A new chapter in my career

August 11th, 2011

After a little over six years at Duck Creek Technologies, I’ve decided to move on.  On August 29, I start working for Expedia.com!

This was a tough decision to make – I’ve really enjoyed working for Duck Creek, but now that the decision is made, I’m very much looking forward to this next chapter.

Chain reaction

April 28th, 2011

Stress causes depression. Depression causes anxiety. Anxiety causes emotional outbursts (anger/frustration for me generally). These lead me back to stress.

Have you ever wanted to just walk away from it all? I don’t mean that in a “leave my family, quit my job” kind of way. I just mean, I would like to walk away from stress and depression, and anger, and anxiety, and for a little while just be happy-go-lucky and care free. To just forget about all the problems.

I think these are called “vacations”. I probably need one.

Lovedare day 1 and 2

March 10th, 2011

A few days ago, Allena and I watched the move Fireproof.  It looked kind of low-budget, and the acting was not great (it got better as the movie went along), but the message was powerful and hit very close to home for both of us.  The movie features a book called The Love Dare (a real book) that is designed to help couples draw closer together, whether their marriage is failing, or even if it’s in pretty good shape.  Allena and I decided to take The Love Dare.  Our marriage is stable, but routine.  I’ll be honest – it’s missing a lot of the spark it used to have, and I know we both want that back.  That’s my high level assessment anyway.  Allena may disagree ;).  We also decided the whole family needed to do this – modified somewhat for the kids of course, since there’s things that apply for spouses that don’t apply for siblings.  Ahem.

I decided to start blogging about this late, so my first post will have two days worth.

So, quoting from the lovedares website:

The first part of this dare is fairly simple. Although love is communicated in a number of ways, our words often reflect the condition of our heart. For the next day, resolve to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all. If the temptation arises, choose to not say anything. It’s better to hold your tongue than to say something you’ll regret.

I think day 1 went OK.  I don’t think I said anything negative.  I’m not sure I was all that positive – in fact I spent a lot of the evening reading so I didn’t speak much at all (a fault).  So far so good.

Day two states:

In addition to saying nothing negative to your spouse again today, do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.

I think day 2 went less OK.  I didn’t say anything negative, but again was not terribly positive.  I also failed to do an unexpected gesture.  I did suffer through calling hughesnet technical support, but I don’t think that counts.  I also agreed to learn how to milk the goats today.  This is something I have resisted thus far, but aside from being practical, it will allow Allena to travel to goat shows and other places and I think she appreciated that.  It wasn’t entirely selfless – we were discussing a trip that Dominic and I wanted to make together.  She got upset because she’s never really able to go off like that (understandable).  I offered to learn to milk so she would be free to travel, and so that she wouldn’t automatically resent my travelling.  It was probably unexpected.  It was an act of kindness in a certain light.  But I think day 3 is going to have to be a do-over of day 2.

Tired

December 29th, 2010

I spent the night in the hospital last night – not for myself. My father in law was very sick and we were pretty scared there for a while. He’s doing much better today, but it’s hard to sleep in a chair all night!

Working things out in my mind

December 20th, 2010

This one’s going to ramble a bit.  I need to work my head around it.

Yesterday Allena and I went shopping for Christmas, and we left all the kids at home with Dominic.  It was almost like a date.  We stopped at a couple of stores, and while walking back to our car, this homeless lady asked us for some money.  We didn’t have any cash, but we offered to take her to get her something to eat.  She turned us down, but you could tell she was interested in the idea.

I think most people would have taken the out, but we pressed her, and she accepted.  We ended up at a Subway so we could get a hot sandwich for her.  My original thought was we’d get the sandwich and be on our way.  It ended up going very differently.  Once we got her to Subway, we couldn’t get her to order.  She wanted us to order, so we could all eat together.  (We of course, had eaten lunch just a little earlier).  I finally ended up ordering a foot-long sub, that we could share.  The guy working the counter gave her a bowl of soup – I guess he helps her out sort of regularly – and I got her some cookies as well.  I think she originally wanted to eat the soup, and just have company, but ultimately  I ate a quarter of the sandwich, and she ate a quarter of it.  We were unable to get her to take the left over half, or the cookies, or even the soup that the Subway guy gave her.  She even had a can of stew and two dollars that she tried to give us, but more on that later.

By this time Allena and I had both come to the conclusion that this lady was a little “off”.  She wanted to show us where she slept (NB: in hindsight, it was stupid of us to go with her to her little campsite – it could easily have been a setup for a mugging.  God looks after the idiots I guess).  She was proud of her cardboard, and she had a little bit of a piece of brush sticking out of the ground that she called her “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree”, and she had a rock she was really proud of – it had a fossil of a sea-shell in it that was perfectly heart shaped.  She had told us that she had a blanket and that it was hidden, but she flip-flopped on that one several times.  I think she didn’t have one.

We told her we wanted to get her a sleeping bag or some blankets.  She didn’t want any part of that.  She kept saying that cardboard was really pretty warm.  I finally told her that I was going to go get her a sleeping bag, and that I was going to bring it back to her campsite, and that if she didn’t want it she could give it away to somebody else.  So she came along to Walmart with us.  She kept worrying that we would be embarrassed by her.  Truth be told, I could see why she might worry – she said and did some pretty odd things, but nothing too bad.  My kids have done worse.

By the time we had the sleeping bag, it was after dark.  She had us take her to a place back behind a used car lot.  I guess they have a vehicle there that they don’t lock – she climbs in and sleeps in it on really cold nights.  It took her 20 minutes to finally get out of the car.  I think she really didn’t want to go.  We kept inviting her home with us, but she wouldn’t have it.

We spent a couple of hours with her all told.  We talked some about faith.  She said she’d never had time for God until she was homeless.  We invited her to church with us.  Again, she was worried that she’d embarrass us or that her clothes would not be good enough.  She finally agreed to be picked up to go to church with us today.  We all dressed down – jeans and t-shirts, so she wouldn’t feel uncomfortable.  I didn’t even shave.  She didn’t show up at the place we were supposed to meet, which we half-way expected to happen anyway.

The whole thing has had me very thoughtful since.  I’ve worried about our debts and such, but we still have a house, and 3 vehicles, and more food than we can eat, and the list of our blessings goes on and on.  This gal had the clothes on her back and some cardboard and a couple of rocks, and that. is. it.  I’ve worried about how I won’t be able to spend that much on my kids for Christmas, and she doesn’t have any one to even share Christmas dinner with.  We gave her a nice gift of a sleeping bag if you want to call that a Christmas gift, but she was worried about taking it because she was afraid somebody else would just steal it from her.

It really leaves me with a low opinion of myself.  Not the fact that I helped her out as much as I could (and as much as she’d let us).  I just feel like I must be incredibly spoiled because my worries are petty compared to hers.

What would it be like to spend a week on the street?  She said she’d been there just over a year.  Could I make it a week?  Would I beg for food or money?  I have so many other resources – family, friends, etc. that I’d have to exhaust a *lot* of possibilities before I was on the street.  Plus, I have sense enough to make use of the services available to homeless people – but how long would that last?  I think this lady’s mental problems are probably due to being alone and being scared for a long long time.

I guess I’ll close.  I still feel this swimming circles in my head, but I can’t think of anything else to say.  Say a prayer for the homeless if you read this.  And remember the phrase “there, but for the grace of God, go I”.