Saturday, June 20, 2009

Full Circle: Reliving the Journey

I started this blog 2 and a half years ago, thinking I hated all things computers. I had just quit my high tech job in Seattle and had no idea where life would take me. Anywhere but high tech.

It was only about 2 months or so until I started doodling architecture design sketches for, which should have been my first clue that my future would be much more software-oriented than I had thought.

Then I moved on to Asheville, got myself the worst-paying software job I've ever had, and tried to make a go of that for about 6 months before dedicating myself full time to building websites for clients and finishing foodscout. That's been a good amount of fun but one thing that taught me is that I hate being poor.

Wow have I had less money than I've ever had in my life. John and I decided last November that it wasn't worth it and we both set out to find all new soul-sucking software jobs again. I interviewed at many places, hated almost all of them, with a couple of exceptions. But nothing worked out.

In April, we all but gave up on the job search entirely and decided to build something. We sat down for a "brainstorming meeting" determined to come up with an idea that might bring in some money. The first thing John suggested was "what about templated, commoditized websites for Republican organizations so that we can sell them kick-ass websites that are really inexpensive?" And, meeting adjourned. I immediately got to work and 2 months later, just a week before I started my new job, we launched GOP Web Connect.

And that brings us to this week, when I started working at the absolute best possible job in all of Asheville. I'm a software developer at the National Climatic Data Center (contractor), a place where everyone runs to the windows when a big storm rolls through town and everyone you meet tells you "This is just a wonderful place to work."

I've spent the last 3 days shopping for all the things I have needed but haven't been able to afford since I moved to Asheville in 2007. Like a ladder to clean out the gutters. And a real living room chair to replace the lawn chair with the Mexican blanket draped over it that's sitting there now.

I'm not complaining though. The last 2 and a half years of total uncertainty have been a blessing. I was forced to learn to adapt and accept not knowing what comes next. Embrace it even. I also learned to enjoy building software for its own sake, not because some corporate hierarchy tells me to. And I had time to focus on the things that really matter - community, friendship, love, health, art.

I still have all those things, all those lessons learned. But now, on top of that, I have lots and lots of money too!!! Well, I'm not rich or anything, but it's all relative. Compared to what I've had, I may as well be a millionaire.

Life is good. I have no complaints whatsoever.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Feng Shui Fountain on the Cheap

About a year ago, I was browsing my neighborhood thrift store (which sadly is going out of business) and I found this fantastic copper pot for $7. I had just been shopping for a copper table fountain around that time which were about $2-300. Ouch!

About 3 months ago my hot water heater blew up and needed to be replaced to the tune of about $500. Knowing that I had the perfect fountain bowl, I asked the guy installing my water heater to please save all the little pieces of copper pipe that were being trimmed.

And finally, in April, John kindly bought me a fountain pump for my birthday as a little incentive to get that thing built. Feeling motivated, we went to the hardware store and picked up a couple of copper pipe connector thingies.

Voila! A fountain! It only cost us about $40 total and it looks cooler than most of the ones I found online.

According to our feng shui expert, having "water features" in the house was supposed to help our finances, which is good because I've been REALLY broke. I'm not going to assert that one definitely caused the other but I will tell you with complete honesty and no sarcasm that the money has been flowing as consistently as my little fountain.

Starting from the day I plugged that thing in about 3 weeks ago, I've gotten several checks in the mail from new clients as well as old clients who had overdue bills. Then I got a good job offer in Asheville, for a job I had applied for last December with no success. And just this week I find out that I am going to inherit several thousand dollars from a relative that I didn't know had any assets to bequeath.

Apparently water features don't work the same for everyone though. So don't go putting one in your livingroom thinking it will make you rich. For you, it could cause you to go broke or make your hair fall out or something. I made that up, but seriously, it doesn't work the same for everyone.