The coming year

Change is coming, and soon, and big.

In a few months I’ll have a car, own my own home, a real job, and (I hope) be back in school.  All big deals.

Car:  I lost my license 5 years ago for DUI.  I lived in New York and Portland for most of those 5 years and had no need to drive, which I prefer, but now that I’m back in Colorado a car is a straight necessity. I’m eligible for reinstatement now, but first I have to buy a car and have an Interlock (ignition breathalizer) system installed.  My last invoice to my Uncle is earmarked for a down-payment, so as soon as he pays me, I’ll go out and buy something.  I think I’m looking to spend around $8000, and I think I can get a decent used car for that.  I do prefer living in a walking city, but I’m here, and I’m excited to have wheels again.

House:  My parents want to GIVE me $25,000 for a down-payment.  Damn they’re nice.  I looked around a little and decided that my grandma’s house is as good as any for the price.  It’s old and needs some immediate work, but it’s in a decent location and there’s nothing too wrong about it.  The most right thing about it is that I can rent out the basement and that will cover 2/3 of my mortgage.  I never really wanted to be a homeowner, but now that it’s about to happen I can see a lot of upside.  We’re going to close the deal in January.

Job:  So now I’m going to have a mortgage and a car payment to make.  Not to mention groceries, meds, health insurance, car insurance, gas, internet, utilities, cigarettes and booze…  I’m going to need a job.  I’m actually really apprehensive about this.  My resume is shit.  I’ve worked a few great jobs in my time, I’ve run my own business… but I’ve also worked a lot of crappy jobs, never worked anywhere for more than a year, spent a lot of time unemployed, and I’ve been to prison.  Plus Colorado has like 9% unemployment.  There just aren’t that many openings out there.  I’m afraid that the best I’m going to find is working at a call center or flipping burgers at Jack-in-the-Box.  Ugh.  And ugh.  I have two flipping degrees.  I’m intelligent and capable.  I feel like the world owes me interesting work and a decent wage.  And first there’s the hunt; I fucking hate job hunting.  But I guess I gotta do what I gotta do.

School:  About this I’m excited.  I’ve just decided, somewhere in the past week, that I’m going to do an MBA.  With a focus in entrepreneurship.  The end goal is to start my own company to produce awesome software that takes advantage of new hardware capabilities as new platforms appear.  Right now it’s smart phones and tablet computers.  But soon it will be, what? Wearable computers?  Smart glasses?  Who knows?  My three most rewarding work experiences were iCubed (being part of a new start-up venture, being part of inventing a new educational computing paradigm, though we didn’t get far enough with it), Tiny Green Schools (starting and running my own non-profit), and this BrainJuicer thing (being part of building iPad apps, mainly from business (non-technical) perspective).  So the dream is to start my own small, innovative software company, which I think could be better than the best parts of all of those experiences.  With that goal in mind, the short-term prospect of actually being back in school is great too.  I love school, and even if business school isn’t quite as appealing as studying something new and fascinating (wouldn’t it be fun to go back and study astronomy this time? or industrial design? or more sociology?) oh well.  I’ll still love being in school, and I’ll do it right this time.  I have until April to take the GMAT and apply.

So.  Car, home, job, school.  Big changes.  It will be like a real life, all of a sudden.  I’m praying to the sky sprites that it all works out right.

The past year

My life has been easy, static, dull, for the past year.

For eight months I took care of my grandma.  Sleeping in her basement, making her meals, helping her to the toilet, putting her to bed.  That life was cooking, pills and poop, and lots of leisure that I mostly wasted watching Netflix.

For the past 5 months I’ve been living with and working for my parents.  Sleeping in their basement, making their dinners, feeding the horses, doing carpentry and construction.  This life is mommy and daddy, dogs and horses, manual work, being stuck at home in the country all the time with no social contact, and lots of leisure time that I mostly waste watching on-demand movies and reading sci-fi.

There have been bright spots during this year.  The love and support of my family is a huge blessing.  Dating, before I moved back here to my folks’ place, was fun; several very nice girls but nobody special.  Since Grandma died and I moved back to my folks (they live in the country and I don’t drive) I’ve been socially starved, lonely, and bored.  But on the other hand, I love my parents and I’m lucky to be able to save up some money working for them.

Perhaps the highlight of this past year was working for my uncle’s company.  I’m basically a middleman, a facilitator between a market-research company in New York called BrainJuicer, and a group of programmers in India called XTPL, reporting to my unc in England.  BJ wants iPad applications — market-research surveys that feed a database, which they analyze and produce reports for their clients, like Ford Motors, Orange telecom, HSBC bank, Skoda auto, Asda supermarkets…  Those iPad apps are written in India by a team of programmers at a company called XTPL.  I sit in the middle, helping the two companies communicate and collecting a decent wage for my trouble.  I revise and refine survey specifications, clarify and sometimes dispute change requests, set and negotiate prices, and field lots of emails and skype calls from India and New York.  It’s been a fun and fairly inspiring job.  Unfortunately in the past few weeks it has begun to seem quite likely that there’s going to be a parting of ways between BJ and my uncle’s company.  Bad blood between Unc and BJ’s iPad project manager, Pamela.  I have a great relationship with Pam and her team, and a great relationship with the programmers, too.  The last project I managed went of with very little friction, despite an extraordinary number of late change requests and the fact that I had to raise the price twice.  So.. no fault of mine, but it looks like this might be the end of that gig.  Too bad.

So that’s the past year, in a nutshell.  The coming year looks more interesting.



I remodeled a bathroom.  Soup to nuts.  I put in a wall and door, layed down subfloor, tiled the floor and walls, built a vanity from scratch (out of beetle-kill pine — it came out beautiful, if I do say), built a medicine chest, installed sink, faucet, toilet, fixtures…

I took it from plain ugly to totally beautiful.  It was a big job.