Slipping…

So my weekly blog post updates slipped a bit this week. So, like riding a bike I gotta keep getting back up and trying – soon I’ll get into this habit.

The past weekend was more cleaning up my parents house for an estate sale. We met with a couple of estate sales people, just waiting on their responses. I’m sure that one of them will say the house contents is worth well over $1M. 🙂

I’m trying to consolidate a lot of old computer hard drives so we don’t lose any important documents Mom or Dad might have worked on, but it’s getting pretty challenging to sort them on the fly. It would be great if there was a program that would scan the files and only copy them if they are not duplicates, and use the directory structure to inform the copy/backup process to sort them somewhat intelligently. If anyone has any ideas or software gems to point me to, pass it along in the comments.

Kris went up to visit Jilli over the weekend and had a good time. Saw Faith and John too, plus she got some pet time in with their pets. The flight from Omaha to Rapid City wasn’t cheap, but it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting when we bought it. A friend of mine says that Frontier Airlines has Omaha to Denver for less than $100 regularly. Now if we can find a Denver to Rapid City flight for about that, then it would make the trip pretty reasonable.

$RANDOM

Friday was my last day – and the weather was poor enough (snow with freezing rain) that the company sent an email the day before telling people to work from home if they could. I am glad I worked from home – I think I was able to get a lot of documentation wrapped up and some last-minute things completed and handed off. Even if I had another two weeks, I still wouldn’t have handed things off properly. There would always be one more thing to work on, one more thing to clean up, one more thing to polish. And the kicker was that I wasn’t truly handing things off as much as throwing documentation and notes into README.md files and Wiki pages and hoping someone at a future date would find them and keep the ball moving forward. But, all things come to and end – I’m looking forward to my new job starting this week and I wonder what sort of things I’ll get into next. 😀

Earlier this week Jilli sent Kris a text telling her that a Mountain Lion was roaming campus. Students were to call 911 immediately if they saw it. I was concerned that her first reaction would be to call “Here kitty, kitty!” and try to pet it. My next vision was Jilli and her friends running away from the lion, each with their phones in their hands Googling “How to escape a Mountain Lion”…

Liz had a normal week at school. She and Kris spent a lot of time together since I had a lot of late nights wrapping up work and helping with my parents. She’s continuing to use her weight training bag in the basement, plus she’s starting to cook more and more. Ready to bake Croissant Rolls are being made frequently, as are Chocolate Chip cookies. I’ve eaten way too many of both this week – my post-Christmas weight loss isn’t working.

The cold/crud that I brought home over Christmas has left me, but is continuing to annoy Kris. She was just starting to get over the worst of the coughing when she hurt a muscle in her back coughing so much. She was in a lot of pain after school on Friday – she says even sleeping is painful sleeping on her back and putting pressure on the muscle. I really need to talk to her mom about her bodies warranty coverage…

Mom and Dad both continue to kick around AV. It was so cold and icy Saturday morning that we decided not to go out to their house so I rescheduled the home inspection for another week. We met with a new financial advisor this week, but I keep hoping we stumble across some gold bars or a hand full of un-sold “Berkshire A” stock certificates. Probably not likely, but I can keep my fingers crossed.

And so it ends…

No, I’m not giving up on my weekly updates. Have a little more faith in me…don’t expect me to give up until at least February. 🙂

What the title alludes to is the fact that this upcoming week is my last week at Intrado (previously West Corporation). It’s been a personally interesting ride to say the least.

I started as an architect, but soon found myself in an engineering role. I excelled in that role in part because I continued to apply the architecture mindset and applied that to the engineering designs I produced. I’m proud to say that many of the designs I contributed to are continuing to provide value to my co-workers.

Thinking back I feel that my personal growth while working in this position was equally half technical and half business/political. Early on, a lot of the discussions I had with directors and co-workers showed me that the human component of engineering was critical for projects to succeed. A solid technical design will never succeed if there is a well-placed individual who has their own plans. Teaming up with these individuals opened my eyes to their point of view and gave me a chance to advocate for my positions while finding a “happy medium”.

I’m hoping I’m leaving Intrado a better company. The past three years have been rough on all my co-workers, but I truly think that Intrado is finally turning the corner. Some have asked why I’m still leaving if I believe it is getting better. While I am comfortable that my position and employment is safe within Intrado, I feel that I’ve reached the end of the benefit I can provide. I’ve been the “automation advocate” and championing the “Digital Transformation” process, but there is only so much one person can do. I’m hoping my departure will rock the boat enough that multiple others will rise to the challenge and provider a larger group of experts.

And I realized that for the past 18 years I’ve had a 35 minute commute to work (either Intrado or Maryville) – excluding the ~3 years I worked from home and rounding to two 30-minute commute sessions each workday, I have spent a total of 150 days (over 3700 hours) sitting in my car for work days. I’m looking forward to my next employers office which is roughly 12 minutes from my home, even in inclement weather.

So, what else besides my job?

This week I started a number of conversations helping my parents sell their house and get completely moved into the assisted living apartment. We’re starting to work with the estate sales team while we work on some known things to fix up. We know we have some electrical that we’ll have to clean up before putting the house on the market, but some of that are things that Dad and I can do ourselves and we’ll leave the big work to the electrician.

As a late Christmas gift to my parents, we’re paying for a year of the Cox DVR service for them. Many of the shows that Mom loves are (in)conveniently timed at the same time or when they are at appointments. Now they can keep up with their shows as they have been used to when they had DirectTV.

Kris is still under the weather, but she did take herself to the Urgent Care office today and they have her on an antibiotic – I’m hoping she continues to improve, I’m not use to seeing her this sick.

Jilli and her friends headed back to college earlier this week. They left early to miss the snows coming in, but she ended up leaving some fairly important items (her winter coat!) so we have to get them shipped to her soon.

Lizzy took a placement exam for High School Saturday- she came out tired but in good spirits so I’m hoping she did well. To celebrate her “survival” we went out for lunch at Raising Caines – always a good choice IMHO too!

Finally, thanks to everyone I have worked with at Intrado. I wish you all the best and I hope you’ll keep in touch.

My resolution

So I promised myself that I would start updating my blog on a weekly basis. Nothing major, no earth-shaking thoughts or deep introspective writings, just a basic update to get the habit started.

At least that is the plan…

For now, I’ll start out simply by noting that my **plan** is to add this every Sunday night, and of course this first one is being written Monday. 🙂 I won’t cop-out and schedule this for next Sunday, and be transparent with my failings, too.

So, we’re continuing to help clean up our parents house getting it ready to sell. Kate has been going out there nearly every weekend (quite often both days), taking Dad and Nick with her and occasionally getting a couple friends to help. To her I tip my hat with a big note of thanks. I’ve tried to keep up with her on those weekends, but have had to beg forgiveness and sit out a few times. And of course Amanda has been doing what she can remotely – she’s our backup for both Kate and I. Kate is helping navigate all the various health-related events with Mom and Dad, and I’m taking on keeping their bills paid and going through all the paperwork and either keeping the important pieces, or getting the remaining stuff to a shredder.

This past weekend we hit the garage attic and got it cleaned out. Many of those boxes had been packed and never opened when they moved from Columbus. Dad was proactive and put labels on each box, then noted in a document what was in each box. Unfortunately, the boxes and the document are both 20 years old, and we’re unable to find the list anymore. It was fun to open them and dive into the contents, but at the same time it was borderline overwhelming. Some of the findings did bring back some happy memories; Jilli found a small bottle of gemstones. They were (we presume) some natural garnets that her Great Grandfather Linder (William Linder, father of Gary) found when he, Dad, and I were hiking one summer in the Rocky Mountains (either near Estes Park, CO or in the Medicine Bow, Wyoming area). He suspected they were garnet, and since that is my gemstone he gave me the bottle of them to keep. Jilli might take them back to SDSM and see if one of the mineralogy professors might be able to determine what they are.

What this work has impressed upon me is to clean out my office a bit. I really doubt that anyone will ever crack open the “Windows 95 Unleashed” book, let alone many of the other related books. If I really get an urge to read it, I’ll find a PDF version but for now the paper version can go into the recycling. (I might donate it, but I don’t think Salvation Army nor Goodwill would have a need for them either.)

A good friend of ours gave us a DeeBot robotic vacuum cleaner for a family Christmas gift. It is amazing what volume of pet hair it picks up, as well as bits of paper, small stones, misc cat/dog food, etc. Our main floor is mostly wood, with only a small bit of carpet and it doesn’t have a problem with either location. What it does have a problem with is going under the couch and chairs. It just barely fits, but occasionally it gets stuck and can’t make it out. I’m brainstorming on how to add a small “guard rail” underneath the furniture, or the alternative is to add little 3/4″ risers under each leg. Since I’m the one with the long legs, I don’t think anyone else wants the chair raised so the guard rail is probably the best option.