Nils' 35th Birthday

Thirty-five.

Each year when my birthday rolls around I’m more likely to think about how my year has been and where I’m at in life than about partying and gifts. Today, as I turn thirty-five, I feel like recording my year.

This is my 35.

  • My four kids are aged 3, 6, 8 and 10. They’re about to enter preschool (with Tina Chandler), 1st grade, 3rd grade and 5th grade, respectively. This year will be weird because Addie will join Anders at Saratoga Shores where they’ll both be in the Advanced Learning Labs (ALL) program. Aani will be starting the Chinese Immersion program at Riverview Elementary, which we’re pretty excited about (我们爱中国。). The weird thing is that none of them will be going to Harvest Elementary, where all of them would normally be going right now, since it’s the closest school. We’ll miss Harvest.
  • Katrina and I are happier than ever. I feel incredibly lucky to call her my wife and I’m regularly surprised at how well we work together. We go on pretty regular dates with our babysitting rotation with the Chandlers and Hutcheons and we can escape for a few minutes at a time thanks to Anders and cell phones. Our marriage is great and I owe that largely to her. She’s kind and good, patient and giving. She puts up with my long hours, my insatiable need to create and my dragon breath in the morning. She’s a good woman and I love her so. We’ve been together for 16 years, married for 13.
  • I continue to work at iGlobal and the job/company environment is getting more exciting in many ways. Some of my coworkers are breathing some fresh life into our services and are helping to create a general excitement about learning, coding, growing and rewriting our business rules. As of late, I’ve been doing a lot training on Codecademy.com and I’m finally getting to the point where I can write javascript and jQuery well enough to incorporate it into my everyday work. That’s very exciting to me since I’ve felt like I should know how to use these tools as a front-end designer. We’re going through a rebranding right now and that mostly falls on me, so it’s been fun to learn more about that process. I’m also really enjoying working on responsive designs using Bootstrap from Twitter.
  • This year I started working on a new invention – one which I had never seen anywhere and felt a need to create. I don’t really have a name for it but I’ve been referring to it as my stand-up desk extension (SUDE). I’m currently on prototype #3. It is a surface that can sit atop any desk or table that can raise as much as 16 or 17 inches to create a stand-up desk out of any existing standard desk. I have never written about this or posted anything online about it but I don’t see any harm in doing so now. The trick is getting one that sits very low on the desk when flattened but that can still raise to standing height. My current build sits about an inch and a half off the ground and raises to 15.5 inches, which is the height I use for standing to keep my elbows at 90 degrees. I use it every day at work but it doesn’t have an adjustable locking mechanism or an assisted lifting system just yet. I have about ten ideas for each of these but I haven’t implemented anything as of yet. As of June of this year, a product was released onto the market that is similar to what I am creating, and in a similar price range as well, but it doesn’t go flat enough (in my opinion) and handles the lifting in a different way. It’s a good product but I think mine is superior in several ways so I’m excited to see what comes of it. I also love the creation process. I’m hardwired to invent, build and create, so this has been a lot of fun for me.
  • YouTube is playing a significant part in our income as of late. For the last several months we have been earning $300+/month from YouTube videos. I haven’t actually added any new videos in months but the How-To videos I’ve created have been viewed nearly half a million times (461,848 as of today). That’s pretty amazing to me. I get comments pretty much every day thanking me for making this video or that. It’s pretty rad. We’re on track for a $400 month this month and I’ve got about 5 new videos in the works right now, mostly about remodeling the bathroom. Good stuff.

Life is good. There’s more I can get into but my battery is dying and I’m at Kathy’s house. She was kind enough to give me $50 for my birthday so I went on KSL and found an unopened Apple TV for $60 so I just picked that up. I asked, for my birthday and Father’s Day this year, to get an iPad for Mitch Woods, who helped us out with our drywall and plumbing. Due to some major car expenses, we don’t have the money to do that right now (we’re broke every August for some reason), but we’ll get that for him at some point. Katrina made me a yummy cake (see below).

Nils' 35th Birthday
Nils’ 35th Birthday, with my nephew, Levi, who turns 1 tomorrow.

A few things I’ve experienced in my 35th year of life:

  • Katrina and I ran Ragnar
  • I ate several pounds of authentic Chicago Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago in June
  • We took a family road trip to Connecticut and New York – good times
  • We got Pip – our Maltese pup
  • We bought a newer minivan, which has been a bit of a nightmare but we’re trying to love our Honda Odyssey
  • We cancelled our health insurance (again) and we’re insurance-less
  • I continue to serve in the bishopric, where I learn a lot and continue to feel inadequate

I’ll do my best to post again before my 36th birthday. Rock on, Nils

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