Sometimes life makes the change for you
Wow, this would normally be the time I sit down to backfill a few blog posts and status updates, however I'm pretty content with the fact that I didn't have time to update my site over the last couple of years. Life has been supremely rewarding and challenging - so much that I'm comfortable giving myself a pass.
Moving to Highlands Ranch was nearly as tough as moving to Colorado. The housing market is just crazy. But my wife and I are still awestruck at the quality of life improvements we get from this community. The number of activities available to us in just a few miles is incredible. We have truly settled into our home.
The only downside to our move was the unfortunate distance from my office. I tried various schedules in order to get more out of what were ultimately 12-hour-days for me. However, in conjunction with an official end to a work from home policy, I was unable to sustain a healthy work-life balance.
As a result I have resigned from Code42 and am currently looking for a company that I can call home as well. I will deeply miss collaborating with my peers - some of the brightest and respectful people I have ever had the opportunity to work with.
Sweet Home Westminster, CO
The next time I move across state lines will involve two less children and three less cats... AT LEAST! What an ordeal, but the end result is almost better than we hoped for. Aside from the weather being absolutely perfect, the food, outdoor activities, and access to food/entertainment is near perfect. My internet speeds are --better-- at least better than Steiner Ranch. I virtually have an XM subscription with the number of HD FM radio options that exist. My commute is only 20 minutes, and while it seems everyone is driving utterly baked, even the traffic is better than Austin.
Ironically there hasn't been much snow except for back in Austin :/ But we've had a couple days with temperatures in the teens so it still feels like winter at times. But I've got the Christmas lights and a tree up, now we just need a little snow to go along with Christmas.
There are a few down sides for sure though. The cell reception is awful. I can barely get a text message through and face time is a joke. I'm usually on 4g with only a bar or two and it feels like 3g speeds even when the signal is strong. But now that I think of it, that's really the only down side. Even with the colder climate, the sun is so warm it doesn't even matter (and it's always sunny.)
This is the first chance I've had to sit down at my computer since we moved. Our house is mostly unpacked, and we've had most of it done since about week two. The kids are enjoying their school and Eve has already had two birthdays to attend. Keegan has a new friend in the neighborhood and we've even had a chance to do a few neighborhood bike rides with the unseasonable weather.
With that said I want to let everyone know that I miss you all back in Texas, and will do my best to get reconnected with cell service just as soon as we vet Elli's new carrier. Until then you can expect more updates from me here now that I'm falling into some old routines.
Move Prep Part II: The Movening...
I'm very happy to announce that I'll be working with the good folks at Code42. For the fifth time in my career I'll be tackling a virtually brand new stack... and I'm damn near giddy with excitement. Yeah that's right I'm giddy to be studying again! In addition to working with a modern stack I get to work with the complexity of petabyte scale data - my nerd is showing I know.
In other awesome news, Evelyn turned 5 today and we had a wonderful birthday party with our friends and family. While this is one of a few gatherings we'll be holding over the next couple of weeks until the move, it was a very positive day for her (lacking of any meltdowns or sorrows from leaving her friends.)
While I expect lots of tears and heartache when the time to move is finally upon us, it's still a bit surreal at the moment which allowed for a pleasantly enjoyable party. Big thanks to everyone who came to make that event a very special one for all of us - Evelyn said it was her most favorite day ever.
I'm still working out the schedule for having some adult gatherings and a final play date with Eve & Keegan's friends but I'll update you all by the end of the week.
So the plan is simple, find a job in Denver, or a remote position if possible, sell one house, buy another house, and literally move tons of molecules 1 mile closer to outer space... hopefully before winter :)
In preparation for this plan, I've updated my portfolio and my resume in case any interested parties are reading this. And this site was 100% hand-crafted from the server to the client using ScrewPress and VerbotenJS if you care to look at more than just some sample code.
In the past few months so much has transpired that it's hard to fathom normalcy again. I turned 36, Elli and I had our 7th anniversary, the bathroom is still under renovation, and the list of home prep projects just keeps crawling.
I did manage to update this site, as basic as it still is. I've updated the software section because it was really dated. While I have a few WordPress plugins used in over 50k installations I don't support them anymore. They mostly work for most use cases and that apparently is good enough for the WP community. But I am still working on my own CMS and some recent improvements have made it possible for me to build a secure web apps as plugins to the site, and host more sites on my poor old desktop.
Merry Christmas & New Year
For me, 2016 wasn't the death march of the modern era that most people made it out to be. Trump will not destroy the world, global warming is still manageable, and geopolitical stability is different, but as stable as ever in the last 100 years. The terror attacks, celebrity deaths, and social gaffs that littered the year was the same background noise it has always been, just slightly more relevant to a younger and more vocal generation than in years past. To me, 2016 was an impeccable year for progress, the global economy, and a glimmer of where technology will take us in 2017 (self-driving cars, on-demand services, and media immersion.) For me, each year since 2010 has been a steadfast progression in quality of life for the populace, not just myself (many times despite my own circumstances.) So here's to another year of amazement and wonder.
I'd like to thank everyone for the gifts, kind words, and understanding for the parts of celebration that I wasn't able to be a part of. Despite my world view, I did test the limits of my physical strength with a bout of either the cold or flu, and a merciless dosage of steroids that earned a first place trophy for drugs I will never consume or inject again. When my doctor prescribed them as a "kick starter" for my immune system I thought yeah, finally something to knock out whatever I had. Instead the drugs knocked me out with every negative side effect ever experienced with the drug. Ultimately I skipped the last two doses of the ramp-down regimen because I didn't think I could physically handle it, nor did I want to ruin Christmas day. The stress that put on the household was immense, but in the end we have all recovered - minus the massive record-breaking influx of cedar allergies that hit Austin last week. And while Methylprednisolone doesn't qualify as a medical allergy, I'll be sure to refuse it in the future.
The kids are doing well, especially Keegan who's recent 3rd birthday marked a seemingly causal increase in cognitive skills. Their gaming abilities are really impressive. Evenly is really enjoying the Just Dance with XBox Kinect. And Keegan is almost stubbornly pursuing harder levels in a side-scrolling skateboarding monkey game. And when he doesn't cheat, he's still pretty good at Rock Paper Scissors and Tic Tac Toe.
In digital news, I'm hosting family videos on Google's Drive service. If you would like to have access to these videos, just send me an email and I'll send you a link that acts as a password to access the content. I would normally host them from my personal web server, but the bandwidth constraints we're getting with U-Verse in our locale of Austin pretty much prevent that. Being an internet-only household doesn't leave much room in the 4mb upstream channel. And I'm only a few weeks out from having an updated deployment system for my website, so content updates will be a little more regularly... emphasis on little ;)
This year I also accomplished a major feat of pruning several thousand dvd and cd media from my office. All music was digitized and stored on my thumb drive, movies were tossed wholesale along with software from the 90's and 2000's, and the remaining single spindle of backups, recovery disks, and otherwise bloated content will sit next to the 6 floppy disks I still have for posterity sake. In addition to archaic media, I'm also moving away from closed-source / closed-ecosystem software. Most of the software I use these days is written by me and hosted on my server, simple stuff like note taking, schedules, todos, photo management, etc. But I just moved away from iOS contacts, which means if I lost my phone today I'd be without my text messages (and even that is a mere subscription to a text message gateway service away from being free of the Apple ecosystem.)
Colorado is still on schedule for moving mid-year. I have cleared out our garage, pruned a mountain of brush/overgrowth from the back yard and will soon be renovating our master bathroom before considering the house ready for moving. We still haven't determined if we'll sell or rent but that will ultimately depend on how the market behaves in Q1. I'm curious to see how Trump and interest rate hikes will affect the economy, and we'll be evaluating homes and neighborhoods through the spring anyway.