I usually like to post all my reflections by December 31st and all my aspirations on January 1st. Because of a full-time work schedule, and a holiday visit–it didn’t happen this year. I’m setting aside more time tomorrow to write, but I did want to get something up on the actual 1st. Even though I really didn’t have time because I spent the day rearranging the whole living room, organizing all the books, textbooks, class notes, and scrapbook items, and cleaning. And that was a huge project, which was worth it because it looks so much nicer in here, there is more space (somehow, even though we added a bunch), and it’s less cluttered. Anyway, so you’ll see the most important items in the countdown are unfinished. But the post has to be posted on this date, I’m hungry, and times a tickin. So I’ll edit it after dinner and after Cool goes to sleep, but for now–bare with me.
15-the relief of staying at the Missoula hotel at a halfway point in our move.
We hadn’t planned on spending the money. Plus, the cats are generally horrible in hotels, and no sleep is had anyway. But we finished packing, and loaded the Pensky in record time–like it was noon or something equally early. So we decided why stay in a dusty, empty apartment when we could just shave off some miles. We made a spur-of-the-moment reservation at our lucky hotel (lucky because they had an opening WITHOUT a reservation on Independence Day and saved me from a major allergy attack. And from camping at pow-wow in the dust (and allergens). The cats even slept a little that night and it made it a more bearable two day trip rather than one long haul.
14-getting a full-time position with a schedule that still allowed me to see Cool
You never know when homophobia will rear it’s ugly head. I wasn’t sure if any work or housing protections are in place for LGBT people. Besides, this is Utah–known for Mormons more than tolerance. Also, work has a policy against spouses working in the same department. Even though we’re not legal or married or domestically partnered in any way, if they want to make a case against you, they can usually find a way. In short, asking for an alternative schedule to SEE Cool was a touchy subject. With driving time, her job keeps her away from home from 8:15AM to 3:30PM and mine was supposed to be 4:30PM to 1:30AM. We would see each other for 1 hour each day–while getting undressed from work (Cool) ready for work (me), and eating dinner. It just wasn’t going to be enough. And especially with bipolar in the mix and needing to stay apprised of the situation, it was going to be a major hardship. I got brave and negotiated a good schedule, then it was promptly reneged (see bad moments blog). In the end, work couldn’t give that other bitch Sundays, because that left Saturdays empty. I was still not trained enough to take that day, and the other kid who could take it (and didn’t want Saturday, of course) is a lead–so he MUST work M-F. So because they couldn’t move the lead, I did end up getting my schedule. But not because they were doing me any favors. Still, I’ll take what I can get. And now I LOVE my schedule. It’s really ideal.
13-Temple Square at Christmas
Who knew Mormon Christmas festivity would make my top-of-the-year list?! No, I haven’t been drinking the Utah koolade, it’s just that spectacular. Around the temple, every tree, bush, and pond is saturated with lights. There’s music and wreaths, and a really nice atmosphere. Both malls have decorations, and all of downtown is dressed up for Christmas. We took pictures, Cool stood in the middle of someone else’s marriage proposal, and we saw a fountain/light show to Christmas songs. The best part? We live within walking distance. We did not have to fight for parking or make our way through the heavy traffic to enjoy it. It’s so nice, people come from all over the state to partake.
12-exploring SLC, especially walking around the city
We didn’t move into this apartment complex to be downtown. It just so happened that the ONLY apartment in our price range that accepted pets, AND actually called us back was practilly downtown. We can walk less than a mile and be at both malls, the planetarium, the sports/concert arena, farmer’s market, the rapid transit–all downtown has to offer. We took full advantage on the warm days, and even some of the freezing ones, walking everywhere this year. And we’ve explored and taken pictures, and genuinely enjoyed this new city. I can’t wait to explore more areas while increasing our step counts.
11-getting true weekends off of work
My whole working life I worked weekends. Kennel work, of course, requires cleaning and feeding the animals. As an assistant, I had to medicate animals as well. In janitorial, those are the off-hours available to deep-clean. I’ve never had a true entire Saturday, entire Sunday off. Every weekend. So when I went to a corporate job it was a really nice treat being in sync with the rest of the world (and Cool). This only lasted for 3 months, but it was MY choice to work Sundays, and I exchanged it for Friday and Saturdays off and a late-start on Wednesday, so I’m still winning.
10-having a larger, brighter, more functional kitchen
I knew I didn’t love the galley kitchen in Spokompton. It was dark and unventilated and there was very little storage. But I didn’t really how much I hated it until I got a huge, bright, super-storage kitchen that was more open. All the kitchen stuff fits in it, AND there’s counter space!
9-getting a job in another state, before we moved
Moving is horribly stressful. And it’s expensive. I feel like it’s 2015, you should be able to secure jobs and housing online–but we are not there yet. You pretty much have to be IN the state you’re moving to in order to get the job and housing. Which is a major problme when you’re not made of money. Because where do you stay in the meantime? And how do you pay deposit and rent if you are not working (and you don’t know when you will be)? It’s very scary and logistically almost impossible. But, luckily, Cool’s Spokane company had openings within different departments in Utah. So she couldn’t tansfer, but she was pretty well guarenteed a position in the company. So she got a job. Then, they had another opening in her company, and since I have a medical background and a minor in chemistry (and knew Cool), I got a job. It was one of the greatest moments of my life because I was hired over the phone! And it was a big relief because it gave some answers to questions and a safety net.
8-the entire Christmas visit to my parents’ house–especially the owl painting.
We saw my parents a third time–a record–over Christmas. It was special, because I’ve rarely gotten time off of work to go anywhere. Especially over a holiday. And Cool could come again. So it would be the biggest Christmas I’ve ever had. When I was growing up, it was just my parents and I because extended family lives in Montana where winter weather makes travel dangerous. And after I moved out, vet hospitals got busy because everyone else was on vacation so where either boarding pets or using that time to catch up on their appointments, or bringing them in for Christmas-related emergencies. So I always had to work, and be by myself over the holidays. So it was special just having the 4 of us together. But my parents had got Cool and I a surprise. And they were so excited about it. And really building up the anticipation. We were really worked up into a frenzy about what it could be. At the very end, I guessed it was a painting session, and I was right! So we were excited to try it because my parents had a good time with it previously–and you get to keep what you paint. And my dad especially was all weird when we got there, because he was actually excited to paint, and for us to paint. It’s a big deal, because he’s usually stoic. The painting process was fun, and seeing all of our creations was a pleasure that lasted and lasted. We gazed upon them, commented on their different personalities and styles, and looked some more. We rearranged them and rearranged them again. The whole thing was really the best from start to finish!
7-running on the trail with Cool
Historically Cool HATES running. And she’s not fun to run with because she slacks off, complains, and just doesn’t want to be there. But this summer the stars aligned, she was in generally better shape, the weather was nice, and the trail new and beautiful. We ran almost every day together. She (mostly) actually ran, mostly without complaint too. It was a time we could work on our fitness, then we walked back to the car together. It was a really good time, being out and nature and having no distractions or screens, so we just caught up and talked to each other. It was really nice times and now that our schedules are opposite, I miss it terribly.
6-Getting to see Brandi Carlile in concert
Duh! Brandi always puts on an outstanding show. Even though I wasn’t in love with the new album, I loved the way she performed the songs live. She makes the crowd feel like family. She gets me jazzed up and also moves my heart. We weren’t stressed about standing in line or getting a good seat, so I was just able to relax and enjoy myself–unheard of for me.
5-Hope: Moving to a better, cleaner city with better job prospects and working a job that might offer future (non-veterinary) prospects for me.
Spokane only offered so much. We had sort of burned through what few prospects it had and were reaching a dead-end. We didn’t want to get a Spokompton mentality or get stuck and be unable to move out, and unable to move UP in life. So coming to Utah was amazing. It opened doors and gave us options again. Plus it’s a really clean, safe, walkable city where Spokane is not.
4-getting a washer/dryer
This was a long time coming! I had been doing coin-op since I moved out of my parents house in 2003. And it sucked pretty much the whole time. Taking your laundry out of your house is a burdan. No matter the sute dorm bags, you still have to haul it. And not just out to the washer. You then have to leave the comfort of your house to change it to the dryer. That’s if you trusted enough to leave it unattended in the first place. Then you have to make a third trip to collect it from the dryer. And good luck getting it dry–it’s never dry! That costs a boat-load of money and forget any special care instructions or color-sorting. That’s just not practical. Also, think about if the cat pees on something. Or you spill something. Or after camping when everything is all icky. You can’t always go to the laundry facilities at 4AM or midnight, so you then have to store that ultra-dirty stuff. And it’s ick. So getting a washer/dryer was AMAZING! Now we are real people, and I love it pretty much every time I throw something into the laundry basket.
3-when my parents visited over the summer-especially the aviary day
It took my parents 5 years to visit me in Missouri. And we hadn’t seen them since 2010. So when they came to Salt Lake City almost immediately after we moved here, I was really excited. Even better, I had a training schedule at work that was only 25 hours per week–so I actually had time to see them. We visited the aquarium and went to Cheesecake Factory, and showed them a lot of the same sights we had just barely discovered. Nobody fought the whole time, which was a record! That hadn’t happened in forever–we had gone through such tumultuous times. So it was all really special and really fun. The best was when the 4 of us visited the Aviary. We got to feed Sun Canards by hand, watch a show, and just look at all the bird exhibits. I love going to animal places normally, and including my parents and Cool was optimal!
2-when Cool and I had the exact same schedule, and worked together
It seems like Cool and I are always ending up on opposite schedules. In Spokompton, I worked days, weekends, went to school, and pretty much studied the rest of the time. While she worked swing shift. We barely saw each other. Then, when we got here, we suddenly had the same job, in the same department, and we worked the exact same hours. We had the same sleep schedule, got to hang out together all day, then worked in the same room. I loved those few months! We could do all the errands together instead of 1 person having to suffer through it alone. We could both clean the apartment at the same time, so it was faster and equal responsibility. Our runs could happen together. We had time to talk and hang out. . . Then at work, it’s independent, but we could take our breaks together. But then, Cool got an job offer doing billing in a cubicle upstairs which is more tailored to her personality, so in July or August, she went to the day shift and a different part of the building. But being together was sure nice while it lasted.
1-DMB/Hot air balloons
We visited Nevada and had a great time with my parents! My mom and I went in some historic railroad cars and got lost in Tahoe. We were both very scared (we’ve seen the helicopters searching for unprepared stupids on TV many times) and despite that, we never fought! Which is unheard of for us. Especially when there’s no buffer person with us. And very especially when we’re stressed. So that was a milestone. We also, on that trip, got to see Dave Matthews Band in Tahoe. Which our seats were in the perfect spot, and it was fun to have my mom along–since she hadn’t been to a real concert in forever. And DMB is always one of the best times. But, the very, very best time was the balloons. My mom and I had gone in 1994. And it was miserable. 3 AM is too early, especially when you’re 9 yaesr old. Even though it’s September, Nevada is COLD at that time in the morning, and we hadn’t dressed for it. Also, back then, they didn’t sell blankets or sweatshirts, or warm beverages. We got starving, and they didn’t sell food back then either. My mom and I didn’t have a blanket to sit on, let alone chairs. So the whole time we were tired, cold, hungry, cold, uncomfortable, cold, dusty, and cold. It’s difficult to enjoy even the best things when you’re so physically uncomfortable–and I did not. So ever since then I wanted a do-over. I’d be prepared THIS time! But September and college in no way work together. Every time the Great Reno Balloon Race came around I was just starting school. Or in Missouri, and getting ready for the first round of exams. Or working at vet hospitals and unable to take a busy weekend off. This year, I was only working a training schedule–and they had screwed me over on that PRN deal, so I didn’t feel guilty at all taking a week off. I wasn’t in any kind of school for the first time in TEN years. We could stay with my parents so it didn’t cost a bunch of money to visit. I packed winter layers knowing I would be cold. We made our own snacks and took hot coffee in thermoses. We didn’t have chairs or remember a blanket, but everything else fell into place. I was ready to enjoy myself this time! We got a good parking spot and walked to the event, then stood/sat in one of the only empty areas. We got to see the dueling balloons in the dark, and dawn patrol as the sun was rising. I got great pictures. Then, the BEST part was mass ascention. We had unknowingly sat right down in the middle of the field, so all the balloons were blown up all the way around us. We were right in the middle of the action! And I got more good pictures. It was even greater because my parents and Cool were there and everyone was in good spirits having a good time. I had anticipated the event so much, and had previously been so disappointed, that this was AMAZING! Now, I can’t wait to do it again.
Overall, 2015 was a time of doubt and uncertainty. But it was a very family-focused year and that salvaged things a lot.