The Murray Ave Era (An experimental post)


111wmurray-dayone11:42AM Bull Street Gourmet & Market

I was engaged in a fairly typical Saturday mid-day activity, settled at a coffee shop (though this place has real food, not just impossible-to-resist quiches and pies), ready to catch up in my “private” blog about whatever I felt the need to catch up on. And then it occurred to me. Bull City Dave (this site) remains stuck in time. It’s been mostly devoid of content since it became Bull City Dave three years, when I began The Iron Yard and thought I needed a real public social presence. My public writing was always too personal, too raw, too potentially alienating, too potentially offensive. I stick to the Toastie pseudonym. And then, suddenly, I move everything Bull City Dave and put my name on it.

But that was never a comfortable exercise. I was in an intensive coding bootcamp in order to reboot my career. If potential employers were going to see this, I’d need to steer clear of anything too personal. It would be a blog about Javascript problems I’d solved, happens around Durham, NC, and pet photos and vines. It would be a fractionally authentic blog. But I’ve never had much desire to blog unless that fraction comes close to 1/1.

Each time I’ve contemplated a return to my old-school blogging style, I’ve mindful that my career-in-transition might require a new job search in the near-term. In fact, unfortunately, it has, a few times. I had quite sincerely hoped to go from The Iron Yard to a the Next Job that would be The Job for years to come. I had moved around enough in my career. But most people in start-up/code school sphere advised that any first job after a career change would likely be a means to another job. I truly did hate that. But that was my reality. In fact, I’ll bluntly lay out here, it was one job which led to another job which lead to another job…which led to my current job.

As I recently posted on Facebook, which has bene my de-facto blogging platform for years, I say with mixed emotions:

The Iron Yard is shutting down nationwide. I’m not entirely shocked. I’m glad it helped some folks. Personally, I wish I had found a different path from A to B that didn’t involve going through TIY. It was what it was, and that’s I’ll I’m saying. (I hate that expression, too). I’m grateful I will never again be asked if I recommend it, since I always felt like I had to do contortions to provide an honest answer and remaining objective with regard to what might be best for someone else’s circumstances.

(For years, I think I had a lengthy Iron Yard post at hand, ready to get it all out of my system. But I kept it to myself, for the same reasons I keep most blogging to myself, but for even more compelling reasons. Every company in the Triangle knows of and has some opinion of The Iron Yard. I doubt anything I could write, as objectively as I might try, could avoid some variation of the “bashing your former employer” taboo that one looking for employee is supposed to refrain from).

But I digress… (as is the norm for my blogging…digressions, tangents, non seqiturs…)

I told myself in Private Blog that I only had time for a bullet-list catch-up. I’ll attempt that here, though, in here, the a lack of context is going to confound. Private Blog doesn’t care about lack of context. Private Blog somewhat akin to a higher power, is omniscient. I don’t need to provide context there. I can skip a week or two, a Private Blog just knows what the heck I’m talking about.

  • The Murray Ave Era – First, yes, I know it’s not widely viewed as the safest thing to blog your name and the street on which you live. But there are only two people with my name in Durham, and I can’t afford the other house. So anyone who wants to harass me (or send me gifts) can easily figure out where I live.
    • I closed on the house yesterday, and it’s a huge relief, but perhaps not as much as you’d think, for a few reasons.  A couple of months out of work plus paying a little more than I could afford plus some flat-out dumb financial decisions means I am in somewhat of an analogous place to where was almost exactly a decade ago when i closed on Lancaster St. Back then, a construction loan that would’ve fixed the house up to what I wanted it to be fell through at the last minute. This time, a laundry list of fixes and nice-to-haves has to be put on the back-burner, because I’m out of home improvement funds for now. So I’m a little frustrated that there are some things I’d love to take care of now that I simply can’t.
    • The difference between the Lancaster house and the Murray House is that, with the former, people who’d say, “oh, you can do a little at a time” didn’t realize that there was really ridiculous about to do, and I was in no position to afford to do any of it. With the latter, the improvements needed are less drastic, and, knock-on-wood, if I can kick-ass at my new job, I should be able to take care of these things in due time.
    • I’m not moved in yet. Too much going on to plan anything. Job requires focus. I have three weeks left on the short-term apartment lease. I’m torn between hiring someone and just doing a little at a time, asking for a few favors of help. I already asked for help to move things from Lancaster to storage and from an Extended Stay to the temp apartment. But I didn’t ask everyone I know. I hate asking for help. Always have. Whether it’s in my personal or professional life, I am so reluctant to ask for help. I’ve tried to get better over time. It’s all tied together, really. Not asking for help in one area or another adversely impacts the other.
  • So, in Private Blog, this would be a very quick bullet list, but, since I haven’t done this in awhile, actually blog, I’m rambling on in detail and breakneck pace. (If I were to stop for even 30 seconds to contemplate what I’m writing, I’d freeze up, and there’d be no blog post).
  • Non-profit blog work. I have to fairly simple tasks I need to do. I want to continually apologize for falling behind, but the time spent on apologies could be spent doing the simple tasks (which often aren’t all that simple, because they involve some edge case using a WordPress plugin that has no documentation, and perhaps that’s why I procrastinate…I don’t know what I’m getting into once I start). Anyway, if you’re reading, I owe you some work. Soon. Today, I hope!  I really means a lot to me that,, when I may do work day-to-day that isn’t all that inspiring (quick shout-out to my current job, which I’m really enjoying; I swear; it’s nice that different projects have to duke it out over who gets my time; it will be even nicer once I’m moved into the house and the dust storm around me calms down).
  • Work work. I need to put in some time this weekend because I know I didn’t put in enough time Monday through Thursday. I just need to do it. I wouldn’t mention it here if these were tasks I loathed and people I didn’t care about helping. There are people counting on me, and I want to do right by them.
    • Brief tangent, as what I just wrote reminded me of my last job. I should not write about my last job in any specific terms at all, but I want to say something for the record. I felt like, at every turn, I was doing my absolute best to do right by my employer. And wanted to stay there for the long-term. I hate that the relationship didn’t work out. Such are the perils of working for a very small company. There is no room for unresolved conflict. There’s no one to mediate. There’s no space to take a break and come back to the conflict later.
    • I’ve thought for a long time that finding a company of perhaps 100-200 people would be ideal. I hate disappearing into bureaucracy in a job of questionable value to the organization. I hate being the one individual with a particular job role at a very small company, where I know very well what I don’t know and expertise is needed in the role.
  • I’ve to take a look at my finances (the old Money spreadsheet, which I still prefer to a service like Mint). It’s an odd, discomforting feeling to live your live for a few months where thousands and thousands of dollars are received and spent in a fairly arbitrary way. For instance, the range of potential selling prices for the old house was in the tens of thousands of dollars. So, too, was the amount of money I was willing to spend on a new home. I chose to live fairly comfortably for three months on a three-month lease, even though it was ridiculously expensive compared to a standard lease. The air compressor on my car broke. I need AC working in my car. I was going to pay whatever it was going to cost.  But now that the dust is settling, I must return to a practice of looking at every dollar. I must return to caring if the Halo Top is on sale for $3.99 or if the supermarket has jacked it up to $6.49. I must return to caring that 20% at Bed Bath and Beyond still render most items more expensive than getting them on on Amazon. I must returnto (or really start as a regular practice) of considering if what I’m looking for at Amazon is available on Craigslist or The Scrap Exchange.

So battery power is at 6%. I’ve got my charger, but I don’t think there’s an outlet nearby. Good time to conclude this entry.

I’n going to feel uncomfortably exposed in a few minutes, when I post this and share the link on Facebook.  But I’ll also feel a sense of relief.  Writing into the void just contributes to an overall sense of isolation that I need to chip away at


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s