Not Much, and Not Much the Same

I was convinced that within a day or so of my last layoff, twelve years ago, I'd holed up at the Belcourt to watch movies. When I searched my inbox for the name of the first one (Everything Must Go, a nice uplifting film), I found I was wrong. I'd originally planned to go that night but rescheduled for nearly a month later, two weeks after I tagged along with a close friend to a political event he was speaking at that another close friend roasted here.

(It was also the summer of this special screening, in that era where anti-vaxxers were a weird wellness subculture no one took seriously, like crystals or or essential oils, instead of an active threat to public health.)

I suppose time feels distorted because the circumstances are so different this time. This time I'm rarely alone. Stephen's not traveling to an office every day and the dog's walker still comes on weekday afternoons. The market coming out of the Great Recession for an early-career marcomm professional was much bleaker than the current market for an experienced polyglot software engineer. I've averaged three contacts a day with potential employers in the last two weeks, whereas the 2011 search yielded about one in-person interview a month and required fitting myself into a suit in the Tennessee heat. I spent a lot of time between volunteering, networking, doing anything to build the portfolio of experience I needed then.

The stakes are both higher and not, now, as well. Then, we were childless renters.

The only thing that is the same is the amount of UI the state pays out.

I took some initial phone screens while a crew spent two days demolishing 200 feet of retaining wall in our front yard. Once they were gone, and we stood in the much smaller triangle of green, I said, "I see why the original homeowner had the wall." The yard does look drastically smaller. I'm still glad it worked out the way it did; it needed to go and I probably never would have spent the money otherwise.

Now that it's gone, though, I need to start prepping for fall planting. The first year in the house we ripped out the bushes that were too close to the foundation, and now it's time to put something back in its place. Our spring planting season is so short anymore (though our winters are less mild than they used to be, too) so it has to be done in the fall. That means I need to start now: solarizing where the beds will go and calculating how much gravel to order and figuring out which drought-tolerant native shrubs to plant come October. It will be here sooner than it seems, especially with the prohibitively hot weather we're having now. The time to actually do the work will be short.

I finally traded in my old MacBook Air for some store credit today. It's the sort of thing I once would have done very quickly, and yet it took me almost a year to get around to it. I never felt like I had time. I regretted my choice to go into an Apple Store on tax-free weekend immediately. There were lines out of the Apple Store like it was the club and there was a security guard acting like a bouncer.

I'm starting to recognize more and more how stressed out I was in my last role, and allowing myself to examine more closely the things from it that I want to find again in a role and the things I am not interested in. I've been relaxed enough to work on a few projects in the bits of time I have between interviews and interview prep: templates to start a basic application in a Docker container with a PostgreSQL database, using either Python/Flask or Go/Gin. This piece came out just after I started my bootcamp and I've thought about it a lot as I've plodded along; maybe some people really like setting up a whole project every time, maybe that's their "Good Code," but I would prefer to square that away once and get to the actual problem the application is solving.

Next weekend is Tomato Fest. It'll be the fifth year I haven't run the 5K. I don't love how that feels so once it's not regularly 100ยบ, I'll start building mileage. There's a nearby loop we've been taking family walks on to give the kid safe practice walking rather than riding in a stroller, and at the exact furthest point from the car she announced, I'M DOING THE POTTY DANCE, so she and I jogged the whole half mile back and it was fine.

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