Alright! I concede! I am never going to get this blog up to date at the rate I’m going / in the depth that I typically provide, so this is my compromise. I’m going to forgo looking back on email records, facebook messages, and photos, and just recap some of the major highlights that stick out in my memory, hazy though it may be. (Give me a break; this post starts with events that occurred over two years ago.)
I’d been living with Matt Sweeney (usually just
Sweeney) on the first floor of a duplex on the edge of Downtown Minneapolis since fall 2006, but around May 2007, we both had interests in him moving out. He felt the rental market was favorable around that time of year, and was kind of interested in getting a place to himself. I extended an offer to Adrianne to move in with me, after having dated for about two years at that point, and she excitedly accepted. We had already basically been living together for many months by that point, in that she stayed at my apartment most days, and was kind of using her old house as a closet/office, but it was still a big step to formally cohabitate. We rented a U-Haul van for the roughly three-block move, which then went pretty quickly. The only particular trouble we had was with the large open-faced wardrobe she owned, which was originally too tall to fit through the front door into the apartment, and didn’t have enough clearance in the entryway to flip/rotate it on its side and come in that way. But, after much wasted effort, I discovered that it had screw-on feet for leveling purposes, which we were able to screw in enough to just barely shove it across the threshold. It stayed in the living room for the rest of its life there on S 10th St.
I think Adrianne was barely in a month, though, before she packed up and left for a summer internship at Nike headquarters in Portland, OR (well, Beaverton, technically). Her departure was incredibly difficult for me, at the time, and I think I cried more the day she left than I had cumulatively in the two years preceding it. We weren’t breaking up, or taking a break, or anything like that, but I just was sad that we’d be apart for that long; we saw each other nearly every day for many months prior to that, so it was going to be a big change to not see each other for about six weeks at a time (we figured I’d go visit in the middle of the summer). But, as it tends to do, life went on, and we both figured out how to make it through the day, while still conversing daily by IM and phone. At no point between getting my current cell phone plan with 1500 minutes per month and that summer had I exceeded 400 minutes of talk time, but I reached the point where I had to be very conscious of my usage, to avoid exorbitant per-minute overage fees.
I don’t honestly remember too much else about that summer. I know that a long-time family friend Erin C. (now Erin G.) got married, which kind of forced the issue of Adrianne coming back to Minneapolis for a long weekend, instead of me visiting Portland for a long weekend. Other than that, I probably just worked a lot, and saw friends occasionally. I feel like I must have done more than that, to avoid going stir crazy, but if I did, its memory escapes me. I suppose that’s basically the explanation for how
time flies. My memory of a three-month span of my life consists of one event and concern for my cell phone usage.
Eventually, though, Adrianne’s internship got done, so she moved back to our apartment in Minneapolis, and went back to school for her last semester. I … um … continued to work? It was at this point that Adrianne started not-so-subtly suggesting that we move to Portland after she graduated that winter, which I wasn’t thrilled about, but I started looking for jobs out there anyway. There actually ended up being one pretty interesting prospect–a company that made enterprise-level digital media servers and the like (I believe the company was Grass Valley)–but the original position the recruiter had wasn’t the most exciting to me, and while she assured me the company was also interested in me for another engineering position on a different team, there were delays inside the company with getting the official approval/budget allocation for a new hire. I wasn’t searching or pushing too hard, and Adrianne’s plan to receive an offer from Nike didn’t come through, so I explained my position, that it made more sense to stay in Minneapolis, where at least one of us had a solid job, than to move across the country and both be unemployed and job-hunting. She eventually relented, and applied for some jobs in Minneapolis, as well as other places around the country/world, and I mostly stopped looking.
Adrianne kept hunting for jobs, and I kept working. Around what I believe was the end of February, I took a trip out to Las Vegas, which marked two
firsts: my first time in Las Vegas, and my first
real business trip. (I put
real in quotes because it was for my side-business, Techware Labs, which, although a real, profitable, company, can’t pay my salary, and I had to take time off my real job to go on that trip.) It was while I was in Vegas that I received news of Adrianne’s job offer from The North Face in a split capacity doing normal retail sales and having some responsibilities for arranging merchandise on the floor, setting displays, etc. I think she fluctuated between being excited and unsure about a dozen times, but eventually ended up accepting the position.
Later that spring, Adrianne and I took a vacation out to Seattle, WA. Although I didn’t take an approach quite as lavish in Seattle as I did in Los Angeles the previous spring, we still stayed in a nice place (rented a condo in the
Belltown neighborhood, a few blocks from the famous fish/etc market), rented a very fancy car (which I later learned I was the first to drive, even), and ate some very nice meals (fresh seafood!). Despite not liking beer, I agreed to go on [another] brewery tour (Red Hook), which was a little funny, because it was more of a
beer tour than an actual brewery tour, so Adrianne had to drink for me, too–she got pretty sloshed :p. I also got to see a little bit of the Microsoft campus while visiting my friend Josh J., who had briefly attended college and been in ACM with me, and who passed on some good recommendations for restaurants and sights to visit. The Jimi Hendrix Experience Music Project was pretty cool historically, and interactively, though there were longer waits at some of the interactive stations (like playing instruments) than I cared to endure. Adrianne ran in a trail race about an hour north of Seattle, a bit into the mountains, and placed quite well in her category, especially for her first trail race ever.
My memory of the summer of 2008 is almost completely centered around one thing: Adrianne and I broke up. Had I written this at the time, I certainly would’ve filled pages (and did, privately) about that, but it’s pretty far behind me now, so I’m confident I can exercise a bit of brevity recapping it at this point. The crux of the issue–as I see it–boiled down to the fact that, after getting her job at North Face, Adrianne really changed. She got new friends (co-workers), new hobbies, and neither of us made a significant effort to make sure that
we were along for that ride, and by the time either of us did, it was apparently already too late. (Perhaps it was always too late … who knows.) So, she grew closer to one of her new friends/co-workers, and we grew apart. Issues flared up a bit a couple times, and I, surprisingly, actually brought them up and tried talking about them, to no particular effect. I guess she eventually processed everything herself, and we talked through everything, with varying degrees of honesty as the night wore on, and lots of crying. I don’t think I slept at all that night, but the next morning marked the start of my positive habit that summer of running on weekends. At my urging, we tried to work things out, but eventually it became clear that Adrianne just
wasn’t there, so I said she should move out, and she didn’t disagree.
Despite being pretty torn up about the situation at the time, I like to think that, for the most part, I handled it pretty rationally. I mentioned earlier that I did write a ton privately, which I tend to do when I’m emotionally disquieted, or otherwise have something on my mind I need to work out. I think that writing forces me into an analytical mindset, and it’s necessary to organize and thoroughly process my thoughts–or at least the years and years of English classes have just made me do that by reflex when I write. Either way, I find something cathartic and very helpful about it, so I use that outlet when necessary. On a somewhat related note, after writing easily more than 10,000 words in less than the first week of all of that happening, I came to the realization that I had documented the most painful parts of my life in meticulous, prolix detail, and had virtually none corresponding to average, or happy times in my life. I made a casual resolution to fix that, and am pleased to report that I have followed through with that (to varying degrees at different times, but still!). But I digress…
Getting back to the topic at hand: I started to really
lean on my friends after the breakup, which caused me to realize that I’d severely neglected them while I was in a relationship. Despite that, they were still unconditionally good to me, and I can’t emphasize enough how much that meant to me, and helped me. I was forced / forced myself to be very social, and went from having roughly one or two social engagements per month with friends to one or more per day, almost without fail. I distinctly remember a span of three weeks during which I literally did not have a weeknight evening or weekend day that I wasn’t doing something with people. It was awesome, but it’s also rather difficult to get anything done for myself with a schedule like that. At this point I also started to become closer friends with Naomi K., among others, who turned into one of my best friends over the following months. So, after the initial slump, there were a lot of hugely positive changes in my life that summer. I wouldn’t say I’d jump at the opportunity to go through that again, but I recognize a lot of good came about as a direct or indirect result of it, so that’s really the best I think anyone could ask for :).