Sorry for the lack of updates and posts, things have been getting out of hand lately :) My wife has strep throat, my son has bad acid reflux that is causing all sorts of issues when he is sleeping so it has been a rough couple of weeks. We just started medicine for him and moved him over to a new formula to help out with that so hopefully that will stop. For the most part he is a typical healthy normal two month old infant… “Hey dad it is 3:00am and I am hungry!!!! Hello dad? Can you hear me? Mom dad is ignoring me!!!!!!” My wife wonders if I really do sleep through his noises at night or do I just wait for her to wake up… When I sleep I am pretty much out cold once I get used to certain noises around me :)

Anyhow I have been able to actually accomplish some labbing and studying

Completed:

Narbik’s Soup to Nuts is done

Internetwork Expert Vol II lab 1 is completed

Goals for this week:

Finish Vol II lab 2 that I started yesterday.

Go through the lab breakdowns for both labs.

Start Voll II lab 3 and start to work towards beginning the 5 day bootcamp class on demand.

Right now I am feeling good being ahead of schedule of what I want to complete before heading out to Narbik’s in November.

I have moved onto working with Narbik’s Soup To Nuts workbook just to make sure I have gone through it once before I head out to his bootcamp. I should be able to finish this in the next week or so. It all depends on what I can get done at home. The baby is having NO mercy whatsoever on us :). We just had to change his formula this week because he wasn’t digesting the previous one all that well. Up to the day we changed it he probably only slept a few hours a day. The weekends were getting exhausting for everyone. Hopefully that will change now and we will have everything back to normal.

I am hoping to get through a lot more of the soup-to-nuts this weekend and will make a solid schedule after that. I am looking to get back into the Internetwork Expert Vol II labs right after I finish this one up. I would like to complete four to five of them and then work on the five day bootcamp class on demand before heading out to Narbik’s. It is a lot of material, but I have time. I think anyways…

Well our son has his day and nights mixed up right now so both my wife and myself got 2 to 3 hours of total sleep this weekend. Needless to say I was not able to accomplish much this weekend. Considering he is only two weeks old I expected this to happen. I did however manage to squeak in Lab 1 from Internetwork Experts workbook III. It was a good refresher and a good lab to start rebuilding the core material in my head.

Hopefully this week is a little better, but as of last night our son was still up during the night so we are hoping he gets his sleeping schedule down soon or this could be a long stretch :).

Completed Items

  • Internetwork Expert cod day 3 completed
  • Finished the Redistribution chapter in Routing TCP/IP
  • Lose 2 pounds :)

Goals for this week

  • Internetwork Expert cod day 4
  • BGP lab workbook
  • Lose 2 pounds

I also received an answer on lab reschedules:

“Thank you for contacting us. Each situation is handled on a case by case basis. Should you encounter an issue with appearing for an exam, you would need to open a case with us at http://www.cisco.com/go/certsupport. Upon submission of supporting documentation and a review of the case, we will determine if the seat can be rescheduled. With supporting documentation when dealing with weather issues, usually there is no issue with rescheduling.”

Guess the winter months won’t be that big of a gamble!

Well I have to admit with the daughter being 8 years old I have mostly forgotten what it is like to have a baby around lol. That all came crashing back last night when I had to sit for three hours and listen to what life is going to be like all over again for the first three months. My lab is scheduled for October 20th, with Jacob coming in August there is really no chance of that happening is there? Well not atleast without the wife trying to kill me numerous times. Why do women get away with everything once hormones are involved and to blame :D?

So as I sat there last night in bed I could only think of my options:

1. I have to take the lab by the end of February or I have to retake the written. Should I just accept it and retake the written now since it is still kind of quiet at home?

2. Take the lab at the beginning of next year. Now the big problem is I live in Western NY and lets face it two years ago we had a crippling freak snow storm the second week in October. So I guess I need to find out for sure what happens on the day I need to leave for the lab and bam we get hit with a foot of snow! Do acts of God count towards a reschedule? If not I really don’t think I can take that chance.

The other issue is with Cisco and the rumored lab changes being announced this August. Which honestly is not really a big deal, you know the core is really not going to change. Would they take RIP off ? If so what could they add to the core technologies? I could only guess as to more IPv6 stuff. Which would make me a sad panada :D.

I hope the son forgives me when he grows up and learns I read him Routing TCP/IP volume 1 and 2 instead of “Pat the Bunny” or “The Rainbow Fish”…

I did finish this workbook after receiving access to it yesterday. I will say without giving away any details that I am loving the new format. Not that the current one has issues, but the beta one has great imporvments! Now back to my schedule goals for this week…

Well I have spent that last few hours trying to figure out why R5’s interface e0/0 on Vlan 105 could not ping the routed interface in vlan 105 on SW4. I even got to the point where I did a “write erase” on all the switches and copied the vlan tasks and trunk tasks right out of the solution guide, but still nothing.

If I plugged in R5’s e0/0 interface right into SW2 where the routed port on SW4 was connected to I could ping without an issue. So I decided well there has to be a spanning-tree issue going from SW1 where R5’s interface is plugged into. So I start checking spanning-tree and saw the root port for vlan 105 is going over to SW4. Now I know further ahead in the switching tasks I will stop all vlans except 102 from going over that trunk link, but the solution guide is showing they can ping before that trunk link is configured for vlan 102 only. So I just shut that trunk port down on SW1 and sure enough all my pings start going through. Could it have been just a forwarding loop?

That is what I get for being proactive and checking my end to end connectivity right after I configure the trunks links I guess…

Completed items

  • Internetwork Expert class on demand day 1 complete
  • Internetwork Expert class on demand day 2 started ip routing part I last night
  • Started internetwork expert workbook II lab I (hopefully can move through it over this weekend along with some more hours of the cod.)

Goals for this week were

  • Start the class on demand and move through as much as I can
  • Drop five pounds 😉
  • Start workbook II again
  • Schedule my lab exam

Goals for the upcoming week

  • Move through day 2 of the cod and possibly day 3
  • Finish lab 1 and start lab 2 (although thinking about hitting the redistribution section in this lab is making me nauseous)
  • Drop another 5 pounds using the BMR!

Well I have for sure hit my struggle. Hopefully that is over. I started back up the eighty hours of COD so I am hoping to push through those again. I am not going to rush through though this time as I did before. I need to SLOW down and absorb as much as I can. Not sure why I was in a rush to begin with. Plus I will kind of have to keep the pace slow with real life dictating the way it does. Hopefully though I can use every spare moment I have here at home to watch and study the classes.Â

One thing I think I need to do is come up with multiple goals and stages to help benchmark myself. Try to get to “X” by this date and so forth. I think that will help me from getting scattered all over the place again. All you have to do is read Ethan’s blog to see what work and determination will get you. Need to make sure you just keep the drive alive inside you.

I am hoping to mix up the class on demand material with the workbook II labs as well. Since this is my second time going them I am sure I can handle doing some labs as well ;).

Since I really don’t have the time to get to a five day boot camp I decided to go ahead and add the Internetwork Expert five day class on demand bootcamp to my end to end program. Any vacation time I have until September I am saving for son’s birth (I am nervous all the ultrasounds are wrong and he is a she!) So I can’t even think of doing a bootcamp until October and Internetwork Expert is done with the five day camps after August in the U.S. Hopefully I will be able to attempt and pass the lab by the end of the year and not have to worry about it :D.

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Except right now I am so lost. I feel like I am in a free fall with everything Cisco. I have not had the chance to touch anything for almost four weeks. I don’t even know where to begin again. Have I lost everything I have learned already? Do I go back and watch the Internetwork Expert COD’s once more? Do I start the workbook over? My biggest problem right now is that I get a few days of lab work in and then bam I am out of it for weeks. With the baby due in August, work, life in general I feel like I am losing ground every minute. I am a creature of momentum! I need to be continuous with everything I do or I lose the will to do it. I am not a person that can do something every few days and feel like I am actually getting something out of it.

One of the biggest problems is at work. I don’t get to touch Cisco every day anymore. With the MPLS network and our provider doing the routing all I do is watch our usage and bandwidth. The biggest thing I have done in weeks was configure NTP on everything for the sake of logging. Outside of that I am doing nothing with Cisco. I feel like I am just becoming a simple manager. I purchase items we need more than I handle the network which I guess means it is configured and running correctly. Writing and signing purchase orders though does nothing for the brain.

Once I am home I am either mentally worn down from all the trivial mental tasks of the day to do anything or I have to work on things around the house. The wife is becoming very limited in what she can do so I have to pick up more of the slack and that is only going to get worse.

Each day that passes I grow more frustrated as well. I honestly don’t want to go back and watch the COD again, I don’t want to go over mindless, countless hours of lecture I already did. Is it good I find a lot of the stuff they teach boring as hell? It is the easy things I seem to lose track of, such as when to use an access list, when to use a prefix list, why to use either or ? When to use a route-map instead of just using the redistribute command or redistribute static or connected… UGH

Maybe I have just put too much pressure on myself and had a time table that was not achievable in the first place when it came to the lab.

I really need to get to the center of my being and find out what is there…

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