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)

My First Day Back On Twitter Results in a Shitstorm and Being Called a Dumbass

So today I reactivated my Twitter account after two weeks and right now I wish I hadn’t. Things started off ok as I participated in some dialogue about GoDaddy acquiring ManageWP.

After I published my article on the Tavern about the news, I received the following tweet.

The first thing that goes through my head is great, here we go again. PostStatus broke the story on September 3rd but I didn’t write about it until today. Since that post was published, both GoDaddy and ManageWP published posts of their own, sources I deem more official than PostStatus. I linked to ManageWP’s post and I linked to the Advanced WordPress Facebook Post that links to the article on PostStatus.

In writing the story, I felt like I didn’t need to link to PostStatus because it was a few days after the fact and it would be better or more accurate to link to the official sources of the news. Apparently, it’s known throughout the universe except by me that providing a hat tip to the first source of the story even days after it broke is not only a courtesy, but seen as good practice according to the AP.

So here I am in a shitstorm for not linking to a site. It could be worse, I could be dead. Had I written the article on the day of or over the weekend when PostStatus was the only source, I certainly would have linked to the site. The editorials I have to write that explain why I did or did not do something is getting fucking ridiculous.

I apologize for not linking to PostStatus in the post and crediting sites that break a story days after it happened is something I’m going to discuss with my fellow editor. Oh, and the cherry on top is that I was called a dumbass but I blocked the individual who said it so I can’t link to it here.

Not Every Disagreement Is Drama Dammit

Folks in the WordPress community have created ingenious ways of sweeping things under the rug. The three most notable are Don’t read the comments, #wpdrama, and bikeshed. It’s pretty much gotten to the point where mild disagreements are viewed as drama which is stupid.

At any rate, this tweet by David Bisset is something that needs to be repeated across the WordPress echo chamber. I’m happy to see someone else speaking up and saying this as I haven’t been able to get it across to anyone.

My First Week of No Twitter

Earlier this week for the first time since I joined the service, I deactivated my Twitter account. In recent weeks, I’ve waded through a lot of bullcrap thrown at me from people because of some of the articles I published on the Tavern.

Last Saturday evening, as I was enjoying my weekend, I opened Twitter to see what people are up too. I read a response aimed at me for one of the articles I published and it immediately enraged me. I responded back the best way I could but I was livid. It took me an hour to calm down. Other interactions have led to me feeling nauseated or exhausted because I don’t have the energy to defend my thoughts and opinions.

Then on Monday, I had a brief interaction with some folks and that was the last straw. I needed to take a break because I was ready to unleash vitriol and anger at some people and it would have turned into a disaster. This is when I decided I needed to get away from Twitter for at least two weeks.

The minute I deactivated my account, I felt a sense of relief, as if a weight was lifted off of my chest. I no longer had to worry about what replies I’d see that would trigger a severe emotional reaction.

Since deactivating my account, I’ve notice a couple of things. I like to use Twitter to fire off thoughts and opinions that I have at the moment partly to archive them and partly to engage in conversations with people. This week, there have been several instances where I take out my phone, open the Twitter app to publish a thought and realize I can’t. So, I tweet it in my head where it’s probably better that way.

One of the other major changes I’ve noticed is that I feel like I’ve gotten a chunk of my daily life back. Twitter is an important part of my job and I spend a large amount of time on the service every day looking for stories and talking to people in public and private. I sort of miss bookmarking things and reading what people are saying about a particular subject, but it’s been refreshing not having it in my daily routine anymore.

I feel so good after a week without Twitter that I’ve been thinking about abandoning the service for good since I can request my archive. However, it’s too important for how I work so I can’t do that.

What I plan on doing when I come back is unfollowing the people who trigger severe emotional reactions. Delete the app from my phone and only look at and use Twitter during the times when I’m working. I’ll also stop tweeting ideas and opinions on Twitter because it doesn’t give me enough characters to explain the WHY and allow me to add tone. I’m sick of defending myself and the only way to stop giving everyone ammo is to shut up. The good old personal blog will be getting more use in the future.