How To Teach Your Child To Ride A Bicycle And Be Safe

For almost a decade I was a motorcycle safety instructor and taught a lot of students how to ride and more importantly how to ride safely.

In my teaching experience, I came across two types of students. The first had never ridden a motorcycle before and the second is one with years of experience. The beginner was typically timid but listened well. The experienced knew how to ride but was full of bad habits. Can you guess which one was easiest to teach? It is common to assume that if someone can already ride then explaining to them their mistakes would result in quick correction. That is rarely the case because once a habit becomes ingrained it can take years of constant practice to change. Continue reading “How To Teach Your Child To Ride A Bicycle And Be Safe”

A Trip To Mount Mitchell

Living just outside of Charlotte, NC I have the ability to drive west a few hours and be in some of the most beautiful parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A short drive east takes us to the coast. Being in such a unique area, I can take the family on a day trip and experience as much of the outdoors as we want.

Today we decided to drive up to Mount Mitchell as it’s a place I’ve personally never been. What initially surprised me is from Charlotte to the peak is only 128 miles or two and half hours away. We loaded up the minivan and away we went. Continue reading “A Trip To Mount Mitchell”

Ninjagrl Art

A few months back I decided to rework my entire office. I had grown tired of a tiny corner desk that would only hold a desktop computer and a keyboard. It felt cramped and left little room for writing or planning with real paper and pencil. This desk also featured a large hutch that took up almost an entire wall. Sitting across the room was a large bookcase that also took much of the wall space.

To rearrange, I purchased a new kitchen table to act as a desk that supplied ample room for a desktop computer, a large external monitor, and plenty of extra space for writing. Transforming the table into a desk was a fantastic idea but removing the old desk left an empty bare wall. It needed some pictures or art, and I just couldn’t decide what to get. This changed when I seen the following painting titled “Lumen”:

 

lumen
Lumen

 

This painting is from ninjagrl, an artist who started an open source collection making paintings of various projects and sayings within the open source community.

The Lumen piece certainly struck a chord with me because all through high school I would draw this same Anglerfish. I’m not sure what specifically I like about it other than it can represent so many things.

After reaching out she was pretty booked up, but I commissioned two paintings for my now empty wall. One to represent my Laravel News project and another with my two daughters.

I was probably her worst client. I had a vague idea of what I wanted and struggled to articulate clearly what that idea was. After a few emails and asking friends we came up with the idea of a reporter interviewing an elephant. For those not familiar, an elephant is the PHP mascot that Laravel is written in. Then for “Daddy’s Girls” I sent her a picture that she said would be perfect and it just went from there.

Here is what the final product of the two commissions looks like:

Daddy's Girls
Daddy’s Girls
laravelnews
Laravel News

In the one with my girls notice the rabbit. That is her favorite stuffed animal that she made at one of those “build an animal” places. What is great is that inside its paw is a contraption that when pushed causes the bunny to roar like a dinosaur.

I think they turned out fantastic and can’t wait to hang them on my wall.

Slow Motion Golf Swing

I haven’t played golf in year but had the luxury of playing with some friends  on Monday. One of the guys took a slo-mo video of my swing and sent it to me. The way I pictured myself swinging, versus how I actually swing is completely different. I do have an injured right elbow that can not bend which makes golf even more awkward.

Maybe if I start working on it now I’ll be ready for the senior PGA tour?

I had several people ask me to do an interview in my Artisan files series and it just so happens I had an empty slot this week so I was happy to oblige.

Bootstrapper to 9-5er

I got my start in tech almost two decades ago. Back then the landscape was much different, but I feel in love, and made it my career choice.

I found a friend, started selling software and doing custom development. Back then no one used the fancy term bootstrapper and I was just a partner in a small business, like thousands of others.

Flash forward a lot of years and I found myself getting a full time job. Something I hadn’t done in such a long time that it was a shock. I went from setting my own hours, working a few minutes away, and wearing many hats. To having to drive an hour each day, a set schedule, limited vacation, someone else making decisions, and having to focus on just code.

On one hand it was easier. Being an owner, all these questions stayed in the back of my mind, and at all hours:

  • Are we making enough money this month?
  • Did we put back enough for taxes?
  • Can I afford health insurance for the family?
  • Is the company growing?
  • Is our marketing working?
  • and on and on and on.

If you notice almost everything in my list was around money. Being a bootstrapper without a large net worth is stressful. A few bad months without proper savings can hurt you in a bad way. I had a hard time with the income being unstable from month to month. This stress compounded when I had kids.

Going to a full time job took away most of that. I could depend on a paycheck, had insurance coverage, and taxes would be handled like the rest of the population.

That doesn’t mean it wasn’t without issues. Mostly driving into an office. I took a job in the next city over, on a good day about 30 minutes one way, but that hour a day really adds up.

My kids go to bed between 7 and 8 which meant I would only get to see them for an hour or two and I didn’t like that at all. Especially in the toddler stage when they are doing all the good stuff for the first time.

I was able to eliminate the drive by getting a job working remote. Which also included the side benefit of being home for lunch and to be a big part of my kids lives.

Working from home is not without challenges. For me it’s mostly training the kids that during work hours they are to not be to loud and keep interruptions to a minimum. I would say that works 90% of the time but I do make an exception after school. Having them hold in their excitement until after work is impossible.

The other thing I’ve heard about working from home is isolation. This hasn’t affected me and I assume it’s because of my personality. I prefer not to talk and chatting with friends via online messaging is just as well with me. You could say this is my introversion showing it’s true colors.

All in all I’m happy with my experiences on both sides. One benefit is now as an employee I have a pretty good understanding of the business side, and how when you work for a bootstrapper you are an integral part of the company.

Left Lane Drivers

Dear left lane drivers,

I’m sorry but I have a deep down hatred for you. I have driven almost 600 miles over the past two days and you annoy me to no end.

The proper way to drive on an interstate is to remain in the far right lane until you need to pass, at that point move out, pass a vehicle and move back over.

By failing to move you are making the roads more dangerous. Others then have to swerve in and out of multiple lanes to get around you and the person driving beside you.

So please move right, this keeps everything running smoothly and prevents road rage.