Video, lighting, and audio gear, graphic design software, editing software, online course platforms, online store platforms, payment systems, and hundreds of hours of work, I'll admit that I vastly understimated the cost, complexity, and difficulty of this project. Now that all the moving parts are in place though, I'm really excited for where we can go from here. I love teaching, sharing, and creating content, so I'm hoping the online classes will be a good fit for me and for the business in the coming years. Learning to Roll Your Kayak, and Building the Adirondack Guide Boat are already in the planning stages.
I want to extend the hugest of thanks to my videographer Linda Freedman, and graphic designer Liz Grotyohann of Highwater Design, without whose tireless efforts none of this would have been possible. Also, a big thank you to Sam Johnson and Chuck Bollong and the Columbia River Maritime Museum for letting us create this course in their boat shop. Chuck teaches a great stitch and glue kayak class at the museum in case your tastes run more towards plywood than skin-on-frame.
Being a traveling boat builder isn't exactly easy, but it does bring me to some interesting places. In October I found myself on stage at the historic Capitol Theater in Rome, NY! It was a surreal experience made all the more so by the organ player who would come in to practice on the gigantic original 1920's pipe organ. Pretty cool.
I'm hoping to crew on some sort of passage this year so if you or anyone you know would like a crew member this year, I know my way around a boat, can build just about anything, and am happy to trade kayaking lessons for sailing lessons. Also, if anyone wants to give me a sailboat for Christmas, or wants to sell one for a song, I promise I'll do something highly entertaining with it, and record the whole experience.
Things have gotten better, and they haven't. Me and the illness have an uneasy truce. As long as I don't work very hard or do anything fun (bike, hike, walk, run, paddle, surf, or kayak) I can sort-of make it through a day but I still have awful chest pain if I push it even a little bit and sometimes even when I don't. Doctors say it can't be my heart because I pass a stress echo, and I say how could it not be because it gets worse with exercise. I've had serious problems with exercise my whole life (despite appearances) so my money is on some weird rare metabolic problem, but who knows? Bottom line is that I'm still really struggling.
My focus this year is going to be on getting myself somewhere like the Cleveland or the Mayo where they actually see cases like me and have the resources to definitively exclude possibilities. The Mayo was out of reach even when I had a sizeable medical fund, and my insurance has been less than cooperative, but all I can do is keep trying.
The other thing I need to figure out is how to get a home and a shop again. Right now I live in 2 different places, and Cape Falcon Kayak lives in 3 different garages and I spend way too much time driving between them. It's a challenging way to run a business.
I'd like to end here on a positive note. A counterpoint to the complexities of living with a serious chronic illness is the vividness with which it contrasts against the good things. I'm simply floored by how awesome life is every time I get a break from the pain, and while I've never been a slouch when it comes to seeking out beauty, these days I rarely miss an opportunity to appreciate the miracle of being alive. Thank you to all of my friends and students for your support, enjoy the videos, and maybe I'll see you in the coming year.