2016 was an interesting year

I’m sitting here at my house, at noontime, on December 30, 2016…36 hours until the New Year strikes and 2017 arrives. It has been a monumental year for me personally on many levels, with my daughter being born at the top of the list, several promotions at work, and continuing personal growth. It has also been a worrying year, with the political landscape taking a troubling turn and many fascinating people passing away.

I didn’t truly realize how burned out I was from my previous gig and the first couple months of my current gig until I took my month long paternity leave in July. Being able to unplug from everything and focus 100% on my family changed me in a profound way. Knowing that now I was responsible raising a human being, I strived to redouble my own efforts for learning and personal growth. As you can see from my Goodreads list, my read books steadily climbed in 2016. 21 is well short of my 50 goal for the year, but it is probably the # of books I have read in the past 4 years combined. Next year I will hit 50.

Career wise, I have had several promotions at my current gig and I am currently building three teams. We have lots of job openings on our site, btw.

Political wise, I worry for America. President-elect Donald Trump goes against everything I believe in from a moral and policy standpoint. I am exploring ways to get involved in local politics somehow and add one small voice speaking against his policies and for something better.

I will close out with my family. My daughter is everything to me. It is often me who wakes up first thing in the morning when she awakes and her smile when she sees me and hears me say “Good morning!” is something that will never grow old for me. Today is her six month birthday and I look forward to many more with her and my wife, who has been an amazing mom herself.

Life Has Changed

Two months ago tonight, my wife was going through the final hours of labor. She delivered our beautiful daughter, Rose, at exactly the stroke of midnight. My life has never been the same. It is also never more apparent then right now, as I sit in a hotel room in New York City on my first business trip since her birth.

It is hard to quantify how life has changed. There are the tangible things, like our grocery and household goods budget going up, a new car purchased, and the # of diapers she has gone through. It is certainly easy to feel the lack of sleep, although Rose is doing as well as you could hope for in that regard by sleeping about ~6 hours straight overnight. It isn’t the old 8 hours I’m used to, but it workable.

But how do you quantify staring into her eyes, when I said her name for the first time? Hearing her squeaking cry? The first time she “baby talked”? Those tiny tears dripping from her eyes down her cheeks. The every 3–4 hours to feed her? The massive burps. How she melts into your arms and all is right in the world.

I miss her. But I do this for her. And I will be home soon.

Two months until our life changes forever

Seven months ago, my wife shared with me the news we had been waiting for: we are going to be parents. Right now, we are under two months to go.

House wise we are getting there, but have a bit more setup to go. We completely refinished the floor in the nursery and painted the walls, both look great. The baseboard needs a coat or two of paint and then we can move everything into the room.

We have taken to this opportunity to slowly clean out the house as well, donating much of what we no longer want to Goodwill and throwing out what we can’t use. I guess a controlled nesting.

Emotionally, I’m in a weird state right now. Excited is certainly an understatement. I can’t wait to meet my kid. But I’m also wondering if “Am I going to be a good father?” Even with the time I spend with my nephews, I still feel underprepared. I know my life is going to change forever in less than two months and that’s a weird feeling. From what I heard, this is par for the course. There is no good training for this other than doing the job. A little adjustment and 18 years later…

So that’s what I’m doing. Preparing for the most important job of my life. One that is starting in just under two months.

Back to work.

Soon to be family of three

Over the past week or so, my wife and I have let our friends, colleagues, and acquatences know about an exciting development in our lives:

We are going to be parents sometime around July 3, 2016!

So far the little one (Baby Gonyea, or Baby G as we are calling him/her for now) is healthy, has a good heartbeat (we heard it today!), and looks great on the ultrasound.

It is a moment that both of us have wanted for years. But sometimes, wanting is just not enough. Sometimes, there are forces beyond our control. Sometimes nature needs a little or a lot of assistance.

We lucked out with our infertility treatment. One round of IUI is “all” we needed. After years of no success on our own, lots of tears, and numerous tests leading up to our first IUI treatment. The doctors said, based on various tests not returning optimal #’s in some areas, there was a fairly good chance of this round not succeeding. Yet, it was successful, to a big sigh of relief from us.

Infertility is difficult emotionally, physically, and financially. I cannot begin to count how many twists and turns we went through leading up where we are today. That’s not even counting me changing jobs right in the middle of our first (and only!) month of treatment. I certainly didn’t time that one well, but that is life and you have to take opportunities when they arise.

We have tremendous respect for those who have to go through multiple IUI rounds to the full In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) program. And that doesn’t begin to capture our heartbreak for those who have no treatment options. We had tremendous fear at times that we would fall into the later category.

I knew my life had changed forever when my wife told me the news. And I know today my life will change (again) forever in approximately seven months from now.

It will be all worth it in the end. It is already worth it now.

Update on 31-day journal challenge

In May I began the 31-day journal challenge, to see if I could write in my journal every day and start a new habit.

The update on this is I failed miserably on my original goal. Around early June, lots of work travel combined with some personal events just derailed me for a couple of weeks. Only in the past couple of days have I picked it back up.

Currently I just completed Day 20…so another 11 days of writing will get me to “completion”, although not in the original time frame I had planned.

31-Day Journal Challenge

I have tried in the past to write a journal, but just couldn’t get the habit to stick. This time, I’m using an Art of Manliness article on jump starting a journal to inspire and keep me on track. The great part about the article is it suggests 31 different themes, one for each day, to write about and help start a habit.

To help keep me on track, I have added each day as individual tasks in OmniFocus, complete with a description, each due date set for the proper day in advance, and any appropriate reading material links:

OmniFocus view showing each entry for the 31-day journal challenge
OmniFocus & the 31-day journal challenge, content from Art of Manliness

I also added several tasks (you can see one in the above screenshot) to write follow up posts on this blog. Next one will be at the seven-day checkpoint.

For my journal, I’m using Day One, which allows me to write it from anywhere and add pictures & audio to the journal from my iOS devices or Mac.

Let’s get writing!

One year with a safety razor

I just realized today that just over a year ago (April 25th, 2014 to be exact according to Amazon), I bought my first safety razor, blades, and shaving cream. I honestly thought it had been longer. It’s by far the best shave I have had, always close and comfortable, never cutting myself.

But what I’m really curious is..how much money have I saved?

The initial costs were:

Mercer Classic Safety Razor, Straight: $32.46
Personna Double Edge Razor Blades, 100 Count: $17.12
Taylor of Old Bond Street Jermyn Street Luxury Shaving Cream for Sensitive Skin, 5.3-Ounce: $15.18
Escali 100% Pure Badger Shaving Brush: $12.95
Grand Total: $77.71 or $6.47/month for 12 months.
Equipment: $45.41, of which the safety razor lasts forever and the brush reportedly can last ten years.
Consumables: $32.30 or $2.69/month for $12 months.

However, that $2.69/month number is assuming that I consumed all of those blades and the shaving cream in the past 12 months and that I’m doing a new order of both now. Truth is, I haven’t come close to consuming either in the past year, especially when it comes to the blades.

Since I have a beard, I only shave the lower half of my neck with the safety razor, which prolongs each blade’s life and I shave twice a week usually vs. every day to reduce irritation on my neck. I’m guessing I have only changed out 15 blades so far, at most. The box is still very full and probably will last me another three years easily.

The shaving cream was definitely used more, but there is still a fair amount of it left in the container. I’m guessing this will last me into the fall before I need to reorder that.

What’s the true cost per month so far? I’m going to assume I’ve consumed about $2.56 worth of blades and let’s say $9 of the shaving cream. Factoring that in brings my consumable cost for year one to: $11.56 or $0.96/month for 12 months. For a closer and far better shave. It’s not even a contest vs. disposables.

Why did anyone move from safety razors to disposable razors in the first place?!?!

One more wall torn down

I can’t wait for the day where announcements like Tim Cook’s early today are unnecessary, because the world just accepts any of us for who we are, not based off of race or sexual orientation. But until then, it’s amazing to witness each one of these walls being torn down, one at a time, even if we occasionally run into someone trying to reinforce that wall.

I wish my cousin Jennifer was alive to see this.

How a hornet killed my Macbook

Yesterday was a bit of a rough day for me. Nothing seemed to go right…and then a hornet became involved to take it another level.

I was outside doing some maintenance on my snowblower in preparation for winter. You may be thinking, why do this maintenance in late October? It’s not going to snow for awhile, even in New Hampshire! Well, a couple years ago we received a foot of snow on Halloween, knocking out power for three days…so I rather not chance fate. Plus it was a gorgeous ~60 degree day, which certainly beats doing this maintenance when its 40 degrees out or worse.

After a long struggle, I fixed up the snowblower and it fired up first try without issues. I collected all of my tools and brought them inside, along with my can of beer (Sam Adams Octoberfest for those wondering) that I had been drinking. Came inside, put away the tools, grabbed my home Macbook Pro (mid-2010 13″) and my beer, then began catching up on a few things.

I took a sip of my beer and then realized suddenly that something that wasn’t beer entered my mouth. My first thought was to immediately spit the beer and the object out. Unfortunately the Macbook was in front of me and took the brunt of the damage. And there, laying on my Macbook keyboard, was a dead and very saturated hornet. It must have went into the beer can when I was working outside, drowned, and stayed in there until I took a drink. I wish I thought of taking a photo.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m absolutely petrified of bees, hornets, etc. This took that to a whole new level. And then damn thing killed my Macbook’s trackpad, caping off a frustrating day. The trackpad no longer will click and intermittently stops recognizing my finger when using it.

A follow up post will detail my thought process on a replacement Mac.

 

A fantastic trip and some deep thoughts

Right now I am at an airport bar with my wife, having a cold brew and waiting for my red eye back home. I have been in Seattle for the past five days visiting my brother, who just moved out here a few months ago.

It’s a trip that has been amazingly relaxing and has allowed for a lot of deep reflection and thinking about where I’m headed. Already there has been a lot of changes the past few months and I’m preparing to make some more in the future. It has never been more important to me to have control of my life so I can live it to its fullest.

Time to kick the next phase into gear.