Sabbatical: Week 2

That’s the beauty of the sun, it does the moving for you.
Me, working on my tan line

Well, I’ve fully embraced the funemployed lifestyle. Late breakfasts, books in bed, boozy lunches, days spent on the beach, boozy dinners… I think I used to do something on the internet, with lines of code, but all of that is but a distant memory now. I think I used to have a sabbatical to-do list, with constructive items, but that seems like an impossibility from this sweet hammock.

I’ve been horrible about getting things done this week, but excellent about getting nothing done this week. I crushed my sabbatical count – upped my runs in preparation for the Beach to Beacon, added my first completed book to the list, and stacked up an impressive number of beach trips with Orvis and Meredith. However, I noticed from my hammock yesterday that the grass is getting tall, the weeds are creeping in, and that renovation project still isn’t even pretending to inch toward the finish line.

The anxiety I was feeling is largely gone. I still catch myself checking my work email by accident in the morning or glancing at notifications while blogging, but I’ve kicked the Slack habit with a vengeance. Although now I’m worried I won’t be able to get back into the swing of things at the end of all of this… at least I’ll have 78 full nights of sleep between now and then.

In the spirit of full disclosure, this was really just a reset week. I think if I’d continue on like this without doing anything constructive, I’d slowly drive myself mad (and quickly drive Meredith mad). I really just wanted a week to try to forget work and remember how to read things on paper. I’m feeling happy – last week, we had an awesome family lunch (Orvis included) at Eventide, and even though we ultimately got caught in an afternoon downpour, there was nothing but laughter as the sabbatical me fully embraced the sabbatical life.

The Old Man and the Ball

Picture by the incredibly talented, staff Orvis photographer, Meredith Perdue.

With all my hoards of newly minted followers from Twitter (hi Caroline, Kathryn, Brook, and Daniel), I figured I’d return to the basics of what this blog is really all about… pictures of my dog.

Every now and again, after guests leave and the excitement is gone, Meredith and I get to see a calm side of Orvis that few others ever experience. A side where he lays close to us in the grass, with his ball between his legs, as the sun sets in the sky. I feel sadness for all of you that don’t get to see this side of him.

Sabbatical: Week 1

Let’s just go ahead and acknowledge that most of this post will be a thinly-veiled brag about an absurd amount of time off, so take it with a grain of salt. Automatticians that have been with the company for 5 years get to take a 3-month, paid sabbatical. It’s an unbelievably awesome perk, and I started mine on July 10. Get over your jealousy and apply already – we’re hiring.

That being said, as someone who spends almost the entirety of every business day working on a web publishing platform – I figured that the best way to escape from work for 3 months would be to blog about it. Here goes something.

Sabbatical Anxiety

A few months back, I remember reading a co-worker’s post about the anxiety of taking an extended leave and thinking “wow, I’m so lucky that I don’t have the personality type to get worked up about things like this.”

I woke up at least 4 nights this week at 3am with some pretty intense anxiety.

Did I forget to do something before I left? Will my team fail their sprint without me? Am I missing big, company-wide decisions? Am I really such a non-integral part of the day-to-day workings of Automattic? Will my job be there in 3 months? Can Takashi or Obenland possibly get through a full day without talking to me?!?

Answers: Most definitely. Nope (I peaked) – awesome job, guys! Probably. Absolutely. Hopefully? Definitely not – losers.

It’s still early, and I assume that most of the jitters will be gone after a week or two, but having worked in some capacity almost every day of my adult life, trust me when I say that there is something legitimately unsettling when faced with the actuality that you’re about to go 3 months without work. It is almost impossible for me to not check my work email in the fogginess of waking up each morning, and I had to delete Slack from my phone to stop myself from looking at it whenever Meredith turned her back.

Sabbatical To-dos

If I’m coming to terms with my own superficial existence, I might as well get some shit done in the meantime. Last week, Meredith and I sat down and made a pretty epic list of possible things to do to fill the voids of time between waking at noon, hammock napping at 3pm, and drifting to sleep after dinner at 7pm.

The list is full of house projects (like finishing that bathroom renovation from 3 months 6 months ago) and personal projects (New Year’s resolution-style stuff to feel guilty about ignoring in a few weeks), and after looking at it, I feel comfort in knowing that there are plenty of things to fill my time. This past week alone, I painted large chunks of the house, mulched and weeded the flower beds like the very best of retirees, and then spent just about every minute of my remaining free time with Orvis and Meredith (on walks and at the beach), reading (currently A Man Called Ove, next Boys on the Boat), running (more like shuffling my feet and breathing hard), or riding my bike (did I mention that I got a bike?).

I even created a handy “Sabbatical Count” widget in the sidebar (using that fancy new core MCE text widget) to rub all of my accomplishments in your faces (all 4 of you reading this).


The sub-headings are unnecessary – they just scratch my organizational itch and break this really long post into visual chunks… I should try pictures next time.

About the sabbatical? We’ll see how it goes. It’s too late to take it back now, and I think Meredith actually enjoys seeing things getting done around the house – who would’ve guessed? I’ll try to do a weekly update so that Leif and Marek can fill their free time with my literary voice, and maybe by next week I’ll be a completely changed person who has discovered the secret to life and found an inner balance.

Oh, and thank you, Automattic.

Happy Birthday, Aunt Mere!

Last Wednesday was Meredith’s birthday, and seeing how I need to test the video upload function on, I thought I’d upload this spectacular video that her sister’s talented family made for her birthday.

And before you ask, it’s a real Emmy – you don’t make videos like this one with your iPhone without being legit videographers and editors.

Droning on and on.

And just like that, I went from “I’ll try to post frequently with some intermixed dog pics” to “21 days since your last post on”. I even failed at the dog pics part.

How about a dog video instead?

If the above wasn’t obvious, we got a drone a little while back, but because of the renovation on the house and the delightfulness that is late winter in Maine, I’ve only taken it out two or three times. Now as the weather changes, I hope to really start exploring the area from a new perspective.

To be honest, this was one of the bigger nonessential purchases I’ve made in a long time, and although I don’t really need to justify my spending to the three of you reading this post (sorry Dad), I will.

Reasons for buying a $1000 drone:

  1. The Mavic Pro is awesome. 4k video, crazy-intelligent flight modes (i.e. active tracking, tripod, and return to home), easy to use controls, and it all folds up, Transformer-style, to be the size of a nalgene bottle.
  2. Meredith and I write a travel blog on the side, Map & Menu, and we really want to start incorporating video into the posts. The Mavic Pro gives us a drone that we can pack away in the bottom of a backpack, without the need for extra cases or bags. I can’t emphasize how convenient the size/quality ratio is.
  3. The world really is more amazing from a new perspective. We’ve noticed this while traveling past our neighborhood from the water in a kayak or on a boat, but it can much more simple than that – sometimes I reverse the routes of my walks with Orvis just to see life from a new angle. Everything seen from the drone is seen from a new angle.
  4. It’s my money, and just another perk of DINK life.

If you have any experience with drones, video, or video editing, and have some tips for the free-time black hole I’m about to cruise into, let me know in the comments, or the next time I see you on Slack.

Let’s see. I feel like there’s an obligatory “some other things I should mention” catch-up list coming since it’s been a while since I’ve posted…

  • The Tar Heels won the NCAA men’s basketball championship. I’ll leave the color scheme of the site for a few more weeks… months… maybe even years. #gdtbath #wheresdook
  • I’m crushing the bathroom/laundry room rennovation. If “crushing” means “taking my sweet time to the frustration of my extremely patient wife”. Check this herringbone tile job that I’m particularly proud of. I really do hope to finish it up in the next week and blog about the adventures.
  • The hammock is up for the season. I really need to figure out a way to get my wifi to the back corner of the yard…

h/t Lance for the always horrible pun in this month’s title.

If you ever try to argue that the Caramel deLite/Samoa is not the absolute greatest Girl Scout cookie of all time, we will thenceforth stop existing as friends.

Also, 15 to a box is absolutely tragic.

I wish I could properly credit whoever created this amazing gif, but the internet…