Select a tag, or search for text.

We decided to make the trip up to Wyoming for the recent total eclipse, along with a fair chunk of the state of Colorado. It’s possible that Wyoming’s population doubled for the weekend.

Nhu, Felix and I, along with my brother Taylor, all made the trip up. We went up late morning on Friday the 18th, so traffic heading up was not bad. We stayed in Gillette, which was north of the path of totality, so we had a reasonable room rate. For the long stretch of road between Douglas and Gillette, there was virtually nothing. I decided to stay up there so we could spend a day at Devils Tower, which we did the following day, but not after traveling out to see Mount Rushmore. We also attempted to visit Jewel Cave, but by the time we arrived at 11:00, all of the tours for the day had sold out. After we visited Mount Rushmore, we went to Rapid City for dinner, and headed to Devils Tower to catch sunset.

I decided that I wanted to drive back to Devils Tower the next morning to catch sunrise, which meant waking up at 4:15 in the morning. Taylor and I both went, while Nhu and Felix slept in at the hotel. On the drive there, I nearly hit two deer, and had to swerve to miss them. This despite my taking extra care because I knew there would be deer out at dawn. Sunrise at Devils Tower turned out to be a bust, due to excessive clouds at the horizon. So, Taylor and I decided to hike the three-mile trail around the tower, where I missed stepping on a baby rattlesnake by roughly an inch. It made no noise and I had not seen it; Taylor noticed it move only after I had walked by. The near miss was quite unnerving!

After finishing the trail, we went back to the hotel room and relaxed for the rest of the day, having found nothing better to do in the area. We did have a fantastic dinner at a local restaurant though; after some nice fried green tomatoes, Taylor and I both had very tasty buffalo ribeyes, while Nhu had some very smoky ribs. Felix had some of everything, and he loved the place too.

The next day was the day of the eclipse. We all woke up early, had breakfast and drove back down to Douglas at 5:30 AM. After a quick stop at Safeway, we found a nice relatively secluded spot to view the eclipse on a dirt county road called Bedtick Road. After we selected our spot and had been there a while, a lady and her children drove up on a big wheel golf cart to greet us and some others up the hill. Not long after they left, the partial eclipse began, and we started watching through our (real, not fake, purchased from Amazon) ISO-certified glasses. The sky began to get darker, but it felt more like looking through a polarizer than actual darkness.

Then totality hit. The experience was surreal; it looked like a 360-degree sunset, though the sky was black rather than dark blue. We had to take the glasses off to see the sun’s corona during totality; nothing was visible through the glasses at that point. Taylor also noticed that it had gotten noticeably colder, and the cows were mooing up a storm. I captured as much of the experience as I could, but sadly it all lasted for just over two minutes.

Once totality was over, we jumped into the car, got onto I-25, and headed home. Unfortunately, there were 500,000 others doing the same thing. Traffic was snarled for many, many miles, and it ended up taking us over 7 hours to get home. It had taken us under three hours to drive the 215 miles up. If I had it to do again, I would definitely have taken one of the one-hour-plus detours to come home! But taken as a whole, I would unreservedly say that the experience was worth the trouble, and I’m looking forward to seeing the next North American total eclipse in 2024!

Posted by nick.steinbaugh at 10:44 PM

I have not written anything for quite some time now. First we were busy settling into the new house. Then early last year, I got promoted to a team lead position at Healthgrades.

At first, I was very optimistic. They had restructured the entire company into a new model, geared toward enabling teams to work more autonomously. And I had been given a really great team, and a great product team to work with. We built up the team, and we functioned very well together. However, it wasn't long until the well-entrenched Healthgrades culture intervened. More and more was asked of the team leads and senior engineers, to the point of many getting burned out. By summer, I had enough, and I started looking for a new job.

In September, I left Healthgrades and started a new job at LGS Innovations. Their web operation is not nearly as large as Healthgrades, but so far I am really enjoying it. Web development is a very recent focus for the company, so it's a skillset they are trying to build. I feel like I have a lot to offer the team, and I've been able to make some great contributions already.

If that wasn't enough, last February my dad dropped the bombshell that he was leaving my mom. My brother and I have been dealing with that ever since, and it has consumed all of my available free time, and then some. They quickly got to a point where they wouldn't speak to each other except through lawyers or my brother or me. I helped broker a settlement, which they agreed to at the 11th hour in October, just before their scheduled trial.

Since then, until just last weekend, my brother and I helped my mom get ready to move. The house is going to be sold, and she agreed to be out of the house by January 15th. So we helped her clean out all of her stuff. And there was a LOT. Things turned a bit frantic toward the end, but we did get her out of the house. Last weekend, she moved in with me temporarily, until my dad can get the house ready to sell. So, I now have both my mother and mother-in-law living with me. The next few months should prove interesting!

Posted by nick.steinbaugh at 8:05 PM
Filed under: Home, Family

Well, we've not only closed on our new home, but we've sold our old one as well. We moved into our new place on June 17th, and we sold our old house one week ago. Thankfully, both transactions went relatively smoothly. The mortgage for our new house did end up delaying closing by a couple of days, thanks to Chase, who was the underwriter for the loan. Our mortgage broker smoothed things out as much as possible, but Chase was pretty terrible. They denied our initial request to rush the process, saying that they would have things done in time. Wrong! Instead, they came back asking for additional documentation, and we couldn't meet our original loan deadline. Thankfully the sellers were willing to delay things a couple of days.

Just before we closed on the new place, Felix started crawling. Within a couple of days, he was off to the races! He loved his newfound mobility.

After we had keys to the new house, we dove straight into moving. The two places weren't very far apart, so we moved everything ourselves. My brother helped us with the big stuff, and even stayed with us for a few days so we could get things done quicker. The only two pieces of furniture that turned out to be painful to move were my big heavy computer desk, and a couch that apparently wasn't made to go through doors. We had to take the old house's front door off its hinges in order to get it out, and we had to stand it on end to get it in the new house. The only thing we hired out was Nhu's piano; the movers made it look incredibly easy.

We ended up listing our old house for sale right after the 4th of July. We accepted an offer roughly a week later. Houses certainly are moving fast! We ended up only needing to do a few minor repairs on the house to sell it, and the sale process went so quickly that we didn't even need to make double mortgage payments. We couldn't have asked for much more than that.

Since then, I've been working on getting settled in at the new house. My first task was to wire the house for ethernet and get my home server set up. This turned out to be easier than expected, as they already had the lines run mostly everywhere, just capped with phone ports instead of ethernet ports. I just needed to swap out the ends. I did end up needing to run one line to the media center downstairs, but that was fairly easy with the crawl space below. With the house wired, I then set up a new Intel NUC as the home server, along with a NAS for storage. I also did the same setup for my dad for Father's Day, as he liked my media center setup and wanted one of his own.

My current task is running cable to support some IP video surveillance cameras, which is now nearly complete. Once I'm done, my next task is going to be decorating the house. Then we should be settled in!

Meanwhile, Felix is now pulling himself up on anything and everything. He's been walking everywhere while holding on to someone, and he's very close to being able to walk on his own. I can hardly wait!

Posted by nick.steinbaugh at 9:51 AM