found drama

get oblique

2016 nutshell version

by Rob Friesel

2016 mosaic

I’ll skip adding to the ad nauseum fray of “2016 was a dumpster fire” posts; as if the year were not fatiguing enough, the attempts to unpack it in this fashion only prolong it. To that end, I’ll say only this: yes, it was a damned travesty, now please quit sulking and put your #resist pants on.

Now, I haven’t done a post like this in about two years, but I felt prompted to do so after I saw Fogus’ “things and stuff” post for 2016. Which is to say that I’m largely looking inwardly here, and not reflecting broadly.

The highlight reel:

  1. After more than a year of listening to the requests, we built1 a treehouse for the boys. Which has been played in approximately twice.
  2. I wanted to run more than 500 miles, be that on the road or the treadmill or the elliptical. By the end of December, I was over 1065.
  3. I wanted to resume writing fiction this year. Failed miserably at that. I wrote down a bunch of ideas and didn’t develop any of them.
  4. I wanted to read 40 books. My success here depends upon the accounting of what’s read or not. I constantly had something in rotation, and I tried to mix it up between fiction and non (the homebrewing books really help there). But this list includes re-reads, books that were skimmed or consulted, and short story collections that were merely visited between longer works. Anyway: here’s that particular list.
  5. A. and I celebrated 15 years of marriage. And we did so by taking a splendid week-long vacation belated honeymoon to Kauai.
  6. We wanted to take at least one family trip. We managed a trip to Florida in April; then we swung by Niagara Falls on our way down to West Virginia for Thanksgiving.
  7. I wanted to brew with 12 different yeast strains in 2016. I brewed 13 times with those 12 different strains:
    1. Wyeast 1056 American Ale
    2. Wyeast 1332 Northwest Ale
    3. Wyeast 1028 London Ale
    4. Wyeast 1098 British Ale
    5. Wyeast 1272 American Ale II
    6. Wyeast 1214 Belgian Abbey
    7. White Labs WLP566 Belgian Saison II
    8. Fermentis Safale US-05 (twice!)
    9. Mangrove Jack M44 West Coast Yeast
    10. Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager
    11. White Labs WLP001 California Ale
    12. Danstar Belle Saison
  8. And on that note, I won two ribbons in homebrewing competitions this year. Tilde Galaxy, my Galaxy single-hop double IPA, took third place in the IPA category in the Greg Noonan Memorial Homebrew Competition. Then in the summer, Vicious H-Bomb, my Belgian IPA, took second place in the “Strong Ale” category at the 2016 Champlain Valley Fair’s Homebrew Competition. Both were pleasant surprises.

And speaking of surprises, 2016 wrapped up with a bit of a mixed blessing that provides the main backdrop for how I go into 2017.

I have, voluntarily, scaled back my hours at work. I’ll now be spending every Tuesday and every other Wednesday at home with my youngest son.

Going into the his preschool’s 2016 fall term, we found that some of the problems we had experienced with them over the past few months were not going away with the turnover of a few troublemaker students. We made a best effort at trying to resolve our concerns with them, but it was to no avail. Between the gaslighting, the victim-blaming, and their overall refusal to confront (or even acknowledge) the problems we had pointed out, we felt it was best for everyone to just cut ties and immediately pull him out of the preschool.

In retrospect, we should have given him an opportunity to say goodbye to the friends he’d made there, including his classroom teacher. (In all fairness to her, she was great.) That said, we didn’t feel like going back there was a good idea.

We spent a couple weeks of scrambling around. We worked from home. We flexed time. We took PTO. Finally we managed to get him a spot at a different preschool. Unfortunately, that spot was just three days per week.

We talked it over and, after working through a bunch of different scenarios, decided that it would actually be good for him to get a couple “extra” days off each week. Especially if he could spend it with one of us. It could help to reset some of the trouble we were seeing in him. For that to work, one of us would need to drop back to something effectively part time as well. Considering where our respective careers were, and looking ahead to “what next” and all that… It made the most sense for me to take those days “off” and spend them with the boy.

So that’s what we’re looking at as we head into 2017.

  1. Well, “had one built”. []

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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