A cool, wet and windy day for a swim. Thoughts about work.

Permanent truss at the Zilker Hillside Theater. Austin, Texas

Yesterday saw our weather transition from warmer and partly sunny to cooler with lots of rain overnight. It's raining right now. We may not get into the 50s today. And we may not have many dry spells.

When I woke up it was dark outside. You could hear the rain relentlessly pounding the roof of the house. My bare feet were chilly on the Saltillo Tile floors. I don't own "slippers" and think they are only for lazy people who won't take the time to put on shoes and socks before meandering through the house for coffee.  Breakfast in pajamas seems to me like something hospital patients do... I looked out the window to the north and saw nothing but rain and more rain. I tossed on a hat, put my camera under my jacket and trunched out to the car. It kicked right over but I sat there in the driveway for a few minutes till the heater got working and the windows cleared. 

It's the day for garbage pick up in the neighborhood so everyone has their plastic garbage cans out in front of their houses, lining the curb. One that was too close to a curb with rushing water. and probably not too full, was starting to float away on the current running down hill. I stopped to pull it out of the flow. 

The main road was busy and a checkerboard of driving styles. Some, newly fearful of the wet streets and driving rain were going slow and cautiously; hesitantly moving forward. Others, as usual, were in a hurry to get to their offices and cubicles and were driving with the same reckless abandon, peppered with self righteous aggression, as usual. Performing a graceless ballet of tailgating and then roaring around the more timid drivers.

It was still pounding cold rain when I pulled into the parking lot at the pool. I gathered my towel and swim gear from the hatchback of the car and walked briskly to the locker room. Pulled on my jammers, found my favorite swim cap, grabbed my hand paddles and goggles and then headed out across the 200 yards to the pool deck. I was struck by the same old argument: will you get less wet if you run or will you run into more raindrops more quickly than if you walked? I dropped my extraneous gear at the lip of the pool and jumped in. 

The water was a warm and hospitable 82° degrees and it was odd to feel warmth on the submerged parts of myself but then to feel little hard drops of cold water spatter on the parts above the water line. Once in the water the hardest part of the workout would be getting out. 

My lane mate was Jane. She's also one of our coaches. She's faster than me so I go second in the rotation. We swim in circles; up on the right, flip and then back on the right. You could go all day in a circle like that if you and your lane partners could pace it right. Jenn was our coach today. She's the coach who believes strongly in hard work. And when we swim with her guidance she pushes us to share in that belief. Today was no different. 

Jenn stood on the deck, wrapped in a long swim parka, outfit completed with lined boots, and holding a big umbrella against the on-again-off-again torrents of icy rain. Calling out sets, go times, encouragement, steely discipline. We huddled down in the water between sets to keep warm. We pushed through 3,000 yards in the industrial grayness of no-dawn and then we were done. We'd put in our hour. Done our yards. The next struggle was getting out, soaking wet, into the rain and wind between us and the (slightly) warmer locker room. Hot showers beckoned. But the lure of staying in the warm pool and out of the elements was strong....

I was the last one out of the pool. The last one out of the locker room. I spun my swim suit in the centrifugal suit dryer, glanced out at the rain and then trudged to the car. Now to start my day. On a search for good, hot coffee. I would have looked further afield but I knew I could make a great cup at home. I walked  into the house just in time to see B. making a skillet full of migas. I knew I'd made the right choice. 

I'm just now putting off responding to an email from a client who would like me to do a portrait for one of her clients but who is bulking at paying more than she did for the same kind of service/product that she did a year or two ago. It's one of the few times I procrastinate. I want to say "no" but I'm trying to figure out a nice way to say it. I can tell you all the reasons why the service should cost more now. And then there are unspoken reasons such as it requires more promise of reward to motivate me to action that it used to. 

I'll figure out how to say what I want to say before lunch time. And after lunch I've promised to join an old friend for coffee at a close by coffee shop. She was one of my favorite portrait sitters nearly thirty years ago. I'm looking forward to seeing how her appearance has changed. I'm sure she is anxious about the same thing. 

I was indifferent to the idea of work for the first three weeks of January. I wasn't sure if I'd toss in the towel and do something completely different. Just thinking about it was giving me anxiety. But then I got an email from the client that gave me my biggest and most challenging (but fun, fun, fun) job last year. We'd been out of touch since the completion of the project in mid-November. I was worried that something was glitchy from the job although I'd inspected each and every one of 1200 frames and hadn't found a fault. Still, I'd put off following up. Rationalizing the holidays, etc. 

The email was wonderful. According to my client the results were "perfect".  The launch campaign was better than expected. The print materials looked "gorgeous," And the capper: "Stay tuned! We've got a ton of projects to do this year." I stopped my usual second guessing and sighed a sigh of happiness and relief. It was a sign that I should stick it out in the crazy business for at least another year...

But maybe with more emphasis on a few big projects and less attention to smaller projects; the ones with too many annoying, moving parts. And maybe pay a lot more attention to my swimming.

A detail of intersecting walls at the Zilker Hillside Theater. 

And yes, the base ISO of the Leica SL is indeed 50. 

I only swam five days last week. It was enough. I tossed in enough long walks, enough strength training and the usual dosage of flexibility exercises. I'm going to stop encouraging people to exercise. Everyone I know went to college, knows how to do basic research and has heard about the benefits of exercising over and over again. If they've hit their 60s with other priorities I'm not going to change them now. 

But it sure feels good to feel good. Have a great, warm and dry day. Drink nice coffee. Chat with friends. Life is unpredictable but it's better than ever.