Two vibes dominated this month: Work and Refinancing my house (which is more work). Work continues to be busy, a constant refrain, but this past half-year has been some of the hardest I’ve worked in my whole life. The tl;dr is that it’s hard to build a startup and do client projects at the same time. On top of that this month my wife and I are refinancing our house. Refinancing your house as a self-employed person is a special kind of hell with a heaping amount of extra “ASAP!”-type work added to your busy schedule.

The refinance is temporary and should die down soon and I’m finding some work boundaries and systems that help me organize my work week on a meta level (e.g. I work on project X on day Y). Speaking candidly, it hasn’t been a great month for me but I do get to work with great people on cool projects, so for that I’m thankful.

Another vibe is my vision. I’m switching to contacts in hopes my pandemic hair can stay behind my ears, otherwise I’m going to ditch the Dave Grohl mane. At the optometrist’s office she casually mentioned that my eyes are beginning to change shape (as they do) and I’ll probably need bifocals pretty soon. Internally I laughed, “Lady, I’m not that old” but that night while trying to read my phone I noticed if I bring it close to my face… the text got blurry! Gasp! What twisted curse had this unassuming and nice lady doctor unleashed on me‽ Is she a witch‽ I must notify the council. But they will see me and my waning eyesight and I will suffer eternal mocking. Lo.

Two side-by-side 16:9 displays

Another vibe, I’m almost done configuring the inside of my office. This is an aesthetic pursuit. I got new matching 16:9 LG monitors (a 1440p gaming display and a 4K work display), I got a new Sony ZV-1 webcam, and most importantly I got some cables managed by putting giant strips of velcro under my desk. Getting the M1 Macbook Pro to recognize two external displays was a chore and it makes me question switching to Mac, but after a handful of trips to the Amazon I got it working albeit with some compromises. I’ll miss my ultrawide display, but the tradeoff of having matching 16:9 displays that I can use for screensharing or streaming is worth it. Not to mention, 1440p gaming is pretty great and I regret not doing it sooner.

One weird vibe I started chasing down is quantifying my unread counts. It’s probably a “when work is out of control, I want to feel control somewhere else” sort of psychology thing, but I started keeping track of my inbox everyday:

Chart of my email unread counts showing a gradual buildup throughout the week with a big spike on Thursdays

I’ve noticed already that on Thursdays there’s a spike in my inbox. I’ve deduced that the bulk is Github noise (connected to my personal account) coinciding with the end of the week. As seen on the chart, there’s a trend where my weeks build up towards Inbox Madness, which compounds the work stress situation. But at least now I know this.

I found tracking my Inbox helpful enought that I started keeping track of other unread counts: RSS unreads, unreviewed banking transactions, uncategorized business expenses, etc. Keeping track of it has a side benefit of me logging in every day to check the unread counts, so I’m more apt to try and take care of those administrative tasks right away. That’s something.

School is finishing up for the kids, so that means we’re heading into summer. This summer should be easier than last year with my work shed up and running and the pool being open. Looking forward to that rocksteady reggae poolside vibe.

  • 📖 Reading: I ordered a bunch of graphic novels for next month, but managed to finish ~3 books this month.
    • Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? - A book that made me mad at the tech industry’s hiring process.
    • Come As You Are - A book about female sexuality.
    • Press Reset - A book that made me mad about the video games industry’s hiring and firing scheme.
  • 📝 Blogging: 0 new posts, 1 new drafts.
  • 💪 Fitness: Started playing pickleball at my local tennis club. Thus far it’s fun. I’m not great, I’m ~5 hours in to my 10,000 hour journey, but I get to hang out with people in my neighborhood, impress my tennis-playing wife, try something new, and you get to drink beer on the sidelines which is okay.
  • 🎙️ Podcasts: ShopTalk and Aside Quest are trucking along.
  • ⌨️ Open Source: A document summarizing all our <tabs> research has landed in Open UI (preview). One step closer to some kind of syntax proposal we then shop around to the HTML, CSS, and WAI-ARIA working groups.
  • ⚖️ Budgeting: Loving Lunch Money. The big insight this month is that due to my self-employed income being inconsistent, our monthly budget is above of my guaranteed draw. We’re not living outside our means, it works out in the long run, but it explains why “bonuses” don’t always feel like big piles of free money, it’s more or less income we depend on or have already allocated.