Sunday, December 31, 2006

The year in review

Our son grew up a lot. He also became a charming, energetic pain in the ass with a definite tendency towards pushing the limits until they break. He learned to be kind of nasty to his parents. On the other hand, he managed to potty train himself, developed some skill at drawing, and sticks up for his friends at school, even when other kids try and pick on them. He's one of the more popular boys in his pre-k classroom, and he does have an outsized personality to match. He grew - a lot - 5T clothes are often too short for him now.

My wife got her job well under control for the most part, putting up upper-tier numbers while still managing to be there for us.

My business has grown to the point where I no longer doubt my chances of a long-term career. I am paying myself a decent salary, have hired one full-time employee, recently added a part-timer, and hope to put on another full-time (specializing in the Windows side) come springtime. I plan to continue managing conservatively, paying myself modestly, and working my butt off to try and make the customers happy in 2007.

Life as a one-cat household suits us fine (Danny was dispatched in 2005). David would like us to add a dog because "Gracie would be friends with a dog", but that's not gonna happen.

Gadget lust in our household has slowed down a lot - the only gadget of note this past year (for the house) was a TiVo Series 3 that Jane and I jointly bought as our holiday gift to ourselves. We've had it for a day. It rocks. It would rock more if we could do multiroom transfers to it from the old one, though.

I did buy a pair of Intel Macs this year, though. Both were for work - not home (even though I'm typing this on one). I started out with a 15" MacBook Pro, then when I hired Joey I gave that one to her and bought a 17". Nice (though not a Core 2 Duo model).

We also finally erased the biggest error that loomed over my history of decision-making - I got rid of the minivan. Never should have bought it in the first place (I overestimated how long we would have to drive around with all the Baby Crap in the car, and I thought at the time it was likely we'd follow up David with an encore). The Kia Sorento we bought in its place is a nice small SUV with AWD that gets about the same mileage and is much nicer to drive (and can go on the beach when we go to Martha's Vineyard).

In related vein, we started taking family vacations again this year. I hope to continue the trend.

And we weaseled one final year out of our house's paint job. But that goes come springtime.

Of course there were a lot more things that happened to us, good and bad, and I've opined many an entry about the other things that have happened in life and the world, but that's a nice, stranger-friendly way to put my version of the "friends & family" letter that a lot of families now include in their holiday cards out for your reading enjoyment. If you're one of our friends reading this, I hope you're enjoying the sanitized update. If you're one of my customers - I hope you keep employing my firm to handle your work as we grow. We won't let you down (unless you're one of the deadbeats - you know who you are and in at least one case I won't forget the $200 you've owed us since February! - in that case please send the check and then lose our number). And if you're one of the total strangers who stumbles upon my blogsite, well, hope you enjoyed what you read, but not enough to stalk us. Happy New Year, and have a great 2007!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy whatever, 2006...

Santa brought a bunch of goodies to David (even though he really hasn't done much lately to deserve a visit). David is accordingly happy, if underappreciative. And that's about as much enthusiasm as I'll muster for that part of things for the moment. If he keeps it up, within a season or two we'll whack him upside the head with the Truth About Santa early!

As for us, Santa (in the form of my credit card) bought a single gift for Jane and I to share (with her full consent) - a TiVo Series 3 box. It'll be hooked up over the weekend (Comcast is coming with two CableCards for it on Saturday), and I am happily using TiVo Decode Manager (a wonderful free Mac utility) to download and archive the best stuff from our Series 2 before we replace it. The Series 2 will live on, though - with a year's subscription to continue on before we decide any further fate.

I do have some stuff archived on the horrid Comcast DVR that I will try and watch this week before I take it back to the local office. If Comcast didn't make such a horrid DVR I'd have kept it, but as far as I can tell the programmers responsible for this beast studied TiVo and then asked themselves: "How can we build a DVR that is completely unlike TiVo yet still can occasionally record television?" Once they had the answer coded, they issued forth the Comcast HD-DVR box. It sucks.

Having changed out original plans due to health problems, Jane is now going to visit her folks with David in tow for the rest of the week, leaving tomorrow. I will use the opportunity to work my butt off and end 2006 on a big note (by the way, check out my revised website - now with CSS!). Woodge owed me a favor and built it to update my look a tad.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

That'll teach me

We took David out to dinner tonight - we brought a book, which helped. But then he was troublesome again at mealtime, and capped it off when I got up to go to the bathroom. He tagged along, and spent way too much effort on figuring out how to close the stall door.

He succeeded beyond his wildest imagination. And locked himself in. After many attempts to get him out the easy way, I finally made him crawl out. Fortunately the floor was pretty clean right there.

And a happy festivus to you, too.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The rat finks

Announcement this morning - the station switch here from Progressive Talk to Latino is going to be tomorrow. Which really sucks.

The only mitigating factor at all is that Al is in reruns this week and next for his annual USO tour, and Steph is on vacation as well.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

More of my media, wrenched away

In other media news, the final airing of the WLVI (Channel 56) Ten o Clock News was last night - after which the entire station was laid off. They were bought by the parent company of WHDH (Channel 7), who will be replacing the show with a version using thier own staff, at the usual breakneck pace.

The Channel 56 newscast was our preferred one for many years - a little slower, more sober, and the staff consisted of primarily local people who had worked together for years. That's how I prefer my newscasts - not the usual MTV-paced stuff (Channel 7 was a pioneer in that regard, unfortunately). But my demographic isn't as relevant, and the trend is clear.

So I'm adding the new Channel 56 news at 10 to the list of shows to avoid - WBZ runs a news show at 9:30 on Channel 38 and I'll probably go there for the time being.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Ticked off

Though no official announcement has been made, it is now a Generally Known Fact that the radio station I listen to most of the time (1200/1440 AM - broadcasting with less power than a typical hair dryer) is going to be dropping the "Progressive Talk" format sometime after the first of the year and going to a Spanish format called "Rumba".

Not that I'm a fan of the whole Air America lineup - the Young Turks do nothing for me, and I don't really like Randi Rhodes too much, but I did listen to Al Franken every day and I really am going to miss Stephanie Miller in the 9-noon slot.

It's going to be a difficult adjustment. I refuse to listen to the troglodytes in the morning on WEEI, Gary LaPierre is retiring in two weeks on WBZ (there's a familiarity factor here), and Imus jumped the shark years ago. I may have to get satellite or something - but after checking out the lineups I need Sirius to get Miller and she's on in the wee hours on that - and all the AA stuff is on XM. Which would give me a tough choice indeed.

I have a feeling I'll be listening to my iPod on the car mornings most of the time for a while to come...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Giving myself a holiday gift - and it's not free time

First of all, in honor of the Fox News War On Christmas, I am substituting the word "holiday" wherever possible. Apologies in advance.

That said, I treated myself to an early holiday gift that just arrived this week - a particularly slick Woot deal (a 19" LCD with good specs for $105 after a $100 rebate). It looks spiffy so far. That was my big indulgence.

That and the possibility of getting a TiVo Series 3 for the family as the "house" present. TiVo remains the only gadget I've imposed on the house that my wife endorses completely, and David has learned to operate our Series 2 even though he can't read yet. He also knows how to operate the DVD player and takes care of all the tech details for his babysitters.

The last couple of days have been tough - Jane had a corporate muckety-muck visit sprung on her literally at the last second, and she's had to spend her last three days (including today, normally her day off) making sure all the stores on the visit are spic-and-span so as to suck up properly. It's total BS - if these higher-ups would rather see tidy counters than big sales numbers then they're being irresponsible to the shareholders and should all be canned. And my poor wife is completely screwed by this whim since she has to deal with it all, miss her weekend days off (her usual days off are Sunday and Monday, and she's stuck for both of them). David's been more irritated than me over the whole thing - and Jane's so frantic over it that she's saving the irritation for later.

The kicker is that work at my place has gotten busy to the point that I'm routinely working most evenings just to play catch-up. But I try to put it aside as best as I can once I finally arrive home each day until David goes to bed. It doesn't always work out that way, but I try. And so does Jane.

This is the downside of being 2-career parents. The only thing I can say is that at least it's all mine in my case.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A sad day

Bucky's Burritos in Newburyport is no more. Suddenly, my lunches have even less meaning than they usually do...