Five Weeks of Fatherhood

The last 5 have certainly been different than life's normal pace.  On June 28th, we welcomed our son, Rupert Jermaine Hansen, to the world!  

Alyssa has posted about her birthing experience and given her very, very in-depth perspective.  We were truly lucky to have everything go relatively smoothly.  As a husband and to-be father, the most important thing I could do was offer support leading up to and during birth.  Hand holding, getting water, helping decide which music our son would be born to (Incubus, for those who are curious!).

Since Rupert's birth, it's been much of the same support around the house.  I've been available to take a number of weeks off work (thanks Salesforce for your great parental leave benefits) which has made the transition to parenthood a bit easier on all three of us.  Never in my life have I cooked so much, however, it's been a great experience and definitely saves cash vs. eating out all the time.

Alas, this is the last week of my (current) parental leave and I'm going to have to face my next challenge: balancing being a new father with the demands of working in the tech industry.  Many of my co-workers have done this successfully and I'm looking forward to learning from them on managing an already stretched work-life balance.

Five weeks of being a father doesn't make me an expert by any means, however, I did want to share a few resources and tips that have helped us in the short amount of time we've been parents:

  • Get an Amazon Prime account - We've made a ton of baby-related purchases on Amazon and the free two-day shipping justifies the yearly fee.  Some items also qualify for $3.99 CAD overnight shipping which is a steal if you need an item in a hurry.
  • Invest in a baby swing - We got a deal on this swing on Amazon ($120 CAD) and even though it took a week to ship, it has been a life saver for us to have Rupert take a "hands-off nap".  It's not 100% but has already been worth it's price.
  • Reddit - Lots of great info on Reddit for new parents, shared stories from other Redditors, tips, etc.  The /r/Parenting and /r/daddit subreddits are great resources for us as we review Reddit regularly.
  • Get outside! - You'll read that many folks frown upon taking a newborn out of the house until at least 6 weeks after their birth.  Nonsense!  If you're lucky enough to have a newborn in the summer, be sure to get them out for a quick walk / drive here and there.  Just be sure to keep them in the shade!

For now, off to enjoy the last few days of precious time off with this little guy!

Overdue Blog Update

Well, well overdue!  It's been almost 4 years since my last post to this blog.  Life's been busy, hence why I haven't been updating much.  Got married, went on a kick ass honeymoon, started work for a great company, seen many, many concerts and enjoyed our relocation to Vancouver.  And with a new member of our family on the way, I don't expect things to slow down.

I've also done a major re-haul of my website and moved over to Squarespace.  If you're looking to keep up with happenings on a more regular basis, best worth checking out the Feed or Photos sections.  These pull directly from my Twitter and Instagram feeds.

Alyssa is also posting over on thehansens.ca, a website that we'll be posting more family-related stuff to once our new guy comes.

Apartment Tips in Vancouver

As part of our recent relocation to Vancouver, for the past 2-3 weeks we’ve been on the hunt for a new place.  We’ve had the luxury of subletting an apartment for 2 months until we found the right apartment for our budget.  I honestly didn’t think we’d find a good place for us until October, but we came across a small condo downtown that we just had to get.

Finding an apartment can be a challenge, especially in a hot market like Vancouver’s.  We established a fairly good rhythm in keeping a close eye on upcoming suites.  I wanted to share a few websites and tips that helped us find the perfect place.

  1. Utilize Google Reader to streamline searches - Both Craigslist and Kijiji seem to have a bulk of the apartment listings in the Vancouver area.  However, repeatedly viewing these sites can often keep you guessing as to which ads you’ve seen and which you haven’t.  Google Reader has the ability to slurp up any RSS feed and both Craigslist and Kijiji searches are RSS friendly.  Simply search the website based on your criteria (rent, location, etc.) and copy/paste the URL into Google Reader.  This also makes it easy to share potential suites via email.
  2. PadMapper (and to a lesser extent HousingMaps) rocks - PadMapper is one of the best websites out there for locating apartments based on location.  Simply provide your city, price range and other criteria and PadMapper will show you apartments using Google Maps.  The ads are pulled from Craigslist, Kijiji and other lesser-known listing websites.  HousingMaps also does the same, but I found that the results just weren’t as good.
  3. Use Google Docs to track places you’re interested in - We came across multiple apartments that we wanted to view in the past few weeks.  When you’re looking at multiple places at the same time you want to make sure that you keep track of each, how much is the rent, when they’re showing, etc.  We used a fairly basic shared spreadsheet in Google Docs to track which apartments we liked and would keep details as to what we thought of them.
  4. Have your shit together - When you go to view a perspective place, you’re probably not going to be the only one viewing it.  You’ll want to make sure you stand out from the crowd, so make sure you have your shit together.  Don’t dress like a bum!  Also bring paperwork that you might want to show your potential landlord.  This includes copies of credit reports, letters of employment, references, etc.  It’s likely you won’t need these when viewing, but it shows that you’re prepared should you want to submit an application then and there.
  5. A good landlord is just as important as a good apartment - We talked to a ton of potential landlords in the past few weeks.  Some were nice, some seemed nice and some might be downright crazy.  Finding a punctual landlord who’s responsive to calls and emails is important, especially if they’re not going to be living in the same building as you (as is the case for most condos).
These tips helped us locate a place in Vancouver in a matter of weeks.  What other websites, techniques or tools do you use to find a great apartment?