Snow Day Pictures

We got even more snow, and there’s lots more days of snow in the forecast. I’m trying to embrace and enjoy it, rather than worry about it, since — let’s be honest — what will worrying do? It certainly won’t clear the roads, ensure school’s in session, or guarantee that I can get to work next week. So here’s a few pictures from today’s snow adventures.

Before:

Friday Back Porch

After:

IMG_20190209_062029

Before:

Friday Before Road

After:

IMG_20190209_062254

Some other pictures:

PANO_20190209_062319.vr

After spending an hour clearing our driveway, I went for a snowshoe walk with Dad. Continue Reading >>

Enough Snowmageddon Scoffing

Okay, Midwest, Northeast, and anywhere that gets more snow than Seattle. We know you get more snow than we do, and you handle it with panache rivaled only once in history, by the socialites aboard the Titanic.

But I’m sick of taking your scoffing and your snide, superior remarks about how inept we are at dealing with snow. It seems that, during our snowstorms, all that people from other places can talk about is how stupid and hopeless we all are to freak out over a “little” snow. Continue Reading >>

‘Snow Fun

I remember the first time I thought, “Oh no, it’s snowing!” That’s when I realized I had truly grown up.

Today, Wednesday, is the first day I’ve gone to work this week. Monday and Tuesday I worked from home, thanks to copious amounts of snow. School has been cancelled all week, too, including today. Monday Benji spent at home with us; Tuesday he spent with my mom; and today he’s going over to my in-laws. I can only hope school’s back in on Thursday, or we’ve got a childcare problem!

Friday they forecast more snow. I’m not going to worry about that yet.

It’s been so cold – 14 when I left this morning – that everything that melted during the day when it warmed up to almost 32 refreezes overnight. This cold is supposed to linger, and that means that daily freeze/thaw cycle continues. That’s what I worry about the most. But I got out the studded tires bike and I’m going to be careful, but try to commute home the next couple days.

Here are some pictures from Monday, when the snow was still fresh.

And here’s me waiting for the bus this morning. I’m planning on riding home. I trust the studded tires will protect me from any surprise icy patches.

A Very Kindergarten Week

It started with Benji laughing hysterically. He wanted to tell me a story about something that had happened at school, but it cracked him up so much he could hardly get the words out.

Finally, he managed to calm down enough to gasp out the facts: When they got their turn with a school iPad, he and a friend took a picture (or pictures?) of Benji’s bottom with the camera app. I laughed, too — and then suddenly a sobering thought struck me.

“You had your pants on, right?”

“Yeah, like this –” …and he proceeds to drop his drawers and give me a full moon. Continue Reading >>

Reflecting on Two Years

Yesterday marked my two-year “Tamaversary,” as they call the start date anniversary at work. My boss celebrated by ordering chocolate-covered strawberries, which I did appreciate.

Two years doesn’t sound like much to me, but compared with the tenure of most developers, I’m practically ancient. And somehow this two years has gone both very quickly and very slowly. The real question, however, is whether I’ve grown or learned anything in this time.

Writing Growth

Over this time, I’ve certainly learned a great deal about technical writing for software, and I think my writing quality has substantially improved — albeit with room for continued improvement, of course. I’ve gotten much better at using fewer words, clearer descriptions, and more consistent terminology. I’ve also learned to think about how users will find and consume content, to make answers more readily available.

Before joining Tamarac, I’d never read, let alone written, release notes. Achieving the right tone, the perfect mix of marketing and technical communication, is something I keep working at. I’ve gotten much better, ah some stories I really nailed, which feels good. Now I get to work on hitting the sweet spot for every story.

Cultural Growth

My boss describes me as a leader. I find this odd and a little improbable; I’m a mere Tech Writer II, just doing my job. But I have made real connections over the last two years — nobody who’s going to be my best friend decades from now, probably, but definitely solid, even friendly, working relationships.

I naturally have reached out to the other people on my team and I get along with them well. But I also have formed good relationships with PMs, developers, QA, and marketing, all really valuable connections. This year I want to start getting to know the support folks upstairs, because they use Help Center at least as much as external clients. I want to find ways to make Help Center more useful for them.

It’s not all work, of course. I also run the Bike to Work team in May, and I organize fun little things for our team, like bringing in pies on Pi Day or Indian food for Diwali. It makes us all happier, and my boss doesn’t stop me, so why not?

Why We Keep Teeth

Benji has lost four teeth so far, the front two in the top and bottom. Before he lost his first tooth, which came out at the end of June last year, we prepped him with the hard reality that there is no Tooth Fairy. We are the Tooth Fairy, I told him. This didn’t faze him, as long as a prize appears overnight in place of his tooth.

We also skipped the tooth-under-the-pillow shenanigans, and instead have a special jar to contain the tooth. The jar sits outside Benji’s bedroom door, making it nice and easy for the “Tooth Fairy” (he still wants to pretend, even though he knows it’s us) to make the swap. Continue Reading >>

Open Letter to Specialized

Having run out of options to get financial recompense from FedEx, BikeFlights.com, and USAA to replace my S-Works frame, I’ve sent Specialized the following letter. I don’t expect it to make any difference, but it can’t hurt.

(In case you missed this story, here’s the background:
Crushed, Frame Damage Update, Acceptance, Bike Update)

Dear Specialized,

My name is Katie Ferguson. This June my family splurged on an S-Works Tarmac disc to replace my 2015 Cannondale SuperSix Evo. The full-price S-Works was a huge financial stretch for us, but worth every penny. The crisp responsiveness, zippy power transfer, and incredible lightness combined with the unbelievable comfort made it a joy to ride, by far the most wonderful bike I’ve ridden in my almost 15 years of cycling. I told my friends that it offered all the benefits of the best race bike combined with the comfort of my long-time commuter bike. I named it Swift, after the bird.
Continue Reading >>