j.j. toothman

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Wow, it’s been a whole year

Every January for the past  4 or 5 years, I resolve to write a blog post. I like writing. I don’t think I’m particularly great at it, but I do like it. And I perceive writing to be something I can improve at if I simply actively write something every day. That’s why I want to write a blog post every day.

It looks like this upcoming January is going to be no different than the last. Another new year, another resolution to write a blog post every day. Because it’s been exactly one since I last posted something here. Sigh.

Interesting enough, that year has coincided with my first year as a resident of the state of Massachusetts and living out in the Boston suberb of Sudbury. There’s much to tell about that. Maybe I’ll get around to it one day.

So yeah, let’s see if I can reboot my postings here. Related to writing on a daily basis, my latest attempt to build good habits in that area is 750words.com. Check that out if you’re interested in evolving your writing via the practice of daily composition.

So…Why Sudbury?

Keturah held our first gathering of friends at our place over the weekend.  Partially a BBQ.  Partially a housewarming party with a lot of kids play date flavorings (there was a bouncy house after all).  We called in Sudtoberfest. Lots of people I haven’t seen in quite a long time.  Some over 15 years.

Anyway, the question “Why did you decide to leave in Sudbury?” was directed my way by at least a half dozen different people.  So, let’s address that.

First off, I’m thinking that the question was rooted with one of the following underlying sentiments by that individual:

  1. Some people who were thinking “You guys are crazy to move out here to deep suburbia. You’re an urban type who likes to catch a band playing a small club on Tuesday nights; who likes hipster, speakeasy type coffee joints; and who enjoys dining at places where you order at a counter and take a number to your table.”
  2. Those who are secretly wondering, “Wait, I’ve got two little kids myself that about to head off to kindergarten and maybe it’s time for me to consider a place like Sudbury”
  3. Surely some people wonder “You’re working exclusively from home, why aren’t you living on the Cape or even better, from Tahiti?”

As I’ve previously alluded to, it was time for us to leave California in part due to the weaker family communities out there.  Or to be more diplomatic about it, weaker than what is commonly found in New England.  We are here in part for the strong family oriented communities and the excellent schools systems.

We are also here partially to be near some family.  Keturah has family down in Southern Massachusetts and I have family still in Glastonbury, Connecticut.  Given that, it made sense for us to stay west of Boston.  Our search started the day after we landed at Logan.  It started with a massive list of towns from Newton all the way out to towns on the edge of 495 such as Sherborn.  Eventually, we crossed off a bunch of towns and zero’d in on Sudbury and Wayland.  With those 2 towns identified we pretty much tracked what was coming available via RedFin.  Ultimately finding a home to our liking on Willis Road in Sudbury.  We easily could have ended up in neighboring Wayland.  In fact in many ways, Sudbury-Wayland feels like one big town.

Why Sudbury, specifically.  Well…

  • It’s awfully pretty here.
  • There’s plenty of families here.  Plenty of people here, but it certainly doesn’t feel overcrowded.  Everyone has a decent sized lot for their house.  Lots are measured in acres here.  Not the 5000 sq. foot increment measurements that happen in California.
  • There’s a fair amount of convenience here.  And you don’t have to work overly hard to drive to the grocery store or Target.1
  • Public transportation isn’t totally out of the picture.  The commuter rail station in Concord is 10 minutes away. The one in Framingham is 15-20 minutes away.
  • Waltham, a tech hotbed in metro Boston is about a 15 minute drive away.
  • Great cycling up here.
  • Our house is 15 minutes from Walden Pond. Same with downtown Concord.
  • Are you noticing how everything is about 15 minutes from our house?  It’s nice.  Much different experience than our Half Moon Bay existence2
  • The schools are amazing.  Someone told me that all but 2 people from last years graduating high school class went to college.
  • Lots of youth programs. In fact, what’s available for kids in this town is almost overwhelming.

  1. It’s amazing how pleasing it is to be able to drive 10 minutes to Target and only have to deal with a single traffic light. 

  2. Of course, there’s no ocean view here. 

Mission Accomplished – Reflecting on moving cross country

Complete.  The long transition that Keturah, Mason, Jude, and I began in Northern California this past April and took us through a summer in Connecticut, finally came to a conclusion in Sudbury, Massachusetts on September 1 when we closed and moved into our new house.


Moving a family of four from one coast of the U.S. to another was no simple task.  I’m hard pressed to think of many things I’ve found more challenging.  I’m struggling to completely encapsulate all my thoughts about this journey, but mostly I’m happy it’s over.  I’m happy that the moving company showed up on September 3 with all the stuff we’ve been missing since April.  I’m happy that the cable company showed up on September 9, plugged me back into the Internet, and hooked me up so I can watch Red Sox games on NESN every night.1  I don’t even care that I’ll probably have cardboard boxes in corners of some rooms for months to come.

So instead of a structured post reflecting on the finality of the big move, I give you this random list of thoughts…

  • You can go home again. But don’t stick around too long.  Yes, it was nice to be back in Glastonbury for a few months, but it never felt like a place I could permanently be. My time there was over.  It was over when I was 18 to be honest.
  • Speaking of Glastonbury, it’s completely frightening how much Sudbury, MA reminds me of Glastonbury. Really scary.  I may not want to live in Glastonbury, but some part of me wanted to raise my kids in a safe place just like it.  Which means, Mason and Jude will probably grow up to be completely bored with Sudbury, count the days until they can get out, and kill time via meaningless acts of youthful rebellion.
  • There’s just no way you can totally outsource a cross country move with two little kids.  I’d say that I outsourced a lot of the heavy lifting and pain points, but I didn’t even come close to making things totally easy on myself.  I’m not sure it can be done.
  • I highly recommend Moovers Inc for any big interstate moves.  They were recommended to me by Delancey Street –  and anyone who has ever hired movers in SF knows that Delancey Street is the way to go.  Moovers Inc was totally professional, friendly, and fair priced.  They were definitely not the most expensive movers I spoke with. Far from it actually.
  • Things I missed the most while Moovers Inc was storing most (almost all) of our stuff: my roadbike, the king size bed Keturah and I have, and our espresso machine
  • Mostly what I was missing was having our own space.  It’s nice having our own closets, our own beds, etc.
  • Redfin was a great service for finding a house.  We started out with a list of about 12 towns in metro Boston that we were considering living in.  Redfin was instrumental in helping us quickly whittle that list down to towns that we focused in on (Sudbury and Wayland) and was also very helpful in helping us find preferred neighborhoods and schools. The people that work for Redfin Boston are great. Highly recommend them.
  • Many thanks to Ryan and Sheri Neuman for helping us with our financing.  Our personal finances are ridiculously complex and without their help, we never would have been able to acquire the great home that we have. 

  1. Despite the fact that the Sox are totally stinking right now. The Bad News Bears would shut them out right now, especially if Amanda was starting. 

While I had the flu

The first sign of the flu came to me in the form of lower body aches last Thursday morning.  Bu that afternoon, it had become a full body ache and I was done for.  I would be completely bedridden for the next four days.  Then mostly bedridden for another one.  Only this morning did I start feeling close to 100%.  Here’s a random list from my time with the flu.

  • Took 2,456 doses of ibuprofen1
  • In addition to ibuprofen, my body took on plenty acetominophen, Pepto Bismol, Thera-Flu, NyQuil, DayQuil, and some Advil Cold & Sinus for good measure.  If Hunter S. Thompson had shown up and let me choose from the trunk of his car, it would have been a no brainer to add a half dozen or so amyls to that list.2
  • Thought about 2 dozen blog post ideas that I didn’t write down anywhere and I’m sure I’ll never write
  • Ate 1 bowl of soup, a few bananas, a couple slices of toast, and 2 fried eggs.  That was pretty much it over the duration of the flu
  • Drank 9 32 oz bottles of Gatorade
  • Missed a few hundred work emails
  • I’d tell you how many rolls of toilet paper I went through, but that would be gross.
  • Watched all 13 episodes of Rubicon – which was great until the last episode.
  • Read Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead by Neil Strauss from cover to cover.  Not a bad read. Recommended if you like reading about rock stars.

Yes.  This was a pointless blog post.  But I needed to write a pointless, get-myself-back-to-blogging post so here it is.  You may now go back to regular programming.

  1. Not really. It only seemed like 2,456 doses. 

  2. If you haven’t read Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, you’ll have no idea what that means. 

Keturah + J.J. = 10 years

What I knew is that it was at some point this month.  And in fact, I got major points for not only remembering, but for recognizing the occasion with a gift that I gave to Keturah while we were in New York the other day.  But I didn’t know the exact day in the the latter parts of April 2001 that Keturah and I recognized as the day that we first decide to commit to each other as a couple. 

For those of you thinking that we’re sort of lame for recognizing the day we started dating with any kind of significance, I have only this to say: Celebrating stuff is fun! 

At some point over the past 10 years, Keturah decided to stick the day of April 28 in her Google Calendar and as a recurring occurrence.  And this morning, she got a Calendar notification on her iPhone that indicates that indeed, April 28 is our day.  One of them, at least.   Mind you, she only got that notification because I spent time fixing her iPhone settings so that her Google Calendar sync’d correctly.  So I should get some points for that, too!

But yes.  Apparently, April 28, 2001 is one of the biggest days in the timeline of our relationship.  How far we’ve come in 10 years. There’s no one I’d rather share my life with.  No one I’d rather see next to me in the morning.  No one I’d rather see the world with.  And no one I’d rather share a family and raise children with.

Pics of us from that time are pretty rare.  We have some, but nothing digitally accessible.  So the picture of us above is another rarity.  It’s the only picture of us together in Paris during our honeymoon. 1  It’s not even a great photo of us in Paris.  But trust me, that’s us on a boat along the Seine at night with a bridge in the background.

  1. Oh…those Parisians and there lame attitude towards American tourists. 

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