As I look through my feeds, I see that many people take the time to do a postmortem of the year. 2013 was, for the lack of a better word, “fascinating.”
Lotusphere Connect and I was able to attend. But it was not the Connect that I wanted to experience, as we lost a friend, Kenneth Kjærbye. Not a day goes by where I do not think of Kenneth; my browser opens to a news article of the accident. Also, during the Ohio motorcycle riding season, a small stuffed monkey travels with me, another reminder of him. Together, the monkey and I rode 11,000 miles this year. We rode to St. Louis for IamLUG, we rode around Lake Erie, we rode to Harrisburg/Hershey/Thurmont, MD, we rode some spectacular roads in southern Ohio. I am very grateful the monkey has enjoyed some of the best riding and sights I could offer this year.
Through all of it, though, I am extremely grateful to many of you. I only hope that I was able to properly convey my appreciation to you through a very difficult time. Many of you, I will never be able to properly repay the support, the kind words, the shoulders upon which I cried. I think back to those days and I remember the people that stepped up and made me feel whole again, the reactions of certain individuals, the amazing family (yes, family) of which I am eternally grateful to be a member.
And, months later, after I successfully completed an Advanced Motorcycle Course, I was found myself face to face with one of the instructors of my basic motorcycle training course. She told me of a message she received concerning the accident, how I responded, and that the author said that she was instrumental in my emergency training. Together, we shared a “moment.” The effects of that day in January touched many people.
January “ended” with the Closing General Session at Connect. It was at this point where, if you had been paying attention, many of the people who made the yearly trek to Orlando would cease to do so. So, on my list of places to visit, Portland, OR, moved into the Top 5.
Which brings me to February. There was a day in February, which I cannot yet publicly share, that moved my year into the “win” category. However, should anyone care to ask me “Have you ever met a famous person?” I believe that I have an excellent answer to that question. Thank you, Number One Son, for simply doing your duty and allowing me to tag along.
March opened with Number One Son moving from the east coast to the west coast. Specifically, Twentynine Palms. He wasn’t there long before he headed overseas for a few months. On the way back from that mission, he stopped in Ireland. Damn kid was able to enjoy a proper Guinness before his old man. Now, he’s ramping up for deployment, and again, it’s overseas.
March was also the month where I spent some time in rural Maryland with someone in the Frederick area. Yes, I was fortunate to hang out with The Turtle, who not only showed me a very good brewpub, but also pointed the way to some of the better sights in the area. Spending time with him has always been a highlight and he did not disappoint. No, there were no wabbits this time, I have seen them in the past. Because of him, I look forward to the county fair season in Ohio, so I can check out Flemish Giant rabbits. Magnificent wabbits, they are.
April – Advanced Motorcycle Course (see above). This course, you ride your own bike. I have never been so tired after riding as I was after this eight hour session of maneuvering a 650 pound bike through low speed drills. My legs and my wrists ached afterwards. However, I learned a great deal about myself and my bike.
Fast forward to 3 July when Number Two Son left for Army basic training. I won’t get to see him until late November. Remember letters? Yes, if you want to communicate with your child, you have to set pen to paper, affix a stamp, and mail your letter. Or, in my case, type it, print it, and mail it. Letter writing, I found, was a welcome task. It is fun, extremely personal, and, with today’s technology, the ability to embed pictures into text is wonderful. He later told me that while he received a lot of mail, it was the ones from me that he looked forward to receiving. Like I said, I loved writing him letters. Some required more than one stamp. 🙂 I never sent him a package. Those are opened in front of the squad and, if there was food in it, you had to eat it in five minutes. In front of the squad. There was no “enjoying” a candy bar/cookies/whatever. There was also no food allowed in the squad bay. So, you received something, now . . . EAT IT.
August is the month in which, after 12 years, I left independent consulting for the corporate world. Sherwin-Williams presented a full-time opportunity I could not let slip by me. The other deciding factor was to continue to work with some excellent people. The technology was great, but people with whom I would work made that work all the more enjoyable. I am working on projects that will fundamentally change the way in which every person at Sherwin works and interacts with others, internally and externally. Heady times and I am very happy to have been invited to ride along.
August was also the month where I was again tested on two wheels. From that little mishap, I decided that 2014 would be year where I take some Red Cross First Aid classes. I also added a first aid kit to the saddle bags. And I was recognized for my actions. I suppose that if you ride 11-12,000 miles a year on two wheels, you will be confronted with more than your share of . . . things. Best to be prepared as well as you can for those times. 2014 means that I will take the last Ohio motorcycle course, a two day Experienced Rider class.
November’s highlight was seeing Number Two Son after nearly five months. He had graduated from basic training, Advanced Infantry Training, and his MOS school (he’s a member of the Military Police). I traveled to Fort Leonard Wood, MO, for Family Day and Graduation. I do not believe that there is any graduation better than a military graduation. And there are no better looking graduates than graduates in uniform. Of course, I could be prejudice.
In December, I took Number Two Son to see one of our favorite bands, Halestorm. Last year, they toured with, among other bands, New Medicine. We both loved that show and I bought the (autographed) CD from New Medicine. This year, Halestorm toured with Stars in Stereo, and we were again sold. Halestorm kicks ass, but they also bring “new” bands along for the ride and for that we love them even more. There is nothing better than experiencing a live rock show and Halestorm is one of the best.
I suppose that I could mention the technological milestones that I reached in 2013, the products I installed/configured, the certifications I achieved. But those aren’t anywhere as important to me as the people, places, and things that I have experienced. The tech will be there tomorrow (or not, who cares?). The people you meet, the people you care about, the people that care about you, are the most important part of one’s life. And they make your life richer for knowing them.
Heck of a year, by any measure.