Monday, January 25, 2021

And I'm Out

I wasn't sleeping, and for the usual reason. I was so stressed from work most nights, thinking about deadlines I wasn't able to meet and the series of conversations I'd need to have explaining when we could deliver, that I couldn't turn my brain off enough to relax & doze off. Sometimes I'd be up just to one or two in the morning, sometimes I'd be up through the night. 

After that, being productive at work the next day was more or less impossible. I'd end up even further behind by the end of the day, even more stressed out about how everything was going to be done in time. Lather, rinse, repeat.

COVID certainly wasn't helping. Mrs. Done by Forty and I were juggling full time work and Toddler AF, trying to make sure the kid was engaged and learning (or at least not running face first into furniture) all while sticking to our rule of no screen time. Throughout the day, we'd take turns stepping away from the laptop to relieve the other, swapping our employee and parent hats, and using nights and weekends to catch up on work. And we have a new baby on the way in April, which just added to the anxiety.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Baby, Baby

Like so many other Americans, we celebrated a bit these past couple weeks. We felt some relief that a (too-small) majority of Americans made a choice for competence, decency, and democracy. And because of that, we're allowing ourselves to feel a little hope, too.

It's premature. The primary problem with voting an authoritarian into office is that they're hard to get out by the same method. Trump was never going to go quietly. He's already using the office of the presidency to spread outright lies, misinformation, and blatantly trying to incite chaos and violence on behalf of his supporters. By the time we're reading this on Monday, Trump's legal team will file even more baseless lawsuits in the hope that one of the cases might make it to the Supreme Court that he's stacked with unqualified allies.

Which all goes to say, it's not over. When you're facing a political opponent without morals or an allegiance to our country, it never really is.

Monday, September 21, 2020

The Justice We Choose

I don't know what to write about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passing. I only know enough to be dangerous about her tenure on Supreme Court, the significance of her service, or what this will mean for the nation.

I think I know what will happen next in the Senate. Republicans will prove once again that they stand for nothing besides power, and they will give a new justice the hearing and confirmation they would not grant to Merrick Garland

These GOP senators listened to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testimony, and then listened to Kavanaugh's unhinged response, and decided to confirm him anyway. It seems naive to pretend these same Republican senators are going to suddenly find a conscience, or be shamed into decent behavior by pundits pointing out their hypocrisy by reading their own quotes on Merrick Garland.

Senate Republicans will confirm the justices they want and will refuse to consider justices they don't. It's as simple as that. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

FIRE Buys You Class...Whether You Want it or Not

Pursing financial independence is an exercise in class mobility. No matter what economic class you start in, or what class you like to tell people you're a member of, when you have enough money to never have to work again, you're functionally wealthy: you're now part of the upper class.

Doing so at an age so young that it can barely be understood by friends and coworkers just underscores the point. 

You're not just wealthy, you've become part of this new class at an insultingly young age, and everyone around you would appreciate it if you would at least feel a little bit bad about it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Equality or Equity?

We Americans, it seems, are at the end of our pandemic ropes. Whatever collective actions we were going to take to whip this virus, it sure looks like we've already taken them.

We are tired, tired of all of this, and we want to return to some sort of normalcy. Return the kids to school because we're told we have to return to the office. We want to return to our favorite restaurants and vacation spots. To sports. To campus. To the way it was before.

Safely, of course. With masks and distancing. We don't want anyone to get sick. We are good and caring people, but we can't stay inside forever. Life must go on.

Monday, August 17, 2020

One Year Out: Are We On Track for Financial Independence?

I turned forty last week. It felt weird.

But my birthdays always do. I've never been a big fan of the day. The attention, the singing, the taking stock of the past that is supposed to happen: all of it feels odd to me. I appreciate the sentiment that I am loved and that people care enough to let me know it. But the bad feelings tend to outweigh the good. I'd just as soon pretend it was a normal Wednesday, have a beer or two, and call it a night.

To add to the pressure, there's this whole financial independence goal that thirty-two year old Brian thought would be a good idea to write about, you know, before actually doing any math to see if it was possible. As the date gets closer, my pessimism grows. And the goal is public, which just adds to my anxiety.

We're a year out from the deadline. Will we be financially independent by then? And even if we are, will we feel confident enough to leave work by then?

Let's take a peek at the numbers and see what's what.

Monday, June 29, 2020

What Number Is It?

What Number Is It?
Sometime this past week, our kitchen sink started draining really slowly. None of our usual tricks, like plunging the sink, or running the garbage disposal or dishwasher to try to push through the clog, had any real effect. If anything, they made things worse.

By Thursday, the water wasn't receding at all. I resorted to scooping the water I could out of the sink with a big mason jar into a bucket and dumping that into the backyard. 

I disconnected the pipes under the sink to get the rest of the water out, and tried to snake the drain with a little manual snake from Amazon. The thing kinked up and turned on itself (behold my DIY skills) so after an hour of that, I did what I hate doing: admitting I can't fix something myself and calling a professional.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Your Tax Dollars, Hard at Work

Our Tax Dollars, Hard at Work
Like a lot of you, I'm dealing with emotions right now. Anger, and sadness, and frustration at the terrible violence Black people have been suffering at the hands of police, and the continued violence the police and national guard dole out to citizens who dare to protest that violence.

I am dealing with these things as someone who is not Black, which is to say, I am dealing with a tiny portion of the issue, and in an easy, superficial way. A way that raises my awareness just a bit, but I can put the whole thing away whenever I like. I can feel bad for a week or two, donate some money, and then put the issue on the shelf if I want and go about my day.

It's a convenient way of dealing with it all. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

In This Together

In This Together
Sorry for staying away so long, friends. I've always found it weird when bloggers apologize for not writing, but I do feel a kind of guilt for being away for two months. I wish I had a better excuse other than the fact that I've been busier than I've ever been, either at work or at home. Now I'm experiencing both, so something has to give and that something is writing.

My category space at work is collaboration: the software and related hardware necessary for collaborative apps, video conferencing, whiteboarding, instant messaging, soft phones, virtual conferences, and the like. The increase in work in this space is completely unprecedented. It has me working some nights throughout the week. Even headsets, the supposedly easy commodity in my space, are eating up a lot of time, as we work through a global shortage.