Frustrating end to a week that otherwise went pretty well. After finishing a new project for a long-time client this afternoon, I noted that they were a few ticks behind in their software service packs, and decided to bring them current before knocking off for the weekend. This is usually a 15-minute slam-dunk, but for some reason, the installation crapped out at the very end. I tried a few more times, then got vendor support on the phone. After spending an hour and a half with two different techs, they told me they’d have to schedule a call-back with a “senior analyst”. Which means that I’ll have to be on-site very early on Tuesday morning, instead of easing into what promises to be a frenetic short week anyway. I would just drop it, except that (of course) the process has rendered their accounting system unusable in the meantime. Gah.
Earlier in the week, I attended a kayak paddling skills session on Tuesday. Although I’ve done a lot of kayaking in both fresh and salt water, my Rubicon has been learning to “roll” my boat using a combination of body movements and paddle strokes. This comes in handy if, for some reason, your boat capsizes and you find yourself hanging upside down, with your head pointed toward Davey Jones’ Locker. If you can snap your hips, swipe your paddle and right yourself, you save yourself the lengthy and dangerous process of exiting your boat, flipping it upright, then crawling back into it (if you can) and pumping it out.
I had never really tried it before Tuesday. I’ve never been capsized involuntarily, and it’s an unnatural act to purposefully plunge yourself into frigid Washington waters. Counterintuitively, the fresh water of Lake Washington is as cold or colder than Puget Sound right now, because of the recent snowmelt that has swollen streams that eventually feed the lake. Nonetheless, with the help of a very patient trainer, I finally made myself assay the task of learning this technique, dunking myself between 40 and 50 times and coming close to reliably righting myself without assistance. I have a lot of practicing to do to perfect this technique. And, judging from how my shoulders felt Wednesday morning, there seems to be a way to finesse it, and a way to wrong-headedly try to muscle it.
As much as I fly, I still regard it as the sort of wondrous, transformative experience that it was when I first started climbing into jets in the late 60s. Our house is right under the bad-weather approach to Sea-Tac (which means like 90% of the arrivals), and a lot of planes fly over, but I still find myself looking up every time I hear their engines, noting the airline and the model, and just watching their majestic glide toward the airport.
Lately, though, I regard the idea of air travel as less of a futuristic experience, and more of a doomed anachronism. If fuel prices stay as high as they are, we won’t be flying with impunity to play or commune with friends and relatives as we have for the last 3 decades. Horses and covered wagons, anyone?