• Archives

  • Categories:

Wet/dry January, old/new tech

It’s now the second month of 2023, and I can confirm that the arbitrary changing of the calendar year has not, in fact, made our immune systems better at fighting off every random bug that Adam brings home from preschool. At the beginning of January it was a brutal stomach bug, and we are now getting over a fast-moving cold. It does mean that we had an extremely low-key January.

It’s also been quite rainy this winter, which is excellent news for our drought-prone state. Unfortunately we got a bit too much all at once, and so our area has been suffering from damaged roadways and bridges, and mudslides. It hasn’t impacted our home directly, aside from noticing the seal on one of our garage doors isn’t working as well as it could, so I’m grateful for that.

Adam and I have also had some time to play in the rain. I got him some rain boots and a sturdy umbrella that’s more resistant to wind than the freebie ones we had been using. I now have no excuse not to take him outside on rainy days! Except that little Aaron does not enjoy wet weather, so there has to be another adult around if I want to go have rain adventures outside with Adam.

Aaron does like getting outside after the rain though, so when MJ was at the doctor with Adam one morning I brought Aaron out to one of his favorite parks… only to find the playground flooded! Still, we did manage to have some fun running around the rest of the park.

The opposite of our wet January, was my dry January. My father was an alcoholic, and while I don’t find my own relationship with alcohol to be particularly troublesome, it did seem like a nice excuse to put a pause on alcohol for a month. In retrospect, it’s kind of funny, because I’ve just come off a pair of 9-month alcohol-free stints when I was pregnant, and then greatly reduced while breastfeeding, so a month is barely worth noting. Still, it’s nice to know that I can just cut it out without much thought, or missing it much, and without external pressure like a baby to grow or feed. Like with pregnancy, it was more the social and outing aspect that I miss when I remove alcohol from my diet, since I don’t drink soda and options for beverages are quite limited in the US. At home it’s easy though, I fell in love with Hoplark hoptea when I was pregnant, and never looked back.

I’ve been bonding with my typewriter a bit lately, which started because one of the kids switched the ribbon from black to red and I had to figure out how to switch it back. Turns out, it’s actually pretty simple, but the wear on the switch made it non-obvious as I was scouring the machine for clues. But getting my hands on the machine made me remember how much I love using it for little things here and there, and that I should make some more typing art with the boys soon. I also got back to reading The Typewriter Revolution: A Typist’s Companion for the 21st Century, which has been in my reading queue since 2021 but I’ve neglected it for a while. In reading it, I learned a bit about tabulators, and my typewriter has a big Tabulator bar on it! So I plan on checking that out soon. The danger of reading this book though is that I am exposing myself to lots of beautiful old typewriters and I now have it stuck in my head that I want to get my hands on a Smith-Corona Skyriter. Help. Keep me away from eBay!

In other vintage tech news, I recently met up with an online friend who I’d planned on meeting a bunch of times, but we both have young children so someone has always been sick, for YEARS. When I noticed a gap in sickness mid-January I quickly reached out for an impromptu lunch together, and it all worked out. With the pandemic I haven’t had many social meetings lately, and it’s so nice to sit down and connect with other techy, like-minded folks in person. Plus, he brought me a geeky gift! A copy of Assembler language programming: The IBM system/360. The s/360 is the first in the line of mainframes I work on today, so it’s been a real joy sifting through the pages, seeing notes in the margins, and I even found an orange punch card inside from a programmer of yore. Plus, it inspired me to start using punch cards as bookmarks.

In new tech news, I replaced my primary phone in January. It wasn’t really planned, but there were lots of deals floating around for the Pixel 7 and we finally pounced on one through our carrier. I had extreme reservations about this phone, in particular the lack of a headphone jack. My friends will tease me about this, and my husband certainly did, but I use cheap Sony earbuds ALL THE TIME. I lose them or they break and just buy another pair, I don’t need to worry about having to charge them, or pairing being finicky that day. I just pop them in and go. A lot of this convenience goes away when you’re restricted to just the single USB-C port for everything. I had hoped I’d adapt to this, but the truth is I haven’t. I don’t regret the purchase, it is a very nice phone, but it has already been irritating more than once. I’m sure the first time I lose my moderately priced Bluetooth headphones I’m going to be particularly annoyed. Alas, this is the direction that all the latest high-end phones are going, and I had to get here at some point. It also means I’ve invested in a whole pile of USB-C to AUX adapters.

I’m continuing to struggle with time. I’ve written at length about how I struggle to balance my life now that I have young kids who I now spend so much of my time with. It feels like something in our house is always broken, and it probably goes without saying that something always needs to be cleaned. Every night I struggle with ask myself, do I go to bed early so I’m well-rested? Or do I stay up late to clutch to some down time to help my mental health? I keep coming back to moderation being the key, and that some nights I’ll get more sleep and some nights I’ll get to learn about my typewriter tabulator, or write in my blog (hello!). It’s still hard though, especially when the pendulum shifts too far in one direction, or I get unlucky and the night I decided to stay up late is also the night one of the kids has a rough night and I barely get any sleep. All things considered, I keep bringing myself back to how grateful I am to have a healthy, loving family and beautiful place to live. I may not be playing video games or hunkering down on programming hobby projects much anymore, but I have a lot to be thankful for.