Tag: hoa

The Monday Morning Haiku #18

Life is what happens
while you’re busy making plans.
(Or, watching TV.)

 

As you may have gathered from the subject matter of today’s haiku, life here at Casa de Bedlam has been interesting and not-quite-as-expected, recently.  It seems I’m a glutton for punishment, or at least for booking my time 100% full.  For example, here’s some of the things I’m currently involved in:

  • I’m taking the Fundamentals of Engineering exam this fall (October 29th, to be exact) and a quick review of the exam topics proved without a doubt that I was in no way, shape, or form ready to take such an exam without serious prep-work.  Since it covers topics that I only briefly learned about (if at all) in school such as Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Biology, Engineering Economics, Probability and Statistics, etc., I decided that I definitely needed to have some sort of “refresher” course.  I signed up for an online review course through UNCC, which provides videos of narrated PowerPoint slides as well as forums and an instructor for questions, while you follow along at home with reference materials, handbooks, and sample tests.  So far so good, but I’m basically devoting 2-3 hours a night to reviewing this material, and plan to continue to do so until just before the exam in October.  Definitely puts a crimp on my free time, as I’m helping put the girls to bed around 8pm and then retiring upstairs to a desk to cram material that I didn’t learn 10-15 years ago and haven’t needed to know as a professional engineer since then.My "monastic" study setup
  • As if that wasn’t enough, I’m also in the process of training to participate in the Thunder Road (Amica Insurance) Half Marathon here in Charlotte in November (I did say I was a glutton for punishment, right?)  This will be my first half-marathon, ever, and I’m trying to train correctly for it, which means I’ve invested in an “official” training plan from Runner’s World, and although I’m not quite always following it to the letter, I’m doing my best to make sure I’m in shape and have the necessary base mileage training to finish the race, if not meet a time goal.  During the summer, this has meant getting up extra-early to get the runs in before work – I hope as the weather cools off, though, I can move my workouts back more towards lunch-hour, as I tend to enjoy those a little more, and have the chance to run some of these workouts with coworkers when I can join them at lunchtime.
  • Work’s also taking a toll, as I’m transitioning back from a support role on other peoples’ projects to doing lead-type work on some prospective future projects that I might head up on the electrical side.
  • I’m still the website admin for our neighborhood HOA, which hasn’t taken much time recently, other than the fact that the Board (of which I’m now the 5th and tiebreak member) has decided to allow the website to include advertising from 3rd parties, so I’ve had to put on my “lawyer hat” and put together a quasi-legal contract for people to fill out and sign prior to purchasing ad space on the website.  (I put my foot down at actually managing the ad contracts, but I’m at least getting the framework in place for someone else to do it.)
  • There’s also some other things on the horizon – we signed both of the girls up for soccer this fall, so my Saturday mornings are going to be tied up for the foreseeable future, and of course the CP starts Sunday School (religious school) as of mid-September, so that’s another 4-hour block of my weekend blown away right there.
  • Between work, my “extracurricular activities”, and spending at least a little time with the family, I barely have time to eat, let alone blog on a regular basis.  I am hoping this eases up after the end of October, when the biggest non-work commitment on my time is completed, but I have a feeling I need to just start trying to get by on a little less sleep, and invoke the 80% rule on my efforts more often, or else I’m going to be seriously overwhelmed in the upcoming months.

 

How about you all – have you ever taken on more than you can handle?  What did you do to manage it all? Did something finally give, or did you overcome all the obstacles and triumph like a superhero?


I Love When It Just Works…

So this summer's "I've taken on too much" project was to set up and maintain a website for my neighborhood's Homeowners Association.  

Our HOA is relatively new (we just elected board members for the first time, earlier this year), and our only web-presence was a really pitiful little link on the property management company's website.  A Google search for the neighborhood only brought up a couple of hits on forums of people asking information about the community, with less-than-coherent responses from other forum members.  I decided that if *I* was moving to the area, I'd want to have a better idea of what was going on in the community and be able to know, in advance, what I was moving into.  So I *urg* volunteered to take on the IT Committee lead role and set up a website.

I wanted something that would be pretty easy to maintain in the long run, so I ended up going with a WordPress based blog for a content management system, hosted on BlueHost (who I also have a personal account with).  Once I found a nice-looking template, I started to cobble things together and ended up with a pretty nice looking product.  I added some other services on here or there and in the course of the past two months, spending probably about 40 hours total of my free time, put together a decent community website with the following:

I've got to give an introductory talk about everything at the annual HOA meeting coming up this Wednesday.  I've still got a few more things I'd like to play around with before everything is *exactly* the way I'd like it, but I'm very happy with the product so far.  Sometimes, when you get things to work just as they should, it's like the clouds part, the sun shines down, and the angelic choir begins to sing (but only in your head).  Now only if I can keep things running this smoothly in the upcoming months, I'll be incredibly happy.

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