In a safe place

Those are the most awful words to hear “I put it away in a safe place”. Translated it means I have no idea what I did with the item. IN the most recent case, it was all Kate’s passport stuff — birth certificate, old passport, and paperwork. So we got new stuff; obtaining a new birth certificate and paperwork. Then last night, the night before our appointment with the passport agency at the post office, we found everything. Of course, that’s what one expects to happen.

As you might tell from the words, I’m in a bit of a mood tonight. Spent hours trying to figure out why my LED cube was not working. It’s a really simple thing 2x2x2 LED’s multiplexed into an array and then code is used to create flash the lights in patterns. I wasted way too many hours trying to understand the hardware problems before realizing it was a software problem. Welcome to the real world. Here I am, a software expert and I cannot explain why my code does not work. How can I even have the gall to teach students to code in a couple of nights when my code doesn’t work? Guess what I’m doing tomorrow night — debugging code that makes it through the compiler. Now for those not software savvy, the compiler finds easy errors — typos, bad logic, bad calls to various software functions. But it can’t find problems in how we think. That’s my job and that’s what I”m going to be doing tomorrow. Why can’t I make an entire layer of LED’s light up? ARGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It should be easy.

On the good side the hardware is working. Used someone else’s code and my LED matrix works beautifully. So at least I can fake the lesson on thursday. The students can build the LED matrix and they can use the existing code that works. I hope they don’t ask hard questions like “How do I turn on only one specific LED?” because I CANNOT DO IT. And it seems an obvious question. Oh well, as always, I need to look on the bright side of things. My hardware works. I have code that works. I can compare my code against the code that works and hopefully figure out the problem. And it is a step towards learning how to create a large LED matrix light. And lots of other good things have been going on.

For example, Kate did get her application for a new passport accepted today. It turns out that someone who is sixteen can apply for a passport on their own. They do need a parent, but only one. And I went to pay the bills and testify that Kate was a US citizen. Together it was enough that Kate will be getting a new passport in a couple weeks. The guy at the post office was surprised I was willing to pay 60 bucks to expedite her passport application, but unwilling to pay 15 bucks for expedited shipping. My rationale was that the 60 bucks paid to reduce the application time by 4-5 weeks. The shipping cost 15 bucks and only saved a day or two. 4-5 weeks can make a big difference in cost of airline tickets, but 2-3 days is not likely. We can’t buy airline tickets to England until the passport arrives.

Our trip to France and Scotland is coming together next summer. So after we spend almost a full month in Brittany, France; Bob, Kate, and myself will be going my parents for what sounds like the adventure of a lifetime. We are going to York, England; Stornoway, Scotland on the isle of Lewis in the outer hebrides, Fort Williams and Edinburough, Scotland, followed by several days in London. The whole trip sounds like a dream. But it is slowly becoming real.

My mom made reservations at a place in Stornoway, Scotland that sound amazing. Both Kate and I were in awe at the pictures. We are renting an apartment on the Isle of Lewis for August 2 and 3rd that look wonderful. It’s way up in the middle of nowhere; but looks beautiful. Both Kate and I were pleased to be staying at Solas. We have an entire 3 bedroom apartment for the family. The pictures are beautiful; both Kate and I were dancing with the beauty of the place. I hope we get to see the northern lights from there. Stornoway is on the Isle of Lewis. We are going there after spending a few days in York, England. At Stornoway, Kate gets to try golfing and Bob gets to try salmon fishing. In York, we are going on a college visit as well as visiting the ministry which is a huge ancient church filled with exquisite artwork. Before York; Bob, Kate, and I will be renting a house in France for a month. It looks wonderful — a few hundred feet from the ocean in Brittany. I’m not sure how big the house is, but does it really matter? So this week, my goal is to get the car in France and possibly the house in France settled. Mom will continue working on her two weeks and I’ll do nothing about airline tickets until Kate’s passport arrived.


Author: Heres to ART not Cockroaches

Welcome to my life. My life as a mom is changing as the kids grow up, leave home, and build their own lives. This gives me a chance to rebuild myself as an artist, develop a spiritual path, and most fun of all, start going out on dates with my husband. Come here the stories about the small things in life that can make one very happy. Dogs running on a beach, great breakfast dates, kids and their adventures, and my own adventures in this wacky life. I'll share some of my progress in learning art while juggling a full time job as an engineer. And best of all, it's a chance for me to practice writing stories while keeping in touch with my kids. I look forward to hearing from you. Comments, thoughts, and invitations to meet for coffee are all welcomed. Enjoy the stories.

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