Sunday, January 1, 2012

#57--Reflecting on 2011

2011 was an interesting year. A lot happened--some of it good, and some of it not so good. I'll start at the beginning.

In January Alex and I were living in KC with our friend Evan, and our dog Sydney, and Evan's dog Albert. It was a nice little place to live. I was jobless at the time, going a bit crazy trying to get interviews and then job offers following. I had a series of successful interviews at an insurance agency, and would have been inclined to take the job if it were not required that I drive my own vehicle to people's houses to talk about insurance and investments. I am a good salesman when it comes down to it, but me and my poor little Saturn would not have made it.

I finally found a job in late February working as an assistant editor at a literary magazine. That was perfect and I had fun doing it, and it was close to my apartment so driving to and from work was not an issue. After a time, I was unable to continue as they were unable to pay me the contracted rate. I stayed on for some time for a collaborative project, but eventually had to give that up to due to the location change and driving distance. After that I found a job at a BBQ restaurant as a waitress, and I did really well there. During this time I had an interview with career services at ESU to talk about my degree and how I was struggling in the job market. After his advice, I applied for graduate school at ESU, my alma mater. In the meantime, working at the BBQ place was fun, and the people were great. Toward the end of my time there, my father in law had a heart attack and was sent to the hospital. He eventually went through a quadruple bypass surgery. It was a tough time for everyone.

During all of that adventure and excitement, I learned that a friend of mine (one of my bridesmaids at my wedding, not six months before) had been mean, negative, annoying, and downright disrespectful to me and my husband by breaking glasses, spilling drinks on other people, being rude, talking about how her upcoming wedding would be better than mine, while her fiance harassed my family members and challenged a retired air force uncle. He even insulted our best man. I was furious when I found out these little details of things that were happening. When I found out that she (the perpetrator and now ex-friend) had invited my maid of honor to her wedding but not me, I was enraged. I called her out on it, to no avail. She pretended to care but didn't really. I removed her from my facebook friends, just to see if she'd notice or say anything to me, and she didn't. Later, when I returned to ESU for grad school, I saw her on campus. She had the nerve to talk to me like nothing was wrong, and then proceeded to tell her other friend about business of mine that was not business either one of them needed to know. I was furious. I saw her again a few more times and she walked right past me as if she hadn't seen me at all (when she looked right at me). But whatever--sometimes you lose people you thought were your friends. 

At this point, it was May. I had traded in my little Saturn for a Dodge Caliber. It was a great deal at the time--until we found out that we couldn't take the Caliber on the highway without it having to stop from the engine overheating. That was a whole new mess all to itself, consuming most of the summer. The dealer I got it from said there was nothing wrong with it, but there obviously was (and is). He turned out to be a pain in our side, and we found we could do nothing legally regarding the sale of the car when it knowingly had a problem. We couldn't be protected by the lemon law because we bought the vehicle used. Very frustrating. We found out later (months later) that we needed a new transmission in it. That's still on the to-do list.

Our lease expired at the KC apartment, and Evan stayed because his schooling was in that area. I had been accepted into graduate school and so we moved back to ESU the same night as that terrible tornado devastated Reading. It was dark as we were driving on the highway, so it was impossible to see anything regarding funnel clouds and the like. We made it safely. We had rented a place with another couple--two friends of ours, Jordan and Carol. We moved in, started the semester and were having a pretty good time. Alex was able to transfer his job to the location down here, so that was an easy transition for him--except that he went from driver to parts counter, so he did have to learn the computer system.

The first semester of graduate school and teaching Comp I was very interesting and a lot of fun. I found out how difficult it is to keep up or to regain your footing once you have fallen behind in your work (to all those undergrads out there: it gets worse when you procrastinate. Don't do it!) but I really enjoyed working with my students and they certainly kept class lively.

In October we celebrated Alex's birthday, our 1 year anniversary and my birthday as well. We went to Santa Fe over fall break as our belated honeymoon, and it was a lot of fun. We drove all the way there and back in Alex's big truck, and we had fun walking around, trying the food and seeing the Contemporary Art Museum as well as the Farmer's Market (which was HUGE!). We made it a tradition to buy a bottle of wine every year that we save and open the next year on our anniversary. Since we took our trip over fall break, we celebrated differently on the actual date of our anniversary by cooking dinner (all me) and having a romantic evening with our Barefoot Bubbly (thank you Erica!) a dinner of chicken alfredo (which was the first meal I ever cooked for him, in 2007), and by taking pictures on a disposable camera.

We traveled to my mom's house the weekend after fall break for a day, and I came home with a birthday puppy. He is a mini schnauzer and his name is Alfonz Doogie von Schnauzer. His mother was Victoria and his father was Buddy. He is brothers with Evan's dog, Albert Schnitzel von Schnauzer. We call him Fonz or Fonzie, and he is totally my little cuddle bug! He's still in the puppy stages now, but I don't think he's going to get much bigger. He's currently losing teeth left and right. I found one the other day stuck to Sydney's black fur. It was possibly the smallest tooth I've ever seen.

In October we went to a Halloween party at a friend's house. Alex, Ray and Lisa even went and got me an ice cream cake from Walmart. It was the first ice cream cake I'd ever had for my birthday, and they sang to me also. It was very fun. There were costumes, drinking, and game playing to be had at that party. Halloween was a bit of a turning point for several of us, and we have since found different paths. Halloween and the week after led to a whole slew of events that changed friendships and relationships to the point of no return. Our roommates broke up, Carol moved out, and Jordan said he'd be leaving too so we started looking for places. For awhile we thought it would be neat (and that we'd be able to afford) to buy a house. We toured through two houses that were fairly cheap considering their condition, location and the like, but we were unable to afford the downpayment, even with loans and other assistance. It was nearly heartbreaking because the house we found was gorgeous with all wood floors (pine) and original wood trim, leaded windows, a foyer, a staircase with a carpet runner glued down, and an attic space that looked like it walked right out of Edward Scissorhands. Not to mention a fireplace on the main level, new stone tile counter tops and range in the kitchen, and a claw foot tub upstairs, a spacious yard with a privacy fence, a one-car garage, off street parking, a porch and a covered balcony on the upstairs master bedroom.

Once we discovered we would be unable to buy, we started looking for rentals. Jordan said he would be moved out by December 1, so we needed to find a place pretty quickly. We weren't having much luck. Then one day I went to the basement to change the laundry. Alex was upstairs. I got to the basement and heard a voice talking. I shrugged it off as the tv sound echoing through the air vents. But then I remembered that the tv wasn't on. Then I thought maybe it was Alex on the phone, but after a moment or two, it did not sound like Alex's voice. So I paused and listened. Then the person (male) who was apparently having a conversation over the phone, went up the stairs behind me and into the kitchen. I did not turn around to look at them. I calmly finished changing the laundry, filled the basket with the dry stuff, and returned upstairs to where Alex was sitting. I told him someone was in the house. He went to check it out, and found Riley, a friend of Jordan's, that Alex and I had only met briefly once before. Riley apologized, explaining that he thought no one was home, and proceeded to wait in the living room for Jordan to arrive. This all occurred around midnight. Alex then took the dogs outside at my request since I didn't want to walk them. That's when a few more random guys showed up on our front porch and were entering the house. Alex asked them to wait and told them Jordan wasn't home yet, but they responded with "It's okay, Riley's home." Only Riley doesn't live here either. I was about to call the cops (and really, Alex should have let me). I was so mad at Jordan. While Alex finished walking the dogs, I heard other voices as they all went downstairs, calling Alex an asshole. I was beyond pissed, and told Alex what I heard as he came in. I took the dogs upstairs while he went to the basement to talk to those guys. There were now 5 random people in our basement and Jordan still wasn't home. Two of them were apologetic and three were being rude, but none of them would wait outside. Finally when Jordan got home around 1 a.m., Alex let him have it, and we knew it was time for us to leave. Jordan apologized but I didn't believe it and it didn't sound sincere (yes I was eavesdropping). Then Jordan and his buddies boxed until about 3 a.m., even though it was a weeknight and we told them we both had to get up early and that the basement sounds resonate clear up into our bedroom on the second floor. A few days later, Alex told me to look seriously for new places to live, so I went driving around on Saturday Dec 3 for new places. Monday we gave our notice to the landlord and Wednesday we were moving out. Longer story short, we kept telling Jordan he needed to put utilities in his name and we were leaving, which he ignored, and it ended up being a whole big mess with the landlord, who decided to yell at me for Jordan's slacking. I straight up told the landlord that I was not Jordan's mother and therefore not responsible for his action or lack thereof. And yes I used big words, lol. Alex and I found a cute little place several blocks away and have settled in nicely, though not everything is put away quite yet. We finished out the fall semester in the new place, and had Christmas and a small New Year's party here as well.

Overall, 2011 was a stressful year. The good things we've got from this was we got to keep Alex's dad around (he had a pacemaker put in the day before Thanksgiving), we found out who our friends really were, and Alex and I have been able to move into our own place, just us and the pups, no roommates or close neighbors. Today is only the first day of 2012, but since 2010 was a year of gain, and 2011 a year of loss, 2012 should be pretty awesome. :) 

Until next time--