I recently relocated for a job to the Bay Area. I’m not going to mention the name of the company, but if you’re clever enough you’ll figure it out. This post is not about my job or company. I’m quite happy with both of these things. This post is about my struggles coping with the move to a new location and the stress that has been placed on my family.
Picking up your roots and moving somewhere else is difficult. Now add a wife, a kid, and two dogs. I was fortunate enough to have movers pack up our belongings and our belongings were shipped across the country. Our vehicle was shipped on a trailer. We were able to just hop on a plane and arrive at our new residence. Despite being afforded many luxuries during the move, it’s been very stressful on us. This is the farthest that we have ever been from western Kentucky (where my wife and I grew up). One of the biggest pain points has been food (believe it or not).
Moving somewhere completely new leaves some of your favorite restaurants behind (unless you’re a restaurant chain only connoisseur, in which case I’m sorry for you). I was somewhat prepared for this eventuality as someone I had interviewed with mentioned that being one of his hardest things to overcome. No matter where you live, there are always a few restaurants that are comforting to you. If that restaurant happens to be a chain, you might be in luck (however, you might not: one of my comfort restaurants is Qdoba and the closest Qdoba is a two hour commute), but more often than not you will lose a staple in your diet. With a heavy population of Asian descendants, there are many of what I consider to be Asian style restaurants. I’m largely okay with this, but it’s difficult in finding one that I like, seeing as how I’m accustomed to the fake American/Chinese food commonly found in Kentucky and Tennessee.
Another large stressor has been the cost of living. I tried, in vain, to prepare myself for this. I created a spreadsheet to try to map out our income and our expenses. I knew that my income tax would increase when moving from a state with no state income tax to a state with state income tax. I came up with an estimate based on some information I could find online. My estimate was wrong, by hundreds of dollars per pay period. Take that with the huge increase in housing (again, I wasn’t blind to this) and you have a recipe for stress. I keep updating that spreadsheet and I’m doing all I can to stay on top of our expenses. We’ll be okay, but the cost of living adjustment has been larger than I planned for and it’s something that’s difficult to wrap your head around.
Then you have the small things that just add up: my vehicle’s registration expired the month we moved, finding a daycare for our son, registering our vehicle, applying for a new license (which also happened to be expiring this December). It was nearly overwhelming. Did you know that if you have purchased a vehicle in the same year you move to California that California will demand a payment based on the taxes of that vehicle you purchased? I did not. I suppose this measure is to crack down on people buying vehicles out of state and bringing them in, but for someone who purchased a vehicle in March/April without any intention of moving to California at that time, it was a pain in the ass (and the wallet).
The one thing I didn’t believe I would experience has been the overwhelming amount of homesickness I have had. I’ve never thought of myself as being attached to the area where I was born and raised or the area where I have lived for the past six years. I’m not sure if I miss the places so much as I miss the people (family and friends), but I have found myself wishing to visit or to call more frequently. We FaceTime with family so they can see Max. I feel as though I actually talk to my family more due to our FaceTime schedule. We have allotted days to particular family members so that everyone has a chance to talk to us and see him. It’s not ideal, but it’s the best of a bad situation. Before we left Nashville, I rarely used FaceTime with family members (some of this was just due to the fact that my dad did not have a smartphone and my grandmother did not have a device capable of FaceTime). After we broke the news to them and after the necessary setup, we started to FaceTime with them and it has been a blessing.
This is not meant to be a complete written capture of my feelings over the past few months. This is me, capturing some of my thoughts.
Monday was one of the most difficult days of my life. Monday was our pack and load date with our movers for our upcoming move. Watching as our lives were packed into nondescript boxes was an emotional experience, especially when they were packing my son’s belongings. My irrational thought was that the movers were packing our life away. They were packing our son away.
It’s surreal to equate your life, your being, to the possessions in your house and to see those possessions stacked like malformed Tetris blocks in a trailer, tied down and prepared for a cross country trip. I just wanted to get out of the house. I was supposed to stay on the premises the entire time to answer questions, but I couldn’t really take it. While watching movers efficiently box our belongings, I wanted them to take time to appreciate what they were packing. Didn’t they know how important those things were? Those toys and toddler clothes?
They didn’t know. And they shouldn’t know. And they shouldn’t care. They have a job to do and they were doing it. I’m glad they were doing it. I can’t imagine how difficult it would have been on me packing our belongings. Sure, the physical aspect of it would be trying. But the mental aspect of it would be brutal. I nearly lost it a few times while packing clothes into a suite case.
The truth is, I needed those movers. I couldn’t have moved out our stuff and held it together. As a matter of fact, every time I enter that empty house and I see that our belongings are missing, I break down and I cry. I broke down yesterday when doing the final walkthrough. I broke down this morning when running in to grab a few things. I’m going to break down tomorrow when going in to get our luggage prepared for our flight on Thursday. This is not regret for taking a job and moving to California; I’m looking forward to our time out there and to my new job (which I consider one of my dream jobs). This is the pain of leaving our first home. This is the pain of leaving Max’s home. This is the pain of realizing that Max won’t have a memory of that house.
I recently read Evan Ratliff’s post, My wife found my email in the Ashley Madison database. I sort of understand where he is coming from here. No, my email address is not in the Ashley Madison database dump (as far as I know and I have not checked). My email address is, however, frequently used by other Todd Groomses around the country. I receive Lexus maintenance reminders for a Todd Grooms in Florida. I’ve received daycare notices for a Todd Grooms in Illinois. I usually attempt to respond to the sender to let them know that my email address does not belong to the person he or she is trying to reach, but this always feels so odd and so pushy on my part. Do I have an obligation to contact someone if the email seems to be important? Are they listing my email address knowingly to avoid spam in their own inboxes?
I believe there was just a misunderstanding and an error made when recording the email address for the Todd Grooms in Illinois. However, the Todd Grooms in Florida must knowingly give out the wrong email address as he frequently signs me up for newsletters from Lamborghini and Ferrari dealerships as well as boat dealerships. The Todd Grooms in Florida is kind of a jerk. Not only am I getting signed up for newsletters that I do not want, but I have to have this guys seemingly deep pockets flaunted in my face.
This also brings up the question: do we really own our email address? When I receive misplaced email, it almost feels as though someone out there is impersonating me. I sort of feel as though a small part of my identity has been taken away from me. I realize that my main contact address is a Gmail address and that at anytime it can be taken away from me, but I that email address has become apart of my identity. I’ve had it since 2005-2006 (it’s been so long ago, I don’t honestly remember). It’s a surreal feeling realizing that someone can essentially impersonate me or possibly represent me in a context that I do not want or am not aware of. It’s silly and, ultimately, trivial, but it’s something that I think about.
I’ve recently been pushing for use of pull requests in our workflow at LunarLincoln. I believe code review to be an important aspect of development and I feel that pull requests promote code review with every feature added. This kind of attention to detail isn’t just for open source projects on Github.
There is an issue to opening an, ideally, small pull request for every new feature: inevitably, a new feature will rely on a feature that exists in an open pull request that has not been approved yet. What do we do in this situation? Normally, I would just create my new feature branch from the open pull request branch and work away. I did not do that this time. I had not thought that far ahead. After a few commits on my new feature branch, I realized I needed the work from an open pull request branch. So I did the logical thing and merged. I did not include the
--no-commit --no-ff. I unintentionally merged code from an open pull request onto my new feature branch. To make matters worse, I edited the merge commit and royally screwed up my feature branch. So much so that later, I was testing my new feature branch after having merged in the approved pull request, the changes from the approved pull request was missing. Yikes.
What was I to do? I had never run into this situation before. My first thought was to create a new branch and manually copy over my changes, then open a pull request for this copied branch. This would surely work, but there were a few commits worth of work (about 8) and that seemed tedious.
After pondering for a bit, I did create a new branch. I then used git’s
cherry-pick command to bring over the commits from my fubar’d branch and save face. I had never used the
cherry-pick function, but I was aware of its existence from the docs and from previous developer given talks at meet ups. While I didn’t have direct experience with it, I was able to use my indirect experience and solve my problem.