The Sound of Silence

If you’re a regular reader of bram.us you might have noticed that I haven’t posted anything here during the past month. In short: I’ve been busy with many (personal) things that needed my attention. Here’s a few of the things that kept me from blogging …

Public Speaking

With COVID-19 many conferences have switched to an online format. With this came the opportunity to speak at rather distant conferences, which wouldn’t have been possible before. I’m honoured to have been able to speak at JS VidCon, JS RemoteConf, JSNation Live, and JSConf.be.

Some of those events worked with prerecorded talks, while others were done live. It was always a mix and match of sites and apps to use (Crowdcast, Zoom, Wirecast, Run the World, Slack, Discord, etc) all while I remained at home. Easy, although I’m kinda missing the personal connections one can make at IRL conferences.


Me, speaking at home #JSNationLive

Prepping for those conferences took some time, but thankfully I could reiterate on my ESNext: Proposals to look forward to talk. As the talk has grown over the past two years I’ve come rather fluent at it, and can easily adapt it to both short and long formats. There’s another rather big conference planned this mid-July, but I can’t talk about it just yet 😉

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Life as a family of 3 + 2

Tomorrow it will be exactly five months ago that my youngest son Noah was born. If you’re a parent yourself I shouldn’t tell you how hard it is to have a baby in the house, especially if that baby only sleeps for short periods of time (bursts of 30 minutes during the day, 3 to 4 hours at night). He’s a very pleasant and happy baby to have around, yet the only thing we wish for is to get a few more hours of unbroken sleep. It’s really hard to focus and think when in Zombie mode 😵

We’ve also had some issues with getting his formula right, as he tends to be rather sensitive (but not allergic as the doctor said) to cow milk, but after four months of trial and error I think we finally got it right.


Noah, June 2020

My oldest son Finn (aged 11) and my daughter Tila (aged 9) live with us every other week, as they spend the other week at their mums place. When they’re at home with us, they really are “at home” as all the schools in Belgium had switched to a format called “pre-teaching” because of COVID-19: the kids don’t go to school physically, and are required to finish a set of daily tasks (both online and offline) at home. I’m blessed that I have quite smart and standalone children by now, yet my oldest son Finn is quite the slacker to be honest … always reminding him to get started, double checking his work, etc. is quite time consuming to be honest.


Ellie + Finn + Tila, May 2020

Thankfully schools have reopened their doors just last week, so that’s a small load off of my shoulders. And oh, I’m very grateful that my daughter Tila also helps us with the baby when she’s around.

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We bought a new house

Ever since (before) the birth of our son Noah we’ve been on the lookout for a new house to live in, as we need an extra bedroom for him to sleep in (right now he sleeps with us in our bedroom, by lack of a spare bedroom). About a month ago my colleague Roel stumbled upon a house while biking and sent it over. One thing led to the other and before we knew we were talking with the bank about a new loan and everything that goes along with that. And yes, our bid got accepted so mid-September we’ll be moving house 🤩


Our new house, soon to be home

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We’re about to sell our current house

As we will no longer be needing our current home — and we kinda rely on the money that we’ll get from selling it — I’ve been busy finishing up the list of home improvements that needed to be done. The biggest job on that list was finishing the drywall in our living room. After sitting there unfinished for nearly 5 years (😬) I – with the help of a friend – finally got to smoothing it out, putting up a wallpaper and painting the whole thing white.


Before and after

In order for the realtor who will be selling our house to start, they need some photos. To do so, we got a set of instructions (it’s in Dutch but you get the idea with the photos). As a result we’ve been cleaning out our closets and have been making trips to the local thrift shop and/or recycling depot . It’s crazy what one can collect over a period of 10 years time 😅

Our house is expected to go up for sale early July.

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Work

In between all that I also tried to do some actual work. I’m still working on a long-term Monitoring platform / IOT project which we at vBridge started almost two years ago, doing mainly PHP and cloud-based things nowadays. I try to sneak in some JS from time to time (both client- and serverside), but it’s quite limited to be honest.

As I’m currently the only web developer on the project (*), I’m a bit overbooked: refactoring a huge part of the app while also squashing bugs (if one were to be found) and catching deadlines of new promised features is quite a lot of juggling that needs to be done. This week I was finally able to finish up one of two planned refactors, so I can finally focus on new features again.

(*) Although we haven’t announced it officially yet, we’re on the lookout for good people to join our team. We’re basically looking for a web developer with preferably a PHP background and an interest in cloud development. Our policy is to hire for talent+attitude and train for skill, so don’t worry if you think you lack certain skills.

Rollercoaster


Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

One moment you’re excited about your son who’s about to be born, the other moment you’re in fear that he might not make it.

One moment you’re overly happy because your son did make it thanks to the help of doctors and medical staff, the other moment you’re shocked to receive a phone call from the police to inform you that they found your uncle in his home and that he has been hospitalised with a severe cerebral haemorrhage.

One moment you’re excited to see that your article got mentioned on CSS-Tricks, the other moment your cleaning lady enters the house in tears to say that she accidentally ran over your 12 year old pet cat (RIP, Kiki).

One moment you’re celebrating your mum’s 60th birthday, the other moment you’re sad to hear that an exciting project got cancelled.

One moment you feel appreciated when receiving flowers at your diving club‘s annual members meeting, the other moment you’re cursing at the “handyman” because the roof that should no longer be leaking is leaking again.

One moment you’re glad to have your CFP accepted, the other moment you’re at the undertaker arranging a funeral for your uncle (RIP) because he and his sister (aka: your mum) were no longer on speaking terms.

I wonder what else 2020 has in store for me. It’s been pretty rough, so far …

° NOAH VAN DAMME

I’m proud to announce that my son NOAH was born on January 22, 2020.

It was a long and bumpy road to get to the finish line, but all turned out well in the end. I’m very grateful that we have the means for and access to such a good healthcare system; without the help of doctors and nurses this little wonder wouldn’t have made it.

Most praise goes out to my girlfriend though who – on top of carrying a child for 9 months – also had to endure a 34-hour labour, only for her to land in the O.R. for an emergency c-section.

Mother and child are doing fine. Tomorrow they get to go home 🙂

Gone Diving

Right now I’m packing my bag, as I’m leaving for vacation tomorrow. I’ll be going on a 10 day diving-trip to Tulum (Mexico) with my diving club Bubbledivers. It’s the first time I’m going to Mexico, and the first time I’ll be diving the Cenotes.


Cenote diving in Tulum (All Mexico 365)

It’s a welcome vacation, as I’ve been really busy the past three months, both on a personal as a professional level:

  • Getting our first employee up and running (along with all extra HR-related work that comes along with that, something I wasn’t made for I must admit)
  • Mentoring a student employee
  • Attending meetups and conferences such as Fronteers Conference and Full Stack Europe (both of which were wonderful)
  • Creating a new workshop “React from Scratch” and adapting a few talks for Full Stack Europe (that got me pumped!)
  • Spending time with the family
  • Gathering and preparing lots of stuff – from a bed and clothes to a card design and domain name – for our soon-to-be-born son (due January 2020)
  • Attending no less than 4 weddings in 6 weeks time (!)
  • Catching up with RSS feeds and blogging out interesting links (I failed at the latter 😅)
  • …and – in between – doing some actual work

👋 See you in 11 days, fully recharged!

I know what you did last summer

Yes, bram.us is still a thing. Save a few posts mid July not that much has happened around here.

So, what have I been up to the past two months? Here’s a small list (saving the best for last):

  1. I reviewed a book
  2. I went diving
  3. I renovated my house
  4. I went camping with my kids
  5. I reexamined my students
  6. I went cooking with the Scouts
  7. I quit my job as a lecturer

Told you I’d save the best for last! 😉

Continue reading “I know what you did last summer”