Happy New Year!

Everyone says that the last two years have been dumpster fires, with everything being cancelled / changed from COVID, but I think last year was a pretty great year.

Here are just a few of the good things that happened to me and my family in 2021:

  • I took a 40+ hour online JavaScript boot camp and with the knowledge was able to apply and get a developer position at Automattic.
  • I took our basement from being just studs to fully finishing it (well, there are a couple things left to do 😊). I did all the electrical, insulation, plumbing (with the help of my dad), installed cabinets and flooring. I probably put in 200+ hours from May thru October.
  • I started working with a nutrition coach that helped me to understand what macros my body needs each day and hit those daily targets. Macros are proteins, carbs, and fats. For years, I’ve haven’t been eating enough protein and have been able to focus on getting enough each day. Since May, I’ve been able to lose nearly 25lbs and 17in around by chest, waist, and hips. I’ll be continuing this journey in 2022.
  • I set a reading challenge of reading 50 books this year and I reached this goal as well. There were a lot of fiction books and my plan is to split my 52 books this year goal more evenly between fiction and nonfiction.
  • Melody and I were able to take a short trip to Hilton Head in late August. This was the first time I had been away from the kids overnight since late 2019.
  • We also made two trips to Cancun with the kids. We went in May and in October. Both trips were to the all inclusive Planet Hollywood resort. The kids had a blast (and honestly, I did too 😊).
  • And I helped a ton with Melody’s two online ventures. The latest thing is that we launched the Table Talk podcast where she sits down at the virtual table to talk thru different functional medicine topics.

2022 is shaping up to be a pretty good year too. Here are a few things I plan on focusing on:

  • Creating more content. This includes blogging here,podcasting, and YouTubing for YourWebsiteEngineer.com
  • Learning React. This is a JavaScript language used in WordPress that I have little experience. A group of from work are going through a boot camp class together.
  • Reading 52 books this year.
  • Leaning out and strengthening up. I want to continue to focus on my nutrition and be diligent in the gym. Along with the daily workouts, I’ll be adding strength and endurance conditioning.
  • Help Melody level up her businesses and generate more revenue.
  • Take a 15-year anniversary trip somewhere. Right now, we are thinking Greece. Any other suggestions?
  • Finally finish the basement and move my office downstairs. I’ve been working out of our guest room since we moved in and we are renting our basement space to future neighbors, so once their house is finished, I’ll be able to finish the trim work and make the area our own.

Whew sounds like another busy year! What do you have planned for 2022?

Moving to a WordPress VIP Developer Role

As of today, July 19th 2021, goal has finally come true, I’m switching roles at Automattic.

This year was finally the year when I made time for myself and spent hundreds of hours over nights and weekends learning JavaScript.

Today, I start as a Developer Apprentice in the VIP division. I’m no longer in support and will have plenty of mentors to help me learn and grow as a programmer. If things go well, at the end of the year apprenticeship, I’ll be a senior engineer 🙂

I’m excited for all the learning and growth (and hair pulling out) that will will happen in the next 365 days.

I share more details about the process in episode 507 of Your Website Engineer podcast.

Bought it again

With interest rates being so low, we refinanced again (we’ve only lived here 18 months).

We used Ally Bank to refinance and was able to lock in an interest rate of 2.375% for a 15 year!

The savings from the previous 15 year loan at 3.5% will be more than $35,000.

Mountain of paperwork saying we agree to pay what we owe.

The annoying click

A few weeks ago, a friend used our car to drive the kids home and they suggested they wanted to watch a movie (which we never use, since ugh DVDs are awful).

The disc was loaded incorrectly into the CD drive and it wasn’t in the tray right. It’s a six disc changer and if it’s not in there right, then every time you open the door (even with the key off), the CD player tries to get the disk ready to play with 15 seconds of clicking.

It’s extremely annoying and I couldn’t handle it anymore.

I decided to take the thing apart and rip the disk out if I had to.

Getting the radio unit wasn’t hard. Two pieces of trim needed popped off, then four bolts removed and a bunch of wires were unplugged.

Twenty eight screws later, I finally had the disk out. Problem solved!

Surprise Guest Today

One of my good college friends flew down from the Indian Lake area (about 75 minutes away) to deliver a jacket he posted on Facebook.

He’s a pilot for American Airlines and has been flying on the weekends to get more hours so he can move up to bigger planes (and higher salaries).

The kids got to sit in his plane as well as the replica plane in the Wright Brothers museum. Though I think they liked sitting in the Model T better, ha!

House Update – November 2018

We started the month off anticipating that we would be moved in by month’s end, but due to a few delays, everything wasn’t finished up.

One of the big delays was about the driveway. The engineers had spec’d the driveway to be a width of ten feet wide, but the HOA covenants states that all driveways must be 16 feet.

This all took an extra two weeks to figure out and ultimately we got the wider driveway. It will be nice when our kiddos are driving to have the extra space.

Other than the driveway, here’s what happened during the month:

  • Drywall was completed
  • Tin roof above porch was added. This makes everything completely waterproofed
  • Furnace was turned on and house began to warm up. Great for letting the drywall mud and paint dry
  • Paint! The ceilings and walls got their first and second coats of paint
  • The brick crew came back and finished up their work outside and we are pleased with the results
  • Our trim carpenters have been their twice getting all the cabinets set and hung, all the baseboard trim and all the doors hung
  • We got most of the stone around the living room fireplace
  • More than a ton of granite was delivered and installed. The one piece island is awesome and it weighs 1200 pounds
  • The flooring is in. Hardwood and vinyl planks went in around the middle of the month and carpet was installed at the end. This really makes it feel like home.
  • The rod iron handrails are installed and make the house safe for little man. He can no longer try to jump off the openings around the stairs.
  • The first pass at electric was completed. Outlets, switches and lights were installed. Side note, there are a ton of recessed lights.

We finally have a close date of December 13th. This will give us two days for moving / unpacking before we head out on a trip with Melody’s family.

I write this on the plane as we are heading to the annual mid-year pharmacy conference. Melody is giving a talk and the rest of us are tagging along so we can go to Disneyland for a couple of days.

The house will be all done when we get home. I said it was going to be like the big reveal on an HGTV show. The only way to keep me away for the final touches is for me to be on a trip 😀

House Update – End of October

Another month has come and went and they are still working on our house 🙂

Even though it seemed like there were a lot of days where nothing happened, progress was made. These things specifically:

  • All rough electrical work
  • Media rough wiring (for Ethernet and speakers)
  • Each electrical / plumbing / gas / house structure inspection failed at least once, but in the end they all passed
  • We had a pre-drywall meeting where I caught a few electrical mistakes
  • Exterior trim was installed
  • Garage doors were hung
  • House was completely insulated
  • Drywall was almost all hung
  • The brick crew continued to work, but they were thwarted by running out of sand (one day), then bricks (two days later) and now rain this week.
  • The electric and gas lines were hooked up to the house
  • And the exterior painting started

We’ve got a busy month of December, so hopefully all things will be completed this month so we can move during November.

House Update – End of September

September has come and gone and we are getting closer to a completed house.

Not a lot happened at the beginning of the month, with lots of days of no progress. This is because nothing else could start until we got concrete in the basement.

The sliding basement door and basement steps couldn’t be installed and HVAC crew didn’t want to start when there was no basement floor.

While we were waiting, we did get the front yard torn up to get the city water line and sewer connections made.

On September 18th, we finally got concrete. The crew arrived early and since the house was built and bricks were delivered and sitting around the house, the concrete had to be pumped into both the basement and garage.

Once the concrete work finished, activity started to pick up.

The remaining doors (sliding door in the basement and the exterior door off the kitchen) were installed and the last window in the basement was added. The framers came back and added the steps to the basement and then the mechanicals started.

The HVAC crew (just one guy) was there for four days and the plumbers started last Friday.

While the work is going on inside the house, our crew of two came to start bricking the house. They’ve got quite a task ahead of them, since they mentioned our house will have 14,000 bricks!


Hopefully nearly all the work will be done in October and we can finally move in and organize our belongings 🙂

House Update – End of August

There have been a lot of new visual changes in the second half of the month.

On Monday, August 20th, the framers continued framing on the second floor and got all of the interior walls completed. It was a bit wet, so I didn’t take many pictures.

Tuesday the morning was spent preparing the rafters and continued work on the inside of the second floor. The fireplace was frame out and closets were added.

Wednesday was a fun day to watch (which I spent a couple hours at the site 🙂 ) as the roof trusses were put on and they started the adding the plywood.

On Thursday, they finished getting all the plywood on the roof. And it really looks like a house from the outside now!


The framing crew finished up on Friday by getting all the walls ready for drywall and removed all the temporary bracing.

This past week we got most windows and doors (Tuesday) and a roof on Thursday. I’m pretty sure the roofing crew was waiting on a day that was less than 90 degrees.

Up for this week is to get the water / sewer line hooked up from the road and get the basement floor poured.

The basement floor was supposed to get done last week, but there was some “concrete emergency” on another job, so we were pushed back. There’s rain in the forecast this week, so we might get priority over some of the other jobs since ours in all inside.

House Update – Mid August

It’s been awhile since I checked in, but mainly because we’ve been traveling and the bulk of the home work has happened in the last 7 days 🙂

Since my last post, the basement plumbing got completed and passed inspection. Our roof trusses were delivered (weird, since no other wood has been delivered) and the steel beams in the basement were delivered and set in place. And the dirt piles have been moved around the house.

On August 8th, the framers began to form up the walls for the basement. At the end of that week, is when the beams were put in place.

Picture of the area on Sunday night (when we got home from vacation)

On Monday, I had a bunch of reading and catching up on all the things that happened since I took 10 days off work, so in the morning I took my camp chair and watched them frame from the neighbor’s yard.

Here are a few pictures from Monday:

On Tuesday, the first floor flooring was completed and walls started going up:

On Wednesday, they finished constructing all of the load bearing walls and started adding the wood for the floors upstairs. Thursday it rained all day around here, so the framer’s weren’t around, but another steel beam was added in the garage.

Friday started off a bit wet, but dried out throughout the day. The crew was there and they finished up the upstairs floor. They also started to work on some of the walls upstairs.

Today, the worked a “half-day,” but they were still there when we peeked in at 2pm. The steps have been added between the main floor and upstairs and all of the outside walls have been completed.

Panorama at the top of the steps on the second floor.

The guys are super nice and they don’t mind me coming and watching and usually spend a few moments chatting with me. They said today that they’ll be here one more week and they’ll be done with everything. They only handle wood, so that means the trusses and roof will be all complete as well as all the interior walls.


House Update – Weeks 5 & 6

Over the last two weeks, we’ve seen the most amount of changes to our lot, yay!

On Tuesday, July 10, the forms for the basement walls were delivered and set in the basement. It sure looked like enough of them!

The next day, the crew spent the afternoon taking a gazillion measurements, since our basement isn’t four square walls (you can see this in some upcoming pictures).

On Thursday, the team was there all day and they continued to set up the forms in preparation for the concrete.


On Friday, we were scheduled to get concrete, but they weren’t quite done with all the forms and there was no pumper truck available, so no walls on Friday.

Then, on Monday, both the team and the trucks were available, yes! I ended up working from a camp chair in the neighbor’s yard (using their wifi) for the afternoon.

On Tuesday, the team came back and removed the forms and got them all packed up to go to the next project. (Which they said they have 100 projects on the books, good thing we aren’t at the end of that line!).

Wednesday the forms were picked up and on Thursday the walls got waterproofed. On Friday, it poured, so no additional work was done. This week we are scheduled to get the dirt moved back around the walls and the underground plumbing will get worked on.

House Update – Weeks 3 & 4

Week three started off with a bang as we finally got the footers poured for the basement walls. This was 11 days after the footers were set. The combination of rainy weather and waiting for an inspection was the reason for the delays.

Over the next two days, the forms came off the poured footers and Kellen and I got to see them “sling” rock into the hole. That was definitely cool.

Then all progress stopped.

Another 11 days and no activity. The 4th of July holiday fell into this window, which played a part in the scheduling.

After talking to our project superintendent, it’s not like anyone was purposefully stalling, it’s just that all the crews are building lots of houses this summer. And there’s only a handful of companies that have the forms for the basement walls.

One thing that I did this week (because I’m super impatient 🙂 ) was I set up a Ring doorbell on a stake in the corner of our yard. This way I can see if anything is happening before wasting time driving past.

You can’t see too much detail, but I see if walls are brought in and when framing happens, I’ll be able to see that too.


We’re scheduled to get the foundation this week. Let’s see if it happens!

New House Construction – Weeks 1 & 2

My wife and I are building a new house and after what seems like months (well, it really was months with decisions and selections to make) they finally made a call to the excavating company to come and start digging on June 12.

The digger was set to be on site at 8:30am, so I packed up both kids so we could see the first scoop of dirt. Turns out, the machine needed gas and they need to do some other prep work, so we weren’t going to be able to see the first bucket full before we had to leave to take Kenley to Bible School.

The operator was super nice and he scooped and threw some dirt around for a bit and little man loved it. I didn’t take any pictures of him, but he couldn’t take his eyes off the big yellow machine.

Since we are building a house on a walkout lot, there wasn’t too much dirt (for a digger of course, it’d be a lot if shoveling by hand) to remove and they were done shortly after lunch time.

The next day the same crew was back to dig a channel at the back of the house for the footer wall.

On Friday / Saturday of the first week, a team came in and got the forms all ready to go for concrete. It was neat to watch them get the stakes in the exact right place. It made the basement much easier to visualize.

After seeing so much work done in week one, it was hard to not see much done in week two.

On Monday the inspector was supposed to come and check the footer forms, but there was address on the lot, nor blueprints left on site so no inspection happened. The inspection did happen on Tuesday and that was it.  Knowing that we have a set time when we have to be out of the rental unit we are in, it hard to watch these two beautiful days slip past us with no visual work.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were a wash with rain on the first two days, then too muddy for any work.

Here’s to footers and maybe basement walls in week three!

Big Hike

Today I went on a hike with some colleagues up Blackcomb Ascent.

> The Blackcomb Ascent Trails are three interconnected uphill hiking trails that meander through beautiful old growth coastal rain forest terrain from Whistler’s valley bottom to the Rendezvous Lodge on Blackcomb Mountain. Upon completion, the trails will travel a total of 6.1km with a total elevation gain of 1,200 metres.

It was definitely one of the hardest hikes I’ve ever done, but the views were worth it!

Long Day of Travel

We left the hotel at 5:15am and started our journey towards Atlanta. Melody was able to get our flight changed to be a day earlier, but we had to drive to the airport.

The journey should take about 6.5 hours, but with all of the evacuees heading out at the same time, we got there in 11.5 hours. We ended up taking alternative routes the whole way there so we didn’t get stuck in gridlocked traffic.

We also stopped four times for gas/bathrooms.

And the kids slept great once we got in. Buddy boy really likes the boy doll Grandma got him.