The best way to lose your job

This has been an unusual year for me in the world of work.

After having a successful first year with a company, I started the second year full of promise in a new role that I thought was going to be a great fit. For a variety of reasons, things didn’t work out the way I had hoped. I still have very fond feelings for the company, the people, and the product, but the gap between what I was being asked to do and the resources I was given to do it was too wide to be overcome by hard work and enthusiasm alone.

As the pressure to produce gradually increased it became apparent that my “new role” was a solution without a problem and there was a clock ticking for me to find a new job. So I looked for work, but not super aggressively because I was still getting paid, and still sort-of trying to accomplish the impossible. Along the way I was sleeping in, exercising, spending a lot of time with the kids, and writing.

Some weeks I would do, at maximum, an hour’s worth of actual work.

The checks kept coming, and I kept doing the same things. Summer came, and I did maybe an hour’s worth of work a month.

I knew the end was coming though. It had to. No one was this nice.

When the end finally did come in August, it was a relief. It was the shortest layoff conversation I’ve ever had.

September was really nice, all things considered. We had enough money that I could put off looking for work for a little while longer, so I did. I wrote a ton of posts. Got started on my book.

Fortune smiled on me again when a lunch led to a phone call which led to coffee which led to an interview which led to an offer to start at the beginning of November. So I did. Happy ending.


In this holiday season of reflection and introspection, I have plenty to introspect on. I am grateful that I’ve written something that was read over 50,000 times (and it was over 2500 words too, so everyone who says long form writing doesn’t work on the Internet can suck it). I’m excited that I was featured on Freshly Pressed twice. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to spend the past year closer to my family than they would probably want, helping with the car pools, making dinner, and just being there.

I started writing in a large part because I was desperate to create. Along the way I learned a lot about myself and who I really was. I have always been a “live to work” kind of guy, and this past year really made me question that assumption. Now that I am working again (and substantially more occupied) I have a new set of assumptions to question around how to balance my competing priorities of work, family, and self.

I used to think roller-coaster years were the anomalies. Now I’ve seen enough years to know that every year is full of ups and downs. All you can do is hope your ride stays on the rails and doesn’t get stuck.

Thanks for riding with me.

I’d love to hear your stories of being lost and then found too! Leave a comment and share.

Alas, poor Halloween! I knew him, Horatio

It all started with an idea.

Hey, maybe we shouldn’t eat as much junk food.

What a great idea!

What do we eat?

I hear broccoli is pretty awesome.

Rock on! Broccoli rules!

Then the idea, as they say, “got legs”:

Look at all these fat bastards. I bet they eat too much junk food.

Yeah, look at ’em.

Good thing we eat our broccoli.

Damn right.

Then the next thing you know, the idea gets elected to the school board.

This leads to this wonderful bit of policy:


Before you know it, this ends up on my refrigerator:

The chocolate chip eyes are going to be replaced with raisins, by the way, because HELL YEAH RAISINS. I applaud the room mom for making the best of a bad situation. I would sooner dangle my itty bitty man bits into a cage full of hungry Pomeranians than volunteer to plan a candy-less Halloween party.


This leads to the conversation every parent dreads:

Daddy, why is the public school system so dumb?

*heavy sigh* Well son, because the school system is made up of adults, WHO– as you frequently remind me– are stupid. They sit around in a room and someone says, “Hey I have an idea…” This is the result.

But it’s so lame!

Let this be a lesson to you: the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

The thing is

I’m not really into Halloween. Or Christmas. Or birthdays. Really, not much on holidays.

I love me some oatmeal, though.

I am a well-known fun-sucker and a freaking General in the Food Police Department. I have thrown out an uneaten tub of ice cream rather than deal with the whining for dessert. If anyone should be lining up to kiss the Blessed Ring of Wisdom for banning candy from a HALLOWEEN PARTY it should be me.

But I can’t.

Even Cookie Monster, FREAKING COOKIE MONSTER, says cookies are a “sometimes food”.

Look at that fat puppet bastard.

Yeah, what a slob.

I bet he’s going to get Diabetes with all of those cookies he eats.

Serves him right, I– oh be right back, this broccoli is moving right through me.

At least he gets “sometimes”, though.

It’s time

Just cancel the celebration of Halloween.

Please, just put it out of it’s misery.

It’s one of those things like the old timey bicycles, or a flip phone, that has become a relic of a quaint bygone era. A simpler time when children made their own costumes out of dad’s varsity jacket and mom’s old hippy clothes.

Nothing terrified people of a certain generation more than hippies.

I’m keeping my kids out of school on Halloween.

Well, actually we’re going to go to the parade and watch.

With a giant bag of M&Ms each.

Because nothing terrifies people of a certain generation more than candy.

Happy Halloween.

An ode to my rice cooker

Since I started my New Year in September, I’ve had about as much success as most people do with their New Year’s Resolutions… occasional glimpses of promise in between long, long periods of arse-kicking darkness.

Which is why I love my rice cooker.

I should back up a bit.

The Plan and the Rut

Here’s what’s supposed to happen in my mornings:

  1. Get up while it’s still dark
  2. Drink a cup of coffee, then go walk the dog
  3. Get back from walking the dog, go for a run
  4. Shower, shave, eat breakfast
  5. Help the kids get out the door to school as required

Here’s what actually happens most mornings

  1. Alarm goes off when it’s dark. Crack open eyes, realize it’s still dark and I’m not in high school any more, go back to bed.
  2. Wake up slightly later in the middle of a dream about the cheese selection at the grocery store.
  3. Stumble downstairs, hit the button on the Keurig.
  4. Fumble for sugar.
  5. Spill sugar on counter.
  6. Curse.
  7. Dump sugar mostly in coffee.
  8. Look for creamer in the fridge- it’s not there.
  9. Look for creamer in the garage fridge– not there either.
  10. Contemplate killing someone.
  11. Look for creamer again in fridge. Find it.
  12. Decide killing someone for leaving creamer in the fridge might be an over-reaction.
  13. Move dog out of the recliner.
  14. Sit in recliner inhaling dog farts and drinking coffee.
  15. Wonder what the dog had for dinner last night because his farts smell different.
  16. Check facebook page.
  17. Wish vainly for more followers.
  18. Drink second cup of coffee. Apologize to family for any death threats I may have uttered in the past half hour.
  19. Put on a hat and a jacket and take kids to school in my pajamas.
  20. Decide to go exercise at a nice leisurely hour of 9:30 or so.

As you can see, there is a little bit of divergence between the imagined state and the actual state.

In the absence of any external stimuli, like most single-celled organisms I tend to just sit around and eat, excrete, and reproduce. It’s not a bad way to go by any stretch. The problem is that I’m not actually an amoeba, I just play one on the Internet.

Next blog post: it's all in your semi-permeable membrane
Next blog post: it’s all in your semi-permeable membrane

Here’s where the rice cooker comes in.

Better living through oatmeal

Like most non-Asian people, I had no idea that I needed an electric rice cooker for many years. When we ate rice (which was not often) my mom just made it on the stove. The brilliance of a rice cooker, however, is the combination of controlled boiling and a delay timer. Paired with a crock pot, it makes for some truly delicious eating with no attention span required.

There is a little bit of biological research that suggests there really are early birds and night owls and it’s not just a matter of pure choice. I am at my most alert in the afternoon and evening. Now I set up the rice cooker to wait several hours and then start cooking the steel cut oats. This is a perfect set up for me because I can put the energy in when I have it the most (at night) and take advantage of the output at a time when I need it the most, which is when I am contemplating murder with a spoon because I can’t find the creamer.


Little Improvements

Based on my success with oatmeal, I am going to try harder to do more things at night before I go to bed. I need to break out of my dog-fart laden routine and try things a little different. Since I’m always after the kids to focus on the good things, here’s a short list of what did get done:

  1. 9 blog posts
  2. 1.5 chapters finished on “The Book”
  3. 26.5 miles run
  4. Get inspired by oatmeal

Everyone’s gotta start somewhere, right?

I’d love to hear from you all about your goals and how you’re doing, or if you have any tips for automating your morning routine. Let’s commiserate together!