It’s been snowing like crazy at our house in Reno. Of course it totally waited until we left a few weeks ago. I’ll share some photos from our outside cameras of the action. I am really tempted to go for a few days, but the videos I am seeing of the pass (California to Nevada) are a nightmare. Even with my 4X4 and aggressive tires, it would take hours to get there and I would get stuck for sure.
The coyotes are a problem now. For years they have been content to pace our fence and drool over the animals. I built an 8 foot fence around a few acres with my buddy Rick and his son Phear several years ago. This keeps them at bay. But it does not protect against the animals that are dumb enough to leave the safety of our yard. Yeah, I am looking at you chickens. They have mixed it up with a few of the dogs as well and have made snacks of our outside cats.
The problem is that by the time I get out there with my gun, they are gone. They hear me, smell me, whatever, they split or hide. What I needed was a solution that let me take them out from far away. I decided to purchase a rifle. I had no idea what to get, so I went to the Range in Fresno and asked a lot of questions. I decided on the Ruger 9MM Carbine PC. Powerful enough to put them down quickly and in the most humane manner, but agile enough for someone like me that is still learning to shoot a rifle.
So very, very different from a handgun, which I am pretty decent with now.
Before I attempt to shoot one, I’ll need to spend some time dialing in the sights (red dot) and getting good with handling the rifle. I don’t want to cause suffering for the coyotes, I just want to stop them from killing our animals. Do do that, I need to be proficient so I can get a kill with one shot. There are 2-3 times as many as usual, and they are coming up to our property during the day now. We have vineyards all around us and they hide and wait for a chicken to jump the fence and scratch for bugs in the fields.
About 8 months ago Camee started her transformation into a monster. Well a Jr. Monster. She is not quite there yet, but has come a very long way. When she started she did not have any experience on the ice at all, and certainly no hockey experience. (She does have one San Jose Sharks game under her belt!) She just got it in her head that she wanted to play hockey, and through sheer will and determination, she has made a way for herself.
She started with Try Hockey For Free and then moved to Learn to Play. She has just now started on the In House team! Try Hockey for Free was just that, a great way to get started to see if it was a good fit. Basically just borrow all the needed gear and get out on the ice. The rest is up to you. The next step was Learn to Play. It’s basically the same as Try Hockey, but with the payment you get a few additional things. You get a jersey that allows you free admission to skate times during the week, which is a huge savings, and it allows you to track your progress and start to build on your skills. Camee will continue in this class for the foreseeable future in addition to the In House team.
The In House Team really steps things up. There is a practice each week for an hour, and then a game each week as well. Just like with coaching the boys soccer team, I am able to help out, not coach of course, I don’t know what I am doing and I can’t skate, but I can volunteer. Just took a course for safety and got a background check. Easy peasy. It was $500 for the 10 weeks of in house, which I think will be totally worth it.
The next step is Travel Team, which is being an actual Jr. Monster. Camee is driven to get better, she says she wants to go to college on a Hockey scholarship. I believe she can, I am more than happy to invest in this with time and money. The gear is not cheap and the time commitment is no small thing with my career and side business, as well as the other 8 kids, but it’s totally doable.
I am really excited for my daughter! And I am excited to get to know some more people here in Fresno.
How do I move my number from AT&T to another carrier?
Recently we moved from AT&T to MintMobile and it was a learning experience. The steps are actually crystal clear on the Mint side of things, and their App is brilliant. Not just from a UX point of view, it actually works very well and does what you want it to.
Woah, woah, I am not a liar. Let’s just all calm down. I mean it, it really does work, and the experience is enjoyable, I have done it 6 times now. I promise, it’s going to work. The difficult part is AT&T. But by the 4th time, I had it figured out and it was easy.
I am not going to bash AT&T. Simply, their service is solid, but their customer support is less than supportive. Case in point, I was handed off to several different agents, both in live chat and actual phone calls (ewwww), and no one gave me clear steps to move my number from AT&T to Mint (or any other carrier). In the end it was actually pretty simple.
You can get a new number with Mint, which is so easy it seems unreal. You can also transfer your current number, which I wanted to do for myself, my wife and several of my children. Some of the kids wanted new numbers, but most wanted to keep their original numbers.
Here are the steps to transfer your number.
Contact AT&T. Sorry, you have to actually communicate with them, as task that should be fully automated requires this manual step. It’s because they want to keep you with them, and the sales pitch ensues. My wife did this step and she was so frustrated. She said “no I don’t want to stay with AT&T” many, many times. Like a 5 minute call took an hour. In the end the agent was upset with my wife and showed it. Which is not good, customer support should not act that way, but hey, this is one of the reasons we wanted out. You need ask them to release your SIM lock. You will have to own your phone to do this, which means you are not making payments on the phone. Other than that, they have to release your SIM lock.
You will know the above step is complete and your SIM Lock has been released when your view your phone’s settings and see the text No SIM Restrictions or similar. For example on an iPhone that setting is under General → About then scroll down to Carrier Lock. It should say No SIM Restrictions if successful. This is the most painful part, after this it’s smooth sailing.
You will want to have your Mint App downloaded and installed on your phone. That can be your new phone or your current phone if not using a new phone. One of the steps will ask you if you want to keep your number. You say “yes” and then are asked to provide several pieces of information. Your AT&T account number and your pin are among the necessary bits. That PIN number is not the number you use at AT&T for your account. This is your number transfer request PIN.
To request a number transfer you will dial *7678 using the phone part of your phone. I know right? Who uses the phone on their phone? The automated voice on the line will ask you for your AT&T PIN. I know, super confusing, this is your account pin, a 4 digit number you have with AT&T. Once you do that, AT&T will send you a text with a 6 digit PIN. PIN, PIN, PIN, I feel like I am saying PIN a lot.
Go back to the Mint App and plug that PIN number (the 6 digit one from the text) in and submit the request. It will probably fail. That’s ok. You will get an additional text from AT&T either stating that you are transferring your number and to call if you did not, or you will get one that says to respond with “yes” if you initiated the transfer request. Obviously you say yes, unless you want to really mess things up because you want more drama and difficulty. Once that’s done, submit the request again through the Mint app. It will go through this time.
You will be notified pretty quickly that your number was successfully transferred. That comes in a text from AT&T saying they are sad to see you go. Sorry AT&T, that sorrow is one way only. Your service in the top corner of your phone screen will say MINT and your device will disappear from your AT&T account. Yay!
That’s it! You are free from AT&T. Congratulations! Grab some Aviation Gin and enjoy being a part of the Ryan Reynolds family.
I have been using Mint for 2 weeks now and so far it’s good. I know it’s T-MOBILE which was almost enough to make me not move forward, but with 11 of us in the family, the savings really drove the decision. I would suggest giving it a try. You can run a free trial on your current phone and switch between two services.
I hope this was useful. If it was, think about using my Mint referral code. 🙂
This is a collection of posts that I decided to make just one post. Hopefully this prove useful if you are looking to get started with an Airbnb. The posts are arranged from latest to the oldest starting back in March of this year. I’ll keep adding to this page and things develop.
We have an external site for our Airbnb (nvstay.com) but it’s offline at the moment as we are working on getting permission from the HOA and a Permit from Sparks. That’s all in the most recent update. The site is so nice! I took a lot of video and photos which are all integrated into a very slick site. Hopefully I’ll be able to launch it again soon.
October 8th 2022
Some things to consider
Having run an Airbnb for a few months, I can tell you just how great it is to make extra income, but also tell you that the income can get sucked up pretty quick by incidentals even if you are prepared and careful.
We do not live near our Airbnb, it’s in another state. So if the weeds in the driveway (which I have taken care of many times) get a little long, the homeowners association, who seem to have nothing better to do than watch each house in the neighborhood with eagle eyes, sends us a fine. Living on a ranch as we do, with acres of vineyards around us and no neighbors, has many benefits. Like no homeowners association. The homeowners association in Sparks is so aggressive and so unpleasant, we think about selling the house just to lose that stress.
On top of that is property taxes which cost quite a bit per month. We paid cash for this house, but it’s almost like we have a mortgage, alongside the utilities and the association fees, and now, a brand new fine from the county. Turns out you have to have a permit to use your house for an Airbnb. We don’t have one and we did not know we needed one. Our realtor knew this was what we wanted to do with it, and we asked several times if it was okay. We were told it was fine. So now we are trouble and we had to shut things down until we get it sorted. So we are paying fees and not making any income. :sad-dog:
We have a few options. We can sell it and move on. We would make enough off the sale to be worth it. Houses have gone up and we did a lot to it to improve it. We could continue doing what we are doing and keep playing these games with the association. last option, we turn the whole thing over to a management company and we move from all this headache to truly passive income.
I don’t really want to pay a management company, but I am also tired of the 5 hour drives to Reno to take care of things. I also think that might help with getting more business. If we can just one more stay per a month, we will be pretty positive on the income, even with the management company. And there is a huge part of me that wants this to be a big success and I want to overcome these challenges. It’s a beautiful area, we just did not account for permits, associations, and neighbors. We really should have. We are spoiled living the country life and doing whatever we want.
So we will figure out the permit and get things moving. If not, we will try this again, but this time closer to home. I hear this is welcomed in other states, I think we chose a bad place to try and do this.
August 20th 2022
Welcome to our home!
Our first guests are in the house and so far, so good!
We have made a handful of trips over the last few months getting the place ready. From new flooring, to electrical, to very Airbnb specific things like moving some electrical and the internet drop into a closet that locks so we can secure the routers.
This last trip I drove a car up and flew back on Aha! for $100. I spent a few days adding some final touches, as well as getting Covid. Covid finally got me, but after the first 48 hours I am feeling better.
Our first guests are staying 10, the a few days after some guests are staying for 3 days. Just these two visits will net us almost $4500.00 after Airbnb takes their fees. Since we own the house free and clear, that’s money straight into out account. Calculate in utilities and taxes and it’s an incredible bit of passive income. That’s just two sets of guests!
It’s been a very long haul to get here, but I am so glad we did. We estimate that if we can keep it going like this, inside of 1.5 years we will be able to purchase another home and do the same thing. From there it should snowball. Nothing is for sure and this world is anything but stable, but we plan knowing that the future is not in our hands and ultimately we have much deeper riches than money. It does help with raising 9 kids though. 🙂
We spent another several days getting the Airbnb ready to open. We thought we might get it this time, but several unexpected things came up during our time. We also decided to add a few more projects to make this place better before opening for business.
The last time I was here was to take care of some projects and check the 4 rooms that had hardwood flooring installed. I spent 3 days installing, prepping and painting baseboard. It was brutal! This time I was with my wife and our friends (Rick and Katherine who are a huge reason why we bought a house here). There were a ton of trips to Home Depot and Walmart, (and a few to Home Goods), but also lots of fun times with our friends including a few double date nights and a movie. While the work is constant and not always fun, it’s great to be doing this together as a couple and we do feel so very blessed to be able to do this. It takes a lot of effort and investment of time to put off the stress that can come with owning two homes, fully furnishing the second one from scratch, and hitting deadlines and scheduling what needs to get done from 5 hours away. We are doing it! Once we have this down and have forged our way through the difficulties, I can see us doing this again and again.
We got the Nest Thermostat installed and it’s awesome. Having a way to lock a range in that a guest can use is a huge benefit. For example, I have it locked at the moment so that you can set the temp as low as 72 and as high as 85, and locked into just cooling. No accidental use of the heater.
We did a TON of yard work, both in front and back. In other words we filled 8 trash cans with weeds and clippings. Our neighbors are loaning us some of their trash cans so we can get it all out of here in the next few weeks. All our neighbors are just so awesome. Our friends will help us get those to the curb since we are not there to do it.
The hot tub is filled and running great, all chemicals added and good to go.
Front door lock replaced with Nest digital lock. I love this thing! Looks amazing and works like a charm.
Lots of stuff hung on the walls.
All bedrooms have really nice furniture, beds are built! Brand new high end mattresses and bed frames, dressers, they look great!
Washer and dryer installed and working.
Replace several can lighting with new ones that are LED based.
Replace remaining lights in house with new white bulbs.
Leak under the kitchen sink fixed and new dishwasher installed.
Internet updated, secured second network for guests.
TV’s mounted on the walls.
Installed curtain rod and curtain on back slider.
All bedding washed and put on beds.
A few more security measures installed.
Garage is empty!
Coffee Bar completed.
Fixed back slider lock and added security bar.
Rest of furniture in place.
Get irrigation figured out! The entire front and back yards have irrigation, but no water. It’s a mystery!
Electrician comes to add electrical to 4 rooms and installs ceiling fans. These rooms have switches, but no lighting. So we are having that added so lights do not have to be lamps and the fans will help with keeping the place cool.
Electrician to add electrical to a lockable closet so I can secure our network equipment.
Replace default router from Spectrum with a Ubiquity UDM just like I have here at home.
Get lawn back to life.
Get a gardener to regularly keep this place looking good.
Add a another TV for game room where the pool table is.
Print signs for guests. Things like rules and how to use stuff.
March 18th 2022
A few weeks ago my wife and I came to Reno Nevada to spend some time with our very good friends. We wanted to catch up because we really miss them, (they moved from Fresno a year ago) do some hiking, and have some fun without the kids. 🙂
We fell in love with this place. It’s beautiful here. The mountains, the snow, the sheer amount of free land you can hike on, camp on, four wheel around … it’s perfect. There are wild horses running around … it’s like a movie. Seriously. So we made a decision to look for a house here. We have been wanting to get into the Airbnb/Vrbo space for awhile, and this presented as a great opportunity.
So I am back this week spending a few days with our friends while we close on a house! It’s been a real adventure just getting the house in this market. We had to do a lot, and it’s definitely a seller’s market, but in a few hours, it’s done! The house is really nice! It’s on a 1/2 acre and has lots of room for entertaining. It backs right up to some huge mountains and unlimited adventures!
I’ll be 100% honest. I could live here. In fact I would prefer to live here over California. We are 30 minutes from South Lake Tahoe, which is my favorite place in California, after my hometown and possibly Yosemite. The laws here make more sense and fit my thinking much more than California ever has. I may even give up my CA license and get a Nevada one. They don’t much care for Californians here, but I think I can change their minds.
I am still building the site, and we have some work to do before we open for business, but check out NVstay.com. We already have a bunch of stuff staged at home for our next trip here with a truck. Furniture and such. Stay tuned!
This tool is a game changer all around. My intent was was to make video editing in Premier easier, but it does so much more! As you can see here, there is a lot you can do with Premier and the Loupedeck Live. There are several pages already configured. Instead of going over them all, I’ll just point you to YouTube where there are lots and lots of helpful videos.
This model is not quite as expansive as the Loupedeck CT which is several hundred dollars more, but it’s still amazing and meets all my needs.
So far it’s been a great help and makes editing much easier. I am pleasantly surprised at how well this works as a workflow hack above and beyond video editing. It works with a ton if applications, but what I have found really cool is the ability to create my own screens and launch work related tools and sites. I have ZenDesk, Klaus, Alfred, Zoom, Slack, and more all ready to go at the touch of a button. But it can also “run” scripts and more. Lots of workflows and their uses on YouTube as well.
This is going to be one of those tools I find myself leaning on a lot and will probably travel with it as well.
My youngest daughter is really into hockey. She started playing several months ago. I wanted to encourage her in the sport and have some fun, so I suggested we go to a Sharks game. I reached out to my buddy Sven who has been to many games and is a huge Sharks fan to see where we might get great seats on a budget. He is a season ticket holder and offered to send me some tickets to seats right behind the goal. So we are headed to a game in a few weeks and my daughter is super excited!
Of course we grabbed some fan wear to show our pride.
Today marks 7 years at Automattic. The 4 were spent in WooCommerce and the last 3 have been in WordPress VIP. I turned 7 years old while at the VIP Grand Meetup here in Denver. (I’ll update this post with photos when I get home and settled.) I am so thankful to be working with such amazing and smart people on cutting edge technology that is used by 43% of the web. Here is to 7 more!
Update October 30th 2022
The Anniversary headphones came and they are awesome!
I keep having these dreams where I am working at LLNL and my dad is there. He dials my extension and asks me to come up, and we talk about life and catch up. Then I wake up.
These dreams are haunting. I awake feeling this deep ache in my stomach. It’s long after coffee and getting started on my day that I start to shake that haunted feeling. I am not sure if haunted is the right word, what I am trying to describe is an awareness of pain and loss that I have dealt with, but I know is not right. This is not how it’s supposed to be.
The dreams are very accurate. My dad and I used to catch up in his office very often. We both worked in the same building, just a floor above mine, and in the same department, so it made sense. I miss those times so much.
In my dreams it feels so real! Dreams might be mingled with real memories in a vivid stew of unconsciousness. All the details are right, down to smell, the “feel” of his office, and the joy I had in sharing news about my wife and kids. Sometimes I would asking a programming question and spend time working through a place I was stuck. Other times he would go on and on about how the batching worked on the clusters. I both love and hate it. Love it when it’s happening, hate it when it’s over.
I recently created a mailbox that I was sure was what my dad used for email for my mom and him. I was right. I don’t get much there, mostly spam. But for some reason I love the spam. It’s guitar and theology related, and it feels, for a micro moment, that he is alive. I see his name in the greeting and it’s attached to something he loved.
I miss my parents so much, especially during times when I long for support and encouragement. It’s so hard to find those things these days, which deepens the longing even more.
I’ll keep checking email and having dreams until one day when all that is broken and wrong is undone.