I’ll be straight forward in answering that question. There, are, however, a few answers to this.
A lot changed in the past 90 days. First, the big news: we’re expecting a new family member, due December of this year. That’s right, Kelly is pregnant, and so I get to become a dad, again… for the first time. If that doesn’t make any sense, the explanation is: Eli and Caidi are actually, technically my step children… but for quite a while, now, I’ve been dad… that’s the role I fill in it’s entirety at this point, not because I could ever truly replace what they lost (no one can ever really replace another person) but because the only person now who handles that responsibility is me.
That hasn’t always been easy, but not because of the kids. They’re amazing, fantastic, wonderful… and they have accepted me, near as I can tell, fully as being dad, now. No, the “not easy” is because I often can feel overwhelmed by the prospects of having to be there and guide the kids. I’m fortunate that my wife has done so much to teach me how to be a parent, and did so much in bringing them up well on her own. She never needed me, she certainly could have done everything herself, but she made me a part of their lives, and them a part of mine, and it’s a reminder that whatever part I play is purely because she always wants them to know the love of a father AND a mother.
But for every challenge they faced, my wife took every step necessary, and then some, to make it possible for Eli and Caidi to flourish… and those kids have flourished. Every step Kelly took to provide opportunities for growth was matched by an effort from the kids to accomplish more and more. Eli and Caidi did the work, and every bit of their abilities advanced because of that work; and all of those opportunities was made possible by the most amazing mother.
Eli is a smart, confident and extremely caring man. He overcame awkwardness and some auditory processing challenges, and has and is continuing to develop the skills at organization and self-management to succeed dramatically in education, and applying that every day life.
Caidi is a wonderful, thoughtful and loving young lady, who overcame a few serious learning struggles (reading, in particular) and now is earning high grades almost across the board… including math, something I always struggled with.
Both of them are heading into more advanced programs in school, on the recommendations of their teachers. And all of that because they applied themselves. And that ability stemmed from Kelly’s help. Yes, other friends and family members contributed, but none of this could have happened without Kelly.
This will be the first time I am here from the start. That’s rather terrifying. Once again, though, I know Kelly will guide me through this, and our child will turn out to be the best little boy / girl in the world.
Following along on answer 1 is answer 2, directly related. Answer 2 is that we need to reconfigure our living space to accommodate the coming little one. Kelly and I will be making the rec room in the basement into temporary living quarters. Eli keeps his room, but he’ll be going back to a twin bed. The one he’s had is nice and all, but he misses having open floor space – I can’t blame him for that.
Caidi will be moving into our bedroom. She could use the space. A teenager in a jail cell, that’s probably what it feels like to her. A baby, however, doesn’t need quite as much space at this point. So the little one will take Caidi’s old room. If all goes well, this will only last a year or so. Hopefully by this time next year we can finally be in a home of our own. Of course, with 5 people, 5 pets – two being larger dogs – plus the likelihood that both Kelly and I will be working from home at least a good deal of the time (maybe even permanently in Kelly’s case), we’re going to need a good sized home. Eli and Caidi are likely to be with us for another decade. We don’t know if they’ll go away to college yet, or if they’ll go for trade occupations, but even if they go away for part of the year, they’ll still need a place to come home to during breaks.
Add to that the fact that Kelly and I both have hobbies that necessitate having more space. So yeah, 4 bedrooms, at least 1 and a half baths, and 1800 square feet of space… and a moderately reasonable-sized yard. I mean, we don’t need a farm here, but 1/4 to 1/3 of an acre would really be best. Of course, a few people have been telling us not to get too much house, but then, growing up, I often felt claustrophobic in my bedroom as a teenager. The need to have more working space is greater than it was even when I was growing up. So a bigger place is a necessity. But I digress.
The bottom line is, with the need to reorganize the use of our place, I’ve had to put a few projects on hold for the time being. The big one is, of course, the train layout. Most that is coming down… not that it was all that far along, but a 12 x 12 space in the basement is a lot of space to convert into a make-shift bedroom. I may be able to keep up a 3 x 6 layout so I’ll have something to do, but that’ll be the limit until we have a proper home again.
Seriously, have you seen the prices of lumber lately? I find it a great example of ironic that I really have a complete collection of woodworking tools… and now lumber is do damned expensive that a project is ridiculously expensive to attempt. That being said, I will hopefully at least be making a bed for my son, much like the one I did last year for my daughter, and perhaps a pair of desks to give my wife and I space to work better… but in all likelihood, that’ll be it. At least until the price of sheet goods (plywood) comes down again. C’est la vie, which really translated into “what the f…” or “that’s life”… you know, if you go for the “appropriate translation”.
Never one to be entirely deterred, I have been spending a fair amount of time with the electronics / 3D printing world. I have a pathological need to “make” things, so I’ve had a bunch of attention on that lately. The end result is that I haven’t put in as much time here. I need to balance that time out. And along with that, I really need to spend more time with my family; especially my wife. I get way to caught up in “other stuff” and I can get bad and seem neglectful at times because of it. So year, that needs to change, but my hobbies have pulled me away from this site, and too much from family… as I said, balance.
This is more of a positive, but it has it’s impact on things as well. At this stage, at 41 years of age, I am mostly wrapping up working as a consultant to other places. It’s not that I haven’t liked the work (or the money) but honestly I broke myself doing that for 20 years. 90 hours a week of work has taken it’s toll on me, and I needed to get away from some of the stuff that encouraged that bad behavior. For a while, this site was probably a contribution to that fact. I’ll still do the occasional piece of side-work now, but it’s more limited… but given the fact that I needed to step away from that, I’ve spent less time on here.
So that’s it. I’ve been busy, a lot of changes have taken place, and it ate up a LOT of my time. I’m hoping at least a bit of this can change now, especially after we get the place reorganized. And honestly, it could make a different in the long term, since I’ll be limited on what I can do, and with a young one around, we’ll be home more with less outside distraction. But until everything is in place, it might still be sporadic around here. Still, the railroad will continue, even if in truncated form, and some other projects will make it up here, even if they’re not the type I would love to do, ultimately. I’ll make do on that. And hopefully there will be more to follow, soon. For now, though, here is the latest project I’m working on.
This is just a small (not really) lighting project I’ve been doing that combines my knowledge on electronics (Arduino and Raspberry Pi) and 3D printing. I’ll post more on this as it progresses.