River Bridge

I love walking across the bridge from Lambertville, NJ to New Hope, PA. The best time is in the summer (not after rainfall as it muddies the water and you want visibility), anywhere from 5PM to 7PM (to reduce sun glare), walk across the bridge and you’ll see the stony banks descend into the river and disappear into the rushing currents. Stop as you get to a pillar and watch the effect of the water slamming into the concrete, at the front of the pillar, the water level actually rises, then slopes back down along the sides, it rips along the edge of the pillar, and then at the very back, directly behind the pillar, the water spins, swirls, placidly lingers, you may even see a couple dead leaves asleep on the bottom. On several occasions, I’ve seen fish waiting patienty in the eddy, they are looking for food caught helplessly in the currents to drift by, like sushi on a conveyor belt, and the fish can dart out to grab the food and go back to the eddy to enjoy it without exerting much energy.  


I’ve always felt a strong connection to the water and lately I’ve felt a lot like the river hitting the bridge. I am proud of my currents and the intention behind them, it is all true and purposeful. But that damned bridge, just slamming into my intentions, my progress, causing that backwards swirl of anxiety and frustration. We are doing everything we can to sell our house to be reunited, but cannot make it happen as soon as we hoped. The home really does look incredible and we’re now prepared to sell it for less than we paid for it, we are pushing so hard, our currents are rising, but the eddy is indifferent.


We posted another ad in the newspaper with photo of our home, it generated another 10 visitors (which ties are all-time high, coincidentally was when we last placed an ad with photo). We replaced the single pane of glass in our big bay window in the front of the home that had a crack & discoloration, it was $125 and makes a world of difference. Jaclyn removed the old medicine cabinet from the bathroom and has placed a big beautiful mirror there instead. The yard is roaring back to life and the vibrant colors of Spring are almost on full display.


I am proud of the kids, we are all aligned on our objective to be reunited as a family. They understand that cleaning their room and toys to make the house more attractive to potential buyers helps in achieving our objective. They are not doing it because they are being told, they truly want to be reunited and to do their part.


When I’m walking across the bridge in New Hope, I spend a lot of time looking at what objects or fish are enjoying the respite within the eddies behind the pillars, but the truly best part of the bridge is when you’re standing in the exact middle of it and you look out and you can see the shops of New Hope to your immediate right, the big Play House further downstream, Bowman’s Tower on the tree topped hill on the horizon, the raging currents behind the wing dam, the Lambertville Station & Inn, the entire scene is beautiful, it is one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever seen in my life.

Relocating Tips

I’ve been reluctant to post lately as my life has been dominated by work, commuting, and cramming in family time on the abbreviated weekends. Ultimately, I am willing to admit that the scope of this move is beyond what I anticipated. Selling your home is a big and annoying event, more of a hassle than I imagined when we decided to make the move. The commuting back and forth is easy, I don’t mind the actual drive and have found ways to make it pass in a breeze, but the elimination of vast amounts of family time is tough. I’ve learned a couple things along the way, here’s what I know now, but didn’t know when I made the decision to relocate:


1. Expecting to sell your home in January or February is not a realistic expectation in the bitter cold North East part of America. The yard, trees, and outdoor areas of the home are all battered and barren, kids are in the middle of the school year, and very few people were looking to move. Try to time your move in the Spring/Summer.

2. Realtors can be frustrating partners. I know there’s nothing that I can do to make the realtor as passionate about moving as I am, but I do not think my realtor is in the same universe when it comes to urgency. One reason may be because our home is not super pricey, maybe another reason is that our realtor is just patient and feels like activity does not translate to results. Ultimately, I wish we made our realtor map out a more specific marketing plan of the home before we proceeded in our agreement to move forward. As this drags out, I wish I could have asked more questions up front about this exact type of scenario and get the realtor’s plan of action to deal with it. To my realtor’s credit, they have done multiple open houses and very few homes competing with us have sold.

3. An up front discussion with your hiring manager on flexible hours in the corporate offices would be beneficial. My boss would probably have no issue with me leaving a day early or coming home a day late (in fact, I’ve been able to do this a couple times already), but it would be better to have more of this framed up before you started to minimize surprises or uncomfortable situations. It is tough to not see your family for 5 days every week for months at a time, anything to lessen this burden would be helpful.

4. It has been a big transition making meals for myself. The idea of buying ingredients, dirtying dishes, and whipping up a meal just for yourself is a lot of work for a piece of chicken and some mixed vegetables (it’s seems more worthwhile when you’re doing it for your significant other or family). If you’re going to relocate, I suggest plotting out your meals, things you feel comfortable making, and how ingredients might be amortized in other dishes (for example, chicken on Monday, chicken stir fry on Tuesday). Then grocery shopping with a plan in mind.

5. Map out reconnaissance missions. Create a checklist of neighborhoods to check out, fishing holes to explore, museums, towns, shopping malls, etc. so you can be a good tour guide for your family when they arrive. This also gives you a life outside work and makes everyone more enthusiastic about the transition.


With all the challenges, I still feel like this was a great decision for me and the family. I am also a hard worker and have probably errored on the side of working too hard to show value and make a big difference. People are always asking, “How’s Pittsburgh?”, this is a huge ordeal, but the city is amazing, works going well, and I think we’re past the hardest part of the transition.



Still Waiting – House Saga Continued

Winston got off the bus yesterday, April 1st, and announced to his mom “I got into sooooooo much trouble today.” This is a highly plausible statement and Jaclyn was about to lose her composure when Winston caved in and said “April Fools!”.


The house selling process marches on. We’ve had a steady amount of traffic, lots of people checking it out, but no one has thrown us an offer yet. Our pendulum is swinging from anxious to sell, will do whatever we can to get the deal done immediately, to now need to explore alternatives if it does not happen quickly. The highs and lows of each showing have been replaced with modest expectations. Here’s the issue; we have an older home that requires TLC in a good school district. So, if you had 100 potential buyers, half of them are immediately out of contention because they do not have kids and do not want to pay a premium for the school district. A quarter of the remaining buyers want a beautiful home where everything is brand new, they will pay a premium for a new fancy home. We are fighting for the remaining 25%, they are out there, we’re positioned well to be attractive to those buyers, but we just need to keep people coming in and looking at it until we find our buyer. An old sales guy once said, “Every No brings you closer to a Yes”.


Solo life in Pittsburgh is nowhere near as exciting as people imagine it. Being away from the family actually has a weird effect on my psyche, just do not have much desire to get out and do stuff. Outside of work, my best companion is a stink bug who crawls around the walls of my apartment. I once contemplated letting him outside, but selfishly kept him for company!


Sometimes, for a very brief instant, I feel sorry for myself and think, “Gosh, this is tough being away from the wife & kids, traveling home on the weekends, I cannot wait to be reunited.” But then I think about the poor people in the military in temporary shelters in Iraqi deserts or Afghani hillsides, submarines, and aircraft carriers. They get poor compensation, their life’s in danger, and they don’t get home on the weekends to see their family, I really must thank veterans and soliders whenever I see them.


Last weekend my friend opened up a brewery, Jac & I got a sneak peek/taste before it opened to the public. It was awesome, an incredible accomplishment, and the beer was tasty. In a couple of years, I’d like to post an interview with the brewer, he has a terrific story, but I can’t get into it yet!


Thanks for reading, I can’t wait to wrap up this chapter.