What’s new, 2022?

It’s been a while since I posted one of my quasi-annual update blogs. Things have been really busy for us, so the last couple of years I did a few LinkedIn posts instead. I’ve been trying to find more time to write and more ways to do it efficiently. (Read: This is ‘Hello!’ from my cellphone!)

But where to start? I mentioned we’ve been busy, right?

I suppose I should start with the good and boring bits. We’re all healthy, thankfully, and have remained free of SARS-COV-2 for the entire pandemic for the low, low price of constantly being in our house and going stir crazy. We’ve had a few scares for sure, including last week when we all came down with a respiratory infection for which we also repeatedly tested negative for SARS-COV-2. This includes that time when my doctor put six inches of q-tip up both my nostrils and the test came back negative for flu and SARS-COV-2. Full negs, y’all! By far the worst part of that experience was losing my voice for three weeks. It was so bad that I’m thinking of writing a dedicated blog just on that.

In other COVID-19 news, it took us a week to find a place to get our girls, both under 5, vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine. I will spare you my personal theories on why it is so scarce in TN, but it was really hard to find as almost all local places only had Pfizer. Thankfully we got it and both will be fully vaccinated before preschool starts.

And preschool… wow. Our oldest goes to an amazing preschool, but it is a wild experience getting little ones started in school. Then there are the viral and bacterial plagues they bring home with them… August 2021 and May-June 2022 were some sick, sick months for us! Still, though, it is really cool to see my daughter go through school and grow.

Last year, I started on one of the hardest paths anyone will ever walk in life: taking care of a disabled parent. My father has vascular atrophy in his brain which has led to dementia. It has been challenging arranging for his care, especially in the pandemic and with his orneriness, but I’m proud of the way our family has worked together and with our public and private partners to get Dad the support he needs. I’m deeply grateful too. Most of all I’m proud and grateful for Dad. He hasn’t given up and every day he still completes his morning ritual before looking for a cup of coffee. He’s doing well for 92 and overall he’s in great shape for that age, just with some challenges that require 24-hour support. He also can’t remember much of his life, or at least can’t quite remember the right details. This is especially hard for us because his memory was rock solid for nearly 90 years. He could remember phone numbers and addresses from the 40s and 50s. No business account detail was ever missed, which is crucial in a small family business. His family stories – perhaps more often tall tales – wove a rich tapestry of laughs and smiles that held us together. And, of course, no acts of youthful indiscretion were ever forgotten. Instead, he brought them up at often as he could!

Here’s another bit of interesting family stuff: we’ve hired a nanny to help with life around the house. She’s amazing! It can be really tough to keep the kids playing safely and get that extra load of dishes done at the same time. Our nanny really helps us manage our lives and tamp down the chaos! It turns out that hiring a nanny is pretty complicated though, so hit me up if you have questions or need tips on how to do it.

It’s our gardening season again but I still don’t have the time I did before our second child was born. This year we’re mostly planting ornamental flowers and catching up on landscaping. I converted one of the gardens into a new play yard for the kids and the other garden is quite overgrown. We added blueberry bushes nearby and the girls love picking them right off the bush!

A Playground One Systems “Turbo Original Fort” instead of fresh tomatoes? Not sure about that…

Now for some more exciting news! You may have also heard or noticed on LinkedIn and Twitter that I switched jobs and I am now a Principal Engineer at Amazon. I went back to the “family business” – trucking – and now I help with a lot of really hard engineering and logistics problems every day. I work with an amazing group of people at a very thoughtful and considerate company. (Comments are open if you want to disagree with that…) Furthermore, the PE community at Amazon is filled with insanely brilliant, good people. I work remotely from the Nashville office, which is nice to visit every now and then. (It is cool to see the growth in the area too.)

It was the right time for me to get out of government research and contract work. Being a PE gives me the scope and depth to stay challenged and engaged without the overhead of a government job. If you work for the government you know what I mean when I say “overhead of a government job.” If you don’t work for the government, well, it’s different.

I started a small company for my side hustles now. This mostly means all of my cryptocurrency mining and investing, but also consulting and some other things. Before you start popping off about how an energy scientist oughta know better than cryptomining, just keep in mind that I have a plan to make my operations greener as do most crypto companies. Oh, if you want me to send you a business card, just let me know. I only need a few, but you can’t order these things in anything less than a truckload, so I’ll mail you one if you like.

Probably the most exciting news is that we’re building a house! But I think I’ll leave that right there and move on since that’s a topic for another time.

I’ve been reading like crazy and I finished 11 books in six months. I read so much that I earned all 16 badges in the Kindle Spring Challenge. That’s a breakneck pace for someone with my schedule. I’ve found it immensely rewarding compared to all the… – What’s the technical term? That’s right! – _bullshit_ in the news and on social media. 30 minutes on Twitter makes me feel hollow, but 30 minutes reading, for example, Beowulf makes me feel amazing.

I decided to take a two-week break though to play through Final Fantasy II again. I love this series and it has been a personal goal for a while now (i.e. – 20 years) to play through all of them. This is much easier now that SquareEnix has released the Pixel Remaster editions in the Google Play store.

Reading this much has reminded me of the value of writing. I don’t think anything I write will be particularly valuable or clock the thousand-year life span of Beowulf. I give my stuff 1-50 years until I die and my last credit card expires. I think though that at least my friends and family will enjoy it – or lie well about enjoying it! – until then. I was busy for so many years and I was neglectful in my relationships and communications – there’s so much I haven’t told y’all.

I’m going to try to write here because I don’t care much for social media, as I said. We give them our data, look at the posts they want us to see instead of the ones we logged on for, watch their horrible ads, and finally put the needle down when we start feeling like there’s nothing left inside us and the world has moved on. I’d rather y’all think I’m crazy and reclusive than deal with that shite.

I’ll go ahead and jump down from my soapbox! Keep up with me here if you want and I’ll check in on y’all as often as I remember and can. I’ll push notices to social media when new blog articles go out. Okay, sure, I’ll keep spamming job posts on LinkedIn.

Goodbye for now my dear and wonderful friends. I love you all, miss you dearly, and look forward to the days when we’re all together again.

Yes, I was sober when I wrote that…. ugh… gosh… I can’t drink unless I’m traveling because the kids don’t sleep through the night! 😉

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