I have done a Year in Review post for the past several years, but, never before have I been so excited to write it as I am this year. 2020, you have sucked and I am happy to usher you out the door. But, before I do, I will mine deep for the positives that happened during your reign of terror, because, that's how I roll.
The year started off with two huge life adjustments for our family: Hugh retired from law enforcement following 28 years of dedicated service. It was a bittersweet transition for him; he loved law enforcement, but, the career has been so villainized in recent years, it was hard for him to stomach. To those of you reading this who are supporters of defunding the police; I sincerely hope you never find yourselves in need of their protection.
The other adjustment came with my resignation from Day Job; a transition that had been a long time in coming and that I consider a positive change, despite the challenges that my new employment would bring.
The first big positive of the year, however, was getting to ring it in with Chris and Jana. It was different than years past, of course; the kids are grown and celebrating on their own. But, being able to say that we have watched the ball drop together more times in the last twenty years than not is a huge blessing.
In February, I started New Job. It was a rough entry from the get-go, due to the condition that the organization was in when I started. The first month I encountered hostility from both employees and community partners as I worked to remedy the issues that had been created by my predecessor. It was stressful, uncomfortable, exhausting, and frustrating. And, then came the pandemic, but, we'll get to that, later.
The bright spot in February was Queen B turning 24.
Yep. The month that the world shut down. Not only was I learning a brand new industry, but, I was doing it in unprecedented times. The only bright spots this month were the virtual cocktail hours that the Girls and I did over Zoom.
While we were adjusting to new social norms (no hand shaking! Social distance! Stay within your bubble! Wear your mask! Curbside delivery, only!), and, the rest of the world was home baking bread and discovering the joy of TikTok; Hugh and I continued to do our jobs. We were considered part of the "essential" workforce, as was Queen B, who tried her hand at sewing masks in between shifts.
I think it was also around this time that our Netflix account became ridiculously over-utilized and the name Joe Exotic first hit our radar. Not sure if that's a positive thing, but it certainly was entertaining.
We experienced our first and, hopefully last, socially distanced Easter celebration.
We managed to get the Man-Cub home from Hawaii; he was happy to be home, but, not at all happy about having to complete his school semester online.
I was struggling mightily with the Trifecta of Suck: Stressful New Job, brutal Perimenopause, and a Pandemic. The anxiety and depression I was experiencing would continue for pretty much the remainder of the year, but I didn't know that, yet. I did manage to pull together an awesome social media campaign at New Job, despite struggling to get myself to work every day.
The virus had diminished slightly and we were able to expand our social bubble (realllly ready to kick these new terms to the curb). We took advantage of the time together by getting the boat out a couple of times.
Around this time, a trend in the purchase of outdoor recreation toys was spiking across the country; mainly by folks utilizing money that had been earmarked for vacations that would not be happening. Hugh already owned a four-wheeler, and it certainly saw more use this year, starting this month.
With nothing much else to do, I got an early start on Porch Season. I wasn't able to host Porch Nights as I had in previous years, but, I found solace on the porch, and that was sorely needed.
Late in the month, I learned how to make the perfect mojito, courtesy of Jana.
...and I experienced the most surreal high school graduation ever, with a parade taking the place of a commencement ceremony. My heart went out to BCPE, whose daughter was a senior.
We seriously started bucking the system by this point in the year.
Mom broke quarantine and came to stay with us for a few weeks.
We hosted a Porch Night with people outside of our "bubble".
And we attended a bridal shower for Kaley, with even more people outside of our bubble.
Spoiler: Our mental health improved and no one got the 'Rona.
Everything worth doing was Covid Cancelled for the month, including almost every 4th of July fireworks show, except for the one that the fine people of Pixler hosted despite the (incredibly minimal) risk of Covid spreading between cars parked in a large lot.
It should be noted that even the fireworks looked like a giant Covid virus spore; there was simply no getting away from it.
Since Stampede was cancelled for the first time in just shy of 100 years, we spent the money we would have otherwise spent on the weekend on paddle boards, then; we learned how to use them without falling on our asses. For the most part.
The Man-Cub returned to Hawaii for what should have been the beginning of his final year in college. Thanks to issues with his advisor that predated even Covid, he will now have to take an additional semester in order to take both the hands-on classes that he could not take during the stupid shut-down and a course that he should have completed back in his first year.
Hugh and I took full advantage of the mid-summer slow-down of the virus by attending a wedding.
Queen B and I joined The Lesbians for a winery tour...
...and I traveled to Mayberry to spend a weekend with Reese and Phoebe.
Hugh and I celebrated our 27th anniversary with dinner at a favorite Italian restaurant in Hooterville.
The Man-Cub turned 22.
Hugh judged an apple pie contest, which, was probably the highlight of his summer.
Hugh and I turned the front yard into a Halloween freak show.
Queen B and the Rodeo Princess joined us for a trip through the local corn maze, after which, they helped carve jack-o-lanterns.
We threw a Halloween costume party, following the CDC recommendation to gather in small groups, outside. Hey, the garage door was open, so that counts, right?
Meanwhile, in Hawaii, the Man-Cub was enjoying time with his girlfriend, who had made the trip over for a two-week visit. They also got into the Halloween spirit. Their relationship has been a positive for certain.
The brightest spots in the month were Mom's arrival from Mayberry-she came to spend the holidays- my birthday, upon which I was spoiled rotten with blow molds, courtesy of my husband, and, of course, our Thanksgiving celebration.
The holidays continued, with a Christmas celebration that included Mom, Queen B, the Rodeo Princess, the Man-Cub and his girlfriend, myself, Hugh, Oscar and Emily. We felt blessed to be able to gather together. My fingers are firmly crossed for a similar celebration, next year.
My Christmas card perfectly summed up both our celebration and the year in general...
Those were definitely the highlights of the year, and, they are certainly the most important things. There were, of course, a lot of less pleasant occurrences, which, is to be expected in any year, let alone one containing a pandemic.
Obviously, the challenges I faced in my new position weighed heavily upon me. I completely fell off the diet wagon, indulged in sugar binges, and gained too many pounds to count. The loss of freedoms previously taken for granted created quite a bit of frustration and concern. The political climate of the country was bullshit level horrific, with fallout to be felt for ages. I no longer trust the media; I have arrived at the sad conclusion that fair and balanced journalism no longer exists.
Closer to home, the Rodeo Princess and the Rebel Without a Pause each suffered through the end of their marriages. I lost a childhood friend to what I am afraid was an overdose. Queen B got Covid and, who knows what lasting effects that may have? This virus isn't exactly following the course of anything found in nature.
It's been a fairly shit year, is what I'm saying. But, as someone who used to look on the bright side of every situation (I'm working my way back, I hope), I am looking forward to better times in 2021.
From my lips to God's ears.
Thus endeth this Year in Review.