I’m still around

It’s been over two years since I posted anything. I’m sure there’s no need to explain what happen since, but I’m still around. Life is slowly getting back to normal.

I’ll be back. I promise.

Water Upgrades

If you’ve ever washed your glassware and let it dry and end up getting a white cloudy substance that coats it? That’s the dissolved minerals in your water which is referred to as Hard Water.   You may see it on your faucets, shower doors, and anything that can get wet from your water at home.  Our previous home was not far away, so we use the same water company and the hard water broke one of our coffee makers within a year, and it also broke our ice maker from our fridge. The mineral buildup was difficult to scrap off. Using harsh chemicals wasn’t an option.  I ended up getting a water conditioner (rather than a true water softener).  The conditioner didn’t soften the water. The conditioner gives the minerals an ionic charge that prevents it from clinging to itself.  You still get those white spots, but it was much easier to clean off.  Wiping it with a paper towel was all that was need to clean it up.

I recently installed a water softener for our new house.  It’s awesome and it has been great. I wish I did it when we were living at our old house.  South San Jose is notorious for its hard water.  According to the USGS Website water with dissolved calcium and magnesium of 7 gpg (grains per gallon) or 120 ml/L (milligram per liter) is considered hard water. According to our water provider, Great Oaks Water, their water hardness is 18 gpg (grains per gallon) or 307.8 ml/L (milligram per liter.)  That’s the over 250% over those values.

If you’re struggling to clean up the water spots from your faucets and dishware or your appliances getting clogged up with mineral deposits I highly recommend a softener.  There are other benefits such as softer skin and hair.  I find myself using a lot less lotion, soap, and shampoo.  I have a Fleck 5600STX 64,0000 Grain system that I purchased from Amazon, and I got a plumber to install it.  The system requires me to add a 40 pound bag of salt each month.


Lawn Trouble

When we finally moved into our new home we noticed the grass was dying.  It seems the previous owner might have stopped watering it after we went under contract.  I had no knowledge of how to care for a lawn, so I did the next best thing.  Watch a bunch of Youtube videos on how to do it.

I got some tools, lawn soil, and grass seed.  I raked away the dead grass and turned up the dirt where there was no grass.  I added some new lawn soil, spread and mixed in the grass seeds into the soil.  I watered it everyday and I started to notice some of the seeds beginning to germinate, but I was disappointed at the rate and sparse growth.

One early morning my wife noticed that we had a few little birds hanging out in our backyard.  Curious to see what they were up to I opened the sliding door to my yard and when I took a few steps onto the lawn, and in that moment, several dozens of little birds flew away.  I was shocked. These little birds were feeding on all the grass seeds that I have spread over my lawn past two weeks.  So back to the Youtube videos.

I spent about 10 bucks at Lowe’s and bought a plastic decoy Great Owl to be used to scare rodents and birds.  I was hoping they had a more menacing raptor but from what I read these Great Owls are quite the predator.  I set the plastic Owl on the kid’s play structure and moved it around the backyard every few days.  I’m not sure if this decoy is working or if the cold weather is keeping the birds away.  Anyhow, over the next two months the grass began to grow and it’s been looking a lot greener.

The pictures below will show the 3 month difference.

Dead grass
Dead Grass
Green grass
Green grass

New Year and New Changes

It looks like my yearly blog post is due.  I’ve been meaning write more posts but I’ve been busy and being lazy.  2019 was a busy year to say the least.  My family and I bought a new home and sold our old one.  It was quite the ordeal, but in the end it was all worth it.  In December I got a promotional opportunity at work which I accepted and will start in a week. The most exciting news was the birth of our 4th child, a daughter.  It was a total surprise as we choose not to know the sex of the baby during the pregnancy.  We currently have 3 wonderful boys, so we are thrilled to have a daughter.

I’m not making any promises, but I’ll try to at least make another post before this year ends.  Since moving into our new home I’ve been busy dealing with home issues and home upgrades.  I’ll try to write something up about them on this blog.

Passed my CISM Exam!

After about 3 months of studying I finally took my CISM exam and passed. It was tough. It was a lot tougher than I expected even with all the studying I put in. The CISM focus on mainly on management, so it required a different style of thinking compared to many of my other technical certifications I’ve taken.

If you’re thinking about getting your CISM certification I highly recommend the following book. It’s a lot easier to read than others, and it comes with a great practice test software.

(The book is not an ad nor do I get anything out of it for mentioning it. It’s just a great resource if you’re studying for the CISM exam.)

Poop In the Toilet

One of the biggest milestones as parent is seeing your child poop or pee in the toilet for the first time.  My second oldest son has finally done it.  He’s over 3 and half years old and up until yesterday I didn’t think he was ever going to stop wearing his diaper.

Now that he’s a “Big Boy” I guess my wife and I will have to plan a Disneyland trip; an incentive for his potty efforts.

Website Rebuilt

So I decided to rebuild my WordPress blog.  I migrated to Dreamhost so long ago I don’t even remember when I did it.  Before Dreamhost I hosted the site myself on an old desktop in the living room.

Over a decade with using WordPress I’ve tested a bunch of plugins and and add-ons and stuff.  Anyways, I decided to delete the whole site and imported only the posts and images making the site cleaner.

Next steps for me is to pick a theme and make a few cosmetic changes to the site.

Consumed by Pokemons

Over the last couple of of weeks I got started playing Pokemon Go with my children.  Before I knew it I was sucked into the Pokemon Universe. My wife reluctantly joined in on the party, so now we spend several hours a week walking around our neighborhood looking for these Pokemons. Once I started playing I can see the flexibility of the game makes it very popular.  It’s one of the few games that encourages you to go outside and walk around. You can play alone or play side by side with other players, and in my case it’s with my wife, kids and sometimes with other family members. The only time you really co-op with other players is when you battle against a Pokemon, and even then it’s limited to just attacking and trying to defeat that Pokemon. Win or lose you collect some random loot and you move on.

Holiday Weight Gain

Every weekend is almost taken up by parties, get-togethers, research time for deals for gifts to buy, which leaves leaving little room to workout. So far this season is off to a good start. I usually gain significant amount of weight over the Thanksgiving weekend that ends up lasting till the end of the year. So far I haven’t gained any partly due to being sick right before Thanksgiving which limited my appetite.  The season is still young and there’s plenty of time for me to unintentionally pack on the winter weight.

Upgraded my laptop

I’ve been hauling around my Lenovo W520 laptop for almost 7 years.  The sound no longer works and I’ve replaced the battery. The sound does work through headphones or through the DisplayPort.  It was great powerful laptop that did everything I threw at it.  But it was overdue for a replacement, so I after being a lifelong Windows user I decided to pick up a Macbook Pro 15 (2017). I’ve always admired the Macbook’s design and build quality and this one is no exception.

It’s been a few days and so far it’s great.  The screen and battery on this machine is amazing.  I’m planning to get VMWare Fusion to run Windows 10, so I’m not missing out on my Windows specific apps and games.  This is probably one of my most expensive computers I’ve bought, and I’m hoping it’ll last just as long as my Thinkpad did, and if it does I feel it’ll be worth every penny of it.