(Continued from Part 1…)
Okay, so I left off somewhere around May in my last posting. This is round two, and I can only hope that I can encapsulate the whirlwind since then.
In June we started with a bang. A quick trip to Haines volunteering for the UAS Alumni Office for their annual Alumni Golf Tournament. Our role was just to deliver some lunches and to clean up a bit, but for some reason, I have a tendency to make the simple more complex. I decided to photograph throughout the morning and tournament and then for the afternoon ride home, we’d have a slideshow. Complexity successfully increased 3-4 fold. It went awesomely, and I might pursue it next year, despite the heavy scope of work.
Within the first couple of weeks, I was surprised with an invitation from a friend to go on a two-week rafting trip in mid-July. Just the consideration of it was a pretty daunting process. Within three weeks I would be on a raft, floating down the Tatshenshini River, in one of the largest remote wilderness settings available. Unpredictable weather, and thousands of dollars of photo gear? I had to plan what I wanted to take (and how to keep it safe) and identify my borrow/shopping lists. Fortunately, getting the time off of both jobs was fairly painless.
Following later that month, I spent a few days in Seattle with work, we started a team around the Body Key program via Nutrilite. Our team of 5 met weekly for the course of the following three months. It was great to have something consistent amidst the craziness.
And then, to put a cherry on top, Heather & I found out on June 29 that we were again expecting! Yay! And woah! It’s hard to describe the complexity of emotions stemming from our pregnancy mixed with our earlier miscarriage and my impending travel.
July of course was a blur.
The 4th of July festivities were usurped by my list making and reworking, and our house turned into a smattering of expensive camera gear that we were to watch our step around while I figured out what would fit in which bag and what would be left behind. Naturally, work was intensified in both preparing for my departure as well as catching up from my return.
The start of this pregnancy was materially different too. The first time around, things hadn’t developed very far. This time, as we made it into the first few weeks, Heather found the new changes to have a substantial impact on her energy levels, and to a certain degree, how well she felt. I don’t think we could claim “morning sickness”, per se, but as she was dealing with sleeping 12-18 hours a day, during her waking times, we remained busy with finding suitable foods in hopes of helping her with the troubles she was having with nausea & her digestive system. I think my favorite request was for a rotisserie chicken at 9pm (pro tip: start earlier in the evening).
Sometime just after I returned from the rafting trip (which really deserves it’s own post someday), Heather’s family came for a visit too. Over the course of ~9 days, both Marilyn & Nick came to stay for a few days each, overlapping in the middle of their travel. It was great to have them here, and as family the pressure of “hosting” was muted, but we still filled the calendar (and our freezers… *ahem* Halibut!) We somehow even found times for Heather to nap!
August began with a quick trip to Spokane for a business convention. Just a weekend away complete with comfy hotel room, and some amazing input. Usually it’s no big deal, but when your wife is working through the process of growing a human, things aren’t usual. As the dutiful husband, I was constantly on the lookout for how to make things easier on Heather. Need food? How about a drink of water? Should we rest here? Can I carry that? Being a Dad to be certainly pales in comparison to Mom bearing a child, but I continue to set expectations high for myself and serving Heather.
Adding that intensity of focus was no easy task considering the atmosphere at work. When I originally started my half-time gig, it was understood that I would take two weeks away from Byte Networking in order to focus at the Helpdesk in order to get the Fall Semester up and running. Working in just one office simplifies things, but somehow life arranged for it to remain more intense than normal. My co-workers wife developed a health concern that took him (and her, of course) out of state to resolve. Everything went as smoothly as one could hope, but even with full staffing it’s a busy time of the year.
That, and the UAS IT Services department was in a state of upheaval with the Computer Lab being closed and our outward facing desk being removed/changed to a Classroom Technologies Support Desk. It meant that whoever was at the only walk up support desk was really only supposed to be fielding needs within and related to the classroom wing. Weird distinction to make after having a public Helpdesk for more than the last decade.
September rolled in like thunder and slammed the staff with hundreds of time-sensitve requests. Our office hours were thrown into the air and settled in jumbled piles with folks picking up what pieces they could. I began a firearms class with Heather on Monday nights, and still somehow found an extra 20-30 hours of overtime to fit in with my home duties of caring for Heather.
As soon as that storm cleared, I was back at Byte, back to catching up with what had been put on hold in my absence. My 6-month half-time window was drawing to a close and with it, the pressure of identifying if there was a number that would get me to leave the comfort, security & longevity of my position at UAS. Trying to quantify some of the more intangible benefits of copious annual leave proved more challenging than I expected. I had notes and spreadsheets articulating what was currently mine, and what the future might hold. It was like trying to stare into a soupy fog bank in hopes of making out details to either set aims towards or maneuver away from.
I genuinely thought that I had to pick the numbers for what would take me way rather than consider an offer presented. Later in the month, I found out all of my fraught was misplaced. David, the owner at Byte eventually came forward with an offer hoping that I would stay. With hours of mulling over and discussing the issues with Heather & mentors, we decided that I would go to Byte and walk away from the campus.
So now I’m in late December and I haven’t even touched on last month. I guess these posts turn out to be more than I bargain for. I’m hoping that there is some kind of cathartic benefit or at least some intrinsic value in reflection on such a wild ride. I’ll have to deliver part three some other time.