Skip to content

2023 - Week 33 - Still Ticking

Posted on:August 20, 2023 at 05:24 AM

Our new deck all lit up at night

This week I have been focusing on recovery. With last weeks’ travel to Minnesota to make the decision to put my father into hospice. I’m grateful that I had my partner Lou to help me through, as well as my kids and other friends and family.

I have found it a bit difficult to concentrate for the last week, and I am doing what I can to grant myself grace. It’s been challenging to face the inevitable and then simply come back to “earning my living” like always. I’ve been finding myself easily distracted and bouncing between rabbit holes.

I feel like my most valuable contribution was a simple spreadsheet to illustrate a concept for some stakeholders.

Difficult Decisions

When I had to travel from Chicago to Minnesota, I knew that it would be to put my father into hospice. When I spoke with folks at the hospital they suggested my father’s passing would come a matter of days.

The social worker at the hospital had suggested St. Croix Hospice. I had spoken with a couple of folks with St. Croix Hospice last week but honestly was a little in the dark about the process. Earlier this week I spoke with a social worker for St. Croix Hospice about about the communication process, and I gave a little bit of background about my father. They didn’t give us much insight into the likely timeline of his passing.

I was given a recommendation for Crescent Tide Cremation Services. It likes to me that it is likely the best possible service all things considered. I wish I knew more about the arrangements he’d claimed to have made for his own passing so many years ago. I don’t even know who I would try to reach out to find. While I suppose I could try to start reaching out to what few names I could scrounge up from his past, I’m uncertain that anyone would even be willing to speak to me about my father let alone know anything about his arrangements.

Coping With the Stressful Weather

One of the stresses this week has been the weather, particularly the heatwave that saw the thermometer exceed 95 degrees in Kitsap County this week. It’s not even worth calling out how unusual the frequency of these high temps have been occurring. I was grateful to get out for my typical Thursday Hike this week at Illahee Preserve although I did cut it short due to the heat and only managed a bit under 3 miles. It was still a lovely enough day and certainly cooler in the trees than not. I managed to make up for it with nearly six miles of hiking at Newberry Hill Heritage Park the next day, and that was a much more pleasant experience thanks to the cooler weather.

Suddenly, a Deck

We’ve had a deck built in our side yard as well as a chain link fence that has allowed us to create a little enclosed space for Ollie. It’s a simple 8’ x 8’ deck, and a plain black coated chain link gate but gives us a place to sit and a space for Ollie to run.

I’m not thrilled with spending the money, but I’m never thrilled with spending money. We wound up doing the job through Lowe’s and it was relatively easy, all things considered. I wouldn’t call myself 100% satisfied with the process, but the issues I had were related to interacting with Lowe’s to get the job scheduled and paid for - the experience with the contractor they send out, Alex, was great. He did an excellent job and we’re happy with our little seating area.

We’ve already put up solar led lights and we’ve got a shade ordered to help make sure it stays nice and cool even under the summer sun.

We’re very excited for this space! 😊

Family, Career Prospects, and a Random Movie Review

Lou woke this morning to discover that Oz was still playing VR at 4:30am. She decided to take their electronics as a consequence and we will try to help them to make better sleep decisions. This was a particularly frustrating circumstance as we were meant to go do a little back-to-school shopping this morning, something Oz was very excited about, but they didn’t get up.

All of this, of course, after having a conversation with Oz about the value of being bored sometimes. They, like so many children, are constantly engaging with a glowing rectangle. Whether it’s their phone and YouTube or their computer with games / VR. We’re trying to continue to encourage them to do the right thing.

In my own headspace, I’ve been considering my career prospects as a 42 year old software engineer with people leader skills whose primary interests are hiking, outdoor adventures, mindfulness, and pop culture enjoyment.

Something will come to mind eventually, I’m sure 😅

My musings today led me to contemplate advertising a group for “Mindful Hiking for Beginners.”

In an obviously related note: Lou and I watched the film Happiness for Beginners, and I enjoyed it quite a bit for a cliche ridden romantic comedy. It seemed like it was trying to be fresh and clever but the only person who didn’t see the romance was the main character, and it wasn’t even in that fun sort of maddening way but rather like the writer really thought they were hiding the truth from you, the viewer. I enjoyed the backpacking references and really found myself identifying with the hiker guide character, Beckett. He had no time for the other characters’ drama and just wanted to hiking. It’s hard, however, not to see Ellie Kemper as Erin Hannon, even when watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.


Overall, this has been a week of healing, yet simultaneously a week like any other. It has only been a week since Michael left, so it has been a week a change and transition. Most of all, it’s just been a dang week, and now we’re moving on to the next one.

I wish that I could just hit pause, just for a time, so I could enjoy this moment- or so many previous moments.