Zev Family Newsletter: August 1999

The summary:
  1. Jackie starts working full time and is given her own project to manage.
  2. Marc interviews with KidsOnLine, GoTo.com, KidsOnLine (again) and Viva.com
  3. We visit the Amazing Maize Maze
  4. The JCC shooting and aftermath
  5. Jonathan goes to the Kidspace museum and gets his picture in the paper
  6. We lose our ISX websites and email, and move the website to http://www.jmzconsulting.com
  7. Marc receives and accepts a job offer from Viva.com

Note: The links are to recent pictures (one picture per person)

When July ended, Marc had just been laid off, and Jackie was still working part-time. Jackie was happy about this situation, however, because she was confident of Marc's ability to get another job, and with him home and her working part-time, she hoped to finish off a project that had been dragging on for far too long. However, the best laid plans…

On the first Monday in August, Jackie went to work and was told that they needed her to work full-time. This was because she was being given a small (5 person) software project to manage. The project is to develop a simulation of several of the radars that make up our nations missile defense system. We will be using advanced programming techniques and languages, and the project would be quite enjoyable if it were not for the impossible deadlines that have been set. Her boss also asked her to spend two weeks in Anaheim. Jackie told him that she would spend one week and then see if a second week was necessary.

Marc interviewed with KidsOnline, a startup website located in Pasadena. He likes the company and what they are doing, and they seem to like him. Then he interviewed with GoTo.Com, a slightly older startup website. They also seemed to like him, but it was less clear whether there would be a position open that would match what Marc wanted to do.

Jackie had a physical and got her cholesterol and triglycerides checked. Even with the umpteen-gazillion eggs she eats a week, her cholesterol was only 153. Thank goodness for good genes!

We went to the Amazing Maize Maze in Camarillo. This maze is made from paths through a cornfield. There are 12 mailboxes in the maze, each containing one square of a map of the maze. There are also informational posts giving answers to a crossword puzzle available at the entrance. This year, the maze forms the picture of a mission. The exit is at the center, and a bridge takes you over a portion of the maze and allows you to look down at the maze and all the people in it. It was a lot of fun to roam around in it, collecting map pieces, and crossword answers.

That night, we left the kids with Marc's mother and went to an Improv theater. The next day we went to the zoo with friends and to Jackie's mom's for dinner. It was a busy weekend.

The next day, Jackie had to go to Anaheim to meet with the people running her project. She took a roundabout route that was probably 15-20 miles longer than the direct route, and was pleased to find that this longer route was probably 15-20 minutes FASTER than the shorter route! She had dinner with a friend that lives down there, and avoided the evening traffic back.

The next day (Tuesday) was the day that Furrow shot up the JCC where Jonathan was going to camp. Jonathan was not there, as he only attended camp Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. You think of random acts of violence as something that happens to other people. This one hit too close to home. At first we only told Jonathan that some kids had gotten hurt at camp, and we wanted to be sure it was safe before sending him back. After Furrow turned himself in, we told him that the kids had gotten hurt because a bad man had shot a gun in the JCC, but that he was in jail now and could not hurt anyone. We tried not to make a big deal about it, knowing that Jonathan would take his cue from our reaction. We kept Jonathan home on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of that week, mostly because we were concerned that all the people brought in to help the kids who WERE there that day would give him the idea that there was something to be afraid of.

Jonathan was disappointed that he had to miss his regular Wednesday field trip with the JCC, so Marc took him, Benjamin, and Jonathan's best friend Sean to the Kidspace museum in Pasadena. Cousin Rachel and her 2 year old daughter went also, and the kids all had a great time. The museum was putting together a new climbing apparatus and wanted a promotional picture taken with a handful of kids on the new apparatus. Of all the kids at the museum, the museum director chose both Jonathan and Sean for the picture. The picture appeared in the newspaper and on their website. We grabbed a copy too. If you are having problems identifying Jonathan, he is the one at the top.

Jackie needed to go back to Anaheim for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and had planned to spend the night, as she had early meetings on Thursday and Friday. The shooting almost made her change her plans, but in the end she couldn't come up with a reasonable reason to do so. Jonathan didn't need her to stay home, as he wasn't traumatized. We have a housekeeper, so childcare wasn't an issue, and Marc was home (when he wasn't going on interviews.) So, in the end, reason triumphed over instinct, and off she went. While she was gone, Marc thought that the air conditioning went out, but it turned out to be a simple thermostat problem.

Jackie's Friday meeting ended at noon, and she was able to get home in plenty of time to go to a special service at the JCC. Afterwards, we asked Jonathan if he understood what had happened. "Sure," he responded, "The important people got to talk." Not exactly what we had asked, but we were happy with the answer. A CNN cameraman was quite taken with Jonathan, and spent quite a bit of tape on him, but we never found out if the footage he shot was used. We did hear that Marc made the news.

The week Jackie was in Anaheim, Marc had two job interviews. He had a second interview with KidsOnline and he interviewed with Viva.com, another startup website, located in Santa Monica. KidsOnline really liked him, and said that they had made two offers already, but if one of the offers didn't accept, then Marc had a job offer. If both accepted, then the guy interviewing Marc would have to fight to get another position opened up, but would try to do this. Viva seemed to like him too.

Even though we were told that we would have our ISX accounts through the end of August, they were turned off mid-month. We also lost our free Internet access and our websites. We switched over to a free ISP while we tried to decide what to do. This caused a few problems when we wanted to broadcast the news that Jonathan had not been at the JCC the day of the shooting, and found that the free ISPs will not let you BCC to more than ten people at a time! It also delayed the sending of the July newsletter until we could get up and running on a fee ISP. Much thanks to everyone who sent us email about the JCC shooting.

We resolved the website issue by paying for our own domain (www.jmzconsulting.com -- check it out!) For email, we have decided not to use emails provided by our employers anymore, so our email addresses should be relatively permanent (as permanent as anything is when you are talking about the internet!) Our email addresses are marc_zev@iname.com and jzev@iname.com.

The next weekend we had two parties and a play all on the same day. The play was "Alice in Wonderland" and was part of the kids' series that Jonathan had been attending. One of the parties was a "cancer eviction party" for cousin Donna, in celebration of the successful eviction of cancer from her body. What a great reason for a party! Congratulations, Donna!

The next week, Marc got a job offer from Viva.com and rejections from GoTo.com and KidsOnline. He was not surprised by the rejection from GoTo.com, as he knew after he interviewed that there wasn't a clear position for him available. KidsOnline was disappointing, but both of the other people to which KidsOnline had made offers had accepted, and the company wasn't prepared to hire another manager at the moment. After mulling over the pros and cons of a commute to Santa Monica, Marc finally decided to accept the Viva.com job. The salary is more than he was making at ISX, and if it successfully goes public, we could make a mint on stock options.

Jackie needed to be gone three days of the next week, so Marc told Viva.com that he couldn't start until the end of the month. She spent two days in training in Huntington Beach (Jonathan said, "Did she find any tin?" -- No, she was in "Hunting-tin," not "Finding-tin") and another day in Anaheim.

We attended the JCC's "family night" which was just a fun night filled with lots of socializing and singing. Each of the camp groups sang for us, and then we all sang songs together. When Jonathan's group sang, the two kids that had been shot that were home sat on the stage in the middle, surrounded by all of the other Kindergarten and first grade kids, standing. Jackie thought that she had dealt with the emotions elicited by the shooting and put the incident behind her, but seeing the kids on the stage was very hard. She also has a hard time walking into the JCC because of all the posters of love and support on the walls, reminding her how very close the violence came to her life. When you have a good life filled with love and happiness, your greatest fear is that some calamity will take it all away.

On August 30th, Marc started at Viva.com. Coincidentally, July 30th was his last day at ISX. Viva.com welcomed him with an 80-minute commute to work. Ugh! Fortunately, none of the other commutes that week were as bad, and Friday's was only 35 minutes. He is doing much the same work as Jackie, with similar deadlines, which are even more impossible. Jackie was promised 16 weeks and 4 people to do her project (which is really a 120 staff-week project), and now finds she has only 12 weeks and 3 people. Marc has the same 12 weeks and no people (yet) -- and his project is further behind in design. Ah well, a little stress is good for you, right?

We interviewed three landscape architects this month. We want to develop a long-term plan for the house so that we can gradually improve the look of the house over time. We hope we're not biting off more than we can chew!

This month was filled with news about Marc and Jackie's work and the shooting, so Benjamin hasn't hardly been mentioned. He's a very typical two-year old, throwing tantrums when he doesn't get his way, repeating everything we say (particularly the things we wish he wouldn't!), and generally being delightful the rest of the time. Here's an image for you. The other day we had dinner at Jackie's parents' house. Jonathan's cousins Michael (6) and Samantha (3) were both there. At one point, one child was sitting in the other room, reading books, and three children were zooming around the house on ride-on cars meant for 2 year olds. Who was reading? Why, Benjamin, of course!

‘Til next month!
Jackie, Marc, Jonathan and Benjamin