Saturday, 21 November 2009

The year from hell

Changing seasons have finally brought about new hope for the future. The past year has been complete hell. I'd love to just forget about it, but I must keep it in my mind and learn from it. I must look back at the events and use them for strength and motivation to overcome what the future throws my way. The leaves changing are a metaphor to me - drop it and start over.

I will reflect back on the crappy memories with fondness and discourse at the same time. I overcame a shit storm, and for that I'm forever thankful. But why do shit storms have to happen at all?

There's a train of thought that those who cruise through live without ever encountering such events are living a dream, and eventually they will be caught unprepared, their dreams will quickly become nightmares. I like to believe this past year has simply prepared me for worse things, I just hope it doesn't happen again any time soon.

The year from hell began last September, and ended last week. A little over 13 months. I'm calling it over because I'm tired of it now, it can go back into the bottle it came out of. It's time to move forward.

Last week Kim finally landed a job. She's in the middle of two weeks of training, and so far she really enjoys it. It's not great money, (yet?) but it's enough to stop my worrying about where the next meal is coming from or how I will take care of my little one's birthday in a couple of weeks. She enjoys the job, and that's a good thing, on her first day I sat at work wondering how she was making out - wondering if she thought it was a huge disappointments, like so many false opportunities of late. I picked her up from her new office that night to see a beaming face and bright eyes. She didn't need to tell me anything. I knew. The year from hell was over.

Ironically, the year from start coincided with the start of this blog. My first post was October 25, 2008, about a month after Kim went back to school to finish her degree. A time of optimism and hope. After 16 years, she was going to finish school, and decide what to do with herself. She was in a crap job, and I was happy to see her get out of there. Actually, she asked to be reduced to part time to accommodate the classes, but they cut her so much it wasn't worth going in at all - so she quit. She devoted her time to school and excelled, and now has the degree. A good start.

Going back through my posts I found that November 14 was the start of it. To quote myself - "The shitty economy has hit our little world". Kim is in school, I'm the only income, my hours had been cut, and the economy tanked.

On November 22 I posted that I had entered the contest to run the Olympic torch. Update - I lost, my boss won. Another reason I hate him.

On December 11 Kim finished school. I wrote that I was eager to see her in cap and gown. If I'd only known then.

I spent Christmas day 2008 sick and recovering from oral surgery.

On January 15 the cable company accidentally shut us off for a week. The kids went nuts. If they'd only known. We still don't have it now.

On February 22 I did something about dreams and regrets. More foreshadowing.

On March 16 the back door jams fell apart, we didn't have the cash to fix it, so we invented the redneck door lock. It's still there.

On March 24 I wrote about how much fun it was dealing with Bell and our new office data connections. Ironically enough, that's the field Kim is now training for.

On April 4 I wrote about the tanking economy again, bad job stats, high unemployment, etc. We had become a statistic. Kim still had no job prospect. She continued school, but soon realized the courses she was taking had no bearing on her degree, so that stopped. We did a consolidation loan as we saw the writing on the wall.

On April 25 the City of Windsor went on strike. Well, most of it anyway, the worst of it would last 101 days, bring out the best and worst in people, and it's still causing ripples today. There were other things too, you'll have to read.

On May 27 the garbage strike got ugly.

On July 5, we did something about it.

On July 25, I lost my father. There was no blog, only pain. I posted on August 11 about renewal. Since then, we still haven't finished dealing with the fallout of his death. He lived with us, so his stuff is here. His life is here. Constant reminders of what we've lost. I think it's too soon to deal with the final issues, at least for me it is. We started, but with everything else going on, it's really difficult. I really miss him. I really miss the sounds of the house when he was in it. Everything now is too quiet and surreal.

August 18 brought the duldrums. Moods were changing for the worse.

August 21, it got worse yet.

A friend and I spent almost a year planning a reunion. On August 30, I wrote about how it didn't quite work out. A year of expectation and planning down the tubes.

September 5 - changing traditions, by force.

September also saw us meeting with a bankruptsy trustee for an info session. Kim has been out of work for a year at this point. We're hanging on, with some help. Dad passing also reduced our income - he paid us rent. We started draconian cost cutting, and the kids started getting used to things being 'different'. Luckily, we never followed through with the bankruptsy, but it was close. We kept putting it off in the hopes that it turned around. Also at this point, my brother also lost his job. Things sucked all round.

As a final kick in the ass, and a reminder about how bad things were getting, our neighbours across the street had their house seized by the sheriff. Evicted. It's a legal battle now, but imagine coming home from work to find your locks changed and you've been given 12 hours to clear out. Ick.

On October 19 Kim graduated from University. In our friend's living room. Thank God for friends.

November 11 was the first Remembrance Day without dad. Kim posted a wonderful tribute to him, but I chose a different path. I just couldn't write about him, it's still too soon.

So there you have it. In the grand scheme of things, we didn't lose our house, our car, our health, our future, if anything, we gained. We came back down to earth and realized that there is more to life than what we take for granted everyday. I have been humbled by the events of the past year, and I have lowered my expectations. I know take great pride in what we have, we survived a shitty year and want to strive to make it better from this point forward. There is so much more that I didn't write about, but no need for more details. To those who's lives around us have also been impacted by major events that I have not included here, this is strictly based on my posts over the past year. It certainly doesn't downplay the importance you play in our lives.

Next year will bring renewed life on our little world. These posts will be more positive and my expectations of the future have only one direction to go - up. Thank you to my friends and family who have helped us get through this tumultuous time in our lives.

The year from hell is over.

Let the light shine anew.