Main image for Summer 2019: Stretch Assignment Time to Read: ~4 min

I will forever remember the summer of 2019 as a major stretch assignment. I didn’t intend to have these major events line up like planes waiting to land during a nor’easter, but that’s exactly what they did. I am writing this to remember the process, what I was thinking, and how it all turned out. It’s important to note that a lot of these things had a LONG lead-up to their reveal, and I can’t overstate the importance of advance preparation. Yes, I was prepared. Ready for the crazy? Read on.

Art Exhibit at Gimme! Coffee

I drew daily in 2016. Since completing the project, I thought of different ways to exhibit it. After I started frequenting Gimme and seeing the art on the walls, I asked about the process for hanging art there. Anyone can do it; all you need to do is ask. I signed up in the spring of 2018 and they offered me June, July, August or September. I thought, “September would be cool, with back-to-school and all.” Then I re-read the email. The proposed dates were the following summer! So, I opted for the earliest possible opening: June 2019. I had the prints made and hung them with care as a kickoff to summer. It was really cool to see new life breathed into the sketches: 266 in all.
Read more about the project

The Art of Working Remotely

The Art of Working Remotely

I’ve been working remotely since 1998, and I was inspired to write about my experiences and advice after a conversation with a colleague. I wrote this book in half-hour increments in early 2018, fueled by morning coffee and the stillness of my house in the pre-dawn hours. Six months later, I was done with the first draft! I decided to independently publish it in early 2019, giving me control over the editorial and creative process. If you know how “Type A” I am, you’d guess that I had quite the punch list of tasks leading up to a publishing date. You’d be right! I started the launch plan in earnest after completing the cover art and interior formatting. I chose to publish the book on July 25: my wedding anniversary, a significant date in my remote work journey. My 7-week launch plan started on June 3.
Buy the Art of Working Remotely

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

I auditioned for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Encore Players’ summer musical. I found out I was cast as Caractacus Potts on May 13. We’d perform the musical on August 1, 2, 3 and 4. We met on June 3 for the initial read-through of the script, and I was called for most rehearsals from that date forward. I had a lot to learn! The part called for memorizing ~205 lines, 11 songs, choreography (yes, dancing!) and blocking to go with all of it. It was an intense experience: incredibly rewarding and moderately stressful at the same time. By the time “tech week” rolled around, I was ready to run the show with a terrific cast, crew, and pit. Elizabeth and Xander both played in the pit band, making it doubly fun for me in the final, frenetic weeks.
Check out some pictures from the show

Cayuga Lake Triathlon

The Cayuga Lake Triathlon is a staple of my summer fitness calendar. This year I competed in my 4th intermediate (Olympic distance) race, and I’d completed 5 sprint races prior to that. I was grateful that the race was the morning of August 4. I’d have enough time after finishing to get ready for the last matinee performance of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The race was a delightful family affair. The kids competed together on a sprint relay team, and Amy also competed in the intermediate distance. I didn’t do much event-specific training for this due to my rehearsal schedule. It was refreshing to approach the race as a low-key, low-expectation event. I did very little swimming preparation (one panic-ridden swim in the lake, actually), ramped up my biking in the month prior, and am always ready for a run. I was surprised, then, when the results came out: I eked out a 45-second PR with my 2:37:33 effort. I attribute the personal record to a solid swim performance and a 12-second improvement in my T2 time (changing from biking to running). Every second counts!
Read my race report

European Vacation

Our vacation started the day after the triathlon. We drove to Toronto for our Air Canada flight to Zürich. We were mostly packed before the triathlon, and logistics were locked and loaded many months prior. We had such a blast while we were there, but there’s always an underlying stress with complicated travel, too. We took in the sights, sounds, cheese, and chocolate of: Zürich, Engelberg, Venice, Verona, Lugano, and Stafa (along the shore of Lake Zürich). We rented a car and drove between these destinations, enjoyed Airbnb accommodations everywhere we went, and made plenty of memories as a family. Elizabeth was of legal age in Switzerland, so she enjoyed her first beer during a hike in Zürich. She later tried Prosecco (who doesn’t love champagne by another name?) whilst on a boat ride on Lake Lugano. Xander was of legal age for beer consumption in Germany, and we drove to a small German town so he could partake. His first beer experience was rather comical and we relished in reviewing the video when we were traveling back home.

Elizabeth Off to College

We arrived home, weary and jet-lagged, the evening of August 19. As we unpacked our trip luggage and put things back in their proper places, Elizabeth packed a few more things into the boxes and bags she’d already assembled for college. Her move-in date was the morning of August 21 at the Eastman School of Music. She had barely a day to turn things around and start the next chapter of her life! It’s a change for all of us, really, and given the way things were scheduled, we didn’t have much time to lament the coming change. Move-in day was smooth, and the college captured Amy and Elizabeth outside of the campus Student Living Center just before moving her things into her room.

That’s all, folks!

Now that it’s all done, it’s satisfying to look back and remember all it took to accomplish this, smiling through it all. I’m sure most parents who’ve sent their kids off to college will tell me that it’s a mixture of emotions — that it’s weird, exhilarating, and lonely, all at the same time. For the coming months it’s going to be Amy, me, and Xander holding down the fort, while Elizabeth experiences some new and fantastic things in a not-so-far-away city.

I’m grateful for the time we spent together this summer, and for the experiences we all had. They made for really great chapters in our ongoing book of memories. It’d be easy to be sad that they’re behind us, but hey … there are new exciting chapters ahead, aren’t there? Absolutely. Onwards!

Subscribe to Wanderfull

Did you enjoy this? Did it help you? Make you laugh? Dare I say, all of the above? If you like my work — my writing, distributed work tips, or drawing, you can get more every week. Subscribe below for my weekly Substack: Wanderfull!