Hiatus!

Wow, it sure has been a while since I’ve last written a post on my blog.  Three years in fact!  I apologize for that.  You see, whenever I start a new website/project, the funnest part for me is its creation.  I agonize for hour and hours trying to come up with the ‘perfect’ layout and design for what I’m going for at the time.  Then, as soon as I get it, I’m done.  I don’t ever seem to have enough energy afterwards to populate the site with the appropriate content, or keep it updated.  This goes for even my very first website I ever created (which was over 10 years ago!).  Since then I’ve had business websites and fun websites.  Then I decided to make a blog.  The one type of site that really should be updated, and it is the easiest to update.  Unfortunately, I didn’t update too frequently, and I wanted to ‘document’ many of the things going on in my life.  So, I wrote horribly long posts.  Well, not any more… at least… not after this post.  This will be a really high-level summary over the last couple of years.  I definitely will not catch everything, and that’s fine, but I figured I’d share some of it.

My last post touched on some frustrating things in the Applications Engineering department at work.  I’m happy to say that I am no longer in that department.  I think it had some really positive aspects, it just went on for far too long.  A good 12-18 months should be the maximum amount of time anyone should spend in that department.  I blame the economy for that one though, just bad timing.  I’m happy to say that I transitioned in the fall of 2010 to R&D, where I should have been much sooner.

Additionally, my car.  Oh, my poor, poor car.  Not too long after the funky electrical problem, the car began shutting itself off (while driving) and then wouldn’t turn back on for an extended amount of time.  One day on the way to work the check engine light began to blink (which is very bad).  I immediately turned in to the nearest shop, spent 6-700 dollars and then went to work.  I had to take a half day of ‘vacation’ for that ordeal, lovely.  On my way home from work the behavior happened again!  I took it back to the same shop, they didn’t know what was going on.  Lovely.  I hobbled it home and there it sat.  For a very long time.

While the car was out of commission we decided that it was time for a new vehicle anyway.  We purchased a 2007 Dodge Ram 1500.  The truck is definitely a beast, and it drinks gas like one, but that is okay.  We purchased the truck for two reasons.  The first is because my car was essentially dead (and I still owed several thousand, awesome).  And we were planning on purchasing a home that year; having a truck is very advantageous when furnishing a new home.

We purchased our lovely home in Cedar Park, TX in the summer of 2009.  It was quite a hot year and we were lucky enough to have the air conditioning go out on us within two weeks of closing on the house, days before our vacation to Utah over the 4th of July holiday.  We still had the contract on the apartment for an additional month or so, so we didn’t move yet.  When we got back to our new home, it was nearly 100 degrees inside the house.  This made for some very unhappy moving, but we got it sorted out without too many problems.  A couple months later when it finally started raining again that year, we noticed that the back door jamb was no longer water-tight to the outside world.  Awesome.  So, we had a bit of a flood inside our home.  Mold began to grow under the carpet, so I cut it out with a utility knife and left a nice big hole for the doorway.

Then came 2010.  That was overall a really good year.  Nothing too eventfully bad, and quite a lot of good things.  We adopted our second ‘child’, Bonnie, last summer.  We now have two Italian Greyhounds.  Stevie really took to Elisabeth when we first got him, and frankly, he was mostly for her.  I was feeling left out though, and wanted a pet that I could call ‘mine’.  The last one that I had was Blackie.  He was the coolest cat, and I really felt that companionship with him that I haven’t ever felt with another animal.  We have worked hard to have Bonnie be ‘my’ dog.  And for the most part she is.  Especially when she’s naughty.  While she isn’t so much of a companion that she is always vying for my attention over anyone else’s, she does snuggle up to me quite daintily.  If she was a bit more obedient she’d definitely be that awesome animal companion, but I’m very content with her just as she is.

That year got to be a bit overwhelming in the summer as I had been expecting/waiting for news regarding a new position at work I was working towards.  I was hoping for around the May time-frame but that didn’t work out.  As I was waiting for that month in particular, I had been trying to find a successor to the supervisor role/responsibility that I had taken on.  Unfortunately due to so many uncertainties with other positions and timing issues, that didn’t happen in time, which I felt put a bit strain on my chances for May.  In August, NI has a large tech conference where we showcase our latest products.  This is generally a large amount of work for the AEs as they are all working hard to further their careers and bending over backwards for any hiring manager that gives them the time of day.  I was at the end of my rope with the department and extremely frustrated with many things at work.  Elisabeth was stressed about her next school year, as she was going to be moving to a brand new school, and it was nearing her Birthday.  So, we decided we needed an escape.

The Caribbean can be a nice escape.  We went on a cruise to several of the Caribbean islands and were able to have a great time.  This was my very first time out of the country, so that was pretty cool.  We went down zip-lines and hiked trails in Jamaica.  We snorkeled with sting rays and played in the ocean in the Cayman Islands.  Elisabeth participated in an authentic Mexican cooking course while I went spelunking in underground caverns in Mexico.  Overall, it was an awesome trip, though by the end we were missing our dogs.

As mentioned above, later that fall I transitioned to R&D thanks to the good rapport I was able to build with the hiring managers in the Reconfigurable I/O – Hardware group.  I am definitely enjoying this position significantly more than the AE department.  I wont go in to too many details about what I currently do, as I’m sure there will be a multitude of posts upcoming that talk about work.

I had been working very hard playing the stock market and saving money where I could to try and buy a new car.  I have desired a true sports car for several years now, even more since I sold my car and have been driving a pickup truck.  I had been looking at an exotic british car and had plans to get it.  But with the recent uncertainty with the economy and some of our feelings towards our current jobs, we decided it was best to further invest that money and not spend it all – yet.  So instead, Elisabeth and I decided that it would be a good compromise to get something that doesn’t handle quite as well, but accelerates very similarly.  This had been a largely desired toy for several years as well.  I have looked off and on over the last few years for a 2006 model of the Kawasaki ZX-6R (636).  This was the last year they built them, and the ’05-’06 body styling was my favorite.  Every once in a while one would pop up, but the condition was almost always sub-par, or the price was outrageous.  Luck was on my side, one appeared on Craigslist and the pictures were flawless.  Unfortunately the pictures were not very fresh.  Bike had been crashed at least two different times and didn’t look pristine.  I was bummed.  The next day another bike showed up, not in the color I would have originally preferred, but it too looked beautiful, and the price was hard to believe.  I arranged to go before work (and if you know me, that’s a big deal) and check out the bike.  I essentially purchased it on the spot.  The bike was as flawless as you’re going to get, and I never thought I’d like a blue the way I do this one.  I’ve been able to partially subdue my exotic car desires through the time I get to spend riding my newest toy.

Unfortunately I haven’t ridden too much lately, as the weather has been record-breaking hot.  We have just finished the hottest month ‘ever’ recorded in Austin, and we’ve broken (by a long-shot) the record for most days above 100°.  Our yard looks pitiful.  We’ve kept it somewhat alive, but it is very sad.  We actually have lost one tree completely (poor Maple tree) and we are at risk of losing our Arizona Ash.  Wildfires have been sprouting up daily in the Central Texas region, some as close as 5 miles from our home.  Hundreds and hundreds of homes have been destroyed.  Elisabeth and I know several individuals who have needed to evacuate and whose homes are at risk of being a total loss.  Even though today was the third day of my three-day weekend, and a common day for grilling, even that was banned due to the fire risk.  We haven’t had a good rain storm in almost a complete year now and the lakes look so pitiful.

When we first visited Texas we had originally envisioned dry, brown, ugly landscape.  But when we arrived in Austin, it was vastly different than we had originally expected.  We liked it, it was actually pretty green.  Then we moved here.  The next year, was a horrible drought.  Then we had an average year.  And then this year, absolutely horrible.  We were talking the other day (somewhat jokingly) stating that maybe snow wouldn’t be that bad of a tradeoff.  We have almost forgotten what rain looks like (well, not really – but you get the idea).  Today the high was in the low 90’s.  We decided to take advantage of this ‘good’ weather and do a ton of much needed yard work.  It actually wasn’t too bad.  How sad is that?

Expect to see updates more frequently (not daily, by any means) on this blog.  I’ll do my best to update hopefully weekly, but we’ll just have to wait and see.  Additionally, I will be adding some additional features to the blog over the next couple of weeks, and will be integrating a photo gallery to be able to reference and include pictures in my posts.  I will probably go through and update some of the old posts and add links to the appropriate photo album, and then for posts moving forward, I’ll include some images in-line where it fits.

Until next time… (which will hopefully be sooner than 3-years from now)

2 Responses to “Hiatus!”

  1. Welcome back to blogging land. It’s funny that you mentioned how you like to create websites or even blogs. I am the same way. I have created 4 blogs and am always changing the backgrounds or settings.
    Thanks for the 3 year catch up. Glad things are going well for you and Elisabeth. So sorry about the drought. Praying that you will get the much needed rain.
    Look forward to your next post and yes…I’ll even wait for another 3 years to read it (jk!)
    Aunt Sue

  2. Woohoo! Welcome back to the world of blogging. And since I watched you create this blog from scraps of words, I’m just amazed, impressed, and excited t’s here at all! 🙂

    And Bonnie is your dog the most when she’s bad. For sure. 🙂

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