Monday, April 28, 2008

Sprung a leak

I wish it was me. But I'm not a plumber. Friday night when I got home, the tornado siren was going off, so we ran into the house and down into the basement. It was so comforting to sit in the recently organized basement.

After 20 minutes or so, the watch was cleared and we came upstairs.

Saturday morning, I was headed back to the basement for something and a tote was wet. It's not supposed to be wet there. It didn't take me long to locate a leak in the pipe. There was a pinhole leak in the corner of the pipe that was spraying a good 3 feet. Thankfully the leak was tiny. I was immediately on the phone calling every plumber in the phone book. After calling and leaving messages on all 10 machines, I waited with the water to the house turned off. No potty breaks, no washing hands, no brushing teeth, no washing clothes or dishes. Basically most of the things that were left for me to do, were now off limits.

We waited a few hours, then made plans to go visit a friend and stay until bedtime. The afternoon and evening was a great time visiting and catching up with some good friends.

Then Sunday our savior showed up. Nope, not one of the plumbers we called. None of them had called back yet, another friend in town said he may be able to fix it. He came over and said he could do it. It didn't take long for him to take care of the problem, and being that it's a friend, there was no charge. That's what friendship is all about, helping each other out.

Erin and I do what we can to help them out, and they do what they can to help us out, it's a pretty great friendship.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Take a weekend to simplify your life.

The basement is one of those black marks on most people's to-do list. Everyone knows they need to do it, but nobody wants to take the time to do anything about it. There are really two ways to approach it.

1. Take a large Chunk

2. Baby steps.

Most things can be approached with the same two options. For the most part I tend to like taking baby steps. Especially because once something is in order, it only takes a few small steps to keep it that way. There will be no need to come back and put large chunks of time into the same thing over and over, unless you don't take those few baby steps.

Remember when you were a kid and you hated to clean your room? Everyone hated to clean his room. I hated to clean mine. But I learned a long time ago, that if I picked up each thing as I finished with it, then I was never picking up for more than 3 or 4 minutes. I constantly had a clean room and never felt like I had to work at it. Dishes and laundry are the same way now. I can either spend 5-10 minutes a day doing dishes, or I can let them pile up for a few days and spend close to an hour to get through them all. I can spend 10 minutes a day folding and putting away a load of laundry, or I can wait and waste my entire Saturday trying to catch up on a week of not doing. Just those few minutes a day make a huge difference in how hard something looks.


My basement however got to the point that I couldn't get it under control with just baby steps. Erin and I scheduled a time with ourselves. We planned for over a month to make sure the kids were somewhere out of the way, I took time off of work, and we attacked the basement.

It was great that we set aside 3 days for this. Because life happened, not everything went according to plan, we didn't even finish in the 3 days. However, we did all of the hard work during that time. We went through all of the boxes and totes of stored items and decided what we no longer need. I could feel the stress of stuff washing away as we got rid of more and more. tonight when I finished up, all I had left to do was put the totes back away into an organized stack. Now the basement looks uncluttered, we can find anything we need to, and if we have something else that needs put away, we'll know right where it belongs.

Take baby steps as often as you can in keeping yourself organized and clean, but when something gets really out of whack, be sure to give it the time it deserves. You'll feel better about it afterwards.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Six Days of the Condor

I was very pleasantly surprised at how interesting Six Days of the Condor was. I love the movie "Three Days of the Condor" that was based on the book. The details were sometimes a bit difficult to follow, and in trying to keep with the anonymity of the characters people were referred to as "the well dressed gentleman" or something else just as vague. It would have been easier to follow if each character had an alias that was used in those situations that called for anonymity. Then they could have been tied together later in the book. Otherwise the plot was very good and I zipped through the book in just 2 nights.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Is the computer the worst thing to happen to us?

At the post office on Saturday I overheard an old gentleman in line saying that computers were the worst thing to happen to society. We spend almost all of our time at them.

Then he followed up by saying the 2nd worst is Television.


It got me thinking. We do spend a lot of time at computers, and some of that is being very productive.

I can now pay all of my bills and balance my checkbook in about 5 minutes online, With paper only that used to take close to an hour. I email my friends or post blogs to let everyone know what's going on with me. I type a lot faster than I could imagine writing. so I'm able to share more information with more people a lot faster.

I remember when I was in college sitting down for an hour a day and writing letters. I would finish and send 2 or 3 a week.

Now I can send a letter to everyone I know practically daily in 10-15 minutes. The fact that I don't is my own fault, not that of the computer.

I do spend a lot of time at my computer. I read a ton of news that I never had access to before. I'm able to follow world events and scientific breakthroughs at a level that only specialists in those fields had the ability to follow just 15 years ago. I'm able to learn things in order to make more informed decisions on purchases in my life.

On top of all of that, I spend time at the computer for entertainment. I watch movies online, I listen to songs, I watch funny clips on YouTube. Things that weren't possible for anyone to do 15 years ago are now commonplace.

The computer has become both an efficient way to deal with many of life's interactions, and the entertainment hub in my life. When I'm done touching base with people, I don't even need to walk away from the computer to switch into a pure enjoyment mode.


I think the computer has saved us a lot more than it has cost us. Yes, we do spend time on the computer now, instead of socializing with our neighbors. But we are able to socialize with people from around the world that have the same interests as us, instead of just talking to the person that lives next door. We are able to accomplish our work quicker, and move on to play. I think the computer is a great thing, that has helped us enormously.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

YMCA!

If you're anything like my kids, you started singing the song. Every time they see the sign for the Y, they break into song.

Saturday was the first time we've been able to take advantage of the pool. I took Ady and Jonas and we had a good time swimming for just over an hour.

Jonas has just finished swim lessons and did a great job swimming. Ady did an awesome job as well, she was constantly trying to swim on her own and as long as she held on to a noodle she could kick and keep her head up, it was awesome.

She'll be able to swim before long. We got her signed up for swim lessons starting on Tuesday.

Over the next two months there is a lot happening. Ady and Jaden both have swim lessons. Ady has t-ball start and end. Ady's graduates pre-school to move on to full day Kindergarten, Ady's dance class has their one recital.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Would you follow me on twitter?

The past month I've started asking myself if anyone would follow me on twitter, and who would I follow on twitter. Not surprisingly I began asking, why anyone would ever use twitter.

I know of a few people that use twitter, and I hear about it a lot in the pod casts that I listen to
however, I don't understand the true purpose of it.

Twitter's site asks, "What are you doing?" So from that I take it to mean that the purpose is to tell the world constantly what I'm doing.

Since the majority of my daily activities are boring enough that I wouldn't want to make someone follow me around, I don't think that most things are worth mentioning. Heck, my job is sitting at a computer. From the outside looking in, I'm pretty boring. I even find it hard sometimes when my kids ask what I did today, and my answer is, "I read 200 pages of documentation trying to find how to do something that we haven't done before". Or, "I made a change to the program that I'm working on to allow someone to edit the phone number in the middle without the cursor being reset to the end after every keystroke". To which they seem to always look at me dumbfounded. So instead I try to say things like, "I made some else's job easier today".

Even my home activities are not the most exciting. Things like "Doing dishes", "Eating a great dinner my wife cooked", "Playing catch with the kids". These aren't things that I do that would be interesting to people.

I've heard of, and seen some people use twitter solely as a marketing tool for their blog. I guess this is possible, but most likely, if I'm going to care enough to follow someone on twitter, I'm also following their blog in an RSS Reader, so I don't want them to post that they have a new blog to read, and I don't want to do that myself.

I have seen a great use for something like twitter within a company or team, in order to keep everyone informed on the current status of what each member in the group is doing. However these statuses are not useful to the world at large, and are possibly proprietary enough in nature that they need to be housed completely in house at the company.

Since I began my twittering experiment a few days ago, I now have a good reason for the service. There are some people out there that I admire. I am amazed at the way they think, and the things they think about. These are people that I look up to and aspire to be more like. It's possible that through twitter I can get a little more of a glimpse into the things that these people do. Maybe the reason they think a certain way is influenced by things that they read, and something like that could be shared on twitter. That extra glimpse into what helps to open their mind to creativity, could provide me a way to become more open to creativity too.

So why would I post anything about myself on twitter? I've already explained that I see myself as boring. But that doesn't really mean I am boring. And it doesn't mean that others see me as boring. Maybe instead, by my posting on twitter, someone will be inspired or influenced by something that I do or say. The only way to know for sure is to keep tweeting and see how it goes.

That begs the question, would you follow me on twitter?