01 January 2013

Hola 2013

Hello all, long time no speak.

I can't believe 2012 is over. In some respects, it seemed the year went on forever, in others, it seemed to fly. However you look at it though, 2012 was the year that my life changed forever.

So, what happened with my year?

Those in the know will know that in late 2011, E and I found out that we had a little surprise on the way. Very surprising indeed - and very good news. Whilst not being a religious or spiritual person in any way, shape or form, I am prepared to concede that there may have been some sort of higher power looking over us. I was on my way back from Tasmania (after a short break down there last year post a work conference that E went to), and had stopped in Melbourne to see a mate and his wife, who had just given birth to their first child. C and K are two of my best friends, and it was great to see them settling into life with a new bub.

I had never been the paternal or clucky type, and for a very long time maintained that I didn't want any children. But after that visit, as I was driving home up the Hume Fwy, I was thinking that it wasn't such a bad thing, and if C and K could do it, maybe I could as well. The timing couldn't have been better really, as when I got home that afternoon, E told me that she was pregnant.

This then set in a chain of events that has kept us very busy for the bulk of 2012.

First port of call - buy a child-friendly house. Since moving to Albury in 2004, we had been renting a house which was quite small, but suited our needs well. Unfortunately it was deemed to be unsuitable for child-rearing - and besides, if we were going to have a kid drawing all over the walls, they had better be walls we owned! So the hunt was on for a house, which was duly found and purchased, and we moved in late March I think. Luckily the property was in extremely good order, so aside from replacing some flooring (carpet not a great idea with two inside dogs) and a few garden modifications, the transition has been more or less seamless.

One of the garden modifications - raised veggie boxes
Hopefully 'Jack Russell' proof

A visitor to our backyard - juvenile brown goshawk

Another occasional visitor - echidna in our front yard

May presented a most unfortunate injury for me - I managed to snap the top tendon in the middle finger of my right hand. A stupid, stupid injury - incurred while taking my socks off of all things - but extremely inconvenient, as it meant 14 weeks of splinted finger and a fair bit of rehab and recovery. I was lucky that the injury didn't require surgery to repair - it is apparently a common injury amongst those who play ball sports - and if the finger is splinted and immbolised quickly enough after the injury (within 48 hours), the tendon will rejoin of it's own accord.

Originally the immobilisation was only meant to be for 8 weeks, after which point I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon for a review. At this point I received some bad advice (from the surgeon), who told me it was completely healed, and to just go easy on it for a while. This turned out not to be the case, and I ended up splinted for another 6 weeks.

End result is that I spent pretty much all winter unable to do anything particularly physical, and unable to ride.

This then coincided with the arrival of someone very special in my life - Amelie Jaye.

Nervous and about to be a Dad

First look

Amelie (or Boo for short) arrived on August 8, after an attempted induction resulting in an emergency C section. She arrived in good health but with low blood sugar, which necessitated 5 days in the nursery on a combination of a sucrose drip and naso-gastric tube for feeding. This is apparently a relatively common occurrance with bigger babies (9lb 4oz), and can be linked to gestational diabetes in the mother. E wasn't officially diagnosed with GDB, but after 2 glucose tolerance tests, her blood sugar levels were on the threshold, so this may have been a contributing factor.

While it wasn't an ideal start for the little one, I knew she was in the best of hands with the nursery staff, and she certainly had the best of care.

Boo is growing up very, very fast - I can't believe it. It almost seems every day she learns something new. She is certainly an active little bub - we are lucky that she sleeps really well, but when she's on, she is ON. Lots of activity and moving around for this one. Nearly 5 months old now - it seems a lifetime ago that I was looking at her in the nursery, and it also seems incomprehensible that she was never not a part of our lives.

Loves chewing on her feet

Concentrating very hard

Happy little kid

Work-wise, it has been a good year. I think my GIS skills have grown exponentially this year - I've been able to stretch myself and get stuck into some projects that have challenged me. I've also worked very hard to ingratiate GIS into the broader Department, and tried to position us as people that can partner and add value, rather than just being the labrats in the corner that make your map for you.

Big ticket item for the year was that I managed to wangle a 3 day ESRI course - Introduction to Geoprocessing using Python. I've always had an interest in writing scripts and coding, but it is not something that I've been able to exploit or advance. Having the opportunity to complete this course has been brilliant, it was the springboard I needed to starting using code and command line more. It has taught me plenty (not to mention posing plenty of questions) and solved quite a few process issues for me as well.

A couple of disappointments for me this year have been my riding (or lack of), and to a lesser extent my continued involvement with the MTB club.

Firstly, to the riding. This year has been an utter disaster. Since about February, I have done just about zero riding. I was fully expecting to have a couple of lean months with house moving and settling, but the finger injury just completely threw me - with a splinted finger, it was just about impossible to ride - unable to get a decent grip on the bars, and especially when riding the MTB, feeling extremely exposed with my injured finger sticking straight out like a javelin, just waiting to be jammed into something. No thanks.

And once the kid arrived, I found it very difficult to program any riding in - with a young kid, there was no routine at all (still isn't really), and I found myself unwilling and feeling guilty about heading out riding while E was home with the kid.

End result is that I feel guilty about not riding, and I feel guilty about going out to ride. It is really something that I need to resolve this year - I am very unhappy with myself about letting some very hard earned fitness go to waste, and I need to accept that until I get on top of that and back into some sort of routine, I'm not going to be much good as a Dad either.

I have ideas batting around in my head as to how to resolve this, but as to how practical or workable they are - we will see. One thing is certain - the more I think about it, the less I am likely to do, and the less I do, the less likely I am to get results.

As to the MTB club. I am now into my third year as President. I was not keen to renominate this year, and with the arrival of the kid, I made it clear that I needed to step back. Unfortunately, the lack of suitable contenders had me back in the hot seat for another 12 months. I must profess to not enjoying the job as much as I have in the past - it has really become more of a chore than a labour of love. But, there are unfinished projects that I have started that need to be finalised (I am writing the final report for one of these as I write this, actually), and it will be good to have them behind me, and in a position where the club and I can afford to take a deep breath and relax for a little while.

A good thing that has happened has been plenty of new interest and blood coming onto the Committee this year - I see good things for the future, and all being well a succession plan as well for when I do step away.

So - anyway, that was my 2012. A huge year by all measures, and certainly one that has changed my life irrevocably. As to what 2013 brings? Who knows. I am sure excitement, frustration, happiness, amazement and wonder. It will be great watching the kid continue to grow this year - this time next year when I write this post, she won't be a baby anymore, but a little girl. And a cute one at that!

To those left reading this poor excuse for an unmaintained blog - happy 2013. I hope that this year brings you happiness and success.

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