• Archives

  • Categories:

Colds, parks, and holidays

We’ve all been sick a lot. It seems we’re in the midst of what all families go through when their kids first go to (pre)school, a non-stop parade of colds that are annoying, but not severe enough to require anything beyond rest and cold medicine. We have the added fun of regular COVID-19 tests, both at home and through the school district. Thankfully, they’ve all been negative. We just have colds. The latest one for me turned into a sinus infection that required antibiotics, and I still have a lingering cough, but I am feeling a lot better. Next week is Adam’s last week of school, so I’m hoping our summer will be quieter infection-wise around here.

We also recently had our first injury-related urgent care visit for a child! Adam took a tumble on the stairs and ended up with a couple of head wounds that we decided to have looked at. Turns out, he was fine. And he handled the entire ordeal like champ, maybe even too well, since he’s since excitedly asked several times whether certain wild behaviors would result in him needing to go to the doctor for a bandage. We then need to talk him out of it, without making him scared of going to the doctor!

Now, one thing he shouldn’t be needing a bandage for again is tripping on the concrete and tiles out back. When we moved in, we didn’t think much of the slab of concrete in the back yard, and even kind of liked the tile layout. As time went on and the kids started getting old enough to play out there more independently, they’re looking less great. The tile has started cracking and coming up, and the concrete slab is a magnet for the kids tripping and there have already been a couple minor skinned knees as a result. With Aaron walking now, and one caretaker routinely being out back with both boys, I decided to do something about how precarious it had become. I looked into a few options for covering it all, but it was all coming up kind of expensive, especially for a back yard area that we hope to get replaced in a year or two with a landscaping remodel. I landed on going with some fake grass, which has the price sweet spot of 6×8 foot segments. As a temporary measure, I had no illusions that it would look good or work particularly well, but it actually came out better than I expected. Even with some windy weather recently, I had to go out and fix a few corners, but it was easy and quick to do and it still looks fine. Plus, it works, no injuries! And it’s made the whole back yard a more pleasant place to be.

We’re taking advantage of the nice weather by going out to local parks as well. I took both boys to the Hayward Japanese Gardens a few weeks ago, with the intention of pushing Aaron in the stroller while Adam walked around. Unfortunately I underestimated Aaron’s new-found mastery of walking and his desire to follow his big brother in everything he does. Within just a couple minutes it became clear there was no way I would be able to keep him contained in the stroller. Chasing two toddlers around a park with a big stroller in tow was technically doable, but not an experience I was keen to repeat. The next time we went, we went as a family so MJ could take Aaron while I chased Adam around everywhere.

Beyond the Japanese Gardens, I’ve taken the boys to a few other parks and playgrounds both with our au pair and MJ. It’s become quickly apparent that little Aaron is a playground fan, and Adam prefers going “hiking” everywhere we go. It usually means we each get an assigned kid for our outings so they can do the activities they prefer. Even during an outing to a local community center that’s 90% playground, Adam managed to find a trail and discover some interesting trees with me.

We observed Passover exclusively at home for the third year in a row. The first night Seder is traditionally held at home with your immediate family anyway, so it was nice to have that with the boys. With a lull in COVID-19 cases and broadly available vaccines for healthy people over five, a lot of folks went back to in-person second night Seders, so we didn’t do a virtual one this year, as we had in 2020 and 2021. But with all of us going through the round of colds, I was fine with sitting the second night out.

We were also quite sick on our 9th wedding anniversary on April 28th. We had reservations for outdoor dining at one of our favorite restaurants in Sausalito, but we didn’t want to spread whatever cold we had, and we weren’t feeling well enough to enjoy it anyway. It’s now been put on hold for about a month, but we’re determined to get back to it. With two little ones at home and not a lot of support due to the pandemic, it’s incredibly difficult to find time together, and we both know how important it is not to forget “us” right now.

Mother’s Day was more of an event. Adam picked out some flowers when I took the boys to the Farmers Market as usual on the day before, and then we took the boys to the nearby Oakland Aviation Museum. It’s on the smaller side for an aviation museum, but the perfect size for a couple toddlers, and they really loved it. Plus, we could keep our stay on the shorter side and get them home before they needed lunch and naps. It was also pretty empty since it was Mother’s Day, so while we’ve tended to avoid indoor public spaces with them, we were OK bringing the boys inside hanger-like museum part, as well as spending about half our time outdoors.

In other life news, we bought a new car. After selling my beloved Maserati, our plan was to get a minivan for our next car. Our Hyundai Santa Fe (3-row SUV) is getting tight, especially as Aaron rapidly outgrows his infant seat (which is removable, and allows someone to easily sit in the middle seat). At first, we thought we’d take our time, but as we started shopping we were in for a shock regarding the new car market. We knew what we wanted, but no dealerships have inventory. Even ones that had cars coming in the next month were already spoken for, and the one we found that wasn’t had a $5k mark-up that was enough to throw off our budget and we were generally reluctant to do. Unfortunately, we had also started feeling the pinch of only having one car our au pair could drive, so we decided to get a “temporary” car that would be safe and enjoyable for all of us to drive when the SUV was needed for the kids.

We ended up with a 2019 Mercedes GLC 350e. Going with a luxury car meant that we’d get all the safety features we wanted, and used meant the price was within our budget. Being a “pandemic car” it also only had around 15k miles on it! It’s also a plug-in hybrid, and though the battery is small, it’s a nice starter hybrid for us and will likely cause is to start moving on the EV charger a bit more quickly than planned, which is actually a good thing. The infotainment system takes some getting used to, but over all I am happy with it.

Work has been going really well. The IBM z16 release happened in early April and consumed a ton of my time, but it was fun to celebrate, even if that meant getting a little cake at home and sharing pictures on social media. It wasn’t just me though, all the events were pared down due to continued pandemic caution, and there was no release event at my office, like their was for the IBM z15 in 2019. It’s also caused me to spend a lot of time learning about the new hardware and then converting that into training seminars for folks in our communities. This is one of my favorite parts of my job.

I also had the opportunity to “meet up” with my friends from the Philadelphia Linux Users Group for a virtual meeting where I gave a quick introductory talk on the status of modern COBOL. It was mostly sharing statistics from the Open Mainframe Project poll that attempted to figure out how much COBOL was still out there. It continues to be astonishing to me, with my cloud-native background, how much technology I simply wasn’t exposed to on the enterprise side, and that includes the billions of lines of COBOL that are out there, running well and doing the job better than anything else could. It also means that I love sharing this knowledge with folks like me.