Weekly Update 8/31/2015

I’m going to try and start each week with a general update. We’ll see how that goes, but I’ve even created calendar reminders.

Since starting a new job last February, I’ve put a very consistent effort to Get Things Done around the house. A portion of that is stability–for the first time since 2010(!), I have a stable job with a reasonable commute and steady hours. You wouldn’t think something like that would be so hard to come by in the IT field, especially a stone’s throw from Seattle, but you’d be wrong.

That’s part of why I have room in my life to run a tabletop game for my family now. It also means I have time to do things like tear down a rotting shed, clean up my property, and get to work on buying a new house. It’s also led to things like updating my website!

Even so, it’s hard sometimes to keep track of projects, so I figure I’ll try writing about things in progress as a means of keeping myself honest, so to speak. I get most of my work done on the weekends–Saturday specifically–but even so, there’s a lot of time after work each weekday to get small things done.

CURRENT IMPORTANT PROJECTS:

  • Sell the house/Buy a new one. We are desperately in need of more space. We’re currently a family of four in a two-bedroom place. We outgrew this place probably five years ago, which, coincidentally, was about the time I entered employment chaos. We’d originally planned on building, but it’s just not a financially sound plan, based on the outcome. So, instead, we’re going to sell our place, and let someone else decide what to do with it. There are a few smaller projects tangentially related this:
    • Get rid of shed remnants. The rotting shed I mentioned earlier is now down, thanks to the help of a friend. I’ve cut the roof into manageable segments with a power saw (which, by the way, is the first power tool I’ve owned outside of a battery-operated screwdriver). They’ll go to the dump. The shed itself was built on a former hot tub deck, which is a story in its own right (and one I’ll probably tell).
    • Clean up the back yard. So, if you live in western Washington, then you understand exactly how conducive the climate is to the growth of blackberry vines and scotch broom. I’ve taken care of the blackberry for the most part–it’s fairly easy to contain with only a little vigilance. Scotch broom, on the other hand, is more difficult. The plant has a very active seed cycle, and essentially the only good time to attack it is in the colder months (which in Washington, generally also translates to wetter months–not fun for yard work at all). I eliminated a decent-sized portion of the broom earlier this year, but stopped as spring gave way to summer. This past weekend marked our first significant rainfall in months, so I’m looking forward to the onset of autumn, when I can finish the job.
    • Repair the Stratus. I drove a 2003 Dodge Stratus for eight years. I love that car, but it’s got a dead water pump. Because of the nature of the engine design, replacing the water pump is a laborious process that involves dropping the engine on a hinge, the actual replacement, and then retiming the engine. Essentially, it was too much work at a time when I had neither time nor income to have it done. Now I’m in a place where I can, and plus, since we’re selling the property, I really need to, unless I want to have it towed to the new place (I don’t).

CURRENT FUN PROJECTS:

  • Finish preparing the Pathfinder campaign! This one is about 95% ready to go. I have some NPCs to tweak, and that’s it. We’re looking at a tentative start sometime this coming weekend. The player group is my wife, my oldest son, and two of his friends. I invited my youngest son to play as well, but he’s currently enjoying a Fifth Edition campaign with his friends, so he passed. HIS LOSS.
  • Photography: One of the pitfalls of a tiny house is that as the boys grew, things had to be sacrificed. For instance, my tiny studio setup, once used for daily updates on this very site. That setup was designed to be portable and easily broken down to begin with, so I was able to pull it out here and there, but without a dedicated setup, I just don’t take as many pictures as I used to. With the new house, I intend to set that space aside, but even so, I just can’t wait. I’ve been shooting here and there just for the fun of it again. The advent of cheap macro solutions helped a lot–around the time I quit, a macro lens for a DSLR was $200, and they’re not much cheaper now, but there are other clever alternatives to achieve similar effects–and those cost around $10 or so.
  • Art: By which I mean writing and drawing both. I don’t draw enough. I make excuses about that, other projects being one of those, but the truth is, I just do’t. I’ve created a savings account specifically for the purpose of paying artists, though, so that’s a new step. With that step down, I can start work actually publishing comics here. I still plan to do some with my own art as well, for the practice of it. Expect them to be terrible–I do.
  • Update the Website: No joke, this one’s hovered in the back of my mind for a couple of years now. I wasn’t completely satisfied with the last implementation, and a forced WordPress update a couple of months back was the final clincher. I hated the way it looked, even without any traffic, and I had to do something about it. So I did. Most of the work’s done, I’m now creating some sub-pages that I’ll get published in short order.

None of my projects will be worked on today. Today’s my oldest son’s 17th birthday. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that. In two weeks I take him for his driving test. He already has a car–I’m trying to wrap my head around that, too. I didn’t own my first until I was 21, and paid for it out of pocket–which is not any kind of condemnation. I’m very glad that we’re in a place where this can happen for him. I’m very glad that he doesn’t have to experience these things through the filter that I did. Happy birthday, kid, or as I said earlier to him, “Can you survive…THE FINAL YEAR?”

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