Monday, December 2, 2013

A week of successes

Welcome, friends and neighbors, to the Correct Direction™.

I mentioned last week that I was on my way to take my CompTIA 220-802 exam, which was the second and final exam required for my CompTIA A+ certification.  First, I'm happy to report to anyone who doesn't know, that I passed with a score of 95.5%, and I am now a CompTIA A+ Certified Professional.

By itself, the CompTIA A+ certification is not terribly useful.  Well, it's useful, but it's not a free ride.  It shows perspective employers that I have a basic level of competence, which will help to get my foot in the door, but that's about it.  Most will still expect some verifiable experience. For now, I plan on enjoying the holidays, and digging into our next big goal, which is getting out of this apartment. (more on that in a minute) I'll also be taking a look at the CompTIA Network+ certification, but that one may be a more realistic goal with a bit more working experience.

In any event, come first of the year, I plan on making the rounds to local churches and other non-profits that may not have a lot of budget for IT support, and offering up my services free of charge, asking that they provide a letter of reference if they felt I was helpful and deserving of their recommendation. It's a nice way to get something that looks like experience, while also helping the community.  That's two very good things.

Now, I mentioned that our next goal was getting out of this apartment.  My wife and I have been saving, and have just about enough saved up for a down payment.  Not a 20% down, no PMI, 'ideal' down payment, but at least enough to get into a starter house.  As a matter of fact, I spent some time talking to a mortgage broker today, so with any luck, we'll be in our first home within just a couple of months.  The scary part is the mind bending number of options.  There's FHA, conventional, USDA (if we want to move out of town), we can use the small amount we have for a down payment or we can pull out some 401k money (I know, Dave Ramsey would throttle me for considering it) and give us a much larger down payment, which means a better loan and lower monthly payment, but the risk of terrible tax penalties.

None the less, I now have a widely respected entry level IT certification, our finances are well under control, and we're rapidly approaching home-ownership.  I've even trimmed off a few strips of bacon this week. That's all kinds of win.

Sadly, buying our own home will mean saying goodbye to some things.  I'd like you to join me, as you read this week's blog post, in a moment of silence for all the things we'll be missing once we've moved to a house of our own, such as:

  • Neighbors smoking pot under our balcony
  • Neighbors playing their music at 1:00am, so loud that it shakes the floor of our apartment
  • Neighbors having screaming matches when they walk in on their cheating girlfriend with another guy. (admittedly, that one really was kind of entertaining)
  • Neighbors walking out into the parking lot wearing boxer shorts and carrying a shotgun to menace other neighbors who won't stop their screaming match in the parking lot at 2:00am
  • Neighbors getting into a 'who can bang on the walls harder' match with each other because I walked too quickly and they were able to hear the footsteps
  • Neighbors underneath us
  • Neighbors we share walls with
  • A prime view of the busiest and loudest street in town
*begin moment of silence*

*pick nose*

*inspect findings*

*end moment of silence*

Yeah...  ...that's long enough.

As I look at that list, I can't help noticing a pattern to the things I hate about this place.  Sometimes, a USDA loan on a house in the country suddenly starts looking like a better option.