The Great Blog Outage of 2021 – 2022

It dawned on me that I haven’t published on our blog in a really long time. Since the liveaboard dive trip, in Jan of 2021 and we’re now in Nov of 2022.

Man, a lot has happened in the last bunch of months, and a lot of it was blog-worthy, but for some reason, it never happened. The reality is writing takes time, and time has been in short supply over the last little while. I don’t do this for income or fame. I’m not trying to monetize this. The blog is more a family Journal than anything else.

Looking back, some of the highlights include:

I started Bee Keeping in the spring of 2021. I set the hives up in the fall of 2020 but didn’t have bees until late early May of 2021. There is so much I could write about Bee Keeping. While there’s no shortage of information on the Internet. I’m not an expert, but I have my own observations, which deserve a post. I started with 3 Hives in 2021, and expanded to 7 in 2022. [Future Post Placeholder].

We bought an RV. To be specific, a new to us, used 40-foot Deisel Pusher. a 2008 Damon Tuscany 4076 Model, in about May of 2021. This in itself is worthy of its own post, with lessons learned over the last 18 months. On our maiden voyage to the Florida Keys for Matthew (aka Alex), Open water diving certification. We broke down in Tifton, GA. Yeah, it was as exciting as you can imagine. No, we didn’t ever make it to Florida. Yes, we still own the RV. [Future Post Placeholder]

Summer of 2021 (Covid still in full swing)

Fall of 2021, I transitioned roles at Zscaler. Moving from Consulting Sales Engineer to Practice Build Architect in the channel. I realize most of the audience doesn’t know what that means. The first 3.5 years of my ZS career were spent working directly with customers and prospects. But if you actually want to buy what we’re selling, you have to buy it from a partner. That’s the Channel, the group of partners you can buy Zscaler from, as well as other vendors. Before 2021, Zscaler wasn’t super channel-friendly (my words, not my employers). We’re about to fix that. It was a good move for me; I was nearing burnout on the sales side.

In November of 2021, we did another Liveaboard dive trip. Specifically the Belize Aggressor Live Aboard (Aggressor IV). Long story short but I was awarded a President’s Club Trip in 2019 (to be taken in 2020), but since Covid was in full swing and nobody was doing company trips, Zscaler allowed us to choose from a multitude of rewards. Some folks got fancy watches; others took flights on historical WW2 Aircraft. There were lots of great options; including working with a travel team and booking the trip of a lifetime, which is what we did. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as planned.

We leveraged our travel credit to book the Agressor Liveaboard in Grand Cayman. But Cayman was closed with some pretty significant quarantine requirements. Essentially they stayed closed to outsiders for almost two years forcing us to kick the liveaboard can down the road for a very long time. Eventually, we worked with the Aggressor team to transition our credit to the Belize liveaboard. So our first trip to Belize, a great liveaboard trip, plus a few days on a private island, that we seriously considered buying. That’s right; Matt wanted to buy an island. This trip also deserves its own post [Future Post Placeholder]

After returning from Belize, I got Covid. While I was certain I’d had it before, and know for a fact Claudine had had it, once if not twice. It hit us like a ton of bricks. We tested negative to get into Belize and negative to get out of Belize. So we likely picked it up at the airport.

Long story short, after just wicked flu-like symptoms, it finally got to my breathing. It was bad, really bad. So bad I was hallucinating, and furniture was talking to me. At this point, I told Claudine to take me to the hospital. When they checked me in, my Blood Oxygen was at 73%. It was not good. I spent ten days in the hospital at UC Medical Center in Mason, Ohio. That also deserves its own post [Future Post Placeholder].

Short Version: The treatment there was borderline barbaric. Their Covid Policies were atrocious. I did manage to avoid being intubated and put on a ventilator by listening to my wife and one of the nurses who cared more than the rest (you know who you are) and staying on the high-flow CPAP more than most folks.

While I appreciate some of the nurses that worked to keep me alive, I will never, ever go back to UC Medical Center. The Covid floor (floor 4) was overwhelmed and overworked. They had two patients per room, rooms that were designed for ONE person. Nurses had too many patients, and daily my breakfast tray would sit in the room all day. The room was unsanitary, the entire floor was unsanitary and, quite frankly, gross.

During my 10-day stay, I spent 5 of those days down on the step-down unit (floor 2). While there, I had my own room and more attentive care. The last four days were spent back on the Covid floor, where the biggest concern was literally the Mrsa infection which they were instrumental in giving me.

The Spring and Summer of 2023 (after Covid) were good for me. My employer handled my Covid episode extremely well (Thank You, Zscaler).

I didn’t waste any time recovering from Covid. I started walking immediately every day to get off the Oxygen and eventually started swimming laps at the gym to build stamina.

I got my PADI Rescue Diver Certification during the summer (thank you, Scuba Unlimited), harvested a bunch of honey, worked on the RV after it suffered a lightning strike, took a spring motorcycle trip to Murphy, North Carolina, and won another Presidents Club Trip. This time to Curacao.

Over the summer Matthew (aka Alex) decided he wanted to play football for the first time. So we signed him up for some summer mini-camps, and he was added to the Cincinnati Landmark Eagles Varsity team. So our summer/fall was consumed by football. Football may deserve its own post, to be determined.

Curacao | Presidents Club for FY22. We really enjoyed this island and were able to turn our 5-day adventure into a mini dive trip. Diving 7 times (6 boat dives, 1 shore) while we were there. Zscaler really did an amazing job putting this trip/event together at the Marriott Beach Resort. I’d go back.

Before winning the trip (not knowing I was a winner), we had booked a two-week vacation/dive trip to Mexico. Complete with hotel reservations, flights, etc. Only to learn that Cayman was reopening. So we scrapped all of that and rebooked in Cayman.

Grand Cayman 2022. 2 weeks, on 7-mile beach, in a condo, on the ocean, diving and snorkeling at every opportunity. We’ll be diving with Epic again, the same company we used in 2018. Spending week one with my parents and week two with the same couples we did the Saba trip with. It’s going to be amazing. [Future Post Placeholder]

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