Settling In

COVID took my writing here in a weird direction. I wrote a series of methodical-yet-irregular diary posts about the details of what I was feeling and what was happening in our lives, but after a couple of months the importance of that writing fell away. I think I was using it as a tool to process my feelings about the world, and eventually moved to other approaches. So, an update.

Everyone’s healthy and fine. Our girls have started the school year from home, and we’re having beautiful late-summer / early-fall weather in Cleveland. We’re all settling in to a schedule and a new set of expectations. Susan and I are still working from home.

Politically, we’re frustrated and anxious about the upcoming election. In less than two months, the American electoral system will see its biggest test since the founding of the USA. The country is deeply divided, with Trump loyalists on one side of the battlefield, and the rest of us on the other. There is nobody on the fence in this election. There is no fence. Only a deep chasm separating us based on our perception, our values.

I’m enjoying my career and continuing to evolve as a software engineer. I passed my FAA certification for commercial drone operations this year, and have been developing my practical skills and knowledge. Lots of sunny days in the Cleveland summer makes for great photos. Some of that work is here on Facebook. I have spent a good bit of time this year getting up to speed on OpenDroneMap, its community, and even contributing a little. Our regional drone industry professional association continues, though without public events for the time being.

My recently-rebuilt tool for event managers, Review Star, came online just in time to see the global events industry grind to a halt, so I have been working with some of my favorite people to tidy up features and usability, and position it to start strong once the public health situation is clear.

This summer marked the 2-year anniversary of our arrival in Cleveland, and we haven’t looked back. The city, and our little corner of it in Lakewood, have so much to offer. The region is full of wonderful people, great food, endless parks and cultural resources. We’ve found some favorite spots and we are continuing to explore.

We really enjoy our regular visits with Susan’s family in Toledo, and my mother who moved up last year from Texas. Our in-person contact has been limited by social distancing, masks, and COVID good practices but we talk regularly by phone and laptop. Now that Susan’s dad is retired we’ll be expanding our “pod” to include her parents, so we’ll have closer contact between our families.

Winter Is Coming, as they say. We’ll be indoors more, and the sun will hide. It’s easy to worry that our social isolation, health concerns, demands of remote education, and national political instability will make for a long and difficult winter this year. I’m hopeful that our strong family bonds, and our good fortune to have a warm, happy home will get us through.