A “Working” Holiday

On the 22nd of May, me and the missus, plus my eldest and her partner jetted off to Texas with the plan to stay 1 day in Fort Worth to visit the stockyards, then to drive across Texas, visit my grandparents graves, and head onto Odessa where my parents live.

We ended up several hours late into Fort Worth due to major thunderstorms, which was interesting to drive in with our rental car. Got to the hotel easily enough though.

The stockyards the next day were fun and we watched a cattle drive with longhorns, but the best bit for me was that we found a Biscuit Bar . For the non-american readers, that doesn’t serve cookies. It services fluffy rolls filled with good stuff.

In the afternoon we started our 6 hour drive across Texas. Found my paternal grandparents graves easily enough, then a 10 minute drive to my maternal ones. Then we got lost for 15 minutes as I turned left somewhere I should have turned right! Good fun.

A quick stop at Walmart and then another 4 hour drive to Odessa.

We got in quite late at 8:30pm, but all in all a good trip.

So, the point in coming was to help my parents with a bit of housework. The next day me, my middle brother, and my daughter’s boyfriend were hauling stuff from home into storage in the morning heat. That lasted until about noon when we could jump into the pool.

The next day, we were cleaning out my dad’s shop. Taking a lot of it to the dumpster, moving a lot to a storage container, and blowing out about a metric ton of dust. All in all I think we got it pretty clean and far less trip hazards. We then went out for a meal that evening.

The next day we rested and the wider family gathered for a Texas feast. Beans and cornbread, pea salad, and brisket - with banana pudding for desert.

For our final whole day we completed all the work in the shop and started getting ready to leave. I got a few Carhartt shirts, a western belt and belt buckle, a western wallet, and about 30 - 50 Mio water enhancers to last us a year.

Belt and Wallet

On leaving day, we weren’t flying out until late afternoon so we could take our time getting ready. We got to the airport well enough, went through security, got to the gate - but then in horror I spotted our flight had been cancelled by American airlines.

Then came the worst 48 hours of trying to get home ever! We had to go back to my parents, I spent 3 hours on hold trying to arrange new flights and there was nothing available. Eventually, I had to plan to fly from Dallas instead, so the next morning I drove BACK 6 hours across Texas, we got on a plane, then had to get off as it had a hydraulic leak. By the time they found a new plane we’d missed the next flight home. Sooo, from that point being past midnight in Pittsburgh, they had to put us up in a hotel overnight and after 3 hours of sleep we flew to New York, then had to wait in the airport for 7 hours, before being squashed onto a terrible British Airways flight where I was about to start having panic attacks from being claustrophobic and in crazy pain from the rock hard seat.

Never again! I’ll be flying economy premium or better forever going forward.

Finally! A New Role After 80 Days.

So, on my first day in Odessa, I had an awkward interview with a company called MAK-Systems. The house internet was wonky so I had to use my brother’s phone and the video was breaking up along with sound. By some miracle, I ended up a front-runner and got invited for a 2nd interview!

That happened the Monday after I got home on Friday and despite some remains of jetlag, I got the job!

So far, I’m really enjoying the technology and working with the team. It’s a platform engineering role, with the usual technologies of Terraform with Terragrunt on top, AWS, Kubernetes running on AWS Fargate, FluxCD with a lot of Kustomize , and Github Actions as the CI/CD engine. The company seems to be based out of North Macedonia, which is a first for me. The beauty of that is that IR35 regulations don’t apply and I can work there as long as they’ll have me.

Watch this space!

Weekend Trip to London.

In celebration of getting a new gig, the missus and I went to Camden Market in London on Saturday morning. Ate some excellent food. Had a drink or two.

I also picked up:

A T-Shirt. Frog T-Shirt

A couple of fun bracelets. Bracelets

And some hand painted shoes. Shoes

The Allotment

Put simply, it’s gone to hell this year. The cold weather and random amount of rain isn’t helping anything grow, and slugs are killing almost everything! I’ve put in bit courgette plants only to come back a day later and they’ve been eaten to the ground. It’s frankly putting me off having an allotment.