I used to have WordPress create those little year-in-review things, but I guess they’ve stopped doing that. I did promise an overview of all the insanity that’s been happening behind the scenes here and why the blog went dark from May through pretty much this month, so here we are.
Our last dog (right, photo above), the boydog of a set of siblings, was 14 and while he was old and creaky, partially blind and deaf, and partially incontinent, he had been a pretty happy dude. His health dropped off rather suddenly over the course of two weeks at the end of May, and we had to make the tough decision to let him go. Medications weren’t keeping up with his arthritis pain, he couldn’t make it up the stairs without assistance, he’d lost weight, he kept having these bizarre spells where he’d fall down howling and shaking and need a few minutes to recover and get back on his feet, and he’d stopped being interested in food (typically he’d devour breakfast the second it hit the bowl, but he started taking two hesitant bites and walking away). We’d lost his sister two years prior to cancer, but at just shy of 13 and 15, these two dogs lived long, spoiled rotten, and much-loved lives. It’s still difficult, adjusting to life without another living being in the house after having a companion here for almost 14 straight years (nearly my whole married life), and I still have bad days where the loneliness and lingering grief really overwhelm me. The husband is away long stretches with his new job, so it’s been really difficult. I don’t think we’ll get another dog partly due to how I’m just not at all ready, and partly because we have opportunities to travel more and it’s not fair to have a dog only to leave it so often.
At the exact same time all of that was going on with the dog, we decided that downsizing from our single-family-home-with-yard to a townhome would be a good option. Again, husband is gone 4+ months at sea for work and keeping up with the yard work, house work, gardening, weeding, etc on a sizable lot didn’t make sense for one person when the other was only home to enjoy the yard/house about 30% of the year. We had a really fantastic backyard space and had done a lot of improvements, but in the last 2 years husband had been at his new job with these lengthy absences from home, it just stopped making sense financially and in terms of my time. Also, I REALLY hate mowing the lawn. Loathe it. I’ll clean 1000 toilets before I’d ever mow another damn lawn. So, I started looking and finally found (and successfully bid) on a townhouse. It’s an end unit with a really great view, and now I enjoy watching the complex’s landscapers mow and remove the leaves while I sip coffee and work on the computer. Of course, this is the year that everything goes wrong, so the moving process was not without a lot of problems. We decided to have the flooring replaced in the new place since the carpets were original and in pretty bad shape, but the installers couldn’t come out for two months which set us behind and left us with four rooms we couldn’t move anything into (3 bedrooms and the main downstairs living space). The new place is a whole mile from the old place, so instead of boxing everything up, we moved bits and pieces in reusable grocery bags and big plastic bins, mostly unpacking as we went. That was going pretty well until we found out that husband’s truck had a major mechanical issue and was out of commission for the remainder of moving. He also went back to work in the beginning of September (we closed on the new place early July), so that left me with my little car to finish up clearing out the garage and shed. We’d never had cars in the garage, so you can only imagine what a job that was. We closed on the old place at the end of October, so that was a solid four months it took us and me alone to get everything moved. Just don’t ask to see my garage right now! The beehives were moved to a property nearby – I had found a woman who wanted to host bees but didn’t want to do the work of beekeeping, so that worked out perfectly for both of us.
In June, we went to the Netherlands to take our first trip to Janine, the barge we now own in the Netherlands. Husband was delayed arriving for a week due to a delay at work, so I spent the first week aboard on my own, cleaning, relaxing, taking time coping with the loss of our dog. The trip ended up being complete bliss, and it was just the break I needed from the stress at home, but re-entry was REALLY hard. I absolutely did not want to come home because I knew what was waiting for me – reminders of the dog we didn’t have anymore, the empty house, the stress of moving. On the plus side, we did get to see friends get married early July, and I was asked to be their photographer. It was an amazing, joyful weekend celebrating their happiness!
After closing on the old house end of October, November was filled with photography clients. I got to see all of my yearly clients and take photos of their families for their holiday cards. It was busy, so I didn’t get any unpacking or organizing done around the house, but I did enjoy seeing my regular clients all again. I’m probably going to have to close out the business over the next year since the husband’s unpredictable schedule means I’ve had to turn away clients. Having the barge now means that we want to travel more to spend time in the Netherlands and take advantage of our investment, so if the husband is off of work, we’re going to be gone. However, I don’t really have much notice regarding the specifics of his schedule so it means I can’t plan basically anything in advance. My Fall clients would still be okay to keep on, but I’m not sure that’s enough to support the business without incurring a loss (the cost of taxes/insurance/etc). That would leave me with just beekeeping, and while it’s not a full-time job, at least it’s still something to tell people when they inevitably ask, “And what do you do?” You guys, if you can find me a job that would be completely okay with me up and running off at short notice for 2 months straight, and can handle a super unpredictable schedule, I’m in. I haven’t found one yet. It’s really tough to answer that question without feeling like a complete loser for not having a job, but still have an answer that’s socially acceptable as an occupation (and for friends with kids, being a parent is a legit full-time job and I respect the hell out of you for it since that’s a job I’ve never wanted because it’s REALLY hard). Or I need to find a way to not care (yeah, sure, that’s easy).
So, a bit of a bigger brain dump than I expected to write today, but that’s been my insane life since May, and of course, that’s not even all of it. Things are starting to get quiet finally, but this is the time of year I naturally want to hibernate and disappear, so it’s probably part that too. I’m not big on the December holiday festivities and generally don’t mind being alone, but it’s been especially difficult this year, not having a dog around and being *really* alone. Friends are great, and I love seeing them, but the company of a beloved pet is different. Anyway. I hope to get back to putting stuff on the blog regularly and already have a few things planned over the next few weeks – stuff I’ve been meaning to post and just didn’t get to, so stick around!