Almost everyone I know is doing 2013 wrap ups. There is a lot of joy and a lot of accomplishment and borderline gloating about the awesomeness of the year in the posts of many of my friends.
I've kept this journal since 2001, and to be honest, I don't feel like any one year in this 12 year span has been a GREAT YEAR. But I also don't think any year has been as abysmally shitty as this one.
I told my friend Carrie the other day that I'm exhausted from trying to be optimistic. It actually wears me out always trying to look on the bright side of things. I do see the benefit, and as someone who is naturally optimistic and hopeful, I would like to end this year with a look back on some of the good stuff.
My contract job has put me in positions this year (as some of my blog posts about the city outline) where I can help people. I can stop what I'm doing, step outside my schedule, miss a train or be late for work without it hurting my heart and soul, to help someone who really needs help. I've carried the fronts of strollers down stairs at Downtown Crossing, I've given Japanese tourists directions on how to get to the airport, I've made funny faces and played "5 little monkeys" with my fingers in the palm of my hand with toddlers on the orange line, I've helped blind people not walk into walls, I've helped blind people get to the right platform. Wondering if I'll ever help a blind person not fall onto the tracks one of these days because I bet that's coming.
To be honest, being able to commit service to others has strengthened me and given me hope that I'm not useless, worthless and horrible. Having all that stuff happen with the house and finally losing really trashed my soul, my self esteem, my faith in other people (never in God, don't forget that... never felt abandoned by him just completely soul-raped by banks and people). So being able to miss a train because I helped some guy who has no idea how to get around in Boston is a blessed sacrifice. I'll do it again and again through my tenure in the Seaport.
I have some great co-workers who seem to like me. I still feel like I'm on the periphery of the team, though... not really part of it and not fully trained to know what is going on. It may have something to do with where I'm seated, it may have to do with the fact that I'm a contractor so why teach me everything and why include me on lunch call outs... I'm not really an employee.
But I want to feel that way, and hope to feel that way.
My co-worker Tim has to be one of the funnest people I've gotten to know, and it makes me sad to have to report that he got let go during his 90 day introductory/probationary period. He arrived there before me and applied for the open real position with the company, and got it. I guess that during the probationary/90 day/whatever period that this company does it was found that he just wasn't a good fit, and they let him go. It's kind of weird... I've been hoping they would have a full time real job for me at some point, and I have yet to ask if they'll be posting Tim's position publicly again or if it is now in limbo... I never imagined that my hoping for a real job with this company would come at his expense though.
Often I've said "be careful what you pray for..."
August was a hard month with packing and moving. It was very stressful. I never really let on exactly how upsetting this process was for me. And it is still upsetting because a certain bank keeps sending me letters saying "we want to help you save your house! Call us today!" which is just plain infuriating and insulting.
But for as horrifying as this all was, Geoff is in his school, he's doing great. We got a great big apartment. The dogs are good (when they aren't falling down flights of stairs because they're old and their legs don't work... trust me guys, I know how you feel!) I feel like the next year and a half will be very good for him. And I'm so hopeful for him and Eagle.
I miss my old house, and my old neighborhood and my neighbors, but there are things here that are magical and wonderful and I'm so deeply thankful. The sky here seems so much more full of stars at night even though we are much closer to Newburyport and what I would think would be a lot more light pollution. The land behind the house backs up to a farm on the other side of a thick copse of woods, and every day we watch four deer come out onto the edge of the property and pick for crab apples and other treats. And we have a wood stove, which is a bit too far away from where I'm sitting but it is a lot more efficient than our last wood stove which seemed to always need fed. Logs seem to burn a lot longer in this one and I'm hoping the two cords we bought last to the end of winter. And my neighbors across the street are good good friends of ours from church whom I just plain LOVE, and I love their boys and I love their chicken eggs (don't love their rooster crowing all day every day but they don't love him either). I am blessed to have them over there.
We've gone through a bunch of cars this year in ridiculous and epic fashion. Our Jeep died, I totaled a car, the Subaru and then the 2nd Volvo both blew head gaskets. We don't have any money to buy a really super good car, and we can't get any credit anywhere until I have a real job with real earnings over a six month period so we were back at the NH state auto auction yesterday with a budget of $2000 dollars, looking at all the No Reserve cars. No reserve meaning the dealer selling the car doesn't have a minimum price that the vehicle has to go for. Doug picked out two cars that he was most interested in (operative terms for him: gas mileage and back seat leg room for the kids), and he bought one for $850. I hope it lasts longer than 6 months. He feels that if he scores a good car for under a grand and it lasts for 6 months, he's made out better in the long run than paying a 6 year car payment where banks make interest on our money and then the car blows up at in intersection in Buffalo NY on the way home from a conference.
With the cars blowing up left and right, I am reminded that I am dearly loved by my friends. I put out on Facebook that we needed rescued DURING A SNOWSTORM and within minutes we had several offers of people calling us or responding that they'd come get us. Thankful beyond imagination for Amy who was the first to respond and drove us home up lonely 95 surrounded by snow plows. I'm also amazed by the kindness of strangers, specifically the mechanic who declared our Subaru dead but was able to give Doug a ride to within 90 minutes of Boston that very night. The guy's willingness to help Doug get close to home, refusing to take payment for gas ("We have to go that way anyway, so we fit you in the car!"
There was so much stress, but also so much to laugh about all at once. I could go on but I've got a carpet to vacuum and stairs to sweep before Doug gets home from church. As Mr. Springsteen says, and as the title of the blog attests, right now I may not be in the perfect space and things may seem a little bleak (more than a little bleak) at times... but I hope Mr. Springsteen is right.
Goodbye 2013 and all your bullshit. Don't leave any bad mojo residue behind for me to deal with in 2014.