Here I sit on New Year’s Eve, my attention divided between sleeping son and watching a 30 Rock marathon. There’s not much to do while Logan is recovering from his appendectomy, so I’m blogging instead of partying tonight. Actually, I’d been meaning to crank out one of these obligatory retrospective posts for a few days, but I’ve been swamped at work and home, so there hasn’t been much time. Now with nothing else to do but wait for Ryan Seacrest to teabag Times Square, it seems like the perfect time to look back on the past year…what the heck, let’s make it the last decade.
The Y2K scare turned out to be completely overrated. Turns out that 2000 didn’t feel a whole lot different than 1999. No flying cars or robot butlers. Coverage of the Olympic summer games in Sydney dominated television for much of the summer. My entire family took their first (and last) group vacation to Ocean Isle. Later that summer, during a trip to Panama City, Angela and I were engaged. I helped to elect Al Gore to the White House, and he almost made it there. Another big change for me this year was leaving Gateway to join New Horizons, and moving to Knoxville. I also earned my MOS Master certification for Office 2000.
This year got off to a rocky start, and never quite found its footing. Days before my wedding, my mom landed in ICU with a terrible illness that took the fingers of her right hand and almost cost her life. After she finally returned home some 12 weeks later, and my dad broke his leg. Between the weekly trips home and our new jobs, Angela and I were stretched thin, both emotionally and financially. It’s the only time in my life I’ve been so broke I couldn’t afford basic cable. Things started looking up toward the fall, and then the terrorist attacks of 9/11 changed the culture of our country overnight.
This was a pretty good year. I was working a lot, learning, and teaching more technical courses. I started doing some consulting work on the side, and the dollars started rolling in. We adopted a second cat and moved into a bigger apartment. I got my travel fix, too, venturing in August to the New Horizons International Conference in Anaheim, which Angela and I took the opportunity to expand into a Vegas vacation. Days later, I was in Baltimore teaching a crash course on Excel macros. Then in October, I flew to Sioux Falls to give a presentation for Adobe and ended up motoring all the way across the great state of South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore in one day. I started working on my MCSD certification, getting familiar with SQL Server and .NET for the first time. And I met Mike, my brother-from-another-mother.
Oh boy, what a year of spectacular failures. During my summer vacation to Panama City, I found out my sister’s marriage of 11 years was ending. Then a few months later, my own marriage just sort of ran out of gas, as Angela and I jointly decided that we wanted different things out of life and love. We separated as friends. I’d had a banner year financially, but then my job started to lose momentum, and New Horizons started cutting bonuses (which accounted for the lion’s share of my wages). It was a very long December, to say the least, but I knew the next year was bound to be better than the last.
Newly divorced and facing a mountain of debt, I struggled to find my footing in 2004. However, it was also a period of some real self-discovery and growth as I adjusted to living alone again. My sister and nephew moved back nearby, and I reconnected with them. We definitely leaned on each other during those months. I also started dating again (rather awkwardly), but it didn’t amount to anything serious. Gateway finally closed all of their remaining retail stores in April. My summer was filled with leisurely mountain drives, baseball games, and the watching the Athens Olympic summer games. My nephew stayed with me for a week in the fall, and I treated him to rounds of laser tag and trips to Ripley’s Aquarium. That fall I literally re-built my computer so it could run Half-Life 2. I finally got burned out working at New Horizons, so when an excellent opportunity came along to advance my career in a new direction, I leapt and began my tenure with TeamHealth as an e-learning developer. Against all odds, Bush 43 somehow got re-elected, which proved to me that we Americans collectively lack the reflexes of an amoeba.
This year started with more travel, first a week at a TeamHealth office in Ft. Lauderdale and then another at the ASTD conference in Las Vegas. I met Ginny in Feburary, fell madly in love with her, and we were engaged within 12 weeks (talk about your compatible couples, eh?). I also adopted my dog, Milo, and inherited her cats, Moya and Leia. I traveled to St. Louis in May to deliver Visio training, almost made it up to top of the Arch, and watched the Star Wars prequel trilogy go down in flames. Our blended family moved into a new apartment together, and I accompanied my sister and nephew on a week-long Jamaica vacation that had been in the works forever. Following a beautiful, do-it-yourself (and by that I mean Ginny did most of the work) wedding in September, we enjoyed a low-key honeymoon in Charleston, while Katrina pounded New Orleans. I also leapt again at a new job, joining PerfectServe as an implementation consultant and making some new friends. I started following the newly-christened Windows Live family of services and began my love/hate relationship with Windows Media Center.
This was another year of highs and lows for me. In February, I was diagnosed with a thyroid imbalance, and the ensuing hormone treatment left me an emotional wreck for a couple of months. Ginny stuck by me, but I know it couldn’t have been easy at times for her. We moved to yet another apartment. I left PerfectServe but was welcomed back to TeamHealth, this time as an operations instructor for our physician recruiters. All the job hopping wasn’t good for my résumé, but I was thankful to have the opportunity to return to my friends and colleagues there and continue building my career. The stability was good for me. That summer, I traveled to San Francisco for the first time and fell in love with the city almost instantly, drove up to Indianapolis for my best friend’s wedding, and accompanied Ginny on a white-knuckled flight to Tampa for a job conference/vacation. We found out in August that we were expecting Logan. My home office became the nursery, so I officially evolved my desktop machine into the living room’s HTPC. I rounded out the year with another trip to San Francisco in December. Oh, and I also launched this very blog on Windows Live Spaces.
Our family grew in February, when little Logan arrived a bit earlier than expected. He spent his first month in the NICU at Children’s Hospital (where, ironically, I find myself perched tonight). The next six months were mostly a blur. Lots of poop. Throwing off the last vestiges of my misspent youth, I sold my Jeep Wrangler and started driving the Grand Cherokee that we bought from Ginny’s folks. We spent a large part of the summer months house hunting, before we finally settled on the current Chateau du Edwards in September. Ginny, Logan, and I ventured to Virginia Beach for a late summer vacation. Enjoying the first Christmas in our own house was a real treat and a great way to end the year. Along the way, This was also the year I really discovered Facebook and Twitter, and coincidentally, the year my productivity officially died.
This year started off with the TeamWorks² 2008 World Tour, which included a 5-week series of whirlwind junkets to TeamHealth division offices in (or at least near) Seattle, Ft. Lauderdale, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. I literally went from a sunny 70° beach to a lake-effect blizzard over the course of a weekend. Needless to say, I was ready to be done with traveling for a while after that. This was also my first summer as a homeowner, so I mowed my tiny yard until it was practically bald. My dad and I mended some fences (not metaphorically, I mean we built an actual privacy fence around my backyard). Ginny and I watched the Beijing Olympic summer games, drove north to Virginia Beach for a late summer vacation, and we elected Barack Hussein Obama to the White House in November. The US economy crumbled, while we all waited to see whether we’d be standing in bread lines with our iPhones.
Which brings us to 2009. Where the hell has this year gone? Well, it’s been all over the place really. Work has been steady, although nothing really notable has happened in the past 12 months. I worked on my share of projects, successfully managed our annual compliance training program, and traveled absolutely nowhere for a change.
In terms of my obsession with all things Microsoft, it has been a year of changes for Windows and Windows Mobile, but just a lot of waiting around for Windows Live. My work laptop is now humming along nicely with Windows 7. Much to my wife’s chagrin, I’ve expanded my home network to include a total of four HTPCs. I think we could actually land the Space Shuttle with the equipment in our house. But at least the cords are (mostly) hidden.
Ginny and I have endured a couple of miscarriages trying to grow our family this year, which has been pretty hard. This was supposed to be the geek movie "summer of love," but almost every flick from Star Trek to G I Joe disappointed me. The last couple of months have thoroughly sucked. We had to put Moya to sleep after she fell gravely ill unexpectedly. Chateau du Edwards was burgled a few weeks ago, and the bandits absconded with our biggest TV (which also happened to be my favorite). To top it all off, Logan had that pesky ruptured appendix, which landed us in Children’s Hospital for the past week (including Christmas and New Year’s).
So I end the decade a little older, fatter, greyer, and hopefully wiser. But I don’t want to sound like a downer here at the end. There’s something inherently optimistic about New Years’ Eve. No matter what’s on the horizon, I look forward to meeting it head on in the coming year. Here’s to the next decade. Do we call it the 2010’s? The teens? Regardless, I’ll see you on the other side of midnight. Happy New Year!