Windsor: Punching the Weld RE-4 gift horse in the mouth

white and black table lamp on brown wooden table
Photo by marco fileccia on Unsplash

Last August while emailing my daughter’s second-grade teacher to thank her for all her efforts, I told her that we’ll treat every day of in-person learning as a gift, being grateful for as many as we can get. As the Weld RE-4 school district was devising its strategy for in-person learning last summer, no one had any idea just how long it would last. I was optimistically hoping it’d last long enough for my daughter to at least develop a rapport with her teacher so that she would at least feel a connection before her class inevitably went to remote-schooling.

Forty weeks later, I am elated that our children were blessed with in-person learning throughout the entire school year. This achievement would not have been possible without the exhaustive efforts, ingenuity, and sacrifice by the Weld RE-4 district, with virtually no help from any parents or community volunteers. This milestone should be celebrated and everyone – from the superintendent to the principals and administrators, to the teachers, to the support staff – is owed a debt of gratitude from our community, one that can never be repaid. Despite being pandemic heroes, they’ll likely never receive a holiday, a jet fly-over, or a parade.

However, with only four days left in the school year, their accomplishments are being tarnished by an outrage mob that demands an immediate policy change to the mask mandates at school. Educators in the final sprint of an agonizing year are now being accosted by parents complaining that a policy in place for over 97% of the school year shouldn’t be allowed to last one day more.

It doesn’t seem that many realize or appreciate that this pandemic altered nearly every facet of the daily operations at the school, forcing educators to re-imagine everything: how students get to school, how they use supplies, how they play at recess, even how they eat lunch. While the mask policy is a very visible one for parents, dozens of other policies are in place to mitigate risks associated with a contagious airborne virus. Immediately changing this single policy doesn’t take into account the downstream impacts this would have on others and the difficulty of immediate policy change amidst the end of the school year.

I get having this debate if it were day 99 of a 170-day school calendar, but we’re at day 167, being told that something in place for the previous 166 days is suddenly no longer acceptable. Many direct their ire largely at teachers and principals that are powerless in this situation. They have no choice but to take the abuse, adding to the most excruciating year in their careers. I realize that many are claiming to be largely focused on the fall, but to raise the issue at this exact moment callously belittles this year’s achievements, ensuring our educators end their hardest school year on a sour note. This will definitely pollute the job pool for current and prospective educators that are discerning their service in our community.

The educators of Weld RE-4 have given us 170 in-person schooling gifts, each day accomplished through tireless work, endless sacrifice, extracting a toll that will never be fully appreciated. Instead of an attitude of petulant entitlement, complaining about the wrapping of the last four gifts, how about we give them our gratitude and support for the educational mountains they moved?

Closing a 23-year chapter

Lots of feelings today, as it’s my last with DXC/Hewlett-Packard after 23 years with the company. I was a 16y/o intern when I started, my after-school job was to update a division’s jobs listing website using MS FrontPage. Fast-forward two decades, 3 company splits (Agilent, HP Inc, Hewlett Packard Enterprise), 3 major mergers (Compaq, EDS, CSC), and 7 CEOs, it’s been quite a ride! Here are my first two computers I used when I arrived at the company.

I am grateful for all of the great friends I met along the way. I appreciate their kindness, patience, support, and generosity. I got the opportunity to work with many incredible people, learn valuable lessons, build awesome tools, and move technological mountains. I’m always going to look back fondly on my time here, and because of many of you, those memories are joyful ones.

My next adventure starts in a week, but first some time to play with my kids while they’re on Spring Break. Despite having no income, right now I feel very rich, showered with so many blessings!

The Covid Pandemic – 1 Year Later

One year ago this week, the world changed. Looking back over the last year, it’s astonishing to realize just how different things have been and how we had no idea just how long things were going to be this way.

Lockdown Chalk Art

I’m now thinking of March 10 and 11, in the same way, I think of September 10, 2021 – a contrasting barometer for just how much life changed in a matter of days. Hearing the news that the WHO declared a Pandemic didn’t really resonate with me right away. My friend Matt and I met up for dinner that night and went to a minor league hockey game.

I started to feel a little bit of the tension as our phones were lighting up with the news about Tom Hanks, the Utah Jazz game being canceled right before tip-off, then the President addressing the nation that night. I experienced all that news second-hand during a sparsely-attended hockey game. As we were walking back to our cars after the game, someone proclaimed that it’s probably going to be the last game for a while – but I never realized that would be the last time I’d be at a live event or eating dinner indoors for over a year.

Two days later, we got an email halfway through the day (on Friday the 13th, no less) that the kids were going to be home for the next two weeks, followed by spring break. At the time, it seemed like it was going to be daunting having the kids home while we were working. We shifted around our basement to make it an indoor play area. Being stuck inside (because the weather was also cold), hours seemed like days. The two weeks went and we were trying to do remote schooling for Clara through independent assignments. Everyone was trying their best, but life was definitely disrupted.

Life Today

As we look back and reflect on the last year, there’s so much that has changed. We haven’t traveled further than one hour away from home. We haven’t seen the dining room of a restaurant, or the inside of a coffee shop. It’s a big deal when all four of our nuclear family go to the store or run errands. There are many friends that we haven’t seen in person. We have a niece and nephew that we haven’t met yet.

Watching our community respond to this virus has been a mixed bag. It’s been inspiring to watch our health care workers, educators, and the countless number of unsung heroes turn the cogs of our society display their resiliency and determination. However, it’s sad to witness some who I’ve really respected fall prey to cynicism, distrust, and suspicion. People who espouse themselves as fiercely protective of life being unwilling to perform an act of charity to their community by wearing a mask. They shout that people are living in fear while masking their own denial that we are living out history, with the fact that our lives are disrupted by unseen forces. I suppose it’s easier berating a straw man rather than coming to terms that there really isn’t a single person or group that’s responsible for this.

Yet, there is reason to be hopeful. We have thankfully avoided the virus and the concerns that go along with getting others sick. Bethany and I have both received our second doses of vaccine and are looking forward to unlocking many activities that we previously haven’t been able to do. We’ve been thankful that our girls have been able to go to in-person school and daycare throughout this time. They’ve definitely had to make adjustments – especially Clara – but it’s amazing how resilient the kids have been. Optimism is in the air and is becoming contagious, hopefully much more than this awful virus.

Donald Trump beside man in black suit

Explaining Donald Trump To My Kids

We’re in the waning hours of the Trump Presidency, closing a tumultuous chapter of our country’s history. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that there’s no shortage of my opinions of Donald Trump. His (lack of) leadership and virtue has driven me out of the Republican party, rendering the conservative movement into a caricature of moral hypocrisy.

During the Trump era, I refrained from blogging much about him – partly because my blogging output isn’t what it used to be – but also in large part that I used Twitter as a release value for my political frustrations. I also felt that national politics weren’t as pertinent to our everyday lives, and would much rather debate local issues and policies that affect my community.

Donald Trump beside man in black suit
Photo by History in HD on Unsplash

In our immediate family, we largely avoided political conversations. My daughters were 3 & 1 when Trump’s term began and throughout his Presidency we were careful to shield them from political discourse. We didn’t see any need to expose our kids to that level of tribalism and negativity. Rather than have to explain Trump’s immoral, incompetent, and unethical behavior, we just didn’t discuss him with our kids. It worked pretty well over the years, up until last fall.

Windsor is a largely conservative town, and with the election in full swing last fall, Clara started to notice all of the Trump flags and yard signs on our way to school. Combined with the second-grade social studies curriculum, she became aware that the election was coming and started to ask questions on the way to school.


“Dad, are you going to vote for Donald Trump?”

Oh crap. “No, I won’t be sweetie.”

“It seems like a lot of people are going to be voting for Donald Trump.”

“Yes, it looks like it.”

“Why won’t you vote for him?”

“Well, sweetie, Donald Trump is a bully. He does do a lot of things that people like, but he also likes to say mean things about people he doesn’t like, and treats those that don’t agree with him very poorly.”

“Do you like Joe Biden?”

“Yes. I might not agree with everything Joe Biden thinks, but I don’t think that he thinks people who don’t agree with him are bad. Sometimes people just have different ideas about what’s the best way to do things, and it’s okay to disagree.”


Since the election we’ve seen Trump’s darkest tendencies play out, perpetuating the lie that the election was stolen from him, culminating in the tragic events at the US Capitol. This has led to more conversations with my kids about the importance of accepting the truth and being gracious in the loss. I’m counting my blessings that I was able to still filter this conversation for my kids, and hope that they didn’t pick up on my own fear about this dangerous rhetoric.

I’m not naive enough to expect our politicians to be saints. I realize that every President says things that enrage and galvanize their political opponents, but the toxicity that has seeped into our political system is not sustainable. Trump’s unique superpower is his lack of shame. The ambition of most people is kept in check by their fear of being shamed for their behavior, but this never impacted Trump. Whether that makes him a unique figure or a harbinger of darker times in our nation, remains to be seen. For the sake of my children, I hope that it’s not the latter.