Home sweet

We thoroughly enjoyed our excursion to the Gulf Coast even though we cut the trip short by one week to avoid the wind and rain expected from the twin tropical storms headed for the region.

After our week of relaxation, I went back to work for the remainder of our time at the beach. It was a great change of scenery for the month of August.

The quality of internet access is always a gamble when booking an extended stay — “Wi-Fi Access” in an AirBnB listing can mean vastly different things. Unfortunately, we had awful DSL coverage at the condo. Speeds ranged from 150 Kbps to 3.5 Mbps. The abysmal speeds and high packet loss made video calls, syncing Dropbox and accessing “modern” JavaScript-heavy websites a painful affair.

I was able to work, but it was difficult. I turned off Dropbox sync, held meetings without my video enabled, downloaded albums of music instead of streaming during the workday, restarted the DSL Wi-Fi box daily and generally exercised extreme patience.

Access to a high quality internet connection is critical in our modern digital age. In the midst of a pandemic when much of work and education is online, it’s now essential. Living and working remotely from Chattanooga, with gigabit municipal fiber connection from by EPB, our local utility company, is absolutely incredible.

While at the beach, I was able to make an unstable connection work. I knew I would be dealing with it for a limited time. However, across our nation and the globe, workers and families are facing bandwidth challenges. We need solutions. We need competition. We need more and more local municipalities doing the hard work that EPB has done—dare I say, treat internet access as a utility. We need a a national government that is actually engaged in fostering access to high quality internet.

EPB receives a lot of national press for being one of the first to move on municipal fiber. Fortunately, during this pandemic, they are offering reduced cost service to those who qualify. This is a great start.


2020 has been wildly different than I expected. The loss of Kaylin’s father, the birth of Finnegan, my shoulder surgery, and dozens of other difficult personal and professional challenges have resulted in a 2020 that would have been hard to imagine at Christmas last year.

We’ve been incredibly lucky to have the support of friends and family through it all. Fortunately Kaylin had the forethought to encourage us to plan a getaway to celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary despite the state of things. We booked a nice condo in the Florida panhandle for a several week stay.

We’re obviously taking all the proper precautions when it comes to COVID-19. We’re staying in our condo, going out only for groceries while properly wearing a mask, and visiting local beaches when they are not crowded (in fact, we saw zero people today on our stretch of the beach).

No COVID-19 here!

This week of vacation will be followed by several weeks of work, just in this location instead of home. Working from home isn’t new for me, but in the midst of an intense year, the change in scenery is appreciated.

Overall, a break from the usual is so deeply restorative. And, we get to show Finnegan the gulf for the very first time!

It went… ok.