More Rock, Less Talk

I’ve been teaching more piano lessons, and am on the cusp of earning some fraction of a living at it. This makes me so happy. I really do love spending my time that way. Folks have been very encouraging. I’m especially grateful to Laura for making it all possible—she even collected those endorsements and gave them to me for Christmas.

My songwriting has slowed a lot this year, but I’m inspired to light a fire under my muse. They Might Be Giants have revamped their Dial-A-Song service for the age of YouTube, and I’m just in awe of them all over again. My plan is to embrace Quantity (alongside Melody and Fidelity) as They’ve long espoused, and crank out more volume. I also think I need to take it all a bit less Seriously; I believe that’s been slowing me down, and it’s really just a diminished version of the same self-stifling that kept me from trying to write songs for most of my life.

Passing the Crossroads

It’s looking like a move back to North Carolina is still not in the cards for us. But the good news is that we’re excited enough about our new house to be happy anyway. We did put an offer on the house I mentioned before, and the owners accepted. We’re currently wading through loan application stuff (that is, Laura’s wading through that while I finally do our income taxes).

We like the house’s layout and its location. Some of the equipment is getting old (e.g. water heater, one of the AC units), but it’s in great shape otherwise and everything’s still functional as of now. The neighborhood seems nice and has a bunch of small kids for Riley and Lydia to play with. The one downside is that there’s no garage or even a carport, but I can live with that.

I applied for a contract-to-hire job as a web developer here in Atlanta. Still no word, but the recruiter did forward my resume to their client yesterday, so at least I made it that far. It’s a junior-level position, which I’m overqualified for, truth be told, but I’m reasoning that my child-rearing hiatus will make that seem less true. But I’m also sure they’re flooded with applicants, so I’m not holding my breath. It would be a good thing, though, so wish me luck.

lateral career move to Senior Domestician

Laura’s maternity leave gave out in early November. Since then I’ve been watching Riley during the day, just the two of us here at home. I’ve also still been working for IBM, 20 hours a week or more. So I haven’t accomplished much else for a while.

It’s gotten steadily more difficult to meet expectations at work as Riley’s gotten older. He’s at the stage where’s developed enough to want to interact and explore, but not developed enough to accomplish much himself. So he gets bored and frustrated unless you’re right there entertaining him all the time. Which of course I’m perfectly happy to do, but then I can’t be working too. (Not that I haven’t tried; sadly, watching me type is as boring to him as it would be to anyone, no matter how dramatically I read aloud as I do it.)

When I started out, Riley was napping for two or three hours every morning, and at least an hour every afternoon. Then after a few weeks his naps kind of evaporated. So for the past month or two, most of the work I’ve been able to do has been at night after he’s gone to sleep. About the last thing I want to do at night is read dry technical articles about database software. So I’ve felt less and less motivated to go the extra worker bee mile.

As much as I like my job (and I really do, despite how this must sound), I don’t want to end up resenting it or doing it badly. So I’m phasing myself out of it now. I’ll stay for another month or so, while they find someone to replace me, and then take a hiatus to focus completely on Riley. My manager said he’d love to have me back when I’m ready, which is great. The idea here is to leave while that’s still true. I would like to come back eventually, if it’s feasible.

Meanwhile, I can’t believe how fast Riley’s grown. I look at the earliest photos of him now and can’t fathom that he used to be that small. See for yourself. He’s so much more fun these days, he smiles and babbles at us a lot. He responds well to music, and really loves getting swung around in the air. He also loves going out wherever and watching new people. We’ll be doing a lot more of that once I’ve stopped working. He’s going to love it.

I started at IBM on Monday. It’s quite the corporate behemoth, and a very different work environment than I’m used to. With the team that I’m on, though, the general feeling is kind of like being on a Federation starship: you’re part of something huge and fairly bureaucratic, but your immediate group is a bubble of relative autonomy. There’s an extremely collaborative atmosphere. Everyone’s been really helpful to me so far, while I’ve been acclimating. It’s a really good group of people.

I’ve enjoyed the work itself too. I think I like editing more than writing, as it turns out. I’m off to a modestly decent start, and everyone seems pretty pleased with my work so far.

It seems like everyone I meet there asks me, “Have you ever worked for IBM before?” I’m starting to see why that’s such a common question; they do some things in kind of peculiar (or at least special) ways. They rely very heavily on Lotus Notes, for example (which is probably not so unusual for a company this size, but I swear that island in The Odyssey didn’t use this much Lotus. But then, it is IBM’s product after all). I guess it’s a testament to their organizational consistency that “working for IBM” is its own skill set.

I got a contract job at IBM. I’ll be on a team of editors working on their developerWorks site. I’m excited about it, I’m sure I’ll be learning a lot. I start next week.

In other news, my 15th high school reunion is coming up. I haven’t been in touch with anyone from my high school at all, pretty much since graduation. That’s mostly because I expect that a lot of these people probably still think of me as a doughy, spoiled, somewhat judgmental prude. And sure, I’ve probably just been mostly paranoid about it anyway, but it hasn’t been worth it to me to find out. To the extent that this opinion of me was based on anything real, I would feel embarrassed to be around these people, and to the extent that it wasn’t, I would feel indignant. Either way, it’s meant no class reunions for me, at least up to now. But when I look at myself and how much I’ve changed since high school, and realize that everyone I knew back then could very well have changed as much, that does make me kind of curious. I can’t go anyway because the timing is bad with the new job, but I do have the chance to get in touch with some old classmates, so I am. If I don’t even give them a chance, I’m the one who’s being unfair.