I hate marketing

I’ve been wondering what to make of this blog. I’ve had it around for years, and I’m in the middle of a challenge to myself to post every day for a month. I’ve been cheating a bit, back-dating some posts to keep my streak going, but other than that I’ve been maintaining a good run. I don’t have a specific minimum word count, but I’m making an effort to type at least a few paragraph. No single link video posts or whatever as I might have done in the past.

I don’t really know what I want to do with this. I guess I’m using it as an alternative to journaling. I’m kind of interested to see what will happen at the end of the 30 days. I’m trying to keep it low-effort, not worry about SEO, analytics and all that. Still I can’t help but look at the stats from time to time, just to verify that no one is looking. It’s like my anti-dopamine to all of the like-hunting and attention seeking that I might be engaging in on other social media.

I’ve always desired to keep a bit of semi-anonymity in this place. I’ve scrubbed all the obvious places for my proper name, but as I’ve said before, anyone with the time or will could probably track me down in a few hours, if that. I like to think that I have the freedom to be honest here without having to worry about what others think, but I know that’s not true. I’m still not completely honest here either. I’m not ready to drop the wall quite yet.

Maybe that’s the point of this exercise, to give me 30 days to try and refine my voice, get some things off my chest that I’ve been meaning to for some time. And maybe I’ll have something true to say that might resonate. Who knows.

I spend a lot of time reading Medium and it seems like there’s a whole meta-category of articles from ‘professional’ content creators and tips for this, that and the other things. I’m not really sure I want to go that far into publishing and blogging, but I guess at this point it’s only natural.

I really must credit Seth Godin for giving me the inspiration to start this challenge. He told Tim Ferris that the most important thing he did for his business was to blog every day. I suppose I’m hoping to emulate his success in some way. Maybe soon I’ll be able to write more than one post a day to schedule them out and give myself a break. Right now I try to write early in the morning after meditating, but since I went to an hour it’s been a bit tougher. Especially with the wife out of town. There’s no room for oversleeping, so I find myself writing here at the end of the day.

Most of the time the biggest challenge is just figuring out what to write about. I’m keeping a clear head most of the time, but I’m going to have to start planning things out a bit more if I’m going to keep this up. Brainstorming topics and keeping a list in Airtable or somewhere that I can go to if I’m feeling a bit unenthusiastic. For now I’m happy to just sit down and hammer something out for 20 or 30 minutes, but at some point I’ll probably settle on a longer-form piece like I’ve written elsewhere. A few thousand words or something.

Next thing I know I’ll be doing SEO and going full marketing evil-genius. Testing headlines and optimizing for this and so on and on. I have a new client I’m working with that wants to do an e-commerce site on Shopify. This and the fact that I’ve been mucking around with Printsables for a small WooCommerce website I threw together quickly earlier this month is apparently enough for the YouTube algorithms to start throwing me all kinds of garbage ads in the middle of music listening. Just a bunch of annoying tech bros telling me how so-and-so made x number of dollars with this and that.

There was an infomercial that was pretty popular during the late 90s. Some MLM, most likely, but the pitch was that success and riches was all to be yours, “just by placing classified ads in newspapers.” I think the guy eventually went to jail for fraud, and Craigslist killed the classified business, but the game just moved online.

Principles by Ray Dalio

I got a copy of Ray Dalio’s Principles for Christmas this year, and I’ve been keeping it very near to my desk over the past six months. The book is a list of the rules that Ray has come up with in his personal and professional life over the past 40 years as the founder and CEO of Bridgewater Capital, one of the most successful and important investment firms in the world.

Dalio made the podcast rounds last year after his book came out, showing up on Tim Ferris’s and a few others. Then I started hearing his book mentioned by others about how good it was, so I decided to put it on my Christmas list. It’s as good as gold.

The book is three parts: the first, a brief biography and history of Bridgewater; the second is his life principles, and the last, almost half the book, is his work principles. In the intro, Ray invites the reader to skip past his bio and get right into the core of the book, which I gladly did. The physical book itself is laid out very well as well, black and white and red colors, with not one but two ribbons (black and red) to be used as bookmarks.

The center of the book has a summary of the life and work principles for easy reference, about 20 pages in total. A lot of thought has gone into the layout, and they’re grouped together in a orderly and consistent fashion. One can either skip to the principle one’s most interested in, or do as I did, and read straight through. I actually started with parts two and three before finishing part one.

But enough about the book itself.

Ray’s Principles have a couple of overarching themes, the two that most struck me were around his ideas of radical transparency and automating your decision-making process. The concept of radical truth comes from the principal of ’embracing reality and dealing with it,’ which he says is ‘invaluable for rapid learning and effective change’. He uses a type of OODA-loop for planning, executing, gathering feedback, and planning the next iteration, for which this is valuable. But the impact of this transparency in work and personal relationships is important as well. It’s also about being open-minded, both to avoid convincing yourself that you are right, and to accept feedback from people who are more ‘believable’ about certain topics that you. This topic of believability comes up in many principles, and is most relevant when it comes to settling disagreements.

The sections under the section titled ‘to build and evolve your machine’ are my favorite, and are ones that I keep coming back to in my day-to-day life. It’s helped me to step back and focus on my life and work as a system, allowing me to do a sort of meta-analysis around my daily habits and routines, and around the business processes that I take part of at work. As someone involved with a small business, the ‘perceive and don’t tolerate problems’ principle is one I’m taking very seriously. There’s a lot of leadership and management stuff in here as well that I’ve tried to incorporate as well.

I’ve been treating Principles as sort of an operating manual. It serves as a workbook for thinking about the way that I interact with colleagues and how I approach my job. I’ve been trying to get buy-in with my team, and have considered buying everyone a copy in order to do so. Dailo has given a great gift to the world with this book, and I cannot give it a higher recommendation.

You can get a digital copy of the book via the IOS app.

On parenthood

I haven’t written too much about parenting, or being a dad, in this space. Maybe because more than half a decade being one, I still feel like I’m not very good at it. There’s a saying I’ve heard mentioned about meditation: if you think you’re enlightened, spend some time with your family. And my kids can push my buttons like no ones business. I suppose it’s only my fault. I was a grade-A hellion when I was younger, taking absolute pleasure driving the adults around me batty. I remember my cousins and I would take immense pleasure driving our grandmother to swear at us. And I seem to have to inherited the paternal authoritarianism that I rebelled against when I was a child, having turned into some sort of dictator toward my children: driving them to take over more and more of the daily household chores; limiting their dietary choices away from sweets and carbs; depriving them from screen time, or at least the passive kind.

I don’t suppose any of this is worse than what most parents go through, I surely don’t think it’s anywhere near the type of corporal punishment that I used to receive when I was younger. Yesterday’s newspaper headline told of a mother sentenced to 20 years in the death of her five-year-old after his head was knocked through sheet-rock. I know there’s monsters in the world, and I know I’m not one. But damn if my kids don’t test me some times.

It’s a bit paradoxical that it seems almost easier to handle the kids when it’s just me, versus when my wife and I are sharing parenting duties. I think part of it is due mostly to differences in parenting style, but I really think that the kids are playing us against each other in some respects. Not just that standard kid stuff where I’ll say know so they’ll go and ask mom instead kind of stuff, but just knowing on some level who is likely to let them get away with horseplay (dad) or who’s more likely to let them eat crackers on the couch while watching TV (not dad).

And the tantrums my oldest gets when she doesn’t get her way! Every denial is a betrayal and is the END. OF. THE. WORLD. Taking away TV is like the worst possible thing on earth, and the mere suggestion that she turn it off to do a chore can turn into a maelstrom of whining and pouting.

So it’s with mixed feelings that I have to say that things actually tend to go a bit smoother when the girls know it’s just them and dad. My wife has been out of town since Friday, and I’m proud to say that we made it through the weekend alive. I’ll have to save the glamours of 2AM bed-wetting for another day, but I am pleased to report that it is 9:30PM and both of my children are in bed asleep. In their own beds.

My wife and I definitely differ on sleep strategy. She’s content to lay down with the youngest for ‘nuggles’ until she falls asleep, but the process of getting the girls down for bedtime to dreamtime can run two hours, and I’ve got stuff to do, y’know? And the youngest knows that daddy doesn’t want her to sleep in the big bed. So much so that if my wife is home and I try to bring the youngest upstairs for bedtime, she will scream bloody murder to no end, until eventually mommy will come and get her. But with the wife gone, it’s a completely different story.

There’s been a bit of sleep deprivation here lately, to overcome any challenges to night-night time. No nap today and plenty of activities to wear her down, and she was ready before dinner was even on the table. And with half a melatonin gummy for dessert, she was out before the sun went down. And she’s already been up a few times since then, but went back down in her bed with no fuss. And I didn’t even half to lay there with her while she did it.

Sounds like a win for me.


I’m a bit perturbed right now. I went back to Django project I hadn’t worked on in two weeks and could not get my Pycharm interpreter working properly. I’d updated from the Community Edition to the Professional Edition during that time, which I’m not sure had anything to do with it, but this failed session brings me to another source of frustration with things that I need to get off my chest.

There are 3, maybe 4 ways that one might need to interact with a Django app in Pycharm. The first, being the Python console itself. The second, the regular command terminal. Third would be the various run configurations that one can setup. And four would be the Django console that Pycharm Pro enables. My issue is that each of these has their own environment variables settings! Maybe it’s just my inexperience showing through here, but I tend to use several of these when I’m working. I have a run configuration for the test server running, then the Django console for migrations and tests, and a terminal window that’s actually running the Django shell, so that I can muck around with code while I’m figuring things out.

I don’t know if I’m an idiot or what, but it just seems extremely ineffective, and I have got to be missing something.

On a dry July

Today marks 27 days without alcohol. I decided to abstain for the month of July, following a bit of a public bender at the end of last month. The last time I went more than a day or two without drinking was January of last year, following a pretty late New Years Eve/Day drinking session. I’ve got a pretty complicated history with alcohol, as I’m sure some do, and I’m addiction-prone as well, but I’m not sure how unusual that is, when it comes down to it.

One of these days I’ll probably come round to a full accounting of all the crazy, fucked-up shit that I’ve done over the years, but for now I’ll just stick to the last few months. I’m not sure how much of a memoir I want this blog to become, or whether I want to de-anonymize it at some point in time. Suffice to say, I love the drink, I love(d) to smoke, I love whatever it is that I like to do and I will do it as much as I possibly can. Let’s just say for now, that about a year ago, I came to the conclusion that my alcohol consumption was a problem. Not that I hit rock-bottom or anything like that — that happened years ago — but it was just the ramifications of my daily consumption, on both my health and my wallet. I actually had my doctor prescribe me naltrexone to help me cut down. I didn’t want to quit. I like drinking, I didn’t want to cut alcohol out of my life completely, I just didn’t want to get to a place where I get hammered out of my mind and blackout or worse. I’ve been lucky not to kill myself or someone else, but I recognized that it was probably just a matter of time before I did.

It’s such a shitty thing to say that the main reason I cut it out was that it was costing me too much. I’ve acquired a taste for IPAs over the past few years, and the prices have been creeping up to around twelve dollars a six pack. It got expensive, and I was stopping by the store on the way home pretty much every day. The cost was getting out of hand. Trying to limit myself to three a night or whatever rationalizing I was telling myself just wasn’t cutting it. And when I gave myself permission to let loose — I let it go.

So when I told myself eighteen months ago that I was going to do a Dry-ruary or whatever they call it, I did it, no problem. I’m sure my wife was as shocked as me that I didn’t got into the DTs, or have any withdrawal symptoms, but no. The only real negative from the whole experience was trouble falling asleep. I do recall that I couldn’t wait for the month to be over, and I celebrated the day with a cold one out with my wife for one of our semi-regular Friday happy-hours before picking up the kids.

This time, I don’t feel that same way. Someone actually gifted me a bottle of scotch last week — not knowing — and I don’t even really look forward to drinking it. I may just keep going, and see how long I can go. It’s possible that I just traded one habit for another, gave up a vice for a virtue. Who knows what will happen.

On meditation

This morning I did my first 60-minute meditation session. I’d was listening to Naval Ravicant on Joe Rogan’s podcast a few weeks ago and he made a challenge for listeners to do 60 minutes for 60 days, and it’s stuck with me since I first heard it. I don’t know when I first started meditating, but I can say with certainty that I started making it a habit back in November, and I’ve been doing it almost every day since then. 

Back in the late 90s I bought a copy of Zen and the Brain, by neuroscientist and Zen practitioner David Austin. I was a bit of neurobiology nerd back in high school when I was taking AP biology, and started becoming interested in how the brain and consciousness works. This was probably following my first acid trip. The book described the work of comparative studies between the brain images of Buddhist monks and people who did not practice meditation. There were notable differences in the size of certain areas of the brain, as well as the brain activity of the monks when they were practicing their meditative state. I don’t recall trying to meditate myself. There was always debates about how long was effective — David Lynch was quoted somewhere that he felt the minimum effective dose was somewhere around 45 minutes, 20 was too little. 

I tried some stints over the past few years. I recall doing a couple 45 minute sessions at some point, but it never stuck. I never really liked the guided meditations.  And the apps with the cricket or forest backgrounds got too distracting when I started to notice the loops. It wasn’t until I started Sam Harris’s Waking Up app that it became a regular habit. The 10-minute sessions were short enough that I didn’t have any excuses not to do it. They were interesting enough, and Harris’s secular approach clicked with me, as well as his promise that one could arrive instantaneously to the place where the illusion of the self was apparent. Not that one would necessarily stay there for very long, of course, but that it was as fast as the sound of him snapping his finger. 

That was enough to get me going, and it was apparent over the first few weeks that something was happening.  It’s subtle, but effective, and about a month ago I decided that I didn’t want the guided meditations anymore, and decided to go from 10 to 30 minutes on a simple timer. I’ve been getting up at 5 or 6 in the morning, and going outside, weather permitting, and sitting quietly on a cushion.  A week or two ago, after talking myself into Naval’s challenge, I started ramping up by a minute or two each day, then to 45 yesterday and 60 this morning. I told my wife this morning, and she asked me how I felt. I shrugged my shoulders, cause there wasn’t really anything to say about it. It’s not really about feeling a certain way, but it’s about making changes in your brain so that you’re different when you’re not meditating. 

I’ve tried to get my kids to start the habit. We’ve got a couple of children’s books about the subject, one called Moody Cow, and another about a dog that chases his tail. Sam Harris’s wife Annica has some guided meditations for children, I was able to get them down for a 5-minute breath exercise one or two times. But the best thing I think is for them to see me doing it, and hopefully they’ll start to emulate it on their own, the way they do when I’m exercising at the house.  

I’m probably not the best advocate for meditation here. I haven’t really tried making a case to people about it, or any far out claims about vast improvements in my mental state or well-being. I think the research speaks clearly enough, and anyways, I’m not trying to convince or impress anyone about it. Like fasting, it’s something I think that has been practiced for thousands of years, and is something that we’ve lost track of in our modern lives. Taking a step back for a few minutes a day, whether it’s 5 minutes, or more, is something that has helped quiet my mind, and help me focus more, to be present with my family, and to strengthen a sort of meta-cognition about the thought processes going on in my own head, as well as the stories that I tell myself, about myself and the world inside my head. 

And being aware of those stories and those voices, and being able to watch them fade away and just be present in the moment, that is what I’ve learned most so far. 

Working alone

Last weekend I finally got around to reading Two Scoops of Django, and it was very interesting. I wish I had picked it up earlier. I think I first started really delving into the Django framework about 3 months ago or so, and I’ve really enjoyed tinkering around with the models and ORM. I’ve done a bit with the forms and views, but I’ve spent a lot more time trying to draft out some data models for various projects and get a feel for how things work. I’ve fallen into my trap of getting too caught up in tools in order to actually deliver anything yet, but I’ve got two projects that I am primarily working on. I’ve been very disciplined about spending at least an hour or more each day on one of them.

Part of me thinks I should just focus on the one at the exclusion of the other, just to focus and plow through. “Starting is easy, finishing is hard,” as Jason Calacanis says. The other voice in my head is telling me that as long as I’m pushing forward on one of them or the other, it doesn’t matter, since the skills I’m learning on each will translate to the other. The last few days have seemed like my wheels are spinning though, as it seems I spent more time sharpening my ax than I did actually cutting down trees. I spent what feels like two whole days just trying to figure out how to setup cookiecutter-django the way I wanted it, another day or two trying to figure out why pipenv doesn’t work properly in Pycharm, and then another trying to figure out how to get Celery to work. Yesterday it was all about how to properly clone a 3rd party Django app so that I can make some modifications to it. And I’ve spent hours trying to figure out how to do my tests, what needs testing and what doesn’t. Endless hours on Medium reading everything I could find related to any of the above.

But as long as I can sit down and work on something, I tell myself I’m making progress and becoming an actual developer. I’ve talked about discipline previously, and that discipline is paying off with my day job as well, whether it’s Powershell scripts, or more Python API wrappers. The hardest thing about it for me is the solitary nature of what I’m doing. Not having a team or partner with these projects is the hardest, cause it ultimately means that I have no one to bounce ideas off of in real time. Best I can hope for is to dump something out on StackExchange and hope that someone gets back to me. Most of the time, just explaining the question sufficiently enough for someone else to understand it spurs the kind of subconscious creativity that leads to a solution.

There’s been many false starts already, but I’m starting to get there.

Currently, with a fintech app I’m working on, I’m trying to determine how I expand a cryptocurrency wallet app designed for Bitcoin and other assets that use it’s RPC interface. The asset that I’m working with is a fork of a privacy coin with the un-shielded send functionalities disabled. So I’ve got to figure out the simplest method to update all the calls in this library so that they’ll use the shielded commands for this asset while retaining the existing commands for the legacy assets. So far, I’ve decided to try adding a boolean field to the currency model and add an if clause to the Celery tasks to choose between the two based on the boolean. It requires modifying code in each of the various function. While it’s simple, it seems to violate one of the core principals of Django, which is don’t repeat yourself (DRY). It seems to me that there is another way that I can add a decorator or something to each of these functions — maybe a strategy pattern — to do that bit of logic in a way that would make it easier to implement. Maybe even without having to fork the 3rd party app in the first place.

We shall see.

API obsession

I have been obsessed with APIs lately. Obsessed. Part of this stems from the interest in coding, of course, but part of it has come from a new focus on automating a lot of manual processes out of existence. I think I first really started messing around with them via crypto — of course — through the need to maintain price tracking sheets for my spec mining projects. I wanted to be able to keep track of the amount of coins that we were mining, the current price of said assets, and use that to calculate earnings and so forth. When I started tracking, I would manually get the prices from the exchange, paste them into a Google Drive doc, then copy my totals from one tab into a running monthly sheet. It quickly became tiresome, and when I found an add-on that someone had created to do lookups via CoinMarketCap (CMC), I became very interested in figuring out how it was done.

Eventually, I got interested in projects that weren’t available via this CMC interface, and had to start rolling my own. I was able to write Google scripts that could call the APIs of various exchanges and mining pools, to give me exchange totals, prices, and mining payouts. I’ve added them to a hodge-podge collections of scripts that I maintain in a sheet, so I can keep track of the entire venture. I use them to plan trades and track positions afterward. Of course Google Sheets has its limitations, and most of my work is in Python, but the basic premise is the same. Wrap an API request in a function wrapper, do something interesting with the result.

A lot of the interest also comes from my interest in automation. I’ve read the stories about people who have automated their jobs using Python, for example, and one of the fun things about APIs is that not only can you get information out of them, but you can send requests to them and make them do things for you. To stick with fintech for a bit longer, trade execution platforms are a perfect example of this. Being able to send orders to a trading platform through an API has enabled the high-frequency trading and bots to take over the markets. But my main interest is a bit closer to home, or work, to be more precise.

At my day job, we use several different systems to maintain our operation. The crux of it is a professional services automation (PSA) ticketing system and a remote monitoring and management (RMM) system. The two vendors that we use are integrated petty well. There are several major players in the space, and most of them plug together pretty well. The main issue is that the PSA requires a lot of manual setup and steps to do basic things like setting up new clients, configuring contracts, maintaining inventory. All which require multiple steps through their rather clunky UI. It’s a pain. Even something as simple as closing a ticket requires 4-5 mouse clicks.

Using the PSA’s API, I’ve begun to draft a collection of function that will allow me to close a ticket using a simple close_ticket(ticketID) call. I’ve developed more complicated functions that will create contracts, add products to those contracts and link assets from the RMM to those contracts. Right now I’m focused on standardizing operations across our clients, but there’s further opportunity to standardize operations between all of our franchise partners.

But perhaps the most critical opportunity that I’m focusing on within my day job is eliminating failures caused by human error.


We’ve lived in our current home for 5 years now, a mid-sized two story built around twenty years ago. My wife and I upgraded from our 700 square-foot two-bedroom after our first child was born. The first house was great while we were dating, but was too small for our expanded family, and definitely too small for the second child for which we were planning. We were able to save up a sizable down payment over a year, set a budged and began looking at houses. We looked at a dozen or so, none of which really spoke to us, then my wife found our current home, which had been listed just outside of our budget.

The owners at the time had only been there for two years. The husband was Air Force, and had been redeployed, so they were short-selling. Three bedrooms, plus a finished room over the garage (FROG) which I immediately claimed as a man-cave. The downstairs: den, living room, dining room, kitchen; back deck, two-car garage, detached shed, back yard with tress. And the best part was that it was at the end of a cul-de-sac, far away from the first home, where there had been shootings, murders, house fires, animal attacks, and drugs. So we made an offer and got the house within our budget.

So now, half a decade later, and the rest of the costs have become apparent. The interest on the mortgage here is still more than what we paid at the first house. We just finished paying off a new HVAC system. The roof needs replacing. We’re just a 100-year-storm away from flooding. Cutting the grass; trimming the hedges. Power-spraying the siding. I was just told by an inspector that we have 60%+ humidity under the crawlspace. The insulation has fallen down and the whole thing will probably need encapsulation. Then there was the time that the upstairs shower drain leaked, causing damage to the beautiful scalloped ceiling in the dining room. We tried to save money and have someone matching the original work after the plumbers destroyed the ceiling, and I’ve never been happy with the result. The entry door in the garage is rotted from moisture. Et cetera, et cetera.

And then there’s the damage from the two little gremlins that are my children. The younger one, who’s known this house her entire life has been the worst. Markers on the walls, the doors. The CONSTANT cleaning, the clutter. I don’t know when the decision was made, but between work life, home life, and the side hustles, at some point in the past six months my wife and I decided enough is enough. We often tell each other the refrain “burn it all to the ground” during moments of frustration, just wanting to wash our hands of the whole situation. There are things that we’d rather be doing, places we’d rather be, than dealing with these benefits of home ownership. We hired a housekeeper to come by every two weeks to help out, but there’s still so much else to be done. And we’re done.

I think a lot of these feelings — both on mine and my wife’s part — stem from general dissatisfaction with our jobs. As a tech worker I’m at home mostly and am getting to the point where I could pretty much work from anywhere. My wife is determined to retire at her civil service position, but as a Federal employee can go anywhere. One of the arguments for staying put is that we have a few family members nearby, so we don’t want to lose that, so we’re still undecided as to where to go, but we’re sure that we want to go.

So while I’m waiting for the bank to process my home-equity loan so we can go back another $25k in debt to finance the roof and other repairs, we’ve decided to taking the first steps toward freedom: getting rid of our stuff. Step one, and the most important part of this plan: stop buying more stuff. It’s been hard, but we’ve been able to clamp down on this part so far. Our Prime membership has been unused for months and is bound for non-renewal. We’ve stayed away from yard sales completely this summer, and the only trips to the thrift store has been to drop stuff off. My one exception: books and magazines. I have subscriptions to several periodicals, and I am obsessed with the twenty-five cent shelf at the local library which usually has some gems.

Step two: get rid of your stuff. This is the hardest one for me, I’ve got closets with computer gear, flight sticks, racing sim equipment, motherboard boxes, cables, music equipment, et cetera, et cetera. I’ve got at least 5 computers for various roles, two laptops, seven monitors. Guitars, PA and other gear. I’ve got over a dozen board, card and RPG games that I haven’t touched in over a year. I do not have the emotional capacity to even think about sorting through any of this stuff. So right now I’m doing what’s easy: getting rid of the kids’ stuff.

No longer a night owl

I’ve considered myself a night owl for years, and one who has felt comfortable on 6-7 hours of sleep a night. I suppose at first it was just an excuse to stay up late drinking and playing video games in my 20’s, but even after I stopped playing games as much I still preferred the time in the late evening to stay up and get things done after the rest of the family had gone to bed. These days though, I’m beginning to find myself becoming an early riser. Part of it I attribute to my young children, the rest to a few lifestyle changes I’ve been making. 

I’ve always had a bit of an arrangement with my wife, who requires much more sleep than I do. She has always gone to bed at a decent hour, I have 2-3 hours in the evening to do whatever I want to do, and then we’re both back up in the morning to start the day. It’s worked wonderfully for most of the 15 years we’ve been together. With kids, though, it’s proved to be a bit more difficult. 

I always seem to revert to longer spells of sleep when I go on vacation. I guess part of it is attributable to being away from screens, or maybe just the sheer physical exhaustion of going out and doing stuff out of my rut. Being in a hotel room with the family makes it difficult though. Getting the kids down is always a process, one that sometimes takes hours longer than I think it should, and recently I’ve just started capitulating and have been going to bed at the same time they are. It’s easier to lay down and pass out while they’re still winding down than to become frustrated waiting for them to fall asleep so that I can get on with things. And it’s proved much easier to get up earlier in the morning, refreshed, and do some work while I have two solid hours before anyone else wakes up. It proves a bit of a reinforcing habit as well. I’m more likely to go to bed early after having risen early in the morning.