Work Shift / Paradigm Shift

Work Shift

This past week I started a new shift at work. For the past 4 years I’ve worked 8:00am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday. It’s fine but at previous employers I’ve been allowed to work a 4×10 shift. This started at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space Co when they introduced their Commute Alternatives Program. You were given two choices. First, you could work five nine-hour days one week, and then three 9-hour days and one 8-hour day the next week with every other Friday off. Or you could work four 10-hour days per week and have every Friday off. No brainer. I took that one.

Then I got a new job at a bank and they didn’t offer this. After a couple of years I pitched it to my coworker and once he agreed then to our boss. My coworker would have Mondays off and I would have Fridays off and we’d both work 10-hour days. The boss finally agreed and I was back on my favorite shift! We were all laid off and I spent the next 11 years working at a newspaper who would not even consider such a thing.

Two weeks ago we were notified that the Alternative Work Schedule was being proposed as a response to COVID-19. We could either work from home two days per week or we could work 10 hour days and have one day off per week. No-brainer. I put in early for Fridays off. I got it and started last week. So far I love it!

Paradigm Shift

Social media was really fun when I first got into it. Now it’s just a faster vehicle to foment hatred. I can’t stand most of what I see on there. I put up a test post this past weekend that I crafted to be slightly incendiary. It work. It was only a matter of hours before a few of my so-called “friends” (that’s what Facebook calls them) began name calling and using profanity towards others and myself. I took the offending comments down and ultimately deleted the post. I learned everything I needed.

As a result I have deleted my Facebook account. It’s not deactivated, it’s deleted. In 30 days I will not have existed on Facebook. I will do the same for Instagram, also owned by Facebook. I am tired of the left-wing rhetoric on that site. I am tired of having my posts “fact-checked” and removed because they don’t conform to what the liberal left is saying. There is no freedom of speech on Facebook, only freedom of conformity. We are in this position because conservatives tolerate dissenting speech but, as we have found out, liberals do not.

Therefore, this my blog, LinkedIn.com, and Parler.com will be my social platforms. Friends and relatives may come here to see what’s new in my life. They may contact me via email, text message, or (gulp) phone. I’ve threatened to leave Facebook before but have always gone back. Not this time.

The Obligatory New Year’s Post

Happy New Year 2020!

Wow, 2020.  Seems so futuristic.

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When I was a kid in the 1970’s 2020 seemed so far away with it’s underwater cities and moon bases.  Here it is and we don’t live underwater or on the moon.  Instead we’ve expanded to living in tents on sidewalks or under freeway overpasses.

But I’m not going to turn this into social commentary.  I am, however, going to take a look at the past 10 years and how much things have changed for my family.  Way back in 2010 I was building my second airplane with the help of my kids.  I did the majority of the work but they did help on many components.

We were attending church at Central Valley Presbyterian where I was a deacon.  Also, Cristy had to make an emergency trip back home to the Philippines because her father passed away. That’s how the decade began.

In 2011 I sold our pop-up tent trailer in which I had taken the family on several camping trips.  The most memorable of which was Zion Canyon National Park.  I also flew the Rans S6 to Oshkosh, WI for EAA Airventure.  My oldest graduated high school.

In 2012 we took a family trip to Maui.  Yep, all of us, mother-in-law included.  However, my daughter had broken her ankle just prior to the trip… and then came down with a cold!  She didn’t get to have much fun in Hawaii, poor thing.  But she made up for that later.

In 2013 life was pretty much on auto-pilot.  Going to work, going home.  Home-schooling our daughter was coming to an as we put her in a private school so she could get some socialization and a real-live high school diploma.  Two kittens named Jovie and Truffles showed up in my son’s pockets one day when he came home.  Truffles still lives with us.  Jovie moved on shortly after he came to live with us.  Cristy and I also took a trip to Oregon to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

   

In 2014 I was beginning to explore full-time RV living.  I started coming up with a plan to travel from property to property for my employer to do network work.  However 2015 would put an end to those dreams, temporarily.

2015 was a harbinger of change for our lives.  Our daughter graduated from high school and we changed churches.

2015 was also when I had an accident in my airplane.  I landed up in the Sierra Nevada foothills and took the landing gear off.  Hey, it could happen to anybody!  Unfortunately, it happened to me.  We got a big insurance settlement and everything was good.  I was putting the airplane up for sale anyway.  It was at this point Cristy and I were seriously looking at RV’s so I was looking for a more portable form of aviation.  I found it in the form of powered paragliding.

2016 was a gut punch.  I was told that my entire department would be laid off that year.  Also my son was going through some extreme behaviors.  It seemed like my life was about to hit rock bottom.  SEEMED.  We started putting my son in group homes which he kept getting kicked out of due to his behaviors.  But 2016 was the year God truly moved in our lives.  He found a home that was able to really work with my son.  And He found me a job.  This is when I started working at San Joaquin General Hospital.  To celebrate my getting a job we took a family road trip to SoCal.  I also got a Ham radio license so I could legally use a Ham radio on my powered-paraglider.

 

In 2017 life started getting somewhat better for us.  My son was living in a home only 5 miles from where I worked.  My daughter was getting very involved in church and starting college.  Cristy and I also celebrated our 30th anniversary in Hawaii.

 

 

 

 

 

Also, Angela finished the Spartan Race

By 2017 I had sold my powered paraglider and had bought my powered parachute.  Cristy and I had also started walking more, trying to get in shape.

2018 was another year that brought a lot of change.  Mostly in me.  Through walking and intermittent fasting I was able to lose about 50 lbs.

This is me just prior to losing weight…

And this is what I looked like post weight loss…

2019 was a sad year.  We lost my sister Sheila to cancer.  We lost my wife’s cousin Jaime to kidney disease.  I was diagnosed with invasive malignant melanoma.

2019 was a happy year because we became part of a small group at our new church.  We received a lot of support from them and they came along side us in prayer many times.  The doctors were able to remove all of the melanoma.  I also sold my powered parachute and began flying rental airplanes.  I got back into regular airplanes after a young man from my old church took me for a ride to pay me back for all those times I took him for rides when he was learning to fly.  Now we fly together whenever we can.

2019 ended with my son being removed from a bad living situation in the group home he was in.  He now lives back in town with us, which, he has been asking for quite some time.  My daughter also bought a poodle this year.

It’s been a tumultuous decade.  We’ve covered a lot of territory in the last 10 years.  Who knows where we’ll be 10 years from now.  Not sure but I sure like where we are now.  I wouldn’t trade a second of the last 10 years for anything.  I’ve seen God’s faithfulness and Providence countless times.  I see God’s love in those around me every day.  I don’t expect that to change much.  I’ll keep doing what I can to reflect God’s love to those around me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life’s Little Joys

We can’t always travel the globe when we like.  I don’t have the money for one, and secondly I have no time.  Personally I love to hike.  I don’t have much time for hiking either.  So I try to grab little moments of joy when I can.  Like the field behind the hospital where I work.

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Besides the verdant green fields next to the dirt farm road there is a low drainage canal full of trees and rabbits.  There is also the San Joaquin County Jail on the far side of the field to keep me company as I walk.  Under the trees there is a lush growth of miner’s lettuce.

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There is also an abandoned bridge here and paved roads that lead nowhere and are slowly disintegrating.  It’s a really interesting place to walk.  And peaceful.  And many days, that’s just what I need.

A Day In The Life

I’m a network administrator for a local county hospital.  Every once in a while I like to video some of the glamorous things I get to do as a network administrator.  Most of the time I’m proving that there is nothing wrong with the network.  That is 99% of what I do.  But every once in a while “the network” actually breaks.  This is a short video of me fixing “the network.”

One Year Ago Today

I have a bad habit of hanging on to calendars so I can see what I did over the past few years.  I was looking at last year’s calendar tonight.  Last January my son had just moved out to the first of three group homes he lived in.  My wife was just getting over the flu.  I was still planning to live full-time on the road and finding a way to get my employer to buy off on my hair-brained scheme.

The plan was to travel from data center to data center, hitting all our properties on the way to or from.  I had meticulously planned routes to RV parks and campgrounds closest to our business properties.  My job at the time was pretty much location independent.  However, management being what it is, they always wanted us to be somewhere so it’s pretty unlikely they would have bought off on this plan.  I was still blissfully unaware of the plans management had for us.  I was still driving an hour to our corporate headquarters to plan to bond two core switches together.  Happily, my time with my employer came to an end before I had to do that work.  I was wondering why my boss wasn’t pushing me to move faster on that project.  Now I know why, I would never have been able to complete it before the transition happened.

There’s no moral to this story.  No point really.  Just reminiscing while looking at the calendar.  Well, maybe there is a moral to the story; don’t set your plans in stone, stay flexible and be ready to adapt those plans to what life hands you.  And if you’re so inlined, as I am, never stop having faith that God will work things out for the best for those whom He loves.

Goodbye Sienna, Hello Ram

img_20161119_143059After 18 years of reliable service we decided it was time to put our 1998 Toyota Sienna out to pasture.  I knew that I wanted a Ram 3500 to be our tow vehicle when we eventually start travelling full time.  I also knew that we won’t be able to live that lifestyle for another 7 to 10 years.  There would be no point in having a Ram 3500 as my daily driver for the next 7 years.  But I also knew the Sienna wasn’t going to last another 7 years.  After discussing it with my wife she suggested I get an interim truck.  After searching around a little I finally settled on a bare bones Ram 1500.  This particular truck has storage compartments on either side of the bed, and basic instrumentation.  I went basic so the truck wouldn’t be an attractive target for thieves.

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It’s good to finally have a vehicle that doesn’t sound like it’s about to fall apart, will pass smog, and can tow heavier loads than the minivan could.  I’m even starting to think about a small travel trailer so my wife and I can do some camping.

The Outsourcing Of America

I don’t blame Hillary for this, I blame both political parties.  Both are standing by and allowing this to happen.  People who have worked and trained hard to get and hold their jobs are being forced to train much lower-paid replacements.    I had to go through the same thing.  What’s happening in America is shameful.

Read about it here: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/10/15/exclusive-american-worker-forced-train-foreign-replacement-reveals-how-hillary-clinton-betrayed-him/

On-Call Again

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One of the facets of my last job that I DO NOT miss was being on-call.  Basically on one week out of six I had to live with my phone waiting for someone to call with a network or server problem.  The calls almost always came near midnight or near 4am my time.  It really stank.  What was worse was that I was salaried so did not get paid any overtime for these late nights on the phone.  At least twice a year I would spend an entire weekend on the phone.  Literally.

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One of the joys of leaving that job and starting my new job was not being on-call.  I actually have learned to forget my phone sometimes.  I went to church last week without my phone and didn’t panic once!   That all being said, our CIO announced this week that we would now have to be on-call.  (Booooo!)  But that we would be compensated for being on-call.  (Yaaaayyyy!)

Apparently if a county employee is on call, during the time that they are on-call they get paid 20% of their base hourly rate in addition to their normal pay.  If we actually have to call in and work on something then we get to charge 3 hours of overtime.  Awesome!  This is effectively a 6% raise in my pay.  Yeah, I’ll take it.

Life Is Slowing Down… Sort Of

I haven’t been able to update this blog as much lately because of life.  Firstly, I am really enjoying my new job and the work days seem to fly by.  The phone that has been a constant fixture in my hand for the last 12 years is slowly working itself free.  I actually forgot to bring it with me the other day.  It was awesome.  I’m not on-call any more which is WONDERFUL!  I can work overtime… if I want.  They like network maintenance to be done around 8:30 in the morning after shift changes at the hospital.  No more 2am maintenance windows!  I am loving that!

We are slowly learning to be a family without my son living at home.  It’s taking some adjustment.  But we’re learning to heal from all last Fall and Winter’s shennanigans.  He seems to be adjusting to his new home too.  I actually got to have lunch with him last week when his group home showed up at the hospital cafeteria.

I am flying every week.  I work late on Fridays so I go in late.  I’ll take my PPG out for half hour, maybe 45 minutes and then head into work.  I fly again on Saturday morning.  It’s been pleasant learning a new way to fly.

But other than this there are no earth-shattering happenings, no life-altering revelations, just living a simple and slower life.  Despite the slower pace of life, the days seem to fly by.  But the one constant in our lives has been Christ.  We have definitely felt His presence in each and every day.  And each and every day we are grateful!

And with that I leave you with a few photos of my flights this past week…