Circling Around

Hi there.

Yeah, it’s been a bit. Last you saw me I was returning home after a long trek to California. One that, sadly, turned out to be a waste of time.

No, they didn’t hire me.

And just between you and me, internet…that one stung a little. I had mentally prepared myself for that to be my life. For my family to be Californians. To work with drones. I’d even started looking at school districts and commute distances. That’s how far I thought we’d gotten.

Turns out it was only me who thought that.

And it hit me really hard when they did eventually tell me they weren’t “moving forward.” (Which took 10 days of agonizing waiting.) It still does, actually. Moreso now that I’m back to grinding job sites, and getting slapped with several rejection letters a day. It’s hard not to be a little bitter.

But listening to me feel sorry for myself is not what you’re here for. So let’s get to that instead.

Daph, Jen and I have indeed started our summer together. And one of our first major outings was to Comicpalooza at the George R. Brown downtown.

Sadly, the convention was not worth even talking about. Except to lament that it was $100 that I really wish I hadn’t spent. Not even close to being worth it. It looked like a giant flea market with a celebrity bazaar next door.

What was worth the price of admission, however, were the fountains in the park nearby.

This picture says a lot. I’m happy (and saddened) with how it came out.

Anyway, that part was a good time, and totally worth the trip downtown.

There’s also been quite a bit of snuggle/nap time while the job hunt ensues.

Jib is happy about all this time we get to spend together as well.

The dog who isn’t happy with us, however, is Alex.

We’d become increasingly concerned about the mass that had grown on his forehead. It was a huge pink lump that had tripled in size in as many months, occasionally bled, and it was not far from growing into his eye.

And so, we took him to the vet to have it removed.

And I’ll tell you, when I picked him up after his surgery, I wasn’t sure if I’d made the right decision.

Look how miserable this poor little guy is…

“Perhaps” I thought, “he’s old enough to where I should’ve just let it be.”

He had to wear that cone for almost 2 weeks, and in all that time he never got used to it. This very morning, just before we went back in to have his stitches removed, he was still walking into walls and accidentally flipping his food bowl over with it.

But, as I said, today he got his stitches out and was finally emancipated from the cone of shame.

Happy puppies make all of it worthwhile.

Okay, I’m off. Have a great week everyone.



BumbleDadventure – California: The End

Time to begin the trek back to Texas.

The Treksas.

But first, because hope springs eternal, I did some circuits to various little towns that are near the flight facility, just in case they do hire me. (Have I mentioned I wasn’t all that enthralled with Davis?) And I found a couple, with the help of one of the guys at the company, that I believe might fit my little family perfectly.

Highest on my list would be the town of Winters, CA.

Center of town.

This is a brand new, huge playground area that Daphne would love. (The dedication for it is actually today.)

The Preserve is part of the farm-to-table paradigm that seems to be very big in this area. And I gotta say, my turkey pesto sandwich was the best I’ve ever had…and this was after it’d been catered out to us on the work site.

This walking bridge spans “Arroyo Putah.” (I guess “Whore Creek” didn’t quite have the ring they were looking for.)

Anyway, I really liked Winters. Should these things come to pass, this will undoubtedly be my first stop for potential places for us to move.

I also looked at Woodland, which was…also nice.  But very suburban. Lots of strip malls, fast food and mass market stores. All of which are part of what I’d like to leave behind in Texas.

At around noon it occurred to me that I was actually 2 hours farther away from LA than I was on the trip up, and so it was time to make my way back to the train station.

A VERY long drive ensues down I-5 (and there’s absolutely nothing to see but farmland and/or brown grass along the way) and, many podcasts later, I arrived at Union Station in LA. At which point I drive in circles for 15 minutes looking for the Hertz Rent-a-Car drop off, until I’m told by an attendant that you have to drive up to a plastic barrier (that has no signs), and tell a police officer (who is hidden in a chair) there that you want to return a rental car, at which point he’ll part the barriers so you can drive down a very small ramp into the parking garage.

Of course. How foolish of me. Such a tourist moment.

Who wouldn’t drive straight for the nearest cop and demand entry through a blockaded area and down into an impossibly obscured pit?
This is L.A., after all.

Speaking of L.A., Union Station is pretty sketchy at night. I had 2 homeless guys demand bites of my pretzel as soon as I bought it, and a jacked up crackhead pooped her sweatpants while passed out in a corner outside. But the pictures I took in there make it look really nice…

Like a trendy coffee shop.

It isn’t. Trust me.

I boarded my train at 9:30pm, and we were on our way back to Tejas by 10.

At which point, this became the scenery once again…

And as I’m writing this, we just passed over the Colorado River, and are about an hour and a half away from Houston.

I have yet to hear back from the company I interviewed with, but should anything come of that gamble I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say about it here.

Still has me a little nervous, though.

I mean, does the lack of correspondence mean they’ve decided they DO want to hire me and have to begin pushing it through the proper channels before calling me back and officially offering me a position?
Or maybe it means they’re undecided, and need time to sleep on it?
Or does it mean I was so not even close to what they were looking for that they’re not worried about getting back to me, and they’ll shoot me a “thank you but no” email next week?
Maybe more people interviewing/doing site visits?

Clearly I’ve had a lot of time to sit on the train, stare out the window, and ruminate on this.

Although, while I’ve been waiting, one Mr. Musk reopened the same position in McGregor that I already applied for once…so I just rang that bell again.

Can’t hurt.

So anyway… Here endeth the BumbleDadventure – California series.Thanks for coming along with me. And I’ll see you guys soon.


BumbleDadventure – California: Day Six

The day has arrived. The on-site interview. The reason I did this whole thing in the first place.

I’m up at about 5:30 and get ready,  choke down a couple terrible cups of in-room Best Western coffee, and my ride picks me up at 7:30.

Sadly, there are no pictures of any of my time there because it was against the NDA I signed. In fact, I can’t really talk a whole lot about any of it without jeopardizing my chances at getting hired. Suffice to say I did really enjoy it, and it was like no vocation I’ve ever had in my life.

It wasn’t like anything I’ve ever done in my life, nevermind as a job.

And yes, I very much liked it. I was there for almost 8 hours, and not a single moment felt like work. Learning an entirely new nomenclature, technology, and rudimentary aeronautical physics was daunting, a little frustrating, and really exciting…all at once.

Generally speaking, I think it went well. And I’m contenting myself with the belief that they got an excellent picture of who I am, what I’m like to work with, my endlessly inquisitive nature (I must’ve asked what 3/4 of the things on their whiteboard meant), and where many of my strengths and weakness lie.

They drove me back to the hotel at around 4, and informed me that they would all convene about me that evening or the following day (Friday) and they would get back to me after they’d made a collective decision.

And yes, before you ask, that’s a little nerve wracking.

Anyway, after the day I was pretty tired. So I grabbed another quick bite at the pub and then headed back to my room to finish proofreading, and try to replay everything that I’d learned on the site that day, in an effort to actually store it all.

I didn’t get far in the proofreading before my eyes got heavy, and I crashed out at around 10, which ended a very, very interesting day in my life.

And, regardless of the outcome, it’s one I’ll never forget.


BumbleDadventure – California: Day Five

As Day Five opens, we see our BumbleDad strolling down to the local coffee shop/book store (Bookworks) at 7am, and doing a lot of writing/photo uploading for you guys.

 Just like this, actually. How very meta.

I spent about 2 hours there, then headed back to the little house to pack up my things. Although along the way I bumped into a random falconer on the side of the road…like you do.

Got things packed, locked the house, thanked the AirBnB landlady, and so long Monterrey.
Thanks for all the pics.

It was a relatively short drive to Davis, and you’re looking at pretty much the most scenic part. (Unless you really have a thing for nut trees.) The most interesting facet of the drive was the temperature. When I left Pacific Grove it was 61°. When I arrived in Davis 3 hours later, it was 85°.

Once there I checked into my hotel, which was just down the street from UC: Davis.

Not much by comparison to the place I’d just left…

Which meant kids.
Kids as far as the eye could see.
All of Davis is unmistakably, unequivocally College Town™.

It’s pretty. Just collegiate. Which, if we’re being totally honest, did give me a bit of pause since our plan is to rent in Davis for a bit until we get our feet under us. The prospect of accidentally moving next door to a party house adds a slight wrinkle to things. (Yes, I’m getting old. Get off my lawn.)

Plus the housing market in California… Asinine. But I’m sure you all know that already.  –And I’m getting way ahead of myself here. As of the writing of this post, they haven’t even offered me a job yet.–

So I grabbed a quick bite at a local pub before heading back to the hotel to work on my proofreading project some more and call it an early night.

And that was pretty much the entire day. Slow by design.

Tomorrow…the interview day.


BumbleDadventure – California: Day Four

And lo had he rested, and lo had his headache subsided back to the nether realms…

Which did beget a shower, which did beget an entire urn of the holiest of mana, coffee, which in turn did beget a new day.

And with it brought a fresh appreciation for the adorable little house that I was staying in…

Cute stuff.

About Pacific Grove… I honestly couldn’t tell you why I decided to come here. It seemed like a good stopping point between LA and Davis, it was near the ocean, and that little house up there was available on AirBnB. Other than that, I don’t really have a reason I could point to.

It was just a “yep, that’s the place” moment. And it’s been really nice.

The city looks to me like someone took some Wickford Bristle Blocks, and pieces of The Heights Lego Set, mixed them together, and built a new thing.

So after my coffee, the next stop was breakfast. So I hit up the first place I came to, “The Red House Cafe.”

Adorable. This entire town is adorable.

A delicious breakfast sandwich and a bowl of fresh berries later, and I was on my way to explore Pacific Grove. And, me being me, that meant a beeline toward the water.

Um. Okay. Full disclosure.

Just in front of these rocks there was a sign warning people that “Beware! Climbing rocks is dangerous!” Which, as most of you know, is the absolute WRONG thing to ever say to me.

3 minutes later…

What they don’t tell you on the sign is that it’s also fun, and good exercise, and clambering around on them is a reminder that you’re a capable person and that these are just rocks and people have been climbing on them and ones like them for thousands of years…just, you know, don’t be stupid about it.

And do things like cling to the side of them and lean out, just to get a good picture…

And remember that slipping and falling down there would really hurt and probably put a damper on any job interviews you might have in the next 48 hours.

Yes. That’s a cliff I’m standing on the precipice of.
Sorry sweetie…

From here, I walked down Lighthouse St. to the titular site itself…

And wouldn’t you know, it…the lighthouse was closed.

I guess it’s a good thing that no shipwrecks happen on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

From there I headed to the water again, and was rewarded with this little spot:

    (I’m a fan of cairn stones…)

  And, down between the rocks, I saw dozens of these weird little furry squirrel things.

Which were basically wharf rats, but with a luxurious tail accessory.

And after a few hours out here searching for decent seashells for Daph (and coming up empty)…

I decided to head back for an early dinner and to get some proofreading work done.

So I ordered a perfectly mediocre pizza (hey, everything can’t be amazing here I guess…) and got some work done. Then called it a night.

The following morning was checkout of the little house in Pacific Grove, and time for the 3-hour jaunt over to Davis.

But that’s tomorrow’s post… Talk to you then.


BumbleDadventure – California: Day Three

When we last left our intrepid hero, he was at the train station in Los Angeles, trying to choke down a Starbucks coffee while renting a Chevy Cruze.

Exciting stuff.

I did get my car, though, and then headed off into downtown LA at 7am on a Monday.

I stopped to get some gas and water (and was in dire need of a quick pee after that godawful coffee) but the restroom in the Valero station was out of order. So I walked across the street to a 7/11 and bought some water, hoping it might allow me access to the restroom.
No. No public restroom. Sorry.”
Now I’m carrying 2 huge bottles of water and really needing to pee, so I go to a hotel nearby, smile at the attendants and try to look like I’m supposed to be there. I round the corner to the restroom and…there’s a key lock on it.


Desperate, I go to the front desk.

“Look. I tried to use the restroom at the gas station next door and it was broken. I tried again at the 7/11 across the street where I bought these, but they wouldn’t let me use it. I just need to go really quick and then get on my way out of LA. Is that okay?”

The guy gave me a once over, decided anyone carrying 64 oz. of Smart Water couldn’t be all that bad, and nodded.

Refreshed, I walked back to Penelope (that’s the car’s name), and settled in for a long drive.

And if you’re interested, THIS is the place where that little circuit of nonsense went down. (Thank you once again to the kind concierge at Loewes Hollywood Hotel.)

It was at this point that I plugged in my phone, input the address of the house where I had my reservation, and began the process of trusting Google Map directions implicitly.

Turns out, the California Google Map Gnome…is actually a troll.

One who likes to send you in random directions before “recalculating” and then telling you to turn around at impossible junctions.

“Quick. Turn left he–oh God no, don’t do that…recalculating route.”

I guess it decided that I shouldn’t leave LA without going on a tour of Hollywood, so it inexplicably led me by Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the El Capitan, where I hung a right at Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum…and then went straight up to the Hollywood Hills. At which point I’m beginning to wonder if this is the most efficient route out of the city.

“Seriously Google. I just want to get the hell out of L.A., okay?”
“Great. Mulholland Dri–what?”

I’m pretty sure this is Uwe Boll’s house.

And what followed was about 30 minutes of hairpin turns and 15-20 mph plodding, along with what I’m pretty sure were some Google Giggles…

“Seriously Google! What the hell?!?”

until I got to the other side of the mountain and reached a real freeway, at which point I was off and running.

Much better…

I reached Pacific Grove about 5 hours later, at around 3:30, and finally pulled up to the little cottage that I’d rented on AirBnB. But I was so damn tired, and had such a ripping headache, that I couldn’t even be bothered with its cuteness. All I wanted in the world was a shower, an Advil and a nap…in that order. I laid down in bed after rinsing off (sadly, there were no Advil in the house), and before I knew it…I’d fallen asleep.

That little bed and I were simpatico.

I woke up at 9pm, still pretty headachey…but not nearly as bad as I’d been before. I gave some thought to getting up and trying to find something to eat, then decided to skip the whole thing and just went back to sleep. And did so until about 6am the following morning.

Yep, the 15 hour snooze session. That old chestnut…

And once I’d awoke and saw that the lovely person whose house I’m staying in had prepped it with both a coffeemaker and fresh coffee, I was ready to start a new day…

But that’s for tomorrow’s post.


BumbleDadventure – California: Day Two

Hi there.

So Day Two began, well, at the tail end of Day One really.

We pulled into San Antonio at around 11pm.

The hotbed of activity that is the San Antonio Amtrak station ’round midnight.

And there we sat…for nearly 4 hours. Apparently we were supposed to hook up with (quite literally) another train coming down from Chicago, and they were running ridiculously behind.

At around 3am, we began rolling again. Which in turn caused sleepus interruptus for the remainder of the night. This was exacerbated by a cacophony of snores, farts, voices talking way too loudly on cell phones, and several jackwagons who don’t know what the term, “please use headphones” means.

I’d fall sleep for about 20 minutes, then get woken up. Fall back asleep. Rinse. Repeat.

All night long.

I’m pretty sure they cast this commercial with the people on my train.

And so I eventually gave up at around 6am, and wandered off to the dining car toward the promise of coffee.

And it was there.
And it was good.

While having breakfast, we passed over…a river. (I don’t recall which one.)

This one.

Afterward, I came back to a find our train car completely empty and smelling vaguely like the bottom of an outdoor Diaper Genie in August. The scrambled eggs and bacon I’d just eaten signaled a quick retreat before I performed the “dad ninja” maneuver and covered my nose with my shirt.

An Amtrak rep wandered over and explained that the bathrooms downstairs had blocked up, and that I should “go back a couple cars and just find a seat anywhere.”


So I did. And, quite a while later, we arrived at El Paso.

How very welcoming. They do love their fences down here.

Honestly, I’m a fan of El Paso. There’s a cool vibe in that city that I’ve always dug. Back when I was driving between Houston and Utah 4 or 5 times a year, I always stopped to stay the night there. Cool place.

But we weren’t to stay long. We were still trying to make up time from the San Antonio meetup, and so off we went, into New Mexico/Arizona.

Or perhaps toward the dual suns of Tatooine.

Ah. Moisture vaporators.

A little while later, we arrived in Tosche Station Tucson, which holds the distinction of having the coolest Amtrak station I encountered on this entire trip.

They had a real restaurant, with outdoor tables and candles…and beer.

I had a “Kilt Lifter” from the local Four Peaks Brewery, which was really quite good.

Alas, after about 45 minutes we were on the move again, and I attempted to sleep…again. And was met with roughly the same success. 30 minutes asleep to every 15 minutes awake…from 9pm – 4:30am.  At some point the toilets backed up again, but this time they just left us to wallow in our own crapulence until we rolled into the station in LA at 5:45am.

I didn’t get any pictures of that because I was a bit on the delirious side. But I did, however, snap a picture of the world’s worst coffee…

Seriously. I cannot fathom how people drink this bile-flavored swill.

At which point I picked up my bag, rented my 2018 Chevy Cruze, and began the second leg of the trip…the drive north from Los Angeles to Pacific Grove.

And that, will have to be a tale for next time.


BumbleDadventure – California: Day One

So I realize I’ve been a bit cagey about this, mostly because I didn’t want to jinx anything. But I’m now officially on my way, so I think it’s copacetic to talk about it.
I’m currently headed west, more or less, to Los Angeles. And once I arrive there the plan is to rent a car, and turn north, driving along the 101, until I reach Pacific Grove for two nights.
Then, on Thursday, I have an interview with the a company that I originally talked to more than 4 months ago.
But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.
Yesterday I gave Jen and Daphne a hug goodbye, and got a ride from my dad to the Amtrak station for this little sojourn.
  Not exactly Grand Central… 
I’ve actually always wanted to take a cross-country train in the U.S., and this seemed like the perfect moment to do so. (I mean, when am I ever going to have this kind of time again?) And since the company I’m interviewing with is reimbursing me for the trip/hotel, this seemed like a very rare opportunity.
And so here I am. Sitting on that very train and rolling at a glacial pace toward El Paso. We’re somewhere near Marfa (I know this because the “Marfa Target” just went by), and I’ll tell you, this area of Texas is absolutely desolate. I get why Cormac McCarthy loves it so much. It’s bleak, harsh, and unwelcoming…which, collectively, I suppose does have a kind of majesty to it.
I think I see John Grady Cole…
Perhaps it’s this landscape, but I’m already feeling the fact that this is the longest stretch that I’ve ever been away from my wife and daughter.
And I miss them very much already.
Which is, in itself, I suppose a solid reminder when removed from the day-to-day grind. A quick poke to highlight how lucky I am to have such a sweet, loving, wonderful little girl, and such a beautiful, smart and kindly wife, both of whom I love without limits.
This is going to be hard.
And speaking of the smaller of my two favorite people, last week was Daphne’s first week of school.
This was taken just after the traumatic experience that was her first school haircut.
She’s started the Early Childhood Autism Program, or ECAP, at a nearby elementary. And to say we were nervous about this would be an insult to understatements made throughout history.
She hasn’t really ever been away from family before, and she was suddenly thrust headfirst into an 8:20 – 12:40, Monday through Friday class schedule.
And, aside from crying quite a bit on the first day, she has absolutely rocked it.
There were a few tears, and an utterly heartrending reach for daddy for help while her teacher whisked her away on Day 2. But by Wednesday we’d hit our stride, and by Thursday she didn’t even protest. She just hopped out of the car, put her backpack on, and walked in like a big girl.
No, it’s her daddy who’s still getting all emotional during this process each morning. And I must be wearing this concern very clearly, because the teachers always give me a quick encouraging smile and remind me that “we’ll take good care of her, Dad.”
Typically I can’t even respond. I just take a deep, shaky breath and nod my head.
But, as I said, she’s doing fantastically well. She’s complying with her teachers’ requests, staying in her seat, and getting great marks every day. She’s taken to the program better than we’d ever expected. It’s unfortunate that she’ll only go for a few more weeks before summer vacation kicks in.
And depending on how this interview goes on Thursday, she might have an all new school in California by next year.
But again, I’m getting ahead of myself. This is just an interview, and I’ve had way too many of them to put any kind of stock in the process anymore. (Even if they are footing the bill for me to come halfway across the country to meet them…)
Time will tell.
Okay, I’ll have a lot more to say about the train trip and Day 2 very soon.
Talk to you then.

Dear Daphne – 3 Years

You are three years old today. This despite the suggested age/size on your clothing. (You’re running at about a 4-5T right now.)

Many smart people told your daddy how quickly this time would go by, and they were absolutely right. Even my daily “mindfulness reminders” didn’t seem to slow things down.

In reminiscing over some of your newborn pictures, I couldn’t help but notice how much younger both of us looked back then, despite the lack of sleep that you were causing your mommy and me at the time.


It appears your father is wearing the difficulties of this year on his face. Particularly in the color of that beard…yikes.

You see, first daddy lost his job. He’s looking for another one, but that’s proving to be a bit more difficult than he’d originally imagined. However, he’s doing everything he can to take good care of you and mommy and ensure there’s a steady inflow of Sandra Boynton books, and Martinelli’s apple juice.

The silver lining is that I’ve had 4 months of time at home with you. Four months of scrambled eggs and toast and strawberries in the mornings, 4 months of afternoon walks and tricycle rides. 4 months of naps…well, everyone else gets to nap with you, actually. Daddy spends that time scouring Glassdoor, Indeed and LinkedIn.
4 awesome months of getting to spend every day with you. And I know that someday I’ll look back on that particular facet of this time in my life with wistful fondness. Because being with you is the best place for me.

Second, we learned a lot about your autism this year. Daddy has been taking you to your ECI classes every Monday, and doing structured exercises with you during the day while mommy is at work. (Most of them. Sometimes we skip the occasional “Non-Preferred Activity” and settle for Goldfish and snuggle time over some LBB Jr. )

You start your ECAP program at a real elementary school this week, which is every bit as terrifying for your mom and me as it probably will be for you. Hopefully we’ve prepared you enough, and you won’t be too frightened during those four hours that you’re away from us. I hope…

You know, it seems like hope is just where we live right now.

Anyway, I have no doubt that you’ll quickly show your new teachers what a clever, funny and sweet little girl you are. They’ll work out the Daphne sign language lexicon quickly enough, and soon be able to understand and interact with you. I just hope being in school with them every day doesn’t alter the wonderful little person you already are.

Speaking of speaking, it was a difficult challenge this year coming to terms with the fact that you might not ever be able to actually talk to me. And that I might never hear my daughter say things like “God, this blog stuff is so embarrassing!” or “no, I said I wanted the jeans with the holes in them!” or “I love you, Daddy.”

But truth be told, you convey the latter one just fine.

I suppose this birthday has brought into focus how unfocused things are. The future is very obscured from where we are,like behind a dense fog, and none of us have any idea what our lives are going to look like at this time next year.


Your father does few things quite so well as going boldly in random directions and figuring things out when he gets there, so we’ll plunge into this existential murk and be confident there will be something amazing on the other side for all of us.

And besides, our little family is together… All holding one another up. And, in doing so, we make each other strong as diamonds.

Happy birthday my little girl. I love you very much.


In Irons


Things are still.

That is, if you qualify submitting something on the order of 40 resumes per week as “still”. And I’ll tell you…I am really, really tired of telling potential employers that I am a white, male, non-veteran without a disability.

Although I did get tapped on Wednesday by the company where I do most of my freelance work. They’ve asked me to edit a new book for them, which is awesome. I hadn’t gotten any work offers from them in months and I was beginning to worry that I’d pushed them too far when I lobbied for a full-time job in January.
Glad to see I haven’t become proofreada non grata as a result.

Speaking of which, a couple of the projects I worked on last year have just been released:


Heh. Get ’em while they’re hot. (Actually that last one is already sold out and I’m hearing a lot of good things about it. Glad I had a hand, albeit a minor one, in getting it ready.

It’ll be nice to have something where I feel like I’m being productive again, rather than simply slamming my head into the doors of various human resources departments.

And speaking of being unproductive, here’s a reimagining of the Easy Rider opening credits, suburban edition.

Yes, I do have a lot of free time right now.

It’s quite possible we’ll hit up the brewery tomorrow afternoon; we haven’t been there in quite some time and we’re probably due. Although not the swirling yellow zephyrs of tree spore don’t ease up a bit. Poor Jen is getting serious hay fever right now…

Okay, see you next week!