Category Archives: Life

Car paid off!

Tonight, Amy and I submitted a final payment of $2,002.42 for her 2009 Toyota Corolla. Neat! It feels amazing getting out of debt. The debt snowball works, and we’re fairly gazelle–intense.

It’ll be great to get past baby step 2. Soon enough.

Exciting times are ahead.

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The close call

While in Budapest during our meetup, I almost cracked my head open, and nobody would’ve been there to help.

After an excellent day one at Write The Docs EU, I took a shower in preparation to pass out. Drying myself afterwords, as I lifted one foot, I lost balance in the other and fell backwards out of the tub. I attempted to catch myself, but I couldn’t hold onto anything.

How embarrassing. I felt like such a dork. (I promise I didn’t hit my head; I fell onto my back.)

Here’s a scary thought: The sink was about one foot away from my head.

My roommate recently returned to our apartment, so at least he would’ve found me. I think.

Taxicab in Budapest

When we arrive in Budapest, Jeremy directed us to the small taxicab building HQ outside the airport doors. We wouldn’t need to get cash at the airport since most places around the city take credit card.

I showed them my destination address, and they printed out a slip for my driver.

Removing a credit card from my wallet, I asked, “Do you accept credit cards?”

“Yes. No problem.”

After a quiet thirty–minute drive, we arrived about fifty meters from my apartments. My driver pulled over onto the left side of the narrow street, right before it veered in another direction.

Budapest Taxicab 2014-03-30

I handed him my credit card, and he said he couldn’t take it. Only cash.

Rage and disbelief. Panic, really.

I would sprint into the apartments to get my friends. Reluctantly, he nodded, and off I went.

At the reception office, and asked if Jeremy checked in. I couldn’t use my cell phone (no SIM card yet). I ran around and failed to find the room, blaming the lack of signs. Then, Elizabeth and Karen magically appeared! After waiting a couple of minutes, Elizabeth found Jeremy, who paid the driver and saved my evening.

Thanks friends! Yay Automattic meetups!

P.S. The driver explained his credit card machine wouldn’t work because the batteries died. Ridiculous. :)

Sharing lists

My colleague, Andrew Spittle, asks:

What do you and Amy use to keep track of groceries?

We use Listary. When we’re low on something, we add it to the list.

It’s quick, simple, and syncs instantly with Simplenote.

Inventory tip — To easily see when you’re running low on stuff, add the quantity to the beginning of the item. For example:

  • 2 Bathroom tissue paper rolls
  • 5 Dishwasher packs
  • 1 Brita water filter
  • 2 Snack Pack cups
  • 1 Bagel
  • Half jar peanut butter

French couple versus English U.S. Customs declaration forms

On the second leg of my return flight from Munich (originating from Budapest) on Lufthansa, I sat next to a young woman in high school who was trying to help a married couple fill out a U.S. CBP Customs Declaration Form in English.

The attempt was in vain. They only spoke French, I couldn’t contact any Automattician polyglots (hehe), and the flight attendants didn’t have forms in French.

You can imagine the frustration.

They persisted for at least fifteen minutes with the nice young woman; her friend, who sat across the aisle from me, tried to share some key French words.

Unfortunately, her friend learned French two years ago, and was out of practice, so that didn’t go well.

I tried suggesting they wait until LAX to request a form in French since this is a legal document, but they kept trying.

I’m…not sure how everything played out at the end.

We’ll do our best, but you can’t please everyone

I meant to post this insight from Marco Arment last year:

Some people will find things to complain about. [...] You will never please everyone. You will never win that battle.

We’ll do our best in customer support, yet it’s inevitable that we’ll interact someone who is extremely upset with us.

Our patience and grace can win their hearts over; I’ve seen it many times, and we usually post it internally to remind ourselves why we carry on. (We call them “hugs”.) After a follow–up response, the customer apologizes for their crankiness, grateful for our help.

That’s why we’re some of the best in the industry. :)

In unfortunate and rare circumstances, when they’re angry and continue to berate us, it’s super helpful to know that we can regroup with our coworkers internally, analyze the situation, and decide that we can’t win ‘em all.

“Can’t win ‘em all? What does that mean?”

Our replies to that particular person will no longer help, and we close the email. If they show a change of heart and send a follow–up reply, we’re happy to revisit.

For what it’s worth, I assure you we do as much as we can before we get to that point.

If this interests you, we’d love for you to work with us, especially since we always need Happiness Engineers. :)

Sick during a work trip

This is my second work trip where I was put out of commission for at least one day. Jet lag, inadequate sleep, exhaustion, and pushing myself too hard are the likely culprits.

I’m really thankful for my coworkers — especially to my roommate, Paul Ciano, for the DayQuil and NyQuil
— for supporting me while I’m quarantined in my bedroom.

April Blogging Challenge

Fellow Automattic colleague, Justin Shreve, challenges us to publish a post on our blog daily for the month of April. On one of our internal sites, I said I’d participate to hold myself accountable.

A few things:

  • I published notes from several speakers at Write The Docs EU the last two days, and ran out of steam near on the second day.
  • I write my ideas in Simplenote with each item tagged “blog”.

While it’s minutes after midnight in Budapest, I’m going by the Pacific Daylight Time since I live in the Los Angeles area. I’m two for two this month. Yay!

Interested? Possibly intrigued? Read his post for more details, join us, and leave a comment. Ignore the date and give it a try for the rest of the month.

You can publish from any site, but we’d also love for you to setup a free blog at WordPress.com. I’m proud of our work, and we’re always happy to help. :)

Tip: Need ideas? Check out the free eBook 365 Writing Prompts by The Daily Post at WordPress.com.

Enjoy!