It’s 2021

Finally! 2020 was something we endured. It ends with hope and optimism. We look forward to getting the Coronavirus vaccine and the start of the Biden Administration in Washington. Hopefully I can break myself from doom-scrolling and spend more time with my family. We look forward to the arrival of another Grandchild, our ninth, whom I have given the gender-neutral name “Mambo #9.”

We fared pretty well this past year. I left consulting, and joined a renewable energy developer, focusing on large scale solar projects, in Upstate New York. I started in March, two weeks before the initial lockdown. Paula completed her transition to retirement, a bit more abruptly than planned.

I think renewable energy will be the backbone of economic recovery in New York State, especially across Upstate New York. Leases will provide a financial alternative to many struggling farmers. Taxes, PILOTs, community benefit programs, utility Bill credits and jobs will all fuel the recovery.

On March 16th, Paula and I sat at home discussing implications of the lockdown, starting the next day. As she lamented the closing of the gyms, and not seeing our family, I was busy on the tablet. She asked what I was doing— I was ordering a water-rower and stationary bike, to outfit a home gym— which would prove key to maintaining our sanity.

That week saw all the local Trap fields close, indefinitely. Luckily, Vernon National Sporting Preserve was opening their Sporting Clays course for the season. This is something I could do solo. I drove out the last two Saturdays in March, and enjoyed the late Winter, early Spring conditions.

April 1st was the opening of Trout Season. I went out, and went again several times until the leaves were fully out on the trees, thus inhibiting my casting. In fact, looking back, I spent more time in the woods and on the water, fishing, hiking, hunting, paddling, snowshoeing in 2020 than in prior years. The woods were a true comfort.

We fell into a routine of alternating weeks between the Capital District and the Northern Adirondacks. We ordered groceries to be picked up, or I went to Price Chopper at 6 AM. Paula tackled a list of home improvement projects and put in a huge vegetable garden, leading to a major battle between me and a very fat rabbit.

As I work remotely, there was no real change for me with offices being shut down. I did not resume travel to project sites until late May. I benefited from Paula’s home improvement efforts as she renovated both of my home study/den/offices.

The biggest impact to us was not seeing our kids and their families. That eased off a bit this Summer, and we managed a fully masked, socially distanced Halloween Party, complete with a haunted house Paula built in our storage area. Since then, out of an abundance of caution, we have scaled back such interactions again. More recently, one of the kids and his family has been exposed to COVID and tested positive; to date all symptoms have been mild.

The handling of the coronavirus on the national level has been a total disaster. Americans have suffered thousands of needless deaths as a direct result of Trump’s denial and inaction. Here in New York, we benefited early on from the strong leadership of Governor Cuomo. We still have a tough time ahead; I don’t see returning to any sense of normalcy until next Summer.

So as 2021 starts, I plan to work out, spend time outdoors, focus on my family, spend time with my dogs, wear a mask and get vaccinated. I look forward to a return to some sense of normalcy in Washington with a renewed respect for the Rule of Law. I hope to be a part of a significant growth in renewable energy here in Upstate New York.

So goodbye 2020, and welcome 2021.

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