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As Good as It Gets

I know it’s been a long time since I did any blogging.  I’ve been a little busy.

On June 10, I became a homeowner for the first time.  We bought a three bedroom home on a third of an acre in Morgan Hill, California.  We actually began the home buying process in February.  But banks and title companies move at their own pace.  It finally closed on June 10.

Morgan Hill is a smaller town than I am used to living in.  And my five minute commute has grown to 45 minutes.  But so far we really love living here.  It has a small town feel, while still having most of the conveniences of living in a big city.  And if anything is missing, the big city isn’t far away.

Escrow closed on June 10.  We were completely moved in on June 11.  And, thanks mostly to my wife and mother-in-law, we were mostly unpacked on June 12.  I should probably mention that my son was scheduled to be born on June 12.  Proving himself the latest of a long line of procrastinators, he stayed put.

Back in the working world, on June 13 we released Symantec Web Gateway (SWG) 5.0 to market.  This is a project that my colleagues and I have been working on days, nights, and a lot of weekends for the past eighteen months.  It dramatically expands the capabilities of the product that I work on.  At 2:15 that afternoon I had the privilege of issuing the commands that officially made the new software available to our customers.  And by 2:30 we were standing in the hallway drinking champagne.  (I had no idea this was customary or even allowed.)

The rest of the week was comparatively slow.  We had lots of comings and goings related to the new house.  At one point, we filled the cul-de-sac with service vehicles with the gardener, the cable guy, Geek Squad, and an alarm company tech.  On Wednesday or Thursday, we discovered a bug in SWG 5.0 (not mine, this time), and started work on getting SWG 5.0.1 ready for release.

Friday June 17 was supposed to be uneventful.  The only thing on the docket was a regularly scheduled prenatal appointment.  We expected the usual “everything looks good” but what we got was “this baby will be here by Midnight.”  They were wrong.  Never underestimate the procrastinator gene.

But we did go back to the hospital at around 1:30 Saturday morning, and at 2:29 AM on June 18, 2011, Richard A Dudgeon III entered this world, proclaiming to all that he would have no lung problems.

Brief sidetrack:  I did announce earlier that my son would be named Richard Dudgeon 3.0.  I did fill out the birth certificate paperwork that way.  It turns out that the state of California doesn’t allow Arabic numerals in names.  But they have no problem with Roman numerals.  And we wonder why we have problems getting along with the Middle East.

To recap for those just joining us:  In less than seven days, we moved to a new home, completed an eighteen month project at work, and had a baby.

I’ve gained a lot of confidence this week in my ability to create and execute a plan.  Not that I take the credit.  We’ve proved that my wife Diana and I are great partners.  (For the record, she actually did most of the baby stuff.)  This is actually all about teamwork.  We had a great team of professionals for buying the house, from our realtor to loan broker to inspectors.  After a lot of research and interviews we put together a first class birth team.  And I work with an amazing group of professionals at Symantec.

I’m actually feeling kind of a letdown at this point.  After having all of these milestones fall together, I don’t really know what’s next.  I’m faced with the foreign experience of a near empty to-do list.  I know that I need to set some new goals so I don’t stagnate or move backwards.  I feel a little guilty that I don’t know what my next goal should be.  But mostly what I feel today is a peace and contentment like none I remember feeling before.

Flash back ten or twelve years.  In less than ten years, I’d lost both of my parents.  My first marriage had ended.  I was alone with no prospects of a new relationship.  I was clinically depressed, unemployed, and living on disability income.  I remember around that time seeing the movie As Good as It Gets.  The title of the movie comes from a line by Jack Nicholson, playing a character with some serious OCD.  On leaving his psychiatrist’s office, he says to the other psych patients in the waiting room, “What if this is as good as it gets?”  This really struck a chord with me.  I truly wondered if this was all there was.  I figured, if it was, I should make the most of what I had.

Flash back to the present.  Today, I am truly blessed.  I’m married to a woman I love who loves me with a depth I barely understand.  I’m near the top of my profession with one of the largest companies in the world, and the largest in our market.  I live in a beautiful home in a great community.  And I have an amazing new son.

I do feel some guilt at my current good fortune.  These are difficult times for many.  I have friends and family who have been unemployed for years; who have lost their homes; who have found themselves alone after broken marriages or after losing loved ones.  I hope my story won’t be discouraging, but can maybe provide some light at the end of the tunnel.  I got where I am today, in part, through setting goals, thinking good thoughts, prayer, surrounding myself with good people, and doing some hard work.  It also took some lucky breaks, and, I believe, some Divine intervention.  But mostly what it took was time.  Things get worse, and things get better.  Life sucks when things are down.  But hang in there.  I went through some dark times.  I know now that I had to walk through the dark places to get to where I am today.

Life is good

I don’t know if this is as good as it gets.  But I know it’s as good as it has ever been.


2 Comments to “As Good as It Gets”

  1. Good to see things are going so well for you, Di and Richard/Rick/Ricky/Threepio. :) I’m leaning more towards Threepio. Since that was my idea, and he’s my brother, too. :D Plus, then it’s not the same names you’ve been called most all your life. :)

    Or I can call him, “The most perfect sweetheart baby in the entire world,” but that’s just a mouthful. He’s a spitting image of Jazz in that picture, though. They have the same dimples…

  2. Let’s not forget that just a few days past little Ricky’s one month birthday, you found out you would become a Grandpa.

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