Tag Archive for 'DOT'

The Goings On

Stuff Going On:

  • I assisted David in putting up some drywall in his office.
  • Went to Ohio for the 4th of July. Watched fireworks on HDTV. Wild and exciting.
  • Finished my DOT Grants for the year.
  • Had dinner at Sputnik. Finally met Reece. She looks remarkably like Dave.
  • Vacationed at the ‘rents house for a few days. Feetnik and Gordon visited.
  • Installed Dad a wireless network. It took minutes. I amazed myself at how easy it was.
  • Went to NYC for my cousin’s wedding shower. Or rather “babysat” Lily while Emily attended.
  • Started using iPhoto.
  • Deleted a bunch of photos with out backing them up. Lost them. Used data recovery software to recover. It was quite successful. At least with the memory cards where I didn’t reformat it in the camera. Mental note noted.
  • Blew up my online photo gallery. ModRewrite is still muffed up. 🙁 Help, Anyone. Please.
  • Nan came over for a few hours so we could clean the house. Otherwise it would have taken 12 days. I calculated it.
  • Upgraded from a full to queen size bed. We’re officially old now. Buying the house, getting married and having the kid didn’t really count.
  • Went to Eric and Erika’s wedding shower. Played with Annie. She’s amazing.
  • Acquired family insurance with little to no hitch.
  • Listened to Prince’s Planet Earth. Amazed at his marketing and distro plan. And enjoyed his return to the guitar.
  • That’s all folks.

The Greatest City in America

So it’s done.

I put in my resignation yesterday. Emily put in hers last week.

There is something so satisfying about handing that letter in. Perhaps it’s the control you have over the circumstances. Perhaps it’s the thought of what the future holds. I think it’s a combination of both. I will miss the relationships I have built here, of course.

It all started a bunch of months ago when we found a house in upper Montgomery County for sale. It was an old General Store built in the 1890s on the MARC train line. Literally 100 feet from the tracks. It would have been perfect. It was huge. The first floor would have been the studio and we’d live above. There was major work that had to be done to rehab it, but were up for it. It was also a historic building, so we could get tax credits for the work we did. We were also thinking more about sustainable living and living “off the grid” then. Geothermal power was really turning us on. Not to mention septic tanks. Sadly there was a gaping hole in the roof and shortly after seeing the house the area received around 12″ of rain in a few days. Needless to say, at that point, it would have been foolish to have invested and built on this plot.

Our dream of being self employed was not over. The thought of having a 9-5 job working for the man was both terrifying and mind numbing. It was clearly not an option. It was now or never. We thought of renting space in DC. But where would we get $3,000-$5,000 a month for rent in a crappy ‘hood?

I am not sure how it came about, but the idea became to sell our house in DC, buy a new house in Baltimore and find a place to build out a recording studio. I did some market research and found that there were a few large studios with gold laced flooring. There were also a bunch of studios that were in basements, similar to my old one down the street that most bands grew out of after high school, but were cheap so they got the job done. The major void was in mid-level studios. Herein lies our future. After a final meeting with Al (who is a deep seed in the music community of Baltimore not to mention a music writer for the Baltimore City Paper) as well as other constituents we came to the conclusion that this was our destiny. Not to mention the exploding music scene in Baltimore and the possibilities of other related endeavours once the studio took off that Emily would be able to head up.

We lucked out and found a great commercial space in Charles Village. It was at one point the media ‘hood of the city. Now it’s more simply a business district. Regardless, it’s from the turn of the century and it has 12 foot ceilings. It’s perfect for a studio. You know, once we float the room while sound proofing it.

We also sold our house in remarkably fast time considering the market now. It was listed on a Friday. There was an open house on Sunday and we had our first bid on Monday. We even got our asking price. And we decided to rent in Baltimore rather than buy. Building out the studio is going to be pretty time consuming commitment so we’d not have the time to “build out” our own house at the same time, so why bother at this point. The prices in Baltimore are only going down, so we’ll revisit that idea in a year or two. What amazed me was the price of a turn of the century brownstone with 4-5 bedrooms would cost $350,000 or so. You couldn’t even think about doing that in DC for the same square footage in good neighborhoods. It was funny to think that we could live in a place for a few years and not even use the 3rd floor until we had kids. Anyways… It was around that time when I fell in love with Baltimore, hon. At least with the character of all the neighborhoods and homes. It was something I always appreciated, but it never went beyond that. To me, it was always a fun place to visit. Nothing more, nothing less. But that changed.

So to a lot of people this is pretty weird to not have a “consistent and stable” job. But I am not even employed by the Government, I was merely a contractor and they could drop me at a seconds notice. Not to mention any job I could get or have had. So I am no better off today than I will be after my last date of employment. Which happens to be the 31st of August. Yay!

Regardless, this fits in with both of our future plans. And we’re not compromising anything. I think that’s what is most critical here. We’re living our dream and we’re doing it together. We’re so happy beyond anything else we’ve ever done.

Rio de Espiritu Santo

Last week I was in Minneapolis for a conference for work. It went well and my presentation on the new grant process went better than planned. Sometimes those presentations can trip me up. I guess it’s not so bad when you know something about what you are talking about. But that lead-up until the presentation is still pretty damn nerve-racking.

After the conference a few of us got in a car loaded with a library of maps, grabbed some fruit and hit the road. We traveled to tiny towns with populations topping out at 150 and ate in little diners with the locals. The Byways we traveled were Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway which had the most amazingly picturesque goat bluffs. I can’t tell you how romantic those steep hills are. Postcard.

We also traveled on the Great River Road which basically follows the Mississippi River from northern Minnesota to southern Mississippi until it spews in to the gulf. I think I’ve been on the Mississippi in most every bordering State. Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi. This time, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois were firsts for me. I still need to hit Missouri. Someday.

I have to tell you, that river is one heck of a river. The history with this body of water is immense and you can feel that power when you are close to it. I do have to recommend anyone who hasn’t already felt the undeniable force of the Mississippi should do it soon.

Do it.

Pictures of last week’s trip are here. And pictures of this weekend’s dinner with Marisa and Brian (and Sarah) and Michelle and Kris at Marrakesh are here.