Category Archives: Life

On her good side

Doing a Life / Relationships tag today because I have done way too much development and documentation review to want to do anything else technical. I think if you were to ask my wife or any of her friends, they would say I am one of the better husbands in the world – of course I think if you asked any of my friends I think the term they would use is ‘whipped’. Be that as it may, once in a while I will post a couple of things I have done in the past that got good reception in case there are some readers out there that want some ideas to earn some extra brownie points from their significant other. Life should be about more than just coding and work so make sure you put some effort into your relationships too, it makes work that much more enjoyable having that balance in place.

So here are a few good ideas for you. Feel free to steal them entirely and take all the credit – I promise not to tell.

Compliment Stones

goodside1

I actually got this idea from RedEnvelope a few years ago. I think it is a great idea but some of the sayings are a little cheesy or at least a little impersonal since they really aren’t your words. What I did was take some nice polished stones; we actually already had some from a vase in one of our rooms but feel free to get some from a craft store. You can then get some clear Avery labels and print out your own sayings. If I recall I had some mushy ones, some funny ones and some that were a bit risqué – but be creative and make sure to have some that would only make sense to the two of you which will make it more personal. You can then place them in a small gift box or container with all the messages face down or place them in a nice velvet pouch with a drawstring. Then write up a little note with some instructions such as “each morning or when you need a little pick me up, pick up a stone, read it and then put it back”.

Fortune Cookies

goodside2

Another spin on the idea that I did last year was Fortune Cookie messages. My wife loves fortune cookies, I don’t even think she likes the taste of them but loves the surprise of the messages. I found this metal fortune cookie set standing in line at Borders where they have all the compulsive shopping items. It also came with a bunch of tear-away pre-written message but I just printed out my own messages on clear labels and stuck them to the strips and whited out the other side. I couldn’t find the actual kit online anywhere but I found the container which is all you need here. I gave her a message every day for a month and then it just turned into a once in a while thing. You can also use them for apologizing if needed.

Scavenger Hunt

Working for a consulting company, I am lucky to not have to travel as much as I used to but there are certainly times when I have had to head out for an extended time. When I had to go to London for 2 weeks for VW Credit back in 2007, I bought a few trinkets and gifts for my wife and the kids and I hid them around the house. I then hid clues to those hiding spots throughout the house. Then each day when I would call them to say goodnight I would give them a clue to where they would find a clue to one of their gifts. This took a lot of planning and you end up running out of hiding spots if you are gone for too many nights but I think it was worth it because after the greeting hugs at the airport one of the first things my son said to me was “Hey, Dad when do you have to go out of town again so we can have another scavenger hunt”.

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My Marriage can drive today

License

16 years ago today, Pamela and I got picked up outside the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas around 10 o’clock in the morning. The limo was compliments of the Silver Bell Wedding Chapel although our driver felt the urge to remind us quite often that he only works off of gratuity. We picked the chapel out of the phone book because it said it had a nice bridge and river which was a perfect setting for pictures. Although we weren’t taking any pictures it sounded like a nice spot. After we went to get our registration we arrived at the Chapel. The river and bridge was akin to something you would see at a put-put golf course with a small water hazard. The cheesiness was great and we got back to the hotel by 11:30 that morning.

Vegas is probably not for everybody, but there sure was something special about that day. We were just two young kids figuring out what all this ‘growing-up’ and ‘parenting’ stuff was, but during the cheesy little ceremony it was like we were officially saying: no matter what, we will figure this ‘life’ thing out together. 16 years later and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Defending against "Summer Vacation Brain Mush"

Summer Vacation is great for the kids but after a couple of weeks their brain really starts to turn to mush from not thinking as much as they do when school is in session. My daughter has always been a book worm so during the summer she would zip through her summer reading list and then continue on to her Twilight type books. My son Jake on the other hand, who is 13, does not enjoy reading and is more of a math and science guy. I got him to read a little bit by getting him into the math and statistics behind poker and getting him some Poker books but that only lasted a little while before his days were once again filled up with too much XBox and WoW.

Another attempt to engage Jake’s brain this summer was to start teaching him some web development. I was going to go down the Microsoft route and maybe I will at some point but I decided to do Ruby on Rails instead. If I teach him with Microsoft centric technologies it will be more of a Master/Student dynamic. If we go with Ruby on Rails, a technology I am only vaguely familiar with, it will be more of a Student/Student dynamic.

Think back growing up, did you have more fun playing just playing a game of catch with your dad or your dad going over the proper technique to throw a curve ball? I think teaching Jake how to build an MVC3 web application will be a lot like me being the Coach instead of a fellow Student which should be more enjoyable.

rails for zombies

To make things even more enjoyable, I found a really great learning resource from Code School, called Rails for Zombies. For those that are familiar with the Head First development books you would like this course a lot. There is just a nice balance between learning, doing and entertainment.