I was born 43 years ago in Upstate New York, where I lived out in the sticks on and around the dairy farms where my father worked. I treasure many memories of a childhood spent in these beautiful yet challenging settings: making forts in the haylofts of old barns was a treat; milking cows early in the morning was not.
When I left home, I had the good luck to stumble into the welcoming arms of Vassar College, a well-known stronghold of smart, progressive people in the Hudson River Valley. I often felt like the dumbest guy there, but I had a heck of a good time and met many, many incredible people. A year-long exchange program in Lausanne, Switzerland provided the quintessential opportunity of a lifetime, and I look back very fondly on those days. They feel like a long time ago.
After college, I had a number of different jobs, as many of us do. Most notably, I spent a couple of years teaching preschool. I loved it, and I think I was good at it, but I gradually sensed that it wasn't going to be my life's work. A desire for a more creative career with tangible results at the end of the day led me to a job as a carpenter for a local home builder. This sounded great until I learned that my role revolved around carrying around heavy things so that more experienced people didn't have to. While this was rife with disadvantage, it did turn me on to the joy of working with my hands, and I even got to do a little bit of real woodworking. Much to my surprise, I woke up one day with the exciting and terrifying realization that I yearned to do it full-time, despite the fact that this was a horrible idea, as I was broke, inexperienced, and clueless. On the plus side, at least I was young and energetic. With $200 to my name, I traded my mountain bike for a tablesaw, located shop space, and proceeded to make every mistake in the book. The first couple of years were pure trial and error: seventy-hour weeks where I might've cleared $100. But I kept going, and the tide eventually began to turn.
Although I never wanted to leave Ithaca, New York, I ended up moving around the country in support of my wife's academic career. As is often the case, these unplanned life changes worked out far better than I could have imagined. A 4-year stint in Madison, Wisconsin was lovely, and then an unexpected relocation to Salt Lake City, Utah turned out to be one of the best moves I've ever made. We're here to stay- it has been over eleven years now- and we love it. I have a wonderful wife and a beautiful eight-year old daughter, and I get to spend my working hours imagining and building. In my free time, I ski, mountain bike, and play fiddle and banjo with the Bueno Avenue Stringband.
Life is good. Very, very good.