.  At the beginning of the year, we purchased a CD recorded by our son’s preschool teacher.  She plays guitar and sings to the kids in class, and recorded the songs… Many of the other parents also bought the CD because they too though it would be a good way to bridge the connection between the classroom and home.

The purchase of this CD was the biggest mistake of our entire lives.

When we first bought the CD, we quickly popped it into our car’s CD player.  Our son was in love with the songs, so we felt like we made a great purchase.  He was singing along with the tunes, and we it appeared that the music was building his mental development.

Flashforward nine months, this CD has yet to leave our CD drive.  Any time we try listening to something else, our son makes it clear that he is not happy.  To say that I have memorized each song on the CD would be the biggest understatement in the world.  Sometimes in the middle of a workday, if I’m quietly working away, the songs will come up from out of the blue to haunt me. 

I’m starting to consider secretly destroying the disc for my own sanity…