Two Things That Have Me Thinking

The first is that, recently in the WordPress community, I’ve read a few posts from people who have decided to move on from the jobs they’ve had for years to pursue new opportunities. I remember when I negotiated a deal that would allow me to write about WordPress full-time and quit working at the local grocery store.

Although it wasn’t a brand new gig, it was an exciting time as it gave me renewed energy and focus to pour into the site I created. There are only a few times in my life where I’ve participated in potential career paths that seemed exciting and opened the door for new opportunities. I congratulate those who have decided to move on and to embrace the freshness that is their new job.

The second is a question asked by David Bisset on Twitter.

I replied that I’m afraid to answer the question. I think WordPress will be around in some form or fashion 5-10 years from now but will I be writing about it? This is a conversation I’ve been having with myself a lot lately. Is what I do for a living something I want to do for decades or is there a fork in my path where I get to choose a different direction.

The truth is, my current gig is the best I’ve had in my working life. Great medical benefits, vacation policy, paid travel, and a salary I never would have gotten had I stayed at the grocery store. The thought of losing that by losing my job or switching jobs scares me and it scares my wife. My wife thinks that there is no way I can get something better than what I have now. But, I’ve been doing this gig in one fashion or another for a decade and continuing on as if it’s a mundane routine without anything new and refreshing comes at the cost of possibly losing the drive, focus, passion, desire, to continue on.

The other thing that scares me is that I don’t know what I want. I don’t know what I want to do other than what I’m doing. I don’t know what I’m capable of and I sure as hell downplay everything about myself. I don’t know what would make me a happier employee. I’ve been struggling to answer these questions for months.

This is when someone says to me, apply yourself and learn something like PHP, JavaScript or whatever and get some skillsets that make you more valuable or open up more opportunities. Yeah sure, I’ll get right on that.

So the days and nights fly past while I ponder my future and career.

 

 

One Month Since Vesty’s Passing

It has been nearly a month since Vesty passed away and while I knew the grieving process wouldn’t be easy, I also didn’t think it would be this difficult.

Both of her beds are in their usual spots except they’re empty. Occasionally, we’ll catch the cat laying in the bed next to the heater which generates a loud negative verbal reaction from my wife. My wife and I have enjoyed a few evenings out together and during the course of dinner, one of us will share a memory of her which leads to one of us crying.

My wife and I have gone through bouts of deep sadness and mild depression. Her death has affected my ability to do my job well. Instead of feeling motivated, I’ve been stuck in a mopey mood.

Coming home still sucks. Even though my wife doesn’t say “Vesty! Baby girl, we’re home!” when we enter the house, I still hear it. We both have a stockpile of Kleenex on hand for the moments when we start crying which there have been many.

Every day that goes by that we don’t have a dog is a subtle reminder that we need one in our lives. We still haven’t decided on a name yet or when we’re going to get one but it will likely be after we file our taxes. Yorkies are an expensive breed that typically costs more than $1k.

I recently had three different dreams about Vesty of which one had me in tears. My wife and I usually look forward to Spring and Summer but not this year. We know what we’ll have to do when the ground thaws and we’re hoping it gives us some closure.

 

So Long Twitter, Hello Again Feedly

Not too long ago, I would be asked how I keep up with all the things that happen in the WordPress ecosystem. My answer used to be Twitter. Generally, anything that was news worthy or sharable would find its way onto my timeline.

This isn’t the case anymore. My timeline is now filled with Tweets and Retweets bashing President Trump and anything to do with him. I thought things would get better after the election but it’s only gotten worse.

I get it, Trump sucks, but the constant barrage of negativity is unbearable. I don’t need any more of this shit in my life. My Facebook feed is not as bad but it’s also a more personal network for me. I was thinking about hiding Trump tweets on Twitter to see if it would make the service useful again but I can’t hide them all.

Then I remembered how it felt when I deactivated my account for two weeks. I felt relieved and so it’s something I’m going to do again only this time it will be permanent. I’m not going to tell people what they can and can’t say or how to use a social network so quitting Twitter seems like the best solution for me. I can always get in touch with people via Facebook or Slack.

I opened my RSS reader for the first time in a long time and saw links to stories that would have been buried in Tweets about Trump if they were Tweeted at all. While browsing through feeds, I couldn’t help but notice how peaceful it was inside the app. Thank goodness Twitter and other social networks didn’t kill RSS readers.

Well, I was going to permanently deactivate my account but I don’t want to reactivate it once every thirty days so I don’t lose the data. So instead, I’ll simply log out, not use it, and remove the account from the app on my phone.

The Grieving Process Four Days Later

It’s been four tough days since Vesty passed away. My wife and I have took turns shedding tears at various moments during the week. For example, we were driving home yesterday and saw the rock Vesty always sniffed on her walks. We call it Mt. Vesty.

Then there is the mound of mulch around a tree sapling that she would climb. These are the memories that will stay with us forever but they’re also reminders that she’s gone and we won’t be going on these walks for a long time.

However, the other day, my wife and I discussed what we’d name our new dog, if we got one (when not if). We both agree that Vesty would not want us to be sad. Although it’s been rough going through the day-to-day motions without rubbing Vesty’s belly, giving her treats, and letting her outside, we are slowly moving on.

Living life without a dog is a drag and I am looking forward to getting a puppy and starting the process all over again.

Rest in Peace Vesty

We are deeply saddened to announce that Vesty “Vesta” Hartner Chandler passed away this morning at 8:57am. She had been battling Cushing’s disease for the past two years and we recently discovered she had diabetes. Vesty was a 12-year-old Yorkie AKC qualified breed.

She spent most of her life as a retiree, enjoying lots of naps, sunshine, and great food. Her favorite snacks included, milkbone biscuits, greenies, and nearly any kind of cooked meat. She was an excellent grilling partner, waiting patiently for her chance to munch on steak or chicken kabobs. What took 20 minutes to cook she would eat in 15 seconds or less.

Vesty enjoyed watching trains underneath the shade of a summer tree as she snacked on pork carnitas from Chipotle. She was the best companion a family could ask for. She was obedient, loving, compassionate, and most of all, lived life as a puppy at heart.

In her early years, Vesty would greet us at the kitchen doorstep with her stubby tail wiggling fast, excited to see us again. Her favorite questions were:

  • Wanna go for a ride?
  • Wanna go bye-bye?
  • Wanna go for a walk?

She loved riding on my lap in the truck and later, the Ford Escape with the driver-side window down. She was a top-down convertible kind of dog who loved the wind blowing through her fur.

Vesty loved to go shopping with us. We routinely took her to Home Depot, Petsmart, Petitti’s Garden Center, or anywhere we could take her. Every where we took Vesty, people fell in love with her and always commented on how well-behaved she was.

Being 12 years old, Vesty lived through various milestones.

  • The passing of Momma Hartner
  • The passing of Papa Hartner
  • Our marriage
  • The Cavs winning an NBA Championship
  • The purchase of our first brand new vehicle.
  • The Indians ALMOST winning a world series.
  • Aunty Alex and Uncle Jesse’s engagement. Vesty enjoyed free rides on the four-wheeler at Jesse’s place.
  • And Emmy sharing her cat bed.

Last year, we had a feeling that Vesty’s time with us was limited so we took her for the first time to our favorite vacation spot, the Smoky Mountains. We took a lot of great photos with her and created many valuable memories. To think, Vesty peed on the Appalachian Trail!

Vesty, my wife, and I had an amazing bond as she was involved in almost every facet of our lives. The emptiness in our hearts will be hard to fill. When we returned home from the Vet this morning, the empty bed, the water dish, her blankets, and leash, all served as reminders that Vesty was missing. This morning has been one of the most difficult events my wife, Alex, and I have experienced in our lives.

Vesty was more than a dog. She was a friend, a companion, a train watching buddy, a grilling buddy, and a great listener. She was the up when we were down. She made gloomy days sunny and life so much more enjoyable to live.

We thank everyone who has shared their concern for Vesty over the last year and appreciate the positive impact she’s had on so many of our friends and family. Vesty will live on in our memories but the physical bond has forever been broken. Please keep us and Vesty in your thoughts and prayers.

Fly Away

I’ve been struggling a lot with working from home lately. Loss of focus, desire, and endless distractions. Today, I finally went to a place that always channels my ability to work.

I’m enjoying delicious french onion soup, my favorite beer, and the occasional trains going by. I feel content, am focused on my work, and wondering how I can replicate this feeling at home.

Oh, as I write this, ‘Fly Away’ by Lenny Kravitz is on the radio. I don’t know, it seems ironic considering my mindset lately.

Repeatedly Busted for Hopping Freight Trains

I have a thing for people who hop freight trains either for fun or for travel. It provides an insanely high adrenaline rush because it’s illegal and incredibly dangerous. But the views, the wind, and the feeling of going somewhere away from wherever you’re at is priceless.

Watch as Jeff Seal tries to hop a freight train to get to Mantauk only to be busted multiple times by police. This is entertaining to watch. Hat tip: Jason Lemieux. (Has strong language)