Splashing in the Pool

We took the kids down to the local community pool this afternoon. Jen and I were sitting on the side with our legs in while the kids were swimming around. A chair opened up in the shade so I got up and moved over there.

Shortly after a little girl started splashing Noah in the face repeatedly right in front of Jen. Noah wouldn’t say anything but obviously didn’t like it so Jen said very politely, “Excuse me I don’t think he wants to be splashed.” She looked at Jen and stopped. “Thank you.”

Immediately the little girl proceeded to splash Jen, soaking her pretty well. As calm as can be, while obviously upset, Jen gets up and starts drying herself. “And I definitely didn’t want to be splashed!”

Meanwhile at a safe distance away in the shade I had a good laugh:-)

Improvised Game Night

Our second night of vacation went a little different than planned, but still lots of fun. 

We are spending the first few days visiting friends and tonight was to be a game night. There has been thunder and lightening off and on for most of the afternoon and evening and our best guess is that there was a strike somewhere as the power went out. 

We didn’t let it stop us though between candles, tea lights, flashlights, and cell phones, we were able to still play!

Starting Out Rough

We’re getting ready to start our families summer vacation and so far it’s been off to a rough start. 

We took our car in to get it looked over before the road trip. We knew it needed some work. We didn’t know how much. As the work was being done more and more work needed was found. Not all of it was done due to money and time constraints. We got the most the most pressing things done and the mechanic feels it’s completely fine to take on the trip. 

After I had ran over and paid the bill for that today we received a call from the camp Alexandria has been working at. Yesterday she hurt her ankle pretty bad and it only got worse today. Things were swelling and sore and they were icing it often. So we went to pick her up early and off to the hospital to get things checked out. 

After about four hours of hanging out in the emergency room she had X-rays and we found out the results. Luckily nothing is broke as I initially feared, but she has soft tissue damage and will have to rest it and keep weight off it for a while. 

Even after four hours she was still in great spirits. 

Simplest Answer

For a few days now we’ve been having our printer print out in yellow instead of black. I was checking out settings, but it was happening from multiple computers so I didn’t really figure that was it.

It was some times printing black, but most of the time it was the yellow. We decided it was likely something wrong with the black ink cartridge we had put in. We order an no name type brand because they are much cheaper and we’ve had good luck for quite a while. Jen grabbed a new black cartridge from the box of four black cartridges I had ordered and found it was magenta and not black.

Turns out I ordered a box of one of each color instead of four blacks. So the off brand ink cartridges still work fine when you order the right ones.

Helpful Kids!

Last night we celebrated Canada Day and a friends little boys birthday party with a big crowd of awesome families! It was our first time at their home but it is located in a beautiful area. They have a big old yard that the kids all ran around in. We sat around a big fire cooking s’mores and chatting. At the end of the night they set off an impressive display of fireworks!

During one of the conversations we ended up talking about kids chores and it is always interesting to hear how other families do this. There are times I feel like our kids could pitch in more around the house and take on more responsibility and hearing from other families I may be right.

Our kids are very helpful though. It is rare that much of a stink is put up when we ask them to do their chores, or ask them to help out with extra things which may not be in their normal list.

For example the other night Jen and most of the kids went out and picked a flat of strawberries at a u-pick close by. Picking strawberries is not the funnest task in the world but they all went and had a good time and now we all get to share in eating the delicious berries!

This afternoon we went out and watched the movie The BFG. It was a really well done movie with a great story by Roald Dahl. It was a lot of fun, but by the time we got home it was already after our usual dinner time.

The kids all pitched in right away. Ella and Noah came out side with me to the garden where we gathered some baby spinach leaves to use for supper. This is the first bit of anything we’ve taken out of the garden so far this year. So rewarding! They had both helped plant it to begin with so just a really neat experience.

Inside Caile was making tea biscuits, with just the slightest help from Jen, for our dessert of strawberry shortcake. When back in Ella helped cut up wash and mash the berries for this as well. The best part of it is none of them were asked to do any of this, they all just wanted to! In the end we ate a delicious dinner with an equally good dessert that they all played a hand in help make and prepare.

So while sometimes I think they could do a bit more, I’m very thankful for my kids and their usual desire to help out around the house.

One Month In

One Month In

It is amazing how fast this past month has gone by. I had to look back on my blog to double check to see if it had really been a full month. It was really was June 1st that I started in my role as a team lead and here we are at June 30th and almost the end of the day.

There have been a number of times during this month where I have felt way over my head. The group of leads at Automattic are such a smart and dynamic group, like the company as a whole, impostor syndrome has kicked me pretty hard at times. What business do I have being associated with these folks? To prove how awesome they are, and rub it in a bit more, they have also all been extremely supportive and assure they went through the same thing. My previous lead Zandy has been so helpful to me moving into this role and sharing so much good information and her knowledge from her experience.

When it comes to interacting with the team I’m on directly I feel pretty confident. They make things pretty easy and I enjoy being able to interact and talk with each member. Most of the stress comes from me trying to figure out how to organize my time. What is the best things I can be doing to support the team? Then when it comes to working with the group of leads, despite their support, I’m still lacking confidence to contribute a lot in this front. Most of the chats I’ve been on with them involve me being pretty silent and just taking it all in.

The past few days especially seem as though they can be a turning point for me though. They days have gone very smooth and I’ve been feeling on top of things. A big part I’m sure is just time, I’ve been at this a month now, but yesterday I went back to really analyzing my time and how I’m spending it. It forced me to think about my day in advance and then I track at a pretty granular level how I’ve been spending my time. I’m still not sure I am using my time as best I can, but I have a good picture of where my time is going and I’ll continue doing this for a while more. From there I can work on making sure I’m spending my time where I’ll have the most impact.

I won’t go into all the details but I thought I’d give a run down of what my day was like today.

Typically I start my day fairly early. This morning it was about 6:15 am when I first signed on. I started by getting caught up on things that had happened over night from when I last checked on things. Typically this is reading only, I don’t usually respond to anything just read things over. Then I take a break for a bit to grab breakfast and coffee.

7:30 am is when I had myself scheduled to do a session of live chat. When chat was quieter I would also work answering questions in our mobile app support. Always lots to do! I had scheduled for 2.5 hours but I ended up on for just about 3 all together. I love that I’m still able to provide direct support to our users. For one it is something I’m comfortable doing so it is a good confident boost when some of the other things I’m not so sure on yet. Plus I get to have comments like this one I received this morning.

You are a life saver Sandy

After a quick break and more coffee I went into start preparing to have a one on one with a team mate. I reviewed things we talked about last time and the goals they were working on. Double checked to see where they were in working towards them. From there we went right into the meeting. The chat was really enjoyable and we had a good conversation.

Last night I had been sent a request to provide a bit of feedback on one of the team. So my next task was to get that done. It was at this point where I figured I was on the right path. The feedback came pretty easily because I knew them pretty well. I knew what they were working on and where they were in the process.

From there I took another short break to get more coffee, do you see a trend here yet? Thanks to my flexible schedule I was then able to take my oldest to an orthodontist appointment. While I was there I was able to spend some time getting caught back up in slack conversations. The appointment ran a bit longer than I thought so it became clear I was going to be late for a lead chat that was scheduled. I let the rest of the group know that I would end up being late. My lead Andrew tells me not to worry if I can’t join and to take care of family stuff, which is extremely comforting, but I really did want to attend as well. As it ended up I made it back home pretty quick and was only a few minutes late.

Once were done there I took a bit of time to do some organization. There were some things I needed to add to my todo list from the chat so did that and organized some other tasks and added some reminders to my calendar.

Took another break to grab some food and give my teeth a good cleaning because it was time for me to go to my own dentist appointment. It seems the past couple weeks it’s been dentist season in my house. The kids all had cleanings and some then had follow up appointments. We have the orthodontist appointments, and I was having some serious pain. Heat really bothers it so I’ve been making and drinking iced coffee instead. Earlier this week I had a checkup and then was scheduled in today for a root canal. I’ll take this time to say how thankful I am for the benefits plan Automattic provides as well or else I’m pretty sure between the dentist and orthodontist they would own my house by now.

Before I had to leave for the appointment I had a bit of time so I started in on watching a recording of one of the Leadership Workshops that co-worker Simon has setup and organized. This one was on Thinking Like a Founder by Chris Hardie. I didn’t get to finish it then but after my appointment I came home and took one of my daughters to their dance class. While she was there I went to the cafe where I could bot drink a hot coffee again and finish off the leadership session.

This evening I hopped back on to write up a few posts to get feedback from the team on that were followups from the lead chat earlier. So I spread the day out a bit, but I had a couple breaks in there for the appointments which is the great part about having a flexible schedule. Thinking about the day and month in general led me to send this tweet earlier.

The downfall of tweets though is that it is hard to get the full story, so that’s what inspired me to write down the post showing some of the reasons I’m so thankful for my job and just some of the things that make it so great.

If you’ve been here before you probably already know how I’m going to end this off. We’re hiring!

Wapuu Face Painting

This weekend we’ve been celebrating my nephew Gavin turning one year old! We started the day at Ross Farm Museum to get together with a bunch of friends. It lined up perfectly with our annual tradition of planting pumpkins which we can then come back later in the year to pick up.

As I’ve mentioned before our family likes Wapuu. When we first arrived both my niece Kaitlyn and I were wearing our Wapuunk t-shirts. I hadn’t worn mine in a while but figured a kids birthday party was a good time to break out a fun shirt like that. I guess Katie agreed with me:-)

Later that night we got together again for a BBQ and backyard fire at my sisters house. Alexandria has a few face painting jobs coming up so she asked if she could bring along her paints to get some practice in. She didn’t bring any designs just asked the kids each what they wanted. Katie choose to get Wapuunk! Alex did a great job, if it hadn’t been getting close to time to leave I would have gotten one too so we really matched.

A New Role

A New Role

The past few months for me at Automattic have been simply out of this world. In December I let myself get into a little rut and had concentrated myself almost exclusively on providing support in our Mobile apps. I would spend just about my full day there everyday without a lot of interaction from my peers. It was then I decided I needed to mix things up a little bit.

It started with me doing a rotation to another team. January and February are typically some of our busiest months so I waited until close to the end of February to start. For two months I was able to experience working with another team and supporting other products that I wasn’t very familiar with, VaultPress and Jetpack, with the most focus on VaultPress. They are excellent products for WordPress used to help bring some of the security and features which we offer on WordPress.com to self hosted versions of WordPress. During these two months I learned so much about these products and just about another aspect of Automattic I didn’t have a lot of connection to previously.

Pretty much right when I started my rotation I also offered to help organize my home teams upcoming meetup and project we would work on while we were there. To go along with that I started to help out organizing our weekly team chats as well. Although at times it felt like a lot to balance it worked very well to keep me connected to my team while working with another.

Pushing myself to learn new things and take on new tasks, many of which were not in my comfort zone, was a turning point for me. It allowed me to gain insight into some of my work habits and allowed me to make improvements, expand my skills and develop new ones.

As a team we started the discussion of our teams future. We had ended up being a large group and it made sense that we should split our team into at least a couple of smaller ones and I was asked if I would be the Team Lead for one of them. During our meetup one of the things we worked on was splitting us up into three squads with the idea that if these became our teams it would give us lots of room to grow as we are hiring more.

Since we have been back from the meetup we have been working together closely in our squads but still as one big team and it worked out very well. Being able to attend SupConf excited me and put me in a good mindset to come back with.

As it turns out SupConf was really great timing for me as on Wednesday we made the split. Each of the squads we had broken into became their own team each with a new team lead. It’s a little bitter sweet for me. While I’m both nervous and excited about my new role, I’m also a little sad to see the team I was on since being hired become part of Automattic history. I’ve learned so much from the team especially from Zandy my team lead. I’m so thankful for her guidance and little bit of pushing to get me here.

While I’ve held team lead type positions at previous companies, like most things, Automattic is very different from them. Early on when I was asked about where I saw myself in Automattic or what direction I wanted to head my answer was that I did not see myself in a team lead role. Here a team lead isn’t considered a promotion, just a different role. This makes it possible that if this role and just end up not being meant for each other I could easily move back into my previous role. However, as Automattic is so different I now feel this will be a good fit and that I will be able to make good contributions to our team and Automattic as a whole, while growing myself.

It’s still very new and I have a lot to learn, it’s a similar feeling to when I first started my Trial, just so much information and new things to consider. Thursday morning I got up early and went for a short walk just to prepare myself for the day. I took a couple minutes just to look out over the beautiful view, stand, think, and be appreciative of everything in my life right now, in particular this new opportunity. I’m very much looking forward to this new role though and excited to be working with our team.