Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Some 2010 Highlights

Well it appears as though my daily responsibilities have stifled my blog posting as of late.

It is quite evident that my blog posts have been lacking and borderline non-existent over this past year.

What can I say? Between learning the ropes of the new job, working on the house, maintaining the yard, and trying to have some sort of a life, my leisure time has become a commodity and it's getting harder to focus on this blog anymore.

I do enjoy my responsibilities and even look forward to working with my hands. I enjoy planting our flowers, watering our shrubs, hanging out in the garage and tipping back a few beers while working on my truck. At this point in my life, after staring into a luminescent screen for eight to ten hours a day, getting my hands dirty has become an enjoyable release.

Anyways, to touch on some of the bigger highlights since my last post, there have been several notable blog-worthy developments over the past year. I am engaged. Matilda and I got engaged in front of her parents and brother back in April. We are planning a private wedding in Jamaica sometime in February.

In March of this year I was laid off by BBN Technologies where I had worked on the same project for five consecutive years. Only after the government had spent millions of dollars and countless man hours to develop this piece of software that my company was working on did they decide to throw it away and start over with a different contractor.

I have to be honest, it was definitely frustrating at the very least. I have never committed myself to any project or company for that amount of time. To see five years worth of effort get tossed away like that was devastating. Looking back however, the scenario is typical in the cut throat world of defense contracting.

Shortly thereafter, I was yearning for a clearer mind and a sense of adventure since I had both the money and the time to challenge myself to do something that I have always wanted to do. So in May I packed up a bag or two and I set off on a solo cross-country motorcycle journey across the United States. In eight days I went coast to coast on route 40 from Baltimore MD to San Diego CA through nine beatiful states.

The trip was absolutely incredible, I was completely exposed to the environment on my motorcycle through the most unimaginable weather conditions I have ever experienced. Outside of hiking some mountains in Alaska and accidentally running into some glacier crossings it was the most challenging and at times the scariest adventure of my life. More on this in another blog post.

I spent the other half of the summer voluntarily unemployed strumming on my banjo and learning how to sweat pipes, roll sod, put up fences, run 14-2 with ground. Yes, I was my own apprentice learning the trades of plumbing, landscaping, electricity and all around general maintenance while fixing up our 1920's era Baltimore Bungalow.

More recently, I started a new job in the private sector and have been working 9 - 10 hour days trying to play catch up from working in the government industry for so long. My skills were practically obsolete compared to the private sector. But here I am, the knowledge is starting to come together, I've got a great girl, a great pad, a great life all around.

Life is good and I am happy and that’s all that really matters.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Salty Balty-More

It had been a long time coming and to be truthful I am surprised it did not happen sooner. In fact, it was over two years ago during an unusualy long and bitter cold winter that I mustered up the courage to sell the majority of my belongings and completely split out of DC town for what I assumed would be at the very least an extended vacation on the West Coast.

In transition, and shortly after moving into Matilda's apartment as a staging ground for a cross country truck trip, I fell ill to a severe inner ear infection that had my world spinning and kept me off balance and severely sick for the better part of six months. My wanderlust would have to wait.

After using the winter to slowly heal and nearing the completion of Matilda's degree we decided that it would be best if we left the DC region entirely.

Even though as a result of my ear infection, I did not have the chance to explore the West Coast, we still flirted with the idea of settling in San Diego, Colorado, and even discussed Austin Texas. One compelling factor that kept us grounded to the East Coast in our discussions was the proximity to our families in Upstate, New York. We were willing to sacrifice a lot, but family was uncomprimisable.

After many discussions the question seemed to always come back full circle. Should we just stay in DC? Mind you that I have run the full gambit in DC metro living. I have lived in Arlington, S. Alexandria, N. Alexandria, Woodbridge, and Manassas. Never quite finding a comfortable landing.

The last eight years have had me cooped up in apartments, high-rises, and condominiums. As a result, I was desperately yearning for a my own house with a garage, a workshop, and a garden. All a man needs. Seriously, I have been working with intangible software at my 9 to 5 for years. I needed some space and opportunity where I could work and get my hands dirty building, fixing, growing tangible objects. We knew that this was not going to be an affordable possibility in the greater DC region.

After some research and a general familiarity with our largest northern neighbor we decided to entertain the idea of moving to Baltimore.

Fast forward six more months and it was late October and Matilda had been working in Baltimore since September. So towards the latter part of October after working with a Realtor over the entire summer we found a beautiful house in North East Baltimore that seemed ironicaly have found us. As it turns out it is a true original craftsman house, a type of house we have always dreamed of owning. The Arts and Crafts (Craftsman) movement in architecture is a facinating history and we both agreed with the pricinples of this movement. We made an offer on the house and anxiously waited for the sellers to accept. They did, and as of November 20th we have taken ownership of our dream home.

So here we are, we live within the city limits, I have a detached two car garage, my back yard, with a garden coming soon. I even got my workshop downstaires in the semi-finished basement. Lastly as a major bonus, I have always wanted to live in a sea-faring community and everyday as I drive over the Inner Harbor on the route 95 bridge I get the opportunity to look off to my left and see ocean freighters unloading their cargo. What a beautiful sight.