Monday, February 4, 2008

Cleaning my plate

No house guest at the moment. My mom arrives on Friday. This is the first day Rocket had to pack the two younger boys into the van, and drive to pick up Painter from kindergarten. I'm at the office. This is new. She seems to have survived. I called to check.

And we're both surviving our latest push to get the Inventor fully potty-trained. It's a struggle. But we seem to be making progress. At least, there are a few successes to accompany the daily accidents.

That is one part of my life: being a parent. A part, which I have chosen freely, and which (despite its frustrations) I fully embrace.

Having finished and submitted the promised biography (of the protagonist of my dissertation) last week, I find myself essentially with a clean plate. Sure, I have this book chapter to write, but the deadline is at the end of October. While I'd like to get working on it long before that deadline, my priority just now is figuring out the next few months that intervene.

We'll be taking the boys on a trip in a couple weeks, to scout out the territory we're considering for our new homestead. Rocket has been trying to sort out her conflicting emotions and desires regarding the possible move. Importantly, this trip will allow us to take it out of the realm of hypotheticals, and into the realm of considerations. Will we find this place to our liking? What of the houses we might look at? Will they seem acceptable to us? Suitable? Could we see ourselves living there? And thriving?

If all those answers are affirmative, then we've got the logistics of the move to tend to. Are we ready to put an offer on a house? When should we plan the move? How are we going to go about it? How much will it cost?

And, just as importantly, I need to get cracking on my research, building these proofs, getting ready for client and investor demos.

Suppose you find yourself essentially free (but with a deadline some couple years out). I think of the computer graphics unit of early Lucas Films. That was their lives for several years (indeed for several employers). I'm trying to model my work on what they did (there are parallels, in an odd sort of way). Only, I don't have anyone bankrolling my research. We've got to cover it all ourselves, and come up with marketable intermediates along the way to keep funds coming in.

I'm a different sort of entrepreneur. My motivation is the work, and solving the research problems. The money, the marketing... they're just means to the ends. I'm not looking to cash in on a good idea. I've got a lifetime's worth of work set out. My goal is to find ways to sustain myself in that work. The fun part is getting the business to work for me, while I work for the research.

How do you get there from here? That's my task of the moment.

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