Finally, an Update

Looking at the last post, its been just over two years since I’ve posted, and reading an update from my friend Ryan about ‘What Do You Want’ inspired me to write-down a few things, this post will be an Update, the next my answer to What Do I Want.

Updates:

In the last two years I have:

  • Increased the family size
    • August 10, 2015 Natalie and I welcomed another girl to our brood. Kennedy joined us and over the last 15 months have figured out that all children are different, Kenna is nuts!
  • Natalie Stays Home
    • January 2016, we decided that it would be beneficial if Natalie stayed home for a bit and focused on the kids.  For the entirety of this year, she has done just that, and the kids are excelling on every avenue.  I couldn’t be happier with the results.
  • Ran a Half Marathon
    • February 2016- I ran the Gasparilla Distance Classic Half Marathon.  My goal was 2:10 and I hit 2:17 (i think)  I hit the wall around 10 miles, and I blame that on waiting on my friend Renee do his business around mile 7, standing around for 6-7 minutes was not a good idea and it caused me to seriously freeze up.  Will try again next year.
  • Remodeling the House
    • February 2016 – Lets open up the kitchen, knock down some walls and see what it looks like.   As of last week, I have permits and can start closing up the walls.  Progress pics here
  • Tried out for Microsoft
    • I thought about not adding this but I think its important as part of the story.  A friend invited me to interview for a Premier Field Engineering role at Microsoft, to which I interviewed.  Feedback indicated I was technically sound but didn’t have enough experience working with a team, which is baffling as I built the entire DBA team at my current gig.  I think the Army guy interviewing didn’t like that I was a Marine.   Not getting this was a blessing in disguise.
  • Lost Job
    • June 2016 – The company I was previously working was bought just 3 months after I joined,  hired a new CTO, and completely restructured the company, in the end shutting down the Tampa office, which was quite unfortunate, but I learned a great deal about my self during that time and hopefully can continue to grow from those experiences.
  • Started New Job
    • July 2016 –  I started a new job as database consultant for Taos.  I’m currently engaged in a multi-datacenter consolidation effort in which I am in charge of MSSQL and MySQL.  Brushing up on MySQL skills has been refreshing as its also brushing up on my Linux skills, which will set me up to take a look at Oracle in the future.  This position is work-from-home, which is awesome, since I get to see the girls throughout the day.
  • Started College…Again
    • I found a college that works well for professionals who can work at their own pace.  Western Governors University is working well for me thus far.  I was able to transfer some old USf credits as well as my Microsoft Certs in for credit.  In the last 4 months, I have been able to knock out 29 credits.  I have 2 months left in this semester and would like to knock out 4 more classes which is quite doable.

 

These are the major items that have come and gone since I’ve last posted.  Stay tuned for the next update, which I’ll add some short term goals I’m looking at.

 

 

It Hurts to Look this Good

Matias and the Plyo Box

Simple DIY Plyo Box built with Instructions from EndOfThreeFitness.com

Ohh how I ache this morning..  Currently I am recovering from last night’s workout of: three rounds of  24 Switch Lunges,  110 lb Farmer Walk @ 200 feet and a 264 yard backwards run, but that’s not the story, lets talk about my garage gym that helped me feel these ‘growing pains’

About 18 months ago, I joined TNL CrossFit Tampa.  I lost my cookies on the first visit and I was hooked.  It was a bit pricey compared to a regular gym and the only time I could fit in the schedule was butt-crack early in the morning.  Anna was only a few months old, Natalie was just starting back to work, and right in the midst of it all, I changed to a job that required constant travel, so I stopped.

Last year I was running late at night, making quite the habit of it for some time.  I would help put the kids to bed, and go for a run.  It was good, I was feeling great, continually increasing my pace and endurance, then life happened and that habit died as well.

Earlier this year I hit a number on the scale that is OK for most guys my age and height, but for me, it was a high point I’ve never seen, and I wasn’t particularly comfortable with.  My clothes were tight, carrying the kids got me winded, and then I realized, this is not how you age gracefully.

A few months ago I started watching what I ate which helped me get back to a more reasonable weight, but still not to ‘sexy beast’ level that I was aiming for.  Since I am the worst person in the world to keep to my diet, I knew I had to find something to compensate the occasional doughnut or the late night cereal cravings, I had to get active again.

After evaluating the gym options, pricing, and location I decided that I should just build my own gym in my empty garage.  Since CrossFit style workouts work well for me, that was the type of equipment I would need.

Craigslist Weights

Go a good deal on a couple bars, kettle bells, and 250 lbs of weight from CraigsList

After coercing my brother-in-law, Wes, to join in my adventure, I started to procure equipment.  I found some on Craigslist, built a few items, and picked up a few  items from a local gym supplier.   For me, the accountability of having someone show up at your house makes it hard to allow myself to skip a day, and working out with friends/family is a good enough motivator not to slack during the workout.  It is a good setup for me.

So far I have built 2 PlyoBoxes, Pair of Parallettes, and a Pull up Bar.  I bought a set of weights, bars, and heavy kettle bells from a guy on Craigslist (pictured here) and we stole got a really good deal on a squat rack from Craigslist, and to round out the initial collection, I picked up some odds and ends from a local retailer called Valor Fitness (their prices are MUCH more reasonable when you go to their warehouse than those listed on their website)

So far, we’ve been going at it for three nights a week, for about a month or so.  There are a few other piece of equipment I want to pickup, but none are essential at this point.  We have a friend who does power lifting who joins us on Sunday morning workouts, as well as a friend who is a CrossFit coach who is scheduled to start joining us soon as well.  I get to squeeze in some people time during our workouts in great, as occasionally forget to do with our busy schedules. Life its good.

As an added bonus to being in better shape, I have met a few neighbors who also workout in their garages; building the community bonds through sweaty garages is awesome.

 

Overdrive.com – Liberating the Public Library

Overdrive Logo

In my house, we’ve started being very diligent about ready to the kids every night before bedtime. One night I sit at Anna’s bedside and she gets to see the pictures while Matias listens and the next night we switch. After a few weeks of this, we ran out of books. Rather than buy more used kids books on Amazon.com which I’ve done in the past, I decided it was time to introduce the kids to an unlimited selection of books of all subjects, the public library.

After work one day, I picked up the kids as usual.  Knowing that my wife was running late leaving work, I figured the kids and I had enough time to stop in to the library before dinner. Although standing in line quietly is not their forte’, I managed to leave the front desk with a library card, which we promptly took to the children section and grabbed six books that would sustain us for a week or so. Getting a library card was easy, didn’t cost me anything, and now we have a new adventure we can go on together.

Later that evening I got around to reading the information packet the library provided about the various summer programs and services they offer, and I ran across a section about Overdrive.com, their online lending platform. With overdrive you could borrow eBooks and audio books, my preferred format, all from the comfort of your own home. Nice!

How do I?

After downloading the Overdrive app on my Android, I searched and found my local library which I added to my account. After the account was setup, I was able to search, filter, and borrow books up to my limit of fifteen, which the library had set. Since my brain isn’t complex enough to listen to more than one audio book in parallel, I keep my borrowing down to one or two audio books at a time.

Once you find the book you want to borrow, the process is pretty straight forward, enter your library card number, and click ‘Borrow’. If the book is unavailable you will be presented with a ‘Place Hold’ button which, just like a traditional library, put your name on the list to receive the book once it is returned. Since all audio books are automatically checked back in at their due date, the longest you should have to wait is 21 days, if you are first in the hold queue. Twenty-one days is my library’s max checkout time for digital media, your’s may vary.

One thing to watch for is when placing a hold, you are provided with an option to ‘Check out immediately once available’ which is nice, unless you already have a few checked out, then you’re just wasting time with it in your account, which could be used by someone else actually ready for the book.  This is more of a ‘be kind to other readers’ tip, rather than ‘do not do this it is evil’ type tip.

Added Bonus

I really like the fact that I can cancel my $14.95 a month Audible.com membership and get the same similar benefits for free from my local library.  Edit: I actually downgraded to the $9.95 a year plan rather than a full cancellation ,which allows me to share books with other Audible.com members.  This plan is not present on their membership page, but was presented during cancellation.  This plan allows for continued discounts on purchases as well as for continued borrowing of books among members, which is nice for books the library doesn’t have.

If you aren’t a member of your local library, by all means, get down there and say hi.  While you’re there, ask if they have Overdrive for online lending, your commute will thank you.

 

Life Happened… and it was Good

Having led a care-free existence since birth, I always assumed that kids were for everyone else.  While skilled in the art of making said creatures, I never settled on the idea of having my own.  Occasionally I would have the thoughts, but never really had the partner I thought would be compatible enough to attempt on that epic journey.

Just shy of five years ago, I met a young lady that would change my life, reel me in and make me the happiest I’ve ever been.  In that time we’ve made not one, but two of the little creatures referenced above.  We’ve been through good times, scary times, joyful times and just daily life times, all of those times I cherish.

What is so amazing to me, is what appears to a single man to be a complete upheaval of everything you consider normal in your life with the introduction of a child, is just that.  It is an upheaval, a madness, things completely new, but as it turns out, most of what was filling your time before was nothing more than empty fluff.  The true joy of life the people we choose to surround ourselves with.  It is watching my baby girl turn two today.  A little girl whom I struggle to say no to, a little girl whom I wasn’t sure I could handle two years ago, a little girl who holds every piece of my heart in her devilish little hands. This is life, and it is good.

While being  father does not define my existence, it complete me.  It has made me a better man, a better friend, and a better partner. Thank you Natalie for accompanying me into the next level of  adulthood.  I can’t wait to grow old with you to see what our little creatures have in store for us next.  Thank you Matias for all that you have and will teach me. Thank you Anna for spicing up our lives just a little more than we expected.

Pains of Parenting

I wrote this post a few months ago when Matias first got glasses and have finally gotten to a point where I can polish it up, complete my rambling thoughts and share it with you all.  So without further ado, lets discuss the hard parts of parenting.

Recently Matias got glasses, and while they are cute as can be to us adults, I worry about how harsh kids can be, and how he will handle any teasing he might receive.  I often wonder about the various interactions that Matias will have with the other kids as he grows, which kids will like him, which kids might pick on him and which kids he gravitates towards. There are days when I pick him up from school where he is sitting away from the group contently watching TV which make me wonder: Why was he sitting alone?  Does he sit alone because they don’t like him? Or maybe his friends have already went home for the day.

Last Friday the kid’s school had an Easter Party for each class.  I delivered the table-clothes for both of their classes that I had volunteered to take, but didn’t think to take baskets for either of the kids.  I didn’t think much of it, even after Matias shared his version of how his day at dinner.  It wasn’t until one of the other daycare parents posted pictures of the 3 year old class on the playground doing an egg hunt that I realized that I had forgotten to take his basket, as the pictures showed him not without a basket, but with a random basket they happened to have lying around the daycare.  It was in that moment that I got sad, to my core I was saddened that I had let my son down.  I had put him in a position to be at a disadvantage, whether he was aware of it or not is another story.  The fact that I had made him different, un-cared for in that moment or whatever other thoughts that might have run through his head, I was sad, physically sad for the pain I (might have) put him through.

Whether or not that he realizes it or not, Matias is smart.  It could be the way Natalie and I raise him, without baby talk, correcting his words on the spot until he says them right, making him define new words he’s using incorrectly, or just generally setting an example.  I’m not sure which part of our parenting has blessed us with this kid, but we have him (and his sister too)   He’s quirky, goofy, talkative, and very emotionally intelligent.   The last one is the one I worry about most.  He cares so much for others, I’m afraid they (or me) won’t meet his expectations and he will be crushed.  Luckily, with his emotional intelligence he is quite forgiving as well.

With the way he is developing, I would not be surprised for him to have a few very close lifetime friends.  I have friends, but not closes, talk to every day type of friends.  I think Matias will, he’s different from me.  With that said, I do hope that whatever we may miss as parents his friends will be there for him to round out that support system, which is important.  I don’t want to raise a mirror of myself, I want a better version, and I think he’s getting there.  Since his best-buddy Carter’s family moved to Michigan he has found a new friends that he talks about all the time Ivana (“Eeee-vaaa-naah dad, Eevaanah ,say it right” – Matias)  I can’t tell if he’s sweet on her or just friends, but either way I think he’ll be fine.

Yet  I still worry, its kind of my job.