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The City is Alive (April 2018)

06 May 2018 . category: life

April in Seattle can bring all sorts of things. This year we’re experiencing quite a traditional spring with plenty of sun, occasional heavy rain, and a lot of pollen. The days are significantly long enough now that I don’t worry about brining a headlight on my bike for most trips. The mountain has been out more often than not, but the city also collects haze in the absence of the winter’s persistent breeze and drizzle.

April was a month of change for me too - I started a new job and so much more! I’m communing from Redmond to Seattle (and enjoying the views from the bus across the lake) every day. I’m waking up early and going to bed before eleven. I’m relaxing in parks on sunny evenings downtown, I’m exploring food trucks and hole-in-the-wall lunch spots. It’s very different. I’ve really missed the bustle of the city, and I’m so happy to be back.

  1. More writing and reflecting: Once a month is better than never, so I’m still calling this a big win. My new team has weekly time carved out for retrospective as well, so I’m excited for the chance to have a context for reflection at work as well as here personally. Writing is something I’d like to work on, it’s time to find more stories and share them.
  2. Say yes to more / get out more: My weekends last month were all well used, which was great! Keep it up!
  3. Look a bit more towards the long term: Starting a new job is both a big win and a chance to realize that I wasn’t working on much else in this category. And now I’ve been giving myself the excuse of ‘settling in’ in order to not look too far into the future. Moving back to seattle is probably the biggest project here, but I really want this category to start encompassing more things like trips and new skills.

A new job

Ok ok, this is actually pretty big news, although now just three weeks in it doesn’t feel all that different. Transitioning from tutoring to my new downtown 8-to-5 was a much smaller adjustment than I expected. There are some friendly parts of the internet that I found during my days that I’ll miss being a larger part of, but now I have new things to learn and a new team to interact with.

So what is this job anyways? I’m a software tester / analyst at a (now) ten person company that has been developing custom map software for decades, primarily for wireless carriers. Being a small company, my position is really ‘do everything’ which I’m super excited about. In just a few weeks I’ve completed tasks that could classify as software testing, IT / dev-ops, UI/UX design, front end development, program management, documentation, and support. I’m really excited to be back in tech, especially in a role where I know I’m making a difference. It’s abundantly clear at such a small company that if I don’t do something I’d like to see happen, it’s not going to get done. This is just the start: there’s so much to learn and do in the coming months and years, I’m looking forward to finding out where this role takes me.


April was an amazingly busy month! Mostly I just want to document this for my own amazement:

  • Saturday 7: Day trip to Portland to see Hannah and Becca! (Tips for next time: take the train both ways is possible, the bus is not nearly as comfortable, but at least does run more on time than the train.)
  • Sunday 8: Emerald city bike ride. It was a bit rainy, but I will never not take the chance to bike on the I-5 express lanes - they’re mostly covered anyways!
  • Saturday 14: Relay Orienteering in Bellevue
  • Sunday 15: Nothing? Really?
  • Weekend 20-22: Whistler Spring Snowboarding. The snow the last weekend that both mountains are open somehow manages to never disappoint: three inches of fresh powder saturday, bluebird sunday, and it was super empty.
  • Saturday 28: Tutoring! Luckily this was super chill, and it was raining anyways, so actually a decent way to spend a Saturday. It was pretty cool to be able to feel helpful just dropping in for a day after not doing it for a few weeks. It certainly helped that I only had one or two students each session rather than the typical three.
  • Sunday 29: Street Scramble. I ran 18.5 miles around Capitol Hill. Ow.


My bike commute to tutoring was pretty much ideal, if a little short for a bike ride at 15-20 minutes each way. Getting to downtown is a little trickier, but not as bad as I thought it might be: I’m consistently under an hour door to door in the morning and about an hour and five in the evening, after a few tweaks. By brining my bike on the bus and parking it at my office rather than the Redmond transit center, I can avoid about 15 minutes of winding through streets (and heavy evening traffic) in Redmond. Buses that run frequently enough to not worry about the schedule are huge and I’m so glad that Seattle generally does buses really well. The bus affords me some podcast time, and biking is a great way to wake up and wind down. So far so good, and much better than the hour and a half each way that my research had indicated it would take (about equal to biking the entire trip, which I’ll be doing more of soon!).


What would one of these posts be without a bicycles section at the end? I did some cleaning yesterday - adjusting brakes, clean and lube my chain. That’s all great, but I also discovered that as I’ve suspected for months, my bottom bracket is loose. I don’t have the tool to adjust this so I’ll need to take it to a shop. It might be a five minute fix, but if I’ve destroyed the interior bearing then it will be a longer (and more expensive) job. Putting more money into this bike is totally fine - it’s my commute vehicle. The real trick is figuring out the timing: bike shops have pretty big maintenance wait-lists right now.

April flew by with busy days, busier weekends, a new schedule that has me now first out of the house rather than last, and all sorts of new things to learn. Summer is right around the corner: backyard BBQs, kayaking on the lake, late evenings as the sun takes its sweet time dropping below the horizon. But as much as it’s a time to relax, it’s not a time to slow down. New challenges are what bring about excitement. Find something new, and create your own journey. Go make something new!


Eric Jones builds software that helps people. If he's not at a keyborad, he's probably running through the woods with a map and compass or carrying groceries home on his bicycle.