For whatever reason, life is just a little more stressful when my desk is piled with stuff. So, yesterday, I spend most of the morning sorting through mail and papers and receipts that have been piling up for the better part of a month. It's made the rest of the weekend go much more smoothly, I think.
I've been very busy as usual, although there's not much new going on to write about. I have been to Boston again - several times. This week will be two weeks in a row without a trip up there, which is a first in a couple of months. I don't have another trip on the schedule at this point, but I am going to San Francisco for a conference at the beginning of November. Maybe I can spend the entire month of October in Tennessee. That would be nice.
I did get a chance to walk around downtown Boston a little bit on my most recent trip, and I had dinner at the oldest restaurant in America - the Union Oyster House, which just celebrated thier 180th anniversary. I had Clam Chowder and Lobster. It was good.
Other than the extreeme amount of travel, work has been going very well. I think I'm as busy as I've ever been, and I'm dealing with a lot of new challenges lately (or "opportunities", as upper management likes to call them). It's really stretching me in some areas, which I think will be good for me.
Since we're working so closely with people in the Boston area, the company has set up a videoconferencing system that is actually pretty cool. The technology for that stuff has come a long way. We now have rooms in each city with 50-inch plasma TVs and high-quality cameras and audio systems. We're also experimenting with webcams and software-based video systems, so that we can interact with each other even from our desks.
At home, we've been using Skype for videoconferencing, and it works pretty well (much better than Yahoo Messenger, which never really worked very consistently). The video is decent quality with very little lag and a pretty high frame rate. We are able to see my parents and brothers more, and of course, let them see the kids, and they like that. Mary's sister and brother-in-law in Europe are also using Skype, and we need to get some kind of regular schedule going for Owen and Ivan to see Clay and Thadeus. We recently upgraded our webcam, too, and that has made a difference (for those on the other end, at least).
The weather has been really nice lately, except for the occasional thunderstorm. We had some siding torn off our house in a thunderstorm several weeks ago, and I've had a really hard time getting someone to come out and fix it. It's up along the roofline of our two-story house, so it's not just something that anyone can do, but it's a small enough job that no one with the right expertise and equipment seems to be interested in doing it. We've got the name of a subcontractor that the original builder of the home uses - hopefully they will be able (and willing) to help us out.
Anyway, at the moment, the weather is very nice, so I think I'm going wrap this up and take the family out for some ice cream.
On Monday, I'm headed back to Boston for the fourth (I think) time since the acquisition. My main objective for this trip is to get to know a particular developer there who has started reporting to me, but I've also got some other meetings and business to take care of while I'm there.
The Java devleoper that I recently recruited (here in town) started this week, and he's picking things up well. I think that once I get all of these guys comfortable and familiar with me, we'll be able to do some great stuff as a team.
So, having said all that, work is going pretty well - I guess you could say much better than I expected.
In other news, I finally have an office at home again. If you've read Mary's blog, you know that we've been working on getting a wall and doorway put up to enclose the "formal living room" that we never really used very effectively. Now I've got my desk (which is actually just a couple of folding tables) and several computers set up in there. I would like to get some decent office furniture for that room, especially since it's right by the front door, but I'm having trouble finding something I like for the price I want to pay (which is very little, of course). What I don't want to do is buy something cheap that will wear out quick and that I'll hate in just a couple of years, so I'll just keep using my tables until I find a good deal on something worth keeping for a while.
Our Sunday School class is growing slowly but steadily. I've started teaching from a marriage series from Focus on the Family, and I really like it so far. On Wednesdays, we've been going to a class that is based on the Five Love Languages book, and that's been good, too.
Let's see... what else has been going on? MTUG had a fly-in this month at Lawiki Airfield. The weather was much more cooperative than last year, and we had a pretty good turn out. There was even a reporter there who will be writing an article in some newspaper next month (I can't remember which one).
I think I've just about decided what I want to do about the whole flying thing - I'm going to train and test for the Sport Pilot license (which can later be upgraded to a Private Pilot license). That will give me a lot of options as far as what I can fly, but initially I'll probably try to get something small like a Quicksilver (probably one of the MX variants). So, when will I do all this? I'm still not sure. But at least I'm starting to formulate a plan.
Speaking of "sports", it's football season again! Woo-hoo! The Titans looked terrible last week against Denver, but fortunately, it's still the preseason. Even if they can't put together a winning season, though, I'm looking forward to watching some football. Since the company I work for is now based in the Boston area, I can at least root for the Patriots in the playoffs...
Anyway, that's the short list of what's going on in my world. I'm sure I've forgotten something - if I think of it, maybe I'll post again later.
I have upgraded the software that runs our blogs to the newest version. This version has several new features, with which I'm not completely familiar, but I'll take some time to figure it out over the next few weeks if I can, and some things may change slightly as I do. This version is cosidered "beta" software, which means it's not fully tested and may have a few bugs. If you have any trouble with leaving comments or anything, please let me know - there's now a handy e-mail form built in, which you can access by clicking the little icon next to my name at the top of each post.
We've had two vacations over the last three or four weeks, and it seems like it's been much longer than that.
First, my parents and grandmother came to town to visit us, and I took about 4 days off. As always, we were very busy and wore ourselves out. Here are some highlights:
Before their visit, we went ahead and bought an extra mattress and switched Owen to a twin bed so we could move the double bed that we borrowed from the Fadelys into the room that was formerly my office but will now be Mary's sewing room and part-time second guest room. That way, we had two guest rooms and the boys could stay in their room, and I think that made it a little more comefortable visit for everyone. As far as my office goes, we are trying to get a contractor to come put up a wall downstairs to enclose the small room in the front of the house for an office. Until then, I'm just set up in our bedroom, which has a little bit of extra space in it.
The following week was 4th of July week, so I only had to work 4 days and we had a great holiday with the Fadelys and Buttons. We bought some fireworks and shot them for the amusement of the kids (really - it was all for the kids). Owen even got to hold some sparklers and seemed to really enjoy them. He's been talking about fireworks ever since.
Last week, we were in Michigan, and I won't go into all that we did there because Mary has already written extensively about it. It was a great trip and the boys traveled very well. It was great to see Owen playing with his cousins and remembering those special times when I got to visit with cousins that lived far away.
Now it's back to work and at least a month or so before I'll have any time off again. I've got to get back in the habit of going to bed and getting up early and all that. Maybe I'll get back into the habit of blogging a little more regularly, too.
If you want to know how many people read your blog, just don't post for a while and see who complains. Yes, I know - it's been over a month. I'm sure Travis will get a little gratification from that fact, since I gave him a hard time when he let his blog go for a month. Of course, his has gone a lot longer than that by now, but this isn't about him, is it?
So now it's time for the obligatory "I've been busy" post. Here's a few highlights of the past month:
We had a great Memorial Day. I kept meaning to write about it, but every time I start to write a blog entry, I feel like there's something else I should be doing. The basic plot would have been this: Usually when there is a holiday from work, I take some time to relax, but I also take advantage of the extra day to get some things done around the house or run some errands or something. This time, however, I did nothing of the sort. I had an actual genuine holiday with no responsibilities at all except to spend time with family and friends. It was a much needed break. The Fadelys came over and we let the kids play outside in the sprinkler and they had so much fun. For weeks afterward Owen was talking about sliding into the pool.
Work has been going pretty well. I'm starting the process of recruiting for a Java developer, so that's a little new. I've recruited once before for an intern position, and that guy still works with me (now full-time) after several years and is doing very well, so I have a good track record to maintain. I'm still not totally comfortable with this new company, but there are still changes to be made and opportunities coming in the future. We'll see how it turns out.
We're going to change our Sunday School class just a little bit. I've been talking to the pastor that is over the SS department, and we're going to remove the "newlywed" label from the class and make it a little more broad. I think there are people that would like to come to a marriage-oriented class, but haven't felt comfortable coming to ours because they don't feel they fit in the "newlywed" category. It will still be the class that they recommend newlyweds go to, but it will be open to a little wider audience.
Yesterday, I went to a men's ministry breakfast, and then went over to the church playground (where we had Owen's 2nd birthday party). Mary had the idea that she and several friends should rent the playground for (the day before) Father's Day and let all the dads play with their kids. It was a pretty good time, and Owen had a blast going down the slides. Afterwards, I drove down to the Murfreesboro area for a MTUG fly-in, but unfortunately, it was far to windy for ultralights, so there wasn't much activity. We might reschedule it for another date.
As alluded to above, today is Father's Day. We haven't really done anything in particular, except to go to church and relax at home in the afternoon. Lately, I've been trying more and more to make a point to make Sunday a day of rest. We might go out somewhere or do some activity, but I don't do a lot of "work" around the house or try to be too productive. I just go to church, enjoy the day, and spend time with my family. I think that's the way God intended the sabbath to be. I did remember to call my dad today (as opposed to Mother's Day, when I forgot), and we are going to turn on the webcams when the boys wake up from their naps.
We have 2 vacations planned in the next month - one week off at home while my parents are in town, and one week up in Michigan with Mary's family. I will try to be more regular about posting from now on, and I need to get the camera out some more. Mary has been taking pictures of the boys pretty regularly, so you can check those out on their blogs.
That's all for now. Thanks for reading.
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