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A Week In San Francisco On A $60,000 Salary

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Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We’re asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.

Today: A startup founder working in AI who makes $60,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on omakase.
Editor’s Note: This is a follow-up to one of last year’s most popular Money Diaries. To read the first one, click here.
Occupation: Startup founder
Industry: AI
Age: 31
Location: San Francisco
Salary: $60,000
Net Worth: $953,500 ($291,000 RSUs [the stock price went down 25% since my last Money Diary ☹️]; $144,000 in a brokerage account; $80,000 in crypto; $14,000 in my HSA; $385,000 for the value of my New York City co-op apartment; $285,000 in my 401(k); $6,500 in my Roth IRA; $1,500 in Robinhood; $2,500 in savings; minus debt)
Debt: $256,000 ($248,000 left on the mortgage for my NYC co-op; $4,000 on a 21-month 0% APR credit card; ~$4,000 on another charge card)
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,961
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $0 (I live with my partner in SF and I don’t pay rent.)
Apartment Mortgage: $1,032 (This is for my co-op apartment in NYC. A friend who is staying there very nicely offered to start paying me next year, so that will help.)
Apartment Maintenance Fee: $598
Apartment Utilities: $78.02
Credit Card: ~$110 (minimum payment)
Phone: $91.24 (for the family)
Health Insurance: $0 (I’m not paying for this right now but I’m looking into it ASAP.)
Netflix Share: $5
iCloud Storage: $16
Parents’ Internet: $79.49
Web Hosting & Domains: $30.98 (One of my domains is for an ex-landlord who hasn’t returned my security deposit, even though I took him to court and won. I took out a domain in his name and have factual and non-libelous content on there.)
Amazon Prime: $12.35 (for the family)
Donations: $100

Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Yes, attending higher education was a non-negotiable. We were taught that it was the only way to achieve social mobility, and my parents didn’t want us to struggle as much as they did. The school I attended gave generous financial aid, so other than a $20,000 federal Perkins loan, I was able to get a free ride. I also did a master’s degree, which I funded by working for the university. I was actually prepared to take out a loan, but my university offered me the job three days before tuition was due — phew!

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent(s)/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My parents sheltered me from money talk because they wanted me to focus on my studies. Growing up, my family was neither rich nor poor. We got WIC [the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children] when my siblings and I were young, but my parents eventually got stable jobs as public school teachers, which paid for most of our needs. They were lucky to have bought our family house in the ’90s, before the housing boom. If my parents had waited another five years to buy a house, they wouldn’t have been able to afford one. Actually, that was the only financial “education” they gave me: Unlike other assets in which you begin life with nothing, you start life with a deficit of one house. So your first financial priority should be investing in a house whenever you can afford it (how Boomer of them). Since they grew up in poverty, my parents were against almost any kind of discretionary spending. My siblings became very frugal and anxious around spending, but I went about it the opposite way: When I got my first bank account, I became addicted to what felt like consequence-free shopping. It’s something that I’m still working on.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
I got my first summer internship in a science lab at $9.25/hour. It was the summer of my freshman year at university. I needed it to pay bills and rent. I ended up doing very poorly at that job due to a lack of interest and low executive function/ADHD. I’m also autistic and hadn’t fully learned how to mask at work yet, which affected my relationships with my managers. Halfway through, my boss fired me because I regularly showed up late to our meetings. I didn’t know how to respond to being fired, so instead of going home, I just washed the dishes and cleaned up. After that, I finished my internship without any more drama, and we never spoke of it again. I learned two lessons that summer: 1) don’t be afraid to apply for the jobs you actually want, and 2) there is a chasm of a difference between one minute early and one minute late.

Did you worry about money growing up?
No, I never thought about money growing up. I never worried about feeding myself, having a roof over my head, or keeping the lights on. I recognize that this is a huge privilege compared to many of my college classmates who had to balance work and family with school. I had a close friend who got into an Ivy League school, but her parents wanted her to stay close to home to take care of her baby sister. Her situation was unfathomable to me because education was always my only priority. I was able to grow up in a safe environment and focus on my studies during my formative years. I continue to reap compound interest from this early privilege on a daily basis.

Do you worry about money now?
Financial security is one of the last things I worry about, but I do think about money constantly. I like to think I’m slowly dealing with my lifestyle inflation, but I still took out a 21-month interest-free credit card for bigger purchases, like skincare procedures (I recently paid $1,700 for six sessions of Evoke), and to pay off a tax bill. I stacked these 0% APR cards all throughout college, so I’m pretty used to them. I’m giving myself a raise soon, because we hit some revenue targets, so hopefully that will help pay off my credit card.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
When I got my first tech internship during my sophomore summer. I had never coded before, but I went to a career fair and got an internship on the spot because I had computer science classes on my résumé. I was able to subsist on the $12,000 I made that summer — alongside 0% interest credit cards — for the next school year. It was raining internships and job offers in the early 2010s for anyone with a CS degree. It isn’t remotely like that anymore. I was so lucky to have studied the right thing at the right time in the right place. I feel for this year’s CS grads, who are having a much tougher time on the job market. My financial safety nets are: 1) getting a job, 2) boyfriend, 3) savings, and 4) parents.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
My parents opened a savings account with $6,000 for expenses when I left for college. Between paying off student loans and credit cards, it took me 10 years to have that much money to my name again. Once, my ex gifted me $5,000 to pay off credit card debt before the 0% interest rate ended. I also make ~$500 to $1,000 a month on passive income streams (this has been dwindling a bit because I haven’t touched it in years).

Day One

8:30 a.m. — My alarm wakes me up! I ask my partner, D, what day it is. It’s a Monday. Since quitting my job four months ago, the weekends and weekdays just blur together.
8:45 a.m. — I shower and get ready for back-to-back-to-back meetings today. This is the life I live now. I quit my job three months ago to launch an AI startup. I left my previous job because I couldn’t shake off the feeling of wanting to leave the hamster bowl where I was fed, exercised, and given bite-sized challenges on schedule. My managers did offer me more money to stay, but my choice wasn’t about the money. In some ways, it was about growing up and taking more responsibility for myself and the path I’m carving out in this world. I found one main investor through Twitter. She tweeted about wanting to talk to people in my field, so I sent her a DM, and we had a couple of meetings. She offered to give me money to start something. I asked an ex-coworker and friend, L, to build the company with me. She’s super smart and competent and dependable, and we have great chemistry. I couldn’t ask for a better business partner. We started with around $4 million in investment, and the company’s finances are completely separate from my own — I pay myself from the company’s bank account as a W-2 employee. I get to control my salary with no oversight, so I talked to some friends who are investors to figure out a number. They said the absolute max a founder could pay themselves without raising eyebrows is $150,000. Then I asked a few founders, and the salaries ranged from $60,000 to $150,000, so I chose the lower end of the range.
9:20 a.m. — One of our customers, a company I’ll call P, is asking for a live demo. There’s no way I’ll have time to create one today, so I message a past research collaborator, W, to get a demo made. It takes him five hours to do what an average person needs 40 hours to do. I offer to pay him a $2,000 rush fee to get something done today. $2,000 (expensed)
9:30 a.m. — I take the bus and Muni to get to L’s apartment for a meeting. $5.85
10:07 a.m. — I’m seven minutes late, but that’s okay. This first call isn’t very important, so I just take it on my phone.
11 a.m. — I call a ride downtown. We have sales meetings from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. We’re trying to close a few customer deals for 2024, so these next few days will be straight meetings. Thankfully, we only have to do this for two and a half weeks. If we manage to close enough deals, we won’t have to do this for another year or two. $20.83 (expensed)
4 p.m. — A firm we’ve been negotiating with comes to us with an offer. We’ve been asking for ~$X, but they’ve been coming in at 25% less. I want to negotiate for more, but L wants to take the deal. She’s been doing most of the sales and just wants to finish up the sales cycle already. I can’t help but feel that, with a little bit more time, we could negotiate something more favorable.
5 p.m. — L and I go to a Mediterranean fast food place to grab a quick bite. She orders a salad, and I don’t order anything. I brought a bag of garlic tiger shrimp that I packed from our investor’s office kitchen a week ago. It’s a bit one-note, but I’m not complaining. Cilantro flakes are a vegetable, right? I hope week-old seafood is still safe to eat.
7:30 p.m. — I wrap up two more meetings via Zoom and call a ride home. I’m not feeling so well from that shrimp. $17.90 (expensed)
8:10 p.m. — I take a 30-minute power walk to meet K for dinner. I get to the restaurant 10 minutes past the hour, and K is already there. We met at a bar last weekend, so I’m honestly not quite sure what this dinner is supposed to be: A date? A sales call? A networking event? The dinner goes very well, and K is such a sweetheart. We order a papaya salad and crispy imperial rolls. Putting healthy food in my stomach seems to help settle things a bit. Out of nowhere, K offers to invest $10,000 in my company. I’m speechless! He doesn’t even know what my company does! He doesn’t even know me. My autism flares up when I can’t load the right script from my hash map of social interactions. I’m genuinely touched, but a part of me also wonders if this is all just a gesture of goodwill because he’s interested in dating me? I subtly tell him about a few single girlfriends of mine that he should really meet. He pays for the meal.
10:10 p.m. — After dinner, I meet my boyfriend, D, at a bar. He orders a sweet ‘n’ sour rye, and I order a lemonade because I hate alcohol. He pays.
11:30 p.m. — A potential client emails me asking to hop on a very last-minute call. They live overseas, so apparently it’s a brand-new spankin’ morning over there.
12:10 a.m. — I’m finally done with my meeting. D and I watch the British game show University Challenge and fall asleep.
Daily Total: $5.85

Day Two

8:15 a.m. — My alarm wakes me up. I still don’t feel very well, and I’m craving a Souvla salad. I have meetings until 11:30 a.m.
11:45 a.m. — D says he’ll buy me Souvla for lunch. I order a pork salad and an avgolemono soup to stay semi-healthy. D gets a side of garlic fries, and we share everything. I can feel the veggies absorbing the toxins in my stomach. I feel so much better already. D pays $38.42 with tip.
2:30 p.m. — After an afternoon of meetings, I start to work on the demo I hired W to make.
4 p.m. — I finish the demo just in time. I have an hour-long meeting with P to run the demo for them, and they love it!
6 p.m. — Time for Pilates class with my favorite instructor. My investor gives us free workout passes through a fitness startup they invest in. I’m so, so, so out of shape. I literally have not done any cardio in the last three weeks. After class, I lift weights to stave off the carpal tunnel creeping on me from working in bed all day.
7:15 p.m. — D and I mooch dinner from my investor’s office nearby. The only downside is that we have to make small talk with other people, but I can’t complain because it’s free.
7:45 p.m. — After dinner, we take a quick 30-minute power walk and get back to work. L has left for Machu Picchu, so I reply to a bunch of emails that would usually be for her.
9 p.m. — I list a phone case on eBay. It was part of an investor swag basket. They send us everything from smart watches to weird productivity supplements to clothing. I usually sell the stuff on eBay. Honestly, I love selling on eBay because it takes zero brainpower/planning. I also get to reuse packaging materials, and somehow someone always buys what I’m selling.
11:30 p.m. — I take a break from work to go on a nice walk. I love, love, love midnight walks. Some people think I’m crazy, but I think they’re worth the risk.
12:30 a.m. — Before wrapping up work and going to bed, I read my most recent emails. A customer messaged me: They saw an issue I should probably have noticed but didn’t. Oops. How do I fix this? The avoidant in me says I’ll let my dreams figure it out and reply in the morning.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

9:20 a.m. — I wake up and see a message from someone on Facebook Marketplace about a cute money tree. I scheduled to pick it up with her twice already and overslept both times. But she still hasn’t sold it. I make an appointment to come get it tomorrow at 9 a.m. This time I’ll definitely make it. Also, the customer I talked to overseas isn’t interested. Welp, I guess that late-night call didn’t pay off.
11 a.m. — One of my customers tells me that he just got off a reference call with P. The execs pressed him with VERY pointed questions. They asked him whether our tech skills are real, if we are lying about our model capabilities, blah blah blah. Specifically, they said: “We’re not sure it’s in their DNA” and “This space requires a very specific look, and I’m not sure they have that.” I wonder if there’s an underlying tone of sexism and/or racism. I’m not sure, and I really don’t want to jump to that conclusion. There are other things P could mean. My customer gave GLOWING answers, saying things about my work that I wouldn’t even say about myself. I’m so touched. People can be so selfless!
12 p.m. — I call a ride to meet a college friend for lunch at noon. I wanted to walk but, alas, I don’t head out the door on time. $12.31
12:10 p.m. — I get to the restaurant. I forgot about my lunch plans with this friend last week at the same place. I feel terrible! We order the duck with basil and the combination boat noodle, my treat ($34.62, plus $7 tip). I’m glad he isn’t annoyed with me for being the most inconsiderate person in the world. We even brainstorm a problem that’s been top of mind for me lately: How do I hire an employee? In particular, one of my friends who makes $X at his current job? What should I expect from a first engineer? What if I can only pay him half of his previous wage? How do I best protect our friendship if none of this works out? Help! Well, my friend has done all of this before, very successfully, so I really appreciate his advice. Mentorship matters, y’all. I’m so damn grateful that my friends go above and beyond to try to help me. Maybe this is common for the more well-liked, but I’m not used to it. The real treasure of every startup journey is the friends you make along the way. $41.62
2:30 p.m. — I get off a call with a fellow startup that helps founders do Roth IRA conversions and investing. Somehow I feel like I could do this myself? They ask me what counsel I’m using, and I tell them we’re still super early so ChatGPT is our lawyer. They urge me to get a real lawyer.
4 p.m. — I’ve spent the last hour and a half trying to figure out how to do this Roth IRA thing, and I cannot. Maybe I’ll just pay someone instead. I really hope I can live past 60 so I can withdraw any money still left in my account. Oh gosh, that’s only 29 years away.
5 p.m. — I pick up a pair of Apple AirPod Pros at the Apple Store. I hope this set is better for calls than my first-gen pods. Mine always sound like I’m underwater. After that, I go window shopping around Union Square for the holiday spirit, the lights, the music, the drama! In an hour, I hit up Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora, Louis Vuitton, and Neiman Marcus, but I don’t buy anything. $270.48 (expensed)
5:30 p.m. — My final stop is Trader Joe’s to pick up ingredients for latkes: four potatoes, two onions, and a dozen eggs. Trader Joe’s does a good job of snaking you through the treat aisles while waiting to pay, so of course I impulse-add a liter of sparkling lemonade to my basket. $12.84
5:45 p.m. — I take Muni home. $2.50
6 p.m. — D makes latkes for a Hanukkah party tonight. We spend a ridiculous amount of time grating onions by hand and then peeling and grating the potatoes. All in all, we spend over one hour just pulverizing vegetables. But it’s worth it. These latkes are — hands down — the best latkes I’ve ever had. I ask D why they’re so good, and he says that he adds salt until they’re salty enough, and then he adds more.
7 p.m. — Our friends arrive! My two younger siblings are in town, so they join, too. One friend sings a Hebrew prayer as we light the menorah, and another orders Chinese food. We get chili chicken, crispy spicy prawns, garlic pea sprouts, braised tofu, and mu shu pork. Someone brings tasty homemade eggnog and challah. I feel so warm and happy and toasty inside.
10:30 p.m. — I have a call to finalize a deal with P. They’re excited to move forward, but they need to do more reference checks. How many reference checks do they need?! I know my ex-manager likes me, but I doubt she loves talking about me for hours every week.
11:30 p.m. — D and I clean up the kitchen after the guests leave. I venmo the friend who placed the food order to cover myself and my two siblings. $54.99
12:45 a.m. — I realize that I forgot to film a demo I promised. I’m already in bed and am this close to falling asleep but now I have to get up and go to a separate room to talk to my computer. I feel so bad waking up D at night, even though he says it’s totally okay. I’m starting to understand why most men just prefer a nice, supportive girl who has a low-stress career, so they can have a nice smile to return home to after work and a clean house.
1:15 a.m. — Okay, NOW I can actually sleep.
Daily Total: $124.26

Day Four

8:48 a.m. — I’m delighted to treat myself to a nice morning walk to pick up my money tree. Google Maps says it’ll take 21 minutes, but I usually walk 30% faster so I’ll hopefully only be a few minutes late.
9:02 a.m. — I’m only two minutes late. I finally get my money tree — third time’s the charm! It’s so small and cute. I love it. Hooray for circular economies! $7
9:30 a.m. — I start my morning meetings. I munch on leftover smoked salmon and waffles with maple syrup that I grabbed from my investor’s office. Every time I visit, I grab breakfast to go. Breakfast is definitely their best meal.
1:10 p.m. — I find out that one of our competitors just signed an O contract ($100 million). Impressive. My cofounder tells me the CEO’s dad is high up at the accounting firm that makes up the majority of their revenue. You know, when I first got into the startup world, I was not prepared for all the nepotism. But now, it’s more shocking when there is none! Oh well, no use thinking about it more.
2:15 p.m. — L messages me asking if I’d be happy if we just took the deals that are on the table and be done with them. She has a lot less appetite for walking away from negotiations than I do. But I’m supportive and stoked with whatever she decides. I’m proud of her for juggling this back-breaking sales cycle, negotiating with executives decades more experienced than her, and coming out of it with amazing options. In the end, being a good steward of the technology I’m building and doing good work for good customers is the important thing here.
4 p.m. — The phone case I listed on eBay sells for $11. I pay for shipping. $4.24
4:30 p.m. — We sign and seal two deals! Now it’s time to finalize a few much smaller ones left in the pipeline. L is ecstatic. She literally has one foot in the mountains and can finally enjoy her vacation. I’m happy, too, but other feelings creep in: fear and dread. One of our customers used to have a team of 15 on this, so we have to somehow be better than a team of 15 people. I have no idea if we can actually deliver any of this.
4:45 p.m. — I’ve been texting my investor about feeling pain in parts of my body I’ve never felt before. Working all day and night for the last three weeks is getting to me. My investor, God bless her, sends a massage therapist to my home for a 60-minute session. This massage SLAYS. I immediately feel so much better.
6 p.m. — My investor gifts me a 40-class pack at a fitness studio. From the website, it looks like the pack costs $1,040. I don’t go to this studio, but L does, so I re-gift it to her.
8:30 p.m. — I have dinner plans with two other startup founders who I met through my investor. In celebration of my company signing a few deals and other achievements on their side, we go for omakase. I call a ride there. $12.03
8:45 p.m. — Omakase is always such a privilege. My investor gave us a prepaid card with $150 to go out for a meal, but we spend $603.53, plus a $120 tip. After the prepaid card, I cover the rest. The ikura (salmon caviar) with shaved ankimo (monkfish liver) is exquisite! In between courses, the three of us talk about training big models. In San Francisco, owning a big model is a status symbol. Like living in the suburbs and driving a Range Rover or something. Instead of showing off how fast we can go from 0 to 120, AI people brag about the number of hyperparameters we have. This is a fun dinner, but sadly, it’s obvious I’m not on the same social wavelength as these guys. Connecting with people is not my strength. $573.53
11:30 p.m. — I take another call with P, but we don’t make any progress. This might be a rotten deal. I’m beginning to think we should just drop this company at the negotiation table.
Daily Total: $596.80

Day Five

8:30 a.m. — P has left a voicemail on my phone asking me to give them a call back. At this point, I don’t respond. I have other work to do.
12 p.m. — I pay a visit to my investor’s office and intercept some of the smoked salmon right before breakfast gets cleared up. Smoked salmon is love; smoked salmon is life. Someone side-eyes me heaping a generous portion onto my plate. It’s a little embarrassing.
12:10 p.m. — I really need to start working on a few deliverables that are due, like, right now. But I’m feeling tired and avoidant today.
12:50 p.m. — I’m wolfing down salmon so fast that I get a fish bone stuck in my throat. I try to dislodge it with half a dozen mochi doughnuts that D brought home a few days ago. It does finally dislodge (phew), but I didn’t even get to enjoy all of those mochi calories. I’m glad I don’t need to go to the emergency room. That would not be good because of my insurance situation (yes, I’m working on it).
3 p.m. — P pays me an unsolicited call. I tell them that we’re wrapping up our sales cycle now. Are they still interested? They say yes but they neither agree to our terms nor counter them?! I probe further, and they have the balls to ask us to send over contracts with other customers so they can decide how much to pay us. I decline, and that’s the end of that. Gosh, what a waste of time.
6:30 p.m. — D and I go see the Studio Ghibli film The Boy and the Heron (tickets are $12 each; D pays). There’s an overarching sadness that isn’t present in Miyazaki’s previous works — kind of like an existential crisis. I think he’s been thinking about death and rebirth lately.
8:30 p.m. — D and I go out for dinner. For the first 10 minutes, we’re that couple ignoring each other while staring at our screens. We’re both trying to understand that movie we just saw. For once, I do something adventurous: I do not order the butter chicken. Instead, we order chicken momos, pork bhutwa, aloo cauli, and garlic naan. D also orders a cocktail. The meal comes to $65.03, plus $13.01 tip, and D pays.
9:45 p.m. — I forgot my laptop at the theater. Ugh, my memory’s been really foggy lately. I got Long COVID a year ago, and I remember being much, much sharper before it. It’s so sad that our minds are only deteriorating over time. I call a ride to retrieve my laptop. After that, D calls another Uber so we can go home. $12.94
11 p.m. — I almost fall asleep but I remember to fire off two emails before L goes off the grid. I’m exhausted. Even though I owe two customers updates, I’m going to sleep instead. I doubt it’ll make a material difference if I send them tomorrow instead of tonight.
Daily Total: $12.94

Day Six

9 a.m. — Rise and shine. I have a lot of work to do today! But before that, I send off a few sketches to my jewelry designer. I’m designing a jewelry line, and it’s going to be super cute. I spent hours last week drawing the initial prototypes, designing the logo and graphics, and soon I’ll put it on Shopify. I can’t find anything like this on the internet, so I’m super excited. I’ve always wanted to sell physical products. AND it’s going to incorporate AI... Somehow!
9:30 a.m. — Since my creative juices are still flowing, I look into designing our first-ever company swag. Wouldn’t it be cool if we had branded tampons and hair bows? And booty shorts with our logo on the butt? What else? Maybe a lipstick in our special company shade? I definitely want Reformation knits with our name across the chest in varsity lettering. Welcome swag for new hires?
10:30 a.m. — D makes delicious French toast with leftover challah.
11 a.m. — After a yummy breakfast, I finally feel motivated to tackle work again. D also has a lot of work, so our schedules are perfectly aligned. We sit in a warm, sunlit living room and code side by side. We leave the windows open so we can hear the passersby and live the beautiful morning vicariously.
1:50 p.m. — I head out to meet my friend for an afternoon chat. He’s driving really far to see me, so I want to at least buy him boba, but he gets there before me and buys me boba instead (a taro milk tea). Ugh, why do I have to be a few minutes late for everything? We chat about life and have a great time hanging out. This is such a lovely break from work.
4 p.m. — I get back home and continue working. That taro milk tea really filled me up, so I skip lunch.
6:30 p.m. — D cooks slices of chicken thigh, bok choy, and brown rice for dinner. Afterward, we go out for a long walk.
7:30 p.m. — It’s a beautiful night to get a lot of work done. And to lift weights.
12 a.m. — The last few hours have been incredibly productive. I’m able to complete almost a whole deliverable out of the three that I promised by Friday. I’ll tackle the other two tomorrow.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

9:30 a.m. — I wake up. Let’s get some work done! D pours me a bowl of Cheerios. We have polar opposite cereal preferences: He likes his dry with a dash of milk, but I like to wait until mine gets soggy. I also text my investor about egg freezing, and she offers to pay for it. I’m not sure I want to do it because my friend’s friend had some health horror stories but... It would be free?
10:45 a.m. — D is pumping up the front wheel of my bike. We’re about to go on a rainy bike ride. I’m so glad D is as busy as me. Otherwise, I would feel bad about being way less available to go on dates.
11:30 p.m. — We get to a coffee shop. These hills are no joke! I haven’t gotten this much cardio in weeks, and my butt is sore. I forgot the keys to my bike lock, so D has to park both of our bikes with one lock. I order a cappuccino for him and a lemonade for myself. It’s pouring outside, so we camp out for a while. $10.50
12:30 p.m. — The rain dissipates to a drizzle, like a sponge on its final squeeze, so we start biking home. On the way, we go to my favorite restaurant ever: PANDA EXPRESS! D goes next door to grab a burrito. He’s not in the mood for Panda. I order the same thing I get every time: honey-walnut shrimp, orange chicken, eggplant, and fried rice. $14.77
1:45 p.m. — We finally make it home. I love the rain, especially when I’m inside and dry. D makes hot chocolate, and I take a hot shower. Whenever it rains, I don’t feel as guilty taking a long shower. Time to get back to work. I’m starting to worry that I won’t be able to get this deliverable done by tomorrow.
2 p.m. — I realize it’s going to be cold and rainy all of next week. I love that for our drought situation, but I’m relieved that I won’t be here to suffer through it. I’m flying to NYC tomorrow.
3:30 p.m. — I’m meeting a friend downtown. While waiting for the BART, I pull out my laptop to do some more work. The next train is in 17 minutes. Such is the life of commuting in the Bay Area. Thank God for mobile tethering! $6.30
4 p.m. — My friend and I order drinks. Wow, the tea is overpriced. I pay $19.55, plus a $3 tip for two pots of tea and a hot chocolate. My friend is a total queen. She’s only one year older than me and already has her own hedge fund. Despite being so accomplished, she’s a genuinely empathetic and caring person. In an industry where everyone is a “friend with career benefits”, she reminds me not to forget to make genuine human connections. We also get really deep into relationships and gender roles. I prefer a traditional dynamic in a relationship, in which I play the more “feminine”/supportive role and I sometimes struggle with whether or not that’s at odds with my career choices. My friend, on the other hand, has no patience for supporting career-focused men. She says they don’t have the capacity to be emotionally present. She’s not talking about me, but I can see myself in this picture. I have been too stressed lately to be a warm and supportive GF, and that’s something I really want to get better at. $22.55
6:30 p.m. — I take Muni home. $2.50
7 p.m. — Back home! Time to do a bit more work, and then I’ll cook dinner for me and D.
7:30 p.m. — I cook Shin ramen with eggs and the leftover bok choy from yesterday. It’s not a very fancy meal, but D says it’s delicious.
8:30 p.m. — We go on a 30-minute post-dinner walk. It’s time to get back to work, and then do various chores in anticipation of my flight tomorrow. I was also planning to cut D’s hair before we leave (I like cutting his hair so I can get it exactly how I want it), but that might have to wait.
12:30 a.m. — I set my alarm for 4:30 a.m. and check in to my flight just so it’s one less thing to worry about when I wake up. I had to skip Thanksgiving with my family this year for the first time in my life, so I’m extra excited to go home for the holidays. I miss my parents’ cooking, and my dog’s snuggles. He’s getting up there in age (17), so I’m not sure how many holidays I’ll have left with him — hopefully, another decade. Oh, and my best friend from my hometown is getting engaged in a few weeks (she doesn’t know yet). I just can’t wait!
Daily Total: $56.62
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