Chris here... Well, we made it to Albany! We left on Sunday morning and arrived at the Albany Yacht Club by 4:30pm. I had actually planned on arriving late evening, at around 7 or 8pm, as the current was supposed to be against us the whole way. By around 2pm we managed to break out of the ebb tide and our speed rapidly increased, allowing us to arrive in Albany in time for dinner.
We arrive in Albany with mixed emotions. On the one hand, it's wonderful to see our friends, family and co-workers. On the other hand, we had expected to be cruising, without stopping in the middle, until at least August of 2010. They pull the docks out of the water here around the first or second week of October, so we're really hoping to get things on track with our business by then. I'm not sure what we'll do if we can't.
On Monday morning, Chad, the person who I promoted to President of our company, arrived at the Yacht Club to pick us up. One advantage of being here is that we never sold my cars, so we have two cars to use. One of them is a little sports car and isn't very good in the rain, but somehow we'll manage to make do (that was me being a little sarcastic).
So Chad picked us up and brought both Kristen and I to our office. The kids stayed behind with Poppi, who brought them up to his house later in the day. Kristen and I dove right into work with an 8:30 combined sales and engineering meeting, and we worked hard throughout the day until we left to pick up the kids at 5pm. The good news is that it looks like there's lots of opportunity to change things up. Obviously, things aren't working the way we're doing them right now, which is the reason we're here. Chad and company have been doing a great job, but they've been staring at the problems for too long. Kristen and I can take an outside view and see things we can immediately affect, and we're already implementing changes after only having been at the office for two days.
Today, we once again worked throughout the day, and I called an impromptu brain storming session for 5pm. I'd like our company to focus its efforts more, so I invited everyone who works there to participate in an ad hoc session to define our focus. Casey called while we were in the meeting and said that he and Kaitlin could stay at Kristen's parents for the night, so we told him that would work out well since we didn't know how long we'd be. Kristen's parents live about an hour from our office, so it would be pretty late before we got there, and then back to the boat. Kristen and I were both tired, so we thought it might be nice to have an evening to ourselves with a nice dinner out.
So we left the office and started heading to a great Mediterranean restaurant near where Pelican is. On the way, we once again spoke to Casey who told us that both of Kristen's parents seemed somewhat exhausted. We had discussed a few weeks ago as to what it would mean to be back here working, but the realization hit us that it meant we couldn't spend nearly as much time with our kids. Our conversation rapidly degraded into an emotional discussion of how we'd balance work, time with the kids, schoolwork and sanity. We need to make sure the kids school continues, and we can't make latch-key kids out of them, leaving them alone on the boat each day. At the same time, we realized it would be unfair (and logistically tough) to have Kristen's parents watch them every day. After spending almost every day with Casey and Kaitlin for the last nine months, is was heartwrenching to realize that we couldn't continue that while we were here. Unfortunately, we still don't have a good answer as to what we're going to do. If we want to return to cruising by October, Kristen and I both have a lot on our plates, but we'll have to sacrifice our family and sanity to make it happen. On the other hand, if we don't do that, there's a good possibility we won't get back to a life that's never been happier.
It was during this discussion that I realized that a nice dinner out was the last thing we were interested in. It would have been miserable, with the two of us just staring at each other and knowing that tough decisions are coming. I decided that Chinese Food and a movie seemed much more palatable at this time, so I turned the car around and we headed to our favorite Chinese Restaurant (Yip's) for some takeout.
While there we sat down at the bar and talked with Yip's owner, Jimmy. I asked how he was doing and he said that things are OK, but just OK. Apparently, he handed over control of his restaurant to his nephew a year ago, hoping to greatly reduce his time working, and then the stock market tanked. As a result he's working full time, and then some, still.
A little bit later two women walked by the bar (it's right at the entrance/exit of the restaurant). They stopped to talk to Jimmy, and he asked how they were doing. "Well, I'm battling both brain cancer and lung cancer," one of the women remarked. "I feel good though," she continued. Kristen and I looked at each other and both realized that our troubles were almost selfish in nature in comparison to what this woman had to deal with on a daily basis. We've been incredibly fortunate to have even nine months of cruising together as a family, and we're strong enough to figure out what needs to happen, and then to make it happen. There are reminders everywhere that life is short and that you need to seize the opportunities as they arise, and we've been good at that so far. We are very fortunate for that. Hearing the woman's matter of fact voice, mentioning her terminal illnesses in casual conversation as if she was discussing the weather, were a stark reminder of just how lucky we are.
With that, we will get our company on the track to strength, we will get back to cruising, we will be strong as a family, and we will continue to follow our dream.