Spanish BINGO

There was a carnival today at K’s school and we helped her play BINGO.

It was a bit challenging for her because (1) she didn’t really understand the rules / gameplay and (2) she only knows Spanish numbers up to 20.

Nonetheless she ended up winning!

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Snap Power

Tonight I installed a new nightlight for the hallway as our three year old is potty trained and I wanted to give her a little light without a bulky night light and found this cool outlet cover by Snap Power.

This cover is super easy to install at it pulls power from the outlet. The spec sheet says the batteries will last for 25 years using about $0.10 of power per year.

The screws on the side of the outlet were not tightened, so the two minute installation turned into about fifteen.

Overall, I’m real happy with it and excited to see how it looks when it pitch dark upstairs.

Plus, their store is built on WordPress and WooCommerce 🙂

March Madness Begins

The title is twofold.

Yes, the NCAA March Madness tournament starts today. And the remaining parts of March could be quite crazy with the birth of our son.

As the tournament starts, it reminds me when I was in college a handful of friends drove down from Ohio Northern to watch the opening round game. It was worth the $5 cost of admission to be at the game and one year, ESPN even captured us on camera rooting for LeHigh University as they came back from a commercial break.

Here are some pictures from the tournament game in 2005.

Saved Four Hours

I got an email today from Text Expander that last month I saved four hours of typing by using short snippets that expand on my Mac. Most of the snippets are for replies at work, but some are for personal.

A few examples:

  • dde expands for my personal email address
  • hhome expands for my home address
  • llog asks for a WooCommerce customer to send log in details to their site
  • ccode tells customers that we do not support custom code
  • and I have a ton that point people to specific products of ours

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Brand Camp University, WordPress and TechTown Detroit partner to bring 100 Detroit businesses online

Fun event that I participated in a few weeks ago in Detroit.

Hajj Flemings - I am Design

Hack Detroit Day 2 Tours-9343-01

The first nine businesses in the 100 Project to launch new websites went live today, March 9, 2017.

Nine Detroit small businesses have new websites created pro bono by developers from San Francisco-based Automattic (the for profit arm of WordPress), part of a citywide initiative to get 100 businesses online by 2nd quarter of this year. The new websites were created during a 48-hour Super Bowl Weekend blitz as part of the 100 Project, program of Detroit-based Brand Camp University in partnership with WordPress and TechTown Detroit.

Brand Camp University’s mission is to help businesses tell their story via brand strategy, workshops and mentoring. Brand Camp’s 100 Project seeks to eliminate the digital gap that exists in so many communities that the Super Bowl weekend pilot project aimed to establish a digital presence for neighborhood businesses increasing their accessibility and their bottom line. The genesis of this project was…

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The day that Wasn’t

Ever have one of those days where everything is going right and you know you are going to crush your goals?

Today was one of those days for me, well, until 7:30am. 

I’m an early riser, so by 7:30 I had:

  • Done my morning routine brain games (Flow Free, Elevate, and DuoLingo)
  • Recorded this weeks podcast
  • Started working and got caught up with all of things that happened at Automattic since I’d left work the day before
  • Got my daughter up and fed her breakfast
  • Had scrambled eggs for breakfast for myself

I was just finishing up cleaning up the kitchen when our nanny got her and it happened. 

The kitchen sink was clogged. 

I quickly took it apart, hoping there was a bunch of goop in the trap that caused the clog. 

That didn’t help 😢

I started to work while asking some of my local friends if they had a drain snake. 

After CrossFit, I went and picked it up and after a few more errands, started to tackle the clog. 

Well, the 15 foot snake wasn’t long enough to fix anything, so I needed to find a local plumber. 

It took calls to seven plumbers until I found one that could actually help today. 

The blockage ended up being about 35 feet down the pipes, so I had no shot of fixing it myself. 

Next time this happens, I’m not even going to attempt to fix it and I can save myself two hours of frustration. 

More Progress

Today I got a few things hung on the wall in the baby’s room. 

The sign with a K weighs close to forty pounds, so I wanted to make sure it was secure on two studs, so this took a bit of planning to get it positioned properly. 


After the holes were drilled and the screws were in place it was time to hang it. 

Boy, was that a job to do by myself. The thing is huge, awkward, and really heavy. 

After a few attempts (and a lot of sweat later) it was secure on the wall. 


Next up were a few floating shelves. 

I had some leftover wood plugs that I was able to use to hide the screws, plus they add a bit of a decorative feature. 


Now we have to add things to the shelves and hang the decal with the Bible verse and we will be all ready. Only 15 days to go!

What Does a WooCommerce Happiness Engineer Do?

This is a great recap by my colleague Zandy about what our typical work looks like in WooCommerce Support Engineer:

As I’ve mentioned before, my day-to-day customer-facing work right now is in Woo Happiness. While both Woo Happiness and WordPress.com Happiness are part of Automattic Happiness, they are incredibly different. I’ll pause here and explain a little bit. WordPress.com is the freely available blog and website platform; you can make a blog or website for […]

via What does Woo Happiness look like? — Revelry Reverie

Spot it

This is a really fun game that my daughter and I play almost daily.

The premise is you flip over two cards and look at the eight items on each card and find one matching item.

Sometimes the matches are really easy to find and other times I swear there isn’t a match, but there always is one 🙂

Dad Joke’s

I’m excited for the day that my kids will actually understand and laugh at Dad jokes.

Here are some I can’t wait to use:

  • Milk is also the fastest liquid on earth – its pasteurized before you even see it.
  • What’s Forrest Gump’s password? 1forrest1
  • I cut my finger chopping cheese, but I think that I may have grater problems.
  • Without geometry life is pointless.
  • I gave all my dead batteries away today… Free of charge.
  • I needed a password eight characters long so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
  • What’s the advantage of living in Switzerland? Well, the flag is a big plus.
  • Bicycles can’t stand on their own, they’re two tired.
  • “Doctor, I’ve broken my arm in several places” Doctor “Well don’t go to those places.”
  • What did the 0 say to the 8? Nice belt.

Turkey in February 

Two years ago, we bought two fresh grass fed turkeys at Thanksgiving and put one in the freezer.

Since we are just a few short weeks out from having a chaotic life with a newborn, I cooked the 20 pound bird today and will be making some casseroles to put in the freezer.

And of course a whole week of eating turkey 🦃

I did leave the temperature a bit too high, for too long, so the skin got a bit crispy, but since I cook it with the breast meat down, it was still tender and juicy.

My First Standing Desk

Four years ago, I got really excited about building / having a standing desk.

I read all about the health benefits and wanted to have one of my own. Before I went all in, I had to build a prototype to make sure:

  1. I liked standing and working
  2. Figure out what dimensions to build my desk

Over the next few days, I’ll share pictures of me building the desk I still use today.

It took a lot of pieces to build the first version. I didn’t have an external keyboard at the time, so I used the monitor, with a horrible resolution, to work from and used the keyboard from my MacBook Air to type:

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A Day in the Life

This post is part of a series describing what Automatticians do on a daily basis. You can read more posts like this by following the tag #a8cday on WordPress.com and Twitter.

Here’s a look in at my “typical” day, even though every day changes, due to my wife’s work schedule and/or three year old daughter’s schedule.

Today is a bit different as I have to take my daughter to her Spanish Immersion preshool.

04:25 – Alarm goes off and I’ve got to get ready for the gym. Due to today’s schedule, the only time I’ll be able to get to Bomber’s Crossfit is at the 5am class.

05:55 – Workout over and I recorded two Personal Records (PRs) for the day, score!

06:10a – I’m back at home and have got to head to my office to record my WordPress podcast, Your Website Engineer. I normally record these shows on Tuesday morning, but I was out of town on Monday, so I’m a bit behind this week 🙂

06:45 – Podcast is recorded and published, time for a shower and get ready for the day.

07:30 – Shouts from our daughter come from an upstairs bedroom, she’s awake and ready to get up. For the next hour, she has breakfast and I unload dishwasher / pack her lunch and pack my computer up to head out of the house.

08:35 – We’re on the road towards school. It’s 22 minutes away and we are set for an on-time arrival.

09:10 – Set up shop at Whole Foods. It’s just minutes away from her school, has decent wifi, so it saves me an hour of driving home and back. I spend the first hour of work in “catch up mode.”

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My portable office at Whole Foods

A majority of my colleagues live in different states / countries and there is a lot that has happened since I was done with work yesterday afternoon.

I share my comments on a few internal discussion threads and reply to any outstanding messages in Slack. I read a few colleague’s #a8cday posts and remember I want to write one too.

Some days during this three hour window, I’ll work on tickets to our customers. Today, I’m focusing on everything that isn’t ticket work.

This includes picking items form my todo list that are critical to be finished today and following up on some bug requests.

11:50 – I’m packed up and heading back to pick my daughter up from school.

13:00 – Back in my home office ready to go. Our nanny was at our house when we arrived, so my daughter began playing with her.

My legs are sore from yesterday’s / this morning’s workout, so I opted for my standing desk. I open up our ticket queue, hit the play button, started my music with Brain.FM and begin to help our customers one random request at a time.

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Custom built standing desk, complete with LED lights and 27″ iMac Server

The first few are about configurating their shipping modules, then a few about products like Cart Add Ons and coupons not working right.

My usual goal is to get thru 10 tickets in an hour, which is super challenging since some of them can take 30 minutes to debug. My first hour I got thru 3.

Hour #2 was much more fruitful, as I made it thru 11 tickets. The topics ranged from setting up taxes, to verify my theme is working properly, to asking customers to deactivate all plugins except for WooCommerce to check for plugin conflicts.

Every ticket is a new challenge. Most of time, it’s for one of the 400 extensions I’ve never installed, so I have to install the plugin, read the documentation, then try to configure it. Then I have to determine whether or not the behavior is intended, or if it’s a bug.

15:30 – Got a ping from my team lead. Time for my weekly chat. We chat for about 30 minutes on Slack about things of the week, including my regular feedback to HR. Communication is super important to us as a company, so I’ll read everything that he writes before heading off to HR (It’s pretty much a bunch of “Dustin is Awesome” anyways, so it’s fun to read ;P )

16:10 – Almost a wrap for the day. Scan thru and delete files from my desktop (screenshots) and downloads folder (misc work files). Close down Slack, Brain.FM, move any action items from open browser tabs to OmniFocus, then close both Chrome and Safari.

16:30 – Done with work for the day.

Monday’s and Wednesday’s are normally a bit lighter on ticket work as I try really hard to get all the rest of my tasks done for the week on these days. Then I spend the rest of my working week heads down working on tickets.

My goal is to have 150 interactions with customers a week. Some weeks I can hit my goal in during the work week. Other weeks, like this one, I’ll spend less tickets each day, but then spend a few hours on Saturday morning responding to tickets before my family wakes up.

Does this sound like a work day would be perfect for you? Work with us!

Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?

Our nearly 3 year old daughter has been coming up with some effect bedtime stall tactics lately.

And tonight was no exception.

She really wanted her puppy, named LuLu in her room while she slept.

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K and her puppy about 2 years ago

We spent approximately 30 minutes tearing the house apart and still couldn’t find her precious puppy.

Maybe tomorrow she’ll share her puppy’s hiding spot with us 😂

2016 Taxes Completed

Well, my part of them anyways.

I sent everything off to our tax professionals this morning. Such a great feeling knowing that item is off my to do list before our baby comes.

And now we wait.

To see how much we owe.

Fingers crossed it’s less than $5000 🙂

Grow Your Email List

I’ve been using ConvertKit to deliver email messages for my podcast listeners for about 13 months now. It’s way more powerful than MailChimp or Aweber, and much less expensive than Infusionsoft.
I wanted to share with you a 72-Hour List Building Challenge hosted by ConvertKit that starts tomorrow!
This is a FREE, three-day challenge that includes daily emails from ConvertKit with strategies and lessons on how to grow your email list and engage with your readership.
Once a day for three days you’ll get an email from ConvertKit with specific instructions to grow your list.
If you complete the challenge, you’ll be entered to win a year’s subscription to ConvertKit!
You can participate in the challenge, even if you don’t have a business, blog or have an email list.
You won’t be required to pay for anything! If you’ve never tried ConvertKit before, you’ll get FREE access for 30-days if you need it!
Are you in?

I’m going to try it too and see if I can grow my list too!

Happy Valentine’s Day 2017

Melody and I typically don’t get each other things for holidays like Valentine’s Day.

A few years ago, we got each other a note book and hand write cards to each other.

This is great because:

  • It’s easy to look back at old cards
  • No need to go buy a $3 card with lame text in it
  • And we can be as creative as we want

Usually, I write silly poems. Here’s mine from this year:

Rose are red,
Violets are blue,
Elizabeth wrote a poem,
And now I must too!

This is the last year
from just Kenley and me
As in a few short weeks,
We’ll no longer be a family of three.

Will he come early
Or will he be late?
Oh please oh please
Let him come on his date!

Our lives have changed
so much since 2004
when we first met
and I swept you off the floor

We might be exhausted
and in bed before ten,
and sometimes I’m asleep
before we say Amen!

I honestly can’t imagine
life any other way,
And I’m glad you’re my Valentine
each and every day.

2017 will be
our most challenging year yet
wrangling our two kiddos
will surely make us sweat.

I’m guessing they will both cry some
for no reason at all
or maybe because
I took their ball 🙂

Now I want to say
From Kenley, me and baby to be
We are so proud of you
Taking care of us three.

This is the only thing
I got you this year
As we need no more chocolate
Or a stuffed Teddy Bear

And I didn’t go to the store
to buy some fancy card
since they cannot make you
smile and laugh this hard

I could go on and on
and even change the poem’s tune,
but be sure to know that
Kenley and I LOVE YOU TO THE MOON!

Tax Time Sunday

Spent time today entering all of our expenses from Spain into a spreadsheet so we can deduct them from our taxes. 

Next time, I’m going to spend a few minutes each day documenting rather than several hours at time. 

CrossFit Open

I signed up to compete in this year’s CrossFit open.

Last year I had a ton of fun, even though I had only been CrossFitting for about 5 months, I joined the world-wide competition.

Our gym does all of the workouts on Fridays and then we log our score with the official app and can see where we rank against all the other people in the world.

Here’s my ranking from last year:

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There were 178,538 worldwide men, so I scored in the top 42% and top 44% in the Central Regional.

My goal is to be in the top 35-40% after adding a year’s worth of experience.

Home Screen Feb 2017

I like to keep my iPhone apps to a minimum so the apps that I use daily, get real estate on the home page. 

Everything else is in a folder on the second page and if I need one of those apps, I pull down from the top and search. 

Notice the phone app isn’t anywhere on the home page, because, well, I never make phone calls. I have one hour of talk time on the phone since November when I got this new phone. 

Franz

I enjoy finding Mac apps that help me stay more organized and Franz is the perfect app for that.

A friend of mine pointed out this app at WordCamp Cincinnati and I’ve been using ever since (mid October).

Essentially Franz is a website wrapper where you can run multiple messaging apps like Slack, Facebook Messenger, GroupMe, Skype and more all from one window.

I’ve been using it for web applications that I use daily but don’t want to keep tabs open for them in my browser. Here are the four things I am currently using Franz for:

  • Slack at Automattic. This is our main method of communication at our company
  • Dustin’s Daily Task List. This is a P2 where I track all the things I accomplish in a day
  • Brain.FM. This is a custom integration I built to play the Brain.FM music while I work
  • Slack for Dayton WordPress. Easy access to talk with the other organizers for WordCamp Dayton

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Detroit Hackathon

Today and tomorrow  I’m in Detroit for a hackathan project where nine of us are going to be building websites for nine small businesses in the city. 

Today, we split into small teams and visited the shops to get a feel for the businesses and see what they are looking for in a website. 

And tomorrow the plan is to build the websites with a goal of completing them by the end of the day. 

I’ll post a link to LaDonna’s salon site tomorrow. 

Oh, and here’s my view from the hotel and I can see the bridge to Canada.