Sitting in the garage

April is off to pick up dinner.

I’m sitting in the garage with the doors open.

And Simon is delightedly running circles around the garage, the van, and the doors.

It’s idyllic. And I wonder, are there people out there in similar circumstances who take this for granted? Who can just enjoy it without much analysis?

Because I am very aware of how blessed I am. And I am very aware of how temporal this is. It could pass in a moment.

I am deliberate in enjoying it. In soaking it in. Because I know how quickly and easily it could be gone.

Would being unaware be better? I don’t know. I think it might.

Is being aware better? I think it might. No way to know one way or the other, really. I can’t compare.

Oh well. I’ll appreciate it. I appreciate Simon’s excitement about the cat across the street, and the rain, and the old license plates we still have lying around.

Robert passed away

I decided in December that this blog is really me writing to future-me. So while I don’t want to write about this, I think future-me would want this to be written down.

Yesterday, I found out that Robert Bleeker passed away late last week. Robert headed up the online and Atlassian Summit portions of Atlassian University. AU is Atlassian’s training program.

We had worked together for around the last 5 years, but beyond that professional relationship, he was just a really nice guy. I always enjoyed hearing about his motorcycle trips with his son, and his daughter’s academic studies, and how his family was getting on. And Robert was (more recently) always quick to ask after my son Simon and want to see pictures of him.

Robert was a role-model to me of a good dad. I was really looking forward to seeing him in a few weeks at Summit and catching up, and now he’s suddenly gone.

I’m just so sad. Goodbye, Robert.

I know he was just mimicking, but…

Simon said, “Love you,” this morning.

He was sitting on my lap in the nursery, just after getting up, and taking a break from drinking milk. He was looking up at me, watching my lips move and listening closely while I told him that I love him, and he repeated it back perfectly.

He doesn’t know what it means yet, but I couldn’t be more joyful. My son’s first sentence may be, “I love you,” and that is wonderful.

It’s January 2020 and Simon…

  • can walk up to 10 steps
  • loves music videos
    • particularly ones with dancing
    • mostly pop music and Disney
    • apparently also loves Steampowered Giraffe
  • tonight said “goodnight” for the first time!
  • can also say
    • bye
    • cat
    • kitty
    • no
    • dada
    • daddy
    • mama
    • nana (for banana)
  • loves to sit on our laps, or on our backs, or on our shoulders, or be snuggled and hugged, or all of these all at the same time somehow
  • can stack things, sort things, carry things, lift 5 lbs. (barely with one hand, most easily with two), and climb things (he can get onto sofas now)
  • is just the best

Where does my security come from?

A couple of months ago, one of the windows was broken on my in-law’s van while it was parked in our driveway overnight. We have a dusk-to-dawn light over the garage, but that didn’t deter the burglar. I have felt guilty and frustrated by this, and have been thinking about installing security cameras around the house.

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Being-wealthy things that I don’t yet take for granted

I need a suit. When I lost weight last year, I donated all of my jackets, slacks, etc., and never bought anything new because I so rarely need to wear those kind of clothes. But now I have two weddings in the next 6 months and I need something appropriate to wear.

Even though I could afford to spend more, I don’t want to spend much on a suit because I wear it so rarely and I also have no desire to wear a suit on a day-to-day basis anymore.

After a bit of research, I decided to go with the Bar III suit from Macy’s. Cheap and decent, and I could get it tailored so it fits me perfectly. A well-tailored cheap suit will always look better than an ill-fitting expensive suit.

I measured myself, and I used Macy’s TruFit tool to figure out what size I should wear. But when the pants got here, I discovered they were 2-3 inches too small!

Here’s the part where I feel crazy wealthy: I just ordered three more pairs of pants in different sizes so I can find the one that fits best.

I’ll return the ones that I don’t want for a full refund, so I’m still only out the cost of a single pair of pants (and because Macy’s has a ridiculous sale on, they’re only $40!). But just being able to order these now and get refunds later… that’s some financial privilege right there.

When I was a freshman in college, I spent some of my student loan money to buy a nice suit. I think it cost me $300, was made of gaberdine wool, and I wore it primarily for Model United Nations competitions. Weddings, funerals, work interviews, and eventually multiple times a week for work. I wore that suit for years until it fell apart.

Getting a new suit was out of reach for me financially for a long time. Now I could afford one, but don’t really need one… still, I’m grateful that I have the option of ordering online (because the Bar III isn’t actually carried in our local store for some reason), trying things on, and returning them.

And maybe someday I’ll go to my tailor and have him make me a custom suit. It’s actually not that expensive–$300, the same as I paid for that wool suit from Men’s Wearhouse back in 2003–but it takes months and I currently only have two pairs of jeans and I should probably get more of the things I wear everyday first. I only recently reached the milestone of having more than two pairs of socks that I like to wear. Jeans are next on my list.

(And I’m tired of my jeans dying after a year, so I’m thinking about saving up for raw denim.)

Drugs and Medicine

Yesterday morning, I worked in the attic for a couple of hours shifting insulation and putting in a 2′ wide floor. I got about half done.

Then, we went to brunch with Kate, a friend of April’s from college, and her SO Kevin.

I wore Simon for the last half hour of that, then we went home for a break and a change before heading to Wonders of Wildlife where we spent over 3 hours wandering through the aquarium (which was pretty great, and I’ll write a review about it later) and Wildlife Galleries (lots and lots of taxidermied animals, which wasn’t thrilling).

Simon and Matthew at Bass Pro Shops’ Wonders of Wildlife: Wildlife Galleries — 2019-03-30

And eventually, back home to watch some TV and finish a movie on the couch.

Suffice it to say that my back and hips were killing me this morning. Simon’s not super heavy–probably around 15 lbs. now–but getting out of bed was a struggle and I was really stiff and sore.

Not too many years ago, I would have grabbed a handful of ibuprofen and washed them down with coffee. But instead, I grabbed my yoga mat and did 20 minutes of stretching.

It always amazes me how much better I feel after some yoga. I know in advance that it’s going to help, but that doesn’t spur me to do it regularly. Instead, I turn to it when I’m hurting, and after 20-60 minutes, I feel great. Much better than I would have after 5-6 pills.

Medicine isn’t always a drug. Sometimes it’s stretching, and sometimes it’s talking with someone, or it could be going for a walk in nature, or eating a healthy meal. I’m glad that I have added the tool of yoga to my wellness toolbox so I don’t have to rely on pills quite as much.


What’s Mine Is Yours

Before April and I got married, we decided that we wanted to live our lives fully together. One way that this was represented was combining everything we owned: all of our bank accounts are combined, and we’re each other’s beneficiaries on everything.

I always assumed that this was the default in marriage, but I’ve been meeting more people for whom it isn’t the case. They might have some joint accounts, but other separate accounts. Some couples split up the bills, with one person paying the mortgage and the other paying utilities and for groceries and whatnot. Others stay completely separate and split the cost on everything.

For us, we have everything together. And every account is in Mint.com, and we can both see every financial transaction.

I felt like this was a pretty high level of integration and transparency, but last week we finished putting together our estate plan after several months of talking about it and working through the process. An estate plan is similar to a last will and testament, but because we have a kid, it gets a bit more complicated. Instead of creating a will, we wanted to create a trust.

You can’t leave stuff to a minor, so you have two options. You can leave everything to the people who will become your child’s guardians, or you can create a trust. If you go with the first option and something bad happens, like the new dad is in a car accident and gets sued, the person suing could take all their funds including what you left to your kid. But if you put the money into a trust, then it’s safe; it can only be used for your child(ren).

So we wanted to setup a trust, and along the way we also setup a health power of attorney (POA) and a financial POA so people could make decisions for us if we are incapacitated, and lots of other paperwork. One of the things we setup was a POA for each other, so I can sign things on April’s behalf and she can sign things on mine.

The lawyer told us that April didn’t need to come in to pick up the binder at the end of the process, so she stayed home with a napping Simon. While I was reviewing the documents, I found a minor typo that needed to be corrected, so the paralegal tore out two pages, printed new ones, and we needed to sign them. But since I have POA for April, I could sign on her behalf rather than dragging her into the office.

This was a whole new level of… I don’t even know what to call it. Financial togetherness? Legal entanglement? Our trust is revocable so we can amend or tear it up whenever we want. But when I was driving home with all the paperwork, I had this feeling like we had leveled up. While all our stuff was shared, we still very much had a legal firewall in that I couldn’t sign things for April and she couldn’t sign things for me. That’s important to me: I want her consent on things that affect us and vice versa.

But I know that we’re responsible, and we care about each other, and we won’t abuse this. And it’s kind of neat, because removing that legal barrier then means we have to rely on our love and trust. It reminds me of Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the state of Pennsylvania about Quakers: you can’t legislate morality. And by removing the legislation that prevented us from committing one another to legal or financial agreements, we now have a greater obligation to be moral and ethical with and to each other.

It doesn’t change anything in practice for us. But it did prompt me to reflect on this, and that reflection filled me with happiness. I love that I found someone I can trust and who trusts me.