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Best Year Ever

I’m back!

It’s been a while. Today my co-worker was talking about how he would like to start writing and I was thinking about how this blog and the challenges I set around it helped me to start writing. We talked about a similar arrangement as I had with my crew at SUCCESS. Although instead of bringing baked goods on Friday if we missed a Wednesday entry, we would buy each other lunch.

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Election Night Meanderings

Here we are on election day and I am coming out of blogtirement because I had a story to share.

This morning I asked my coworker if she voted (she hadn’t) and after talking for a while she mentioned she wouldn’t know who to vote for because they both suck.

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Cooking with Sam

My typical meal used to consist of going to Chipotle or I would eat super simple like an apple. We used to spend a crazy grocery bill and then have more spent on restaurants. In order to pay off our mortgage faster, however, we are trying to stick to a food budget of $200 a week. In contrast, January my wife said we spent $1400 on groceries and $300 on dining out.

I am proud to say that for the month of February we spent $804 on groceries and didn’t go out to eat at all! Also, $4 of that was spent at Albertsons on Lottery tickets so technically we made our goal!

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The February Post

Welcome to what has become my, now, monthly blog! Soon to be semi-annual.

I had an interesting experience today. With the aspects of my job I never actually see customers only a few of my coworkers and some vendors that we have close working relationships with. Our office is pretty relaxed so I kick it in shorts and a t-shirt every day and my hair and beard have become somewhat grown out as of late. Imagine Tom Hanks in Castaway with slightly more clothes.

So Wilson and I were working minding our own business when, being the most technologically savvy person at the time, I was asked to help get computers online for a training class. My office is connected to one of our stores so I ended up running a cable from their modem to a wireless router. However, I left a long cable strung through the store while I was testing this solution. No problem, it was 11 am and the store opened at noon. I was considering whether I had enough time to run the cable through the ceiling or tape it down to the floor temporarily so no one would trip over it. I walked out in the store with the tape and there are two customers. Someone from the training class had left the doors open and people had walked in. The store manager wasn’t there yet and it was just me.

I stammered, “Uh hello… can I help you?” They wanted to know the price and stock on a table. I let them know that the store wasn’t open but I would never turn anyone away and I could check stock and knew most of how to ring up an order. I also apologized for my lack of professional attire that I was kept in a dark hole working on the website.

It went great though. I sold a table and 6 chairs, proving as long as you have a winning personality, you can look like a homeless man and still make money.

The real takeaway is whatever you think your job really is, that is just the task you do, your job is customer service. I heard it put this way from the company my wife works for but I think it is always something I knew innately.

Also, I kind of got a raise. Once again my negotiation skills are ridiculous. I noticed what the market for web dev was doing and though it seemed like a far gap I told my boss I wanted to be somewhere financially in two years and he got me almost halfway there. Almost the bottom end of what I was seeing the market doing but with a lot more potential. Plus there are so many benefits to my job I was happy.

Also, let me tell you my Geico story! You know how they say 15 minutes could save you 15 percent. Try FIFTY percent! I was paying $104 for 2 cars liability only. We prepaid for 6 months of Geico and it ended up $48 per month!

We took both the raise, difference of Geico savings per week, plus the money my wife brings in from her new part-time job and apply that weekly to our mortgage.

Did you know the origins of the word “mortgage” is “death pledge”? Hopefully, that will not prove true for us because we should have ours paid off hopefully by June-July.

Oh yeah, also I don’t know if I mentioned in this blog that about 6 months ago I had purchased a tankless water heater. It sat in our garage for some time but then our tank water heater started leaking. So I single-handedly (with a ton of help from my brother) replaced the tank heater with the tankless. It’s thankless work I tell ya (bud-dum-ching). But seriously it was cool to actually finish a big project that doesn’t involve a computer or arts and crafts.

I leave you with that. Until next time, keep it real.

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Sweet Dreams are Made of These…

Yesterday I played the lottery for the third time in my life.

Early in the morning, my coworker told me that the jackpot had risen to some all-time high and he was thinking that we would buy some tickets and split the winnings. We joked about it for a while then became more and more serious. We would each get ten bucks worth and later it rose to twenty. Then I started asking what he would do when he won and started thinking about winning myself. Really visualizing how my life would change.

When the time came to purchase the tickets he gave me twenty and I ended up spending a lot more. In my mind, I was totally going to win. Delusional? Some might say. But I had a strong grasp on this vision.

Dreaming is sometimes difficult for me as I am sure it is for most people. It is hard to imagine, really imagine, how your life could be and then seeing how far away it is for your actual day-to-day. What do you do with the day-to-day from that point? Is living your current reality something bitter. Would you just rather not since things might not change?

I have visualized many things and obtained them but the difference was I could usually wrap my head around it first.

When I was young I won a crayon cup at a library read-a-thon. Maybe everyone won, I don’t know. But what I do know is at an early age it was instilled in me that I was a winner. And many times I have won drawings and prizes that it doesn’t shock me at all. One of my favorite times was when I was so sure I was going to win this drawing at the company Christmas party I stood up before my name was called. While they were still announcing the prize!

But dreaming something unimaginable has been tough. I could not imagine going to Costa Rica with my family and living the rest of my life there. But I had vacations with my family and could see a longer version of that. And despite my co-workers’ thoughts on the subject, it was granted to me by our boss and we ended up spending two months in paradise.

With my lottery tickets in hand, knowing for sure I was going to win, I allowed myself to see a different tomorrow than I had seen the day before. Some of it I had vaguely thought before but some of it surprised me.

I wasn’t going to quit my job the next day, but I would stay to find and train a suitable replacement. If it was 6 months that would be okay with me, I like what I do and like pretty much all of my interactions with my co-workers.

I also kept my same wife. Not just saying that. She is crazy, as all men will say of their wives, but I can understand and appreciate much of her crazy and we have so many of the same values in common. I wouldn’t trade her.

The one thing I ever envy about people is those that travel the world. Not just a weeks vacation but that really spend time abroad. My best friend in high school goes all over the place and a guy I knew in real estate is in an adventure club that tours the world. If you make a crazy salary but work yourself to the bone I pity you. Especially if you don’t absolutely love what you are doing. People that blow their money on fancy toys looking for happiness, in my heart of hearts I somewhat despise and have since I was young. Seeing new places and experiences is where it was always at, for me.

Unafraid to imagine, I saw myself spending a year in Australia, a few years in Greece, maybe going to the Maldives… wherever felt right and had a beach made for a postcard. Drifting along, puttering about with projects.

So there was a house in Southlake Town Square that I had been thinking about. Right across the street from Central Market, BJ’s right down the way. You could hike to Chipotle and Panera Bread. They are opening up a Gloria’s. (I am a Foodie! Sue Me). I thought that would be cool to live there.

When my co-worker started talking about what car he would get I mentioned I would get the Tesla. But then I thought about it and just thought it was only because it is electric and goes with my environmental goals. I later said I would just go to Maaco and get the five hundred dollar paint job for my Honda. He called me a baller since they have a $199 paint job. What can I say, that money was already going to my head.

The one thing that really surprised me was almost the core of what I want. When I imagined my day-to-day in all these beautiful places, what I really wanted to do was homeschool my son. Teach him everything I know about life and gratitude. Learn physics and chemistry and everything along with him.

I didn’t win the lottery last night but I won something amazing (it is hard to say of more value…), I won the ability to let go of my fears of dreaming big.

What most of my dreams boiled down to was have the time to raise my son and the ability to see new places and really spend time there.

My son is seriously my pride and joy. I love his personality and wish I could spend more time with him. I am so lucky I have every night and weekend with him but sometimes when I get off of work I need time to decompress. We still have a lot of fun but I just feel like more time would be better.

The thing I learned while in Costa Rica is we (in the United States) get a weeks vacation and travel somewhere, see some stuff and then travel back. In a week there is no time to decompress and with the stress of traveling that much in a seven day period, it is almost not that enjoyable. I felt like I started to unwind after about a month. Had I not been working the whole time and staying with my grandparents I might have unwound further.

The house and the car seemed like niceties. I really love my house and car. I would paint them both and fix them up but I don’t think to change them would make me feel much different. Also the job, it is cool. Really cool, but I imagine spending my life teaching my son and puttering around learning to crochet and learning the ukulele in a hammock by the beach to be even better.

Do you feel fear of dreaming big in your life? Maybe buy a lottery ticket and really allow yourself to think big. Best hundred dollars I ever spent.

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There has been an awakening!

Just got back from seeing the midnight showing of Star Wars! No spoilers, just emotions.

It was amazing. First off, it felt like Star Wars but also with the pacing of a modern movie. It was recognizable as a cousin to A New Hope. Certain scenes were a direct homage that didn’t feel like they were trying too hard to be one. The theater I was in people would cheer every time you saw a familiar face. Lots of applause at the end.

Tons of questions left unanswered. I am pumped and ready for more!

Most important, your boy, Admiral Ackbar was in it!

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Unicorns, Rainbows and Star Wars

At work, some co-workers and I did a personality test. This one to be precise: http://www.quistic.com/personality-type/test. The results showed that I am an INFJ. Reading it I was thinking they nailed it on some things but others it didn’t feel right. My coworker read it and said it was totally me. Another lady in the office had the same profile and she said she researched our type and found out that it was the rarest, that only 1% of the population shared it. Funny that there would be two in one office.

I was told another coworker inquired about what my type would be and speculated that it was: Unicorns, Rainbows and Star Wars. To which I was a little shocked. But the guy who told me this agreed and said if he could spend a minute in my head he imagines it would be fluffy clouds and somewhat like an acid trip. That I was a hippy in a normal person’s body.

I came home and told this to my wife and brother thinking they know me better and would laugh but they agreed. Which is really weird because I know they have seen me upset. But even with the examples, I gave they stood firm.

Too weird.

Another conversation I had today, I discovered I am an ass-kisser but in a natural way that isn’t fake or out for anything. I think it derives from being a good listener (sometimes), with a positive attitude and am interested in interesting people.

In yet another conversation I had with someone trying to figure out a way to ask for a raise I solidified my belief in the fact that if you are looking for a raise you had best look elsewhere. This might be only true of the tech industry but I have seen over and over that the raises that I had received are nothing compared to leaving and getting a higher salary somewhere else. I wrote about a friend who did this and made significantly more and my best bestie pretty much doubled his salary in a little over a year by job hopping. When I was at my last job, another developer once told me to never leave a job unless you are making 20% more at the next one and it served him well.

One of the things I have at my current job is something so intangible but means the world to me. I feel really honored. The corporate office was moving to a new building and since we own the current building we are in and have a store in part of it I was told I could stay. He asked me over to the new building and showed me the office he planned for me, which was arguably in the top two of office spaces, but said: “If you are giving me the option, I would rather have the ability to walk to work.”

The new place is like 20 minutes away, so it isn’t that bad, but I never knew how amazing life would become to have no real commute.

I’m sure I would eventually have to move to the new place but if you give me an inch I will take an inch. Seize every opportunity and all that.

And last but not least, soon enough, you will be able to book your stay online on RanchoNaturalista.net. We are in the final phases! So exciting!

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Me and My Lump.

Hey, what’s up? Long time, no blog! Anywho, I had a story that I figured I would write down for future generations or whatnot. Some things to know. First off, I am lucky enough to work super close to my home. Second I leave said home pretty early in the morning. Also, I am an avid reader of graphic novels and a huge fan of the public library. Enough backstory, let’s dive in!

So I was riding my bike to work at 6 or so in the morning and I swung by the library to drop off a book. I left the library and was riding on the road trying to get on the sidewalk. This particular maneuver I have done many times and is very simple. However, my bike hits the curb, stops abruptly, twists and now the bike is on the ground with its handlebars are sticking up from the pavement like a pole. A pole that I (working along with gravity and velocity) try to impale myself upon.

The handlebar struck me in the sternum with tremendous force and to my surprise, all I said was “sheeeiiiiit” and not crying like a baby (what I wanted to do). I didn’t say it all that loud either.

I stumbled upright and felt the pain of my wrist and knee where they also hit the pavement. My chest felt like it was on fire and I seriously thought I had broken something. Even though it hurt to touch it, I kept feeling around because there was a circular indention that the handlebar had made.

I was 1 mile into a 3-mile journey. Knowing my wife would not hear or answer her phone at that unholy hour, I leaned on the bike and started to hobble to work. Even though I felt like I might pass out at any minute.

Working that day, and living through the weekend was agony, but subsided to only hurting when the area was touched. My mom (who is a nurse) convinced me that it is really hard to break a sternum and that x-rays would be hard to verify and there wouldn’t be much they could do anyways.

When I was a kid I slipped on some ice and hit my head. Some fluid gathered to the affected area and I had a horn of sorts which eventually went away.

This same phenomenon has taken place on my chest and when I run I have this fluid-filled sack on my chest that jiggles. It only sticks out about an inch and is probably two inches in diameter but it feels foreign and I could imagine that it is what having implants feels like.

I almost feel like that mutant hooker from Total Recall.

3boobs

Recently someone asked me what is going on in my life and really I have a hard time answering that. In my opinion, things are going well, but to describe it sounds boring. We are paying off our mortgage and should be done (hopefully) next year. I am playing Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain and it’s amazing. My friend Nathan even bought me the Collector’s Edition with a replica of Big Bosses bionic hand! I have a family that I love to death and get to see every day. As far as jobs go, you couldn’t ask for a better one (unless you have a better imagination than me).

But nothing crazy or super cool is going on. I mean that I would have said is super cool. I think all that means I am in a transitioning phase of my life. Like a caterpillar probably thought it was cool to eat leaves and crawl around all day but the butterfly it turns into would think, “Are you crazy? I can FLY!”. But in the cocoon it might be thinking well I know great things are going to happen, and this is pretty cool but there is this stuff I used to do that I am really kind of done with anyway but it was cooler to talk about.

If that makes sense.

So far my blog has shown 3 boobs and I always hope to keep the count an odd number.

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Chokehold Your Destiny Until it Taps Out!

Here is a story. Maybe a parable that you can use in your life.

So as many of you know Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain came out this Tuesday. I mentioned that I preordered the game and on Monday received a tracking code letting me know that it had been shipped.

Many times when you first get a tracking code it was generated by the company and not in the UPS system. Knowing this I waited patiently from the time I got the tracking code all the way to five minutes after I got the tracking code. From then on I checked every hour or so to know the progress of my preorder. When will I get that hot little game in my hot little hands?

I awoke Tuesday thinking the system will be updated and I will see that status updated and it will confirm my hopes of playing the game that Tuesday afternoon. I text my wife and told her to let me know when UPS shows up but still ended up checking every few hours for a status update.

A man I work with, full of wisdom and experience with the realm of pre-orders said, “Dude, you gotta preorder that 5#!t and have them send it to the store. Then you pick it up there.”

By noon I knew that was exactly what I was going to do. Buy that game and just return the one that was in the mail.

The point is, don’t let something hold you back from your dreams. You grab your destiny by the throat and shake it until you get what you want. Time is the most valuable thing you have and time playing Metal Gear Solid is one step above that.

Oh, snap, my brother just text me that he made me a BLT! I gotta bike home now, TTFN!

DON’T FIGHT IT CHICO!

chicocalmdown

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Sam Watson Strikes Back!

Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned. It has been a while since I last blogged.

Where do I start? My son and I both celebrated our birthdays, I read a ton of books, went to several Central Market cooking classes. I learned to make pizza, pasta, and croissants, respectively.

I lost some weight and then gained most of it back (with help from the cooking classes).

Walking to work the other day I realized I finally feel at home there. My time at SUCCESS is more of a memory. While I will always love my old crew, now I have a new crew.

My wife and I decided to work on paying off our mortgage completely. We have toyed with the idea for the last few years off and on but now we are totally committed. We switched to a lower interest ARM so we have to pay it off in a certain amount of time or feel major penalty. But it is exciting to see the balance dwindle by the week.

Also, all the side jobs I was doing are either completed, dried up or I told them I no longer have time to work after hours. It feels amazing. I never needed the money, it was only so I could build a house in Costa Rica. But really have a free afternoon or weekend to veg is liberating. Even thinking about projects that were coming down the pipe was getting overwhelming.

Not that I won’t change my mind in a few months but the downtime feels nice right now. Even blogging had felt like a chore.

Also at the end of this month Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain comes out. I am probably more excited about that than the upcoming Star Wars movies (may the force be with me).

I have been putting the finishing touches on the prologue game, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. I have all the trophies and beat every level with S Rank. On the Companion App, I have unlocked all the officers with the exception of The Pain and Sigint.

That’s about it for now. I’ll be back next week and try to not stay away so long. Eventually, I will find some time to create images for all the posts I missed.

PS, my brother is now writing a blog! You can find him at http://paul.watson.sexy