Saturday, February 07, 2015


2014 felt like a long year. There were a lot of great things, but they were punctuated by long stretchs of drudgery.
Life comes with a certian amount of drudgery. It is unreasonable to expect constant excitment from visiting to the grocery store, folding laundry, washing dishes, supervising a child in the shower, brushing your teeth, helping your child brush her teeth, watching the same episode of Dragon Tales for a week, watching Elsa build her ice castle everyday for three weeks, or being a taxi service to play dates, gymastics, swim lessons, birthday parties, and dance lessons.
The taxi service does, more than occasionally, lead to excitement or at least a moment of joy and/or wonder. I get to see Bug having fun, learn new skills, surprise herself, listen to her stories, and teach me new things. Taxi service is the drudgery that makes me appreciate the wonder of being a dad.
The additional drudgery this year comes from my job. It pays well, but there have been few oppertunities for me to really sink my teeth into anything. The pace of development is slow and most of the features in development are simple from a user perspective. It is hard for me to get excited about documenting a point-and-click UI or the same APIs in a different language. The amount of process and over management exascerbate the boredom. I pretty much have to clear everything I do through a manager and one other person. This is in addition to technical and editorial reviews…. I’m not sure if the solution is a different job or a different attitude; the devil you know or the devil you don’t….
There were also parenting challenges. Bug went through a bit of tantrum storm through the spring and summer. Two of her great strenghts are her independance and her determination (some may call it stuborness). They help her in all sorts of ways, until they mix together in a cauldron of frustration and explode. We had some rough rides, but, hopefully, we all learned how to modulate ourselves and use our natures positively. The darkest moments made me glad that I wasn’t in this alone. Being able to tag out for some relief and having a different perspective on hand made weathering the storms much easier. It makes me respect the work my Mom must have done as a single parent even more than I already did. One thing is certain: Parenting is the most challenging thing I have, and will likely ever, do.
Fortunately, life has a lot of wonder to offset the drudgery:

  • There were a bunch a great paddles this year.
  • Bug and I got to go on a bunch of great bike rides together.
  • Bug learned to ride a two wheeler.
  • We all went on our first real hiking adventure in the White Mountains.
  • We did our first real kayaking trip on Boston harbor.
  • We had a number of relaxing camping vacations.
When I look back on the year, it loses a lot of its drabness. The moments of joy and wonder bubble up and remind me what is important: smiles, laughter, hugs, learning new things, sharing nature.

Best Paddle of 2014

This year I feel like I need two categories for best paddle of the year: family and solo. This is the first year the Bug has been able to join us for real adventures. She has gotten to an age where she can tolerate a bit more time in the cockpit and the upgrade to Big Red made venturing a more pleasent experience.


My favorite family paddle of the year was the one to Grape Island. The weather was perfect, everyone had a great time, and it felt like a real ocean adventure. It gives me confidence that we can do some kayak camping next summer.


The Outter West Passage of Terror was my favorite solo paddle of the year. It wasn’t the most interesting paddle or the most challenging paddle. It was the paddle that most reminded me why I love to paddle. It centered me after a very hard week. It reminded me of be awake to the beatuy of the world, to be humble in the face of natures powers, to be your own judge of a situation, and to remember that a bad week is just a blip in a long glorious journey.