Categories
personal

Buying a house

Never imagined how busy I would be when buying a house. Especially when the closing date of my condo and of the house we are buying are both on September 30th.

There are lots of details to keep up on. All of the real estate and mortgage related paperwork. Inspections, appraisals, the waiting game for answers to questions. Making a list of utilities, accounts, etc. that will need address changes or signups for. Thinking of what stuff we want to bring over to the house or get rid of. Praying that nothing like a hurricane or earthquake suddenly throws a curve ball.

It is very odd creating wishlists on various sites for various things I haven’t used in years that suddenly become a necessity when owning a house. Like a lawn mower and a snow blower.

On top of this, the fast pace life of working for an awesome company of course always keeps me on my toes. Wouldn’t have it any other way though, this is what I am born to do. Work hard, play hard.

Categories
personal

Enjoying vacation

Those of you who know me realize that I work a lot and that is probably an understatement. I rarely leave my desk at work for breaks, I am constantly thinking about it (especially since I am on-call 4 days a week), and it is really hard to hit the off switch. The reason why it is hard to hit that off switch is simple: because myself (and the rest of my colleagues) love what we do so much.

On Friday, I finished up my day and officially entered vacation mode for a week.

I don’t think I have ever looked forward to a vacation more than this one. The mental relaxation you get simply from turning off my work e-mail (and Boxcar notifications for our status page) is quite amazing. My aim is to totally recharge the batteries this week.

Saturday my wife and I visited my brother Justin in Burlington and helped him purchase his first new car. Wonderful time, although very sick of driving (three hours each way).

Sunday our nephews and my sister-in-law visited in the morning. My wife and I then went out and did some scouting of possible houses in the Manchester area that we are interested in.

Today my dad and I are going hiking somewhere in the White Mountains. First time we have done something like this together in a long time, maybe years. All I know is that it is supposedly an “easy” hike. His definition of easy is quite different from mine. We will see!

The rest of the week, I am most likely doing lots of genealogy research and working on fixing some things in our condo so we can put it on the market.

Categories
personal

Taking advantage of New Hampshire

Living in the small state of New Hampshire all 28 years of my life, I just realized how little of the state I really have visited.

Outside of a couple of youth hockey games when I was 7 or 8 in Berlin, I never been north of the White Mountains. Never been in the Great North Woods, never been to Pittsburg, NH. Along the same lines, outside of visiting Keene every year or two, I have no idea what towns are around that city and what is in them. I don’t recall ever being in the Rochester area either.

Until four years ago, I had never been at the top of Mount Washington. Tomorrow, I am returning via a trip on the Cog Railroad, which once again I have never been on before. Afterwards we are going to the Mount Washington Hotel to have a late lunch. Only a few weeks ago did I see the hotel for the first time.

Categories
Computer Fixes personal Work

Updates

A few updates since I last wrote a couple of months ago:

  • Been extremely busy at work.
  • Site is now running on Dreamhost again (but of course still using DynDNS Custom for DNS) after about a year and a half on my own server. This site should be much faster now and have fewer quirks. I have learned that maintaining an web server is a lot tougher than it looks. Time to leave the server and backend stuff to the experts. I will stick with what I know now, which is running WordPress and configuring my own DNS.
  • Reloading my server so it can be a test instance of BIND for me.
Categories
personal Technology

The plan to move to Gonyea.com

A few months ago I acquired Gonyea.com from a domain squatter. I haven’t done much with the domain due to time restraints, but I am edging closer to at least begin working on moving over my online presence to it. Here are my initial plan:

I have signed up for Google Apps for the domain. The free version does everything I need, whether it is e-mail, calendar, contacts, etc. I do not need to worry about running a mail server and I can use Google Apps on any device I own.

In one sense, moving e-mail over to Google Apps would be easy. Setup a filter on Gmail to do all of the hard work and that is it. Yet it really isn’t that easy. The perfectionist in me would require that every online account I own be immediately switched over, which will take hours to do all of the updates. Then again, do I really want a bunch of web sites to know about my new e-mail address?

My calendar right now is just hosted on my home computer and isn’t synced in the cloud. I will use this opportunity to move everything over to Google Calendar.

I plan on configuring my iPhone and my iPad to both use Gmail & Google Calendar via the Google Sync feature. Instantly I will have over the air calendar and contact updates, plus push e-mail.

I am almost certain I will just 301 redirect to chris.gonyea.com. I just have to setup the proper .htaaccess rules and setup WordPress on chris.gonyea.com.

Categories
personal

How fragile life is

On May 7th, which was just over a month ago, my wife and I were riding on a commuter rail heading to North Station in Boston. We were attending Game 3 of the Celtics/Cavs series and this was my surprise birthday present. We were very pumped, looking forward to the Celtics game. In truth, it was a bad night. The Celtics laid a complete egg that game, with a humiliating loss. Yet that wasn’t the worst thing that happened. Before the game started, we found out my wife’s aunt had a very deadly form of lung cancer.

We would hear reports occassionally on how she was doing. Just a week ago, we heard she was starting chemotherapy and she seemed very upbeat about the whole thing. We hoped that it was a positive sign and maybe she could beat this thing.

Today, just 44 days after that horrible news, we were traveling back from Portsmouth when my wife got a phone call. She started crying almost immediately. I knew it was bad. Her aunt passed away.

In just 44 days her aunt went from living a relatively normal life (she had health problems to begin with) to succumbing to cancer. Heartbreaking to say the least. Yet she lived a full life and had a wonderful family. As her son said today in a Facebook post, “we lost a saint today.”

Next time you talk with someone you care about, realize that in as little as 44 days, they could be gone.

Categories
personal Technology

Purchased Gonyea.com

A couple of years ago, I noticed that someone was domain parking gonyea.com and trying to sell it for an absurd $999. I kept checking back every now and then to see if the domain had expired, but it kept getting renewed.

Finally I decided to place a low ball bid on the domain. The seller and I began to negotiate, finally settling on a price we both could agree on.

I am proud to be the owner of gonyea.com now, the domain transfer over to my employer DynDNS.com finishing the other day and WHOIS being properly updated. I am starting to brainstorm what I will do with it. A few ideas bouncing around my head include:

  • The main gonyea.com site is probably going to be a showcase of my brother’s and I’s various projects online. This is something we have thought about off and on for years, so it will be cool to finally get this taken care of.
  • I plan on moving my personal e-mail address from my Gmail address to a gonyea.com e-mail address.
  • genealogy.gonyea.com is almost certainly going to be created to focus on my genealogy research. I will probably let gonyeahistory.org expire since I haven’t done much with it yet and I would like to simplify the amount of domains I own.
  • I will still own , but undecided on what I want to do with it. My personal e-mail address on that domain hasn’t been officially used in years, it is just a spam collector at this point. I may shut that e-mail address down. As for this blog, I may let it live on or setup a redirect so I can move it to chris.gonyea.com. Haven’t decided yet.
Categories
Financial personal

A victory and now a Dilemma

I have officially paid off my first major loan, the car loan for my wife’s Subaru Forester. What a fantastic feeling that is! Yet it opens up a new dilemma┬áthat I am still struggling to figure out.

The question is, what is next?

After some careful deliberation, I have narrowed it down to three possible options:

  • Pay off one of my student loans (this one is a private loan with Sallie Mae). This loan has the smallest balance of either my wife or I”s loans and would probably take about a year to pay off if all goes right. It currently has the lowest interest rate (3.25%) of any of our loans, but it is also a variable interest rate that has gone as high as 8.5% in the past. Plus there is always the benefit of getting Sallie Mae out of my life.
  • Pay off the other car loan for the new car (2009 Hyundai Elantra SE). This would probably take near 1.5 or 2 years to do, but has a higher interest rate (5.5%) and the loan is only 7 months old. This means right now I am paying a lot of interest on the loan and paying now could save significant money down the line. Plus the huge benefit of not having any car payments and this would net a significant boost to the next debt snowball.
  • Take the money we would put towards payments and have it go to a savings account. Given the economy, it never hurts to have some money stashed away. If the account balance gets larger then one of the loan’s balances, I can always due one big payment and close out the loan. If an emergency comes up, then we have money readily available.

Tough choice. Still thinking it through.

Categories
personal

Thank you for my first chance in this big scary world

Earlier today I attended “Breakfast with the Best” in Manchester, NH because my company was one of those being honored. While there, I met someone who was directly involved with getting me my first ever internship in my field nearly 10 years ago when I graduated from high school. I had known her personally thanks going to school with her kids.

Talking to her after so many years was great, as we caught up on everything. Sadly, one of those items was finding out that my boss at that first internship who she later became engaged to had passed away 3 years ago.

It was a shocking thing to find out, I had lost contact with him after my internship and never heard about him passing away. I remember trying several times to get in contact with him after my internship ended, but unfortunately sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. either didn’t exist or were not widely used back then, so those attempts never panned out.

I remember once he joked to me that someday he will be working for me, as he seemed to be very impressed with my skills for a then 18-year-old Help Desk intern for a local bank. He taught me so much about my field, whether it was fixing computers, to setting up networks, to dealing with internal customers. He also indirectly lead to my final internship and first job offer, as the company he worked for after the bank ended up hiring me as well right out of college. One reason I had applied was that he had worked there at one point, so I knew they must be good.

This person I talked to today told me how fond of me he was and repeated that “someday he will work for me” joke. It brought a tear to my eye and a smile as well. Without him and her taking a chance on me, I don’t know if I would be where I am today in this big scary world. I owe him for how my career has turned out.

Thank you John. I will always remember you. Someday maybe I will get a chance to manage you.