Chris Schmidt (crschmidt) wrote,
Chris Schmidt

Life Newsletter: January 16th, 2011

Happy New Year!


It's January in Boston, which means snow and cold at our lovely home. With 12" of snow falling on Wednesday, we had a fun time digging ourselves out, but out we dug. Of course, digging the sidewalk out is just one part of the process: Digging the car out of the street is an entirely different process. Some areas of Boston have some pretty strong feelings about parking spaces, but Cambridgeport tends to be a bit more relaxed; I will admit that after a large SUV did a terrible job cleaning a space, then took *my* clean spot, I was pretty upset, but I didn't do any tire slashing.

In addition to the snow, we also had a water heater break on Tuesday; came into the basement to find scalding hot water flowing out. Got ahold of the landlord, and she was able to get someone to come out and fix it that night -- a great relief to me! Having someone come out during the blizzard as I thought I would have to was going to be a nightmare, so it was good to have that issue resolved, at least.


On Wednesday, Julie and I trudged our way over to the eye doctor for her second post-op for her eye surgery in October; Doctor reports she is doing great, with perfect alignment. It was very weird being out: We were the only people out anywhere. Take the busiest road in your town, and imagine that at 11am on a weekday, there are only four cars on it -- and they're all snow plows. The whole area just shut down, and it was a rare sight to see.

Julianne continues to do great in school, having taken strongly to her studies this year and catching up (and exceeding) many of her classmates in many subjects. Though she still has trouble in math -- some days she can multiply 17 * 4 in the blink of an eye, and some days she can't tell you 2+1 without counting on her fingers -- she's generally gotten to a pretty consistent level of study, and is meeting expectations in all subjects in class.

With that being the case, we have applied to Cambridge Friends School for her for next year: because of a number of social pressures in her school, we're very worried about what will happen in the end of this year and next year with regard to her success. We're thankful for her great teacher this year, but think that she might be better in a different environment if we can manage it; one that is better able to cater to her needs. So we're keeping our fingers crossed on that front.


After 3 months of heavy duty school searching, Alicia's turned in her high school application: In the end, she's decided to only apply to Winsor, an all-girls school nearby in Boston. (None of the other schools felt like they fit to her.) As a backup plan, we plan to go the homeschooling route. Since Alicia is well beyond the level of most kids her age in almost all subjects in this area, we think that is the best way to approach learning for her if she doesn't get into her school of choice.

Alicia is also looking into options locally to continue her German education; after taking a weekly at the Goethe Institut in Boston last year, we're looking into what the next step is in that realm.


After much travails with Alicia, Jess is finishing up school application work -- including taking care of the arduous financial support applications. (College apps have nothing on private schools for paperwork, I tell you.) In addition to recovering some of her sanity after visiting 17 schools in 2 months, she's also preparing to go back to Wellesley in the fall.


Kristan continues to be a lifesaver around the house. I'm thoroughly convinced that having enough adults to outnumber the kids is a hugely important part of daily life in a modern world. Also, it means that I don't eat mac and cheese every night. Which, if you ask the kids, they will tell you is an absolute godsend as well. :)


For Christmas this year, we were all able to travel out to Illinois, thanks in large part to the generosity of my parents in putting us up for almost a week. The girls were so excited to see some of their cousins (and meet new ones!), and all in all, I think we had a very enjoyable time spent.

In February, I'll be visiting Lausanne, Switzerland (again) to participate in an OpenLayers code sprint, and most likely visiting our Berlin Nokia office on the way back, and meeting some of the lovely people I've been working with while I've been in our somewhat-remote seeming Boston office. (Nokia's major offices are almost all in overseas; the US is somewhat of an afterthought.)


I'm looking into getting into rock climbing this year: I went out to the local gym last weekend with a friend, and enjoyed it a lot. I've been a couple times, and it's enjoyable, but without a strong commitment, it gets a bit pricy. If I got 3-4 times, I've more than paid for a set of gear at rental prices. Nokia also offers a reasonable health benefit that would cover about half of an annual membership, but it's still a lot of money even after that, so it may have to wait a bit before I make the plunge.

Overall, working for Nokia has been going great, and I'm having a ton of fun working with the same great group of people that I've always worked with -- even if it can be a bit stressful to see all the directions we need to push in to stay on top!

That's all for now. All the best to you and yours.
Tags: life

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