So Many Secrets…

So I didn’t blog much in 2014…just 9 entries by my count. Nine. I used to do that in two weeks. So I don’t blame you if you’ve given up hope of ever hearing from me again. It’s just that there have been so many things going on that I couldn’t talk about. I was afraid that talking about them would jinx something. Or worse, get me fired.

So now I’m going to walk you through a long chain of events that will lead to a series of announcements.

Last year, at this time, I started a new contract software development job. I detailed my opening month in one of my few posts last year, talking about the difficulty of living with GBS, even after the two-year mark. I got through the early months of the job, by pushing hard, and nearly breaking myself in the process. I spent long days at work, then spent ridiculous hours each day commuting. I suffered from anxiety attacks and my body was slowly falling apart. The candle wasn’t burning at both ends, I was holding a blow torch the center. There were many days in those first few months where I didn’t know how much longer I could keep doing it. Things had to change.

But as challenging as the work and schedule was, I enjoyed it. The top-secret project I worked on was the first in quite a while not only dealing with cool technology, but also something I wanted to see through to the end. I couldn’t tell my friends about it, or anyone outside of my immediate family. There was a cool factor to the project that I hadn’t experienced before, and I was drawn to it. I had many conversations with my boss about switching from contract work to full-time work throughout the year, but there was always something standing in the way… impending business changes, budget issues, management issues, product changes—my health. I couldn’t do anything about the business side stuff, besides doing my job as best I could to ensure they wanted to keep me around, and making the project a success. But I could do something about my health. I needed to reduce the stress in my life, and the best way to do that was to reduce my commute.

So in late July, after much debate and planning, my wife and I put our house on the market, and began packing up our things. At the end of August, we moved 45 miles to a rented townhouse in a suburb on the east side of Lake Washington. My commute dropped from 55 minutes on the way to work, to 19, and from 75-120 minutes on the way home to 25-30. The positive effect on my health was immediate. My energy level came up. My sleep improved. The anxiety diminished. I was able to do more in the evenings. I was more engaged at work.

Still, there were some unresolved issues. I was basically on a month-to-month contract at work. I was interviewing for new jobs since I didn’t know if I would be out of work in a few days or a few weeks. I was in demand, and that was really cool. Moving to the East Side (as it’s called around here), opened up a ton of positions for someone doing my kind of work. But I was still really happy with what I was working on, and more than that, the product was getting really close to shipping. Luckily my contract kept getting renewed, and I was there the day the product launched. I’ve be doing this type of work for over 20 years, and I have to say, launch day was the biggest thrill of my working career.

I’ve since been able to tell people I know what it was I was doing… but I’ve never said it here on this blog… until now. Check this out… the Microsoft Band.


Maybe it doesn’t look like much in that picture, but it’s a really cool product, has gotten some great reviews and I think it has a bright future ahead of it. I’ve been wearing one pretty much continuously for nearly a year now, and I feel naked without it.

After the launch, I made the decision that I was, in fact, ready to make the jump to Full-Time Employee. I wanted to continue to be part of this project, and to continue to work with the people I’ve gotten to know this last year. It took a little work, but we finally got the deal done shortly before Christmas. Today was my first day as a Microsoft Full-Time Employee! I’m excited to be part of the team, and have big things in mind for the future.

As if that’s not enough big news, I have more. On Christmas Eve, my wife and I agreed to purchase a new house in the neighborhood in which we’ve been trying to find a house since last spring. We should be moving in in early February. The four of us have been stuffed into this small townhouse for many more months than initially planned, and I’m looking forward to having a real office back… an office that isn’t in a damp, drafty basement. This house is perfect for us, and with a little bit of work (new carpets, paint and some kitchen work), it should be something our family can love for the next 15 years. It has awesome views, is close to two parks, and lots of kids in the same age as my kids, so they should never be bored. We can’t wait!

Okay… so… announcements this far

  1. We moved
  2. I was part of the team that launched the Microsoft Band
  3. I am now a Blue Badge at Microsoft
  4. We bought a house

I know I’m forgetting something.

Was it the 130+ gallons of cider we made at this year’s CiderFest that I didn’t blog about?

Nope, that was fun, but not it.

Was it the week-long trip we took to Maui in November?

There was that… and it was awesome. But that’s not it either.

Was it going on my first hike in over 4 years a few weeks ago without worrying about my GBS or foot surgery or broken bones?

Nope, that was fantastic, but still not it.

Was it how much I’ve been able to help out at the orchard this year and the fact that I got to run a chainsaw during the Christmas break?

Nope. But I do enjoy working in the orchard. And running a chainsaw? Always fun.

Wait. I know what it is. But I can’t talk about that yet… dang it!

Soon though. Very soon.

And I promise, I will be blogging a lot more in 2015. Because 2015 is going to be a wild ride. It’ll be a year that changes EVERYTHING.

Until I can make the big reveal, watch this Miranda Lambert video – Automatic. And tell me it doesn’t hit you right in your adolescent years (If you were an adolescent who had to record the Top 40 off the radio onto a cassette). But don’t just watch this video until I make the next announcement… find some other songs and watch those too. I could be a few days.

2 Comments on “So Many Secrets…

  1. Great blog. Good to hear from you.

    The “Band” looks very interesting and compelling.

  2. Pingback: The Big Announcement | Joe Beernink

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