Tuesday, December 27, 2005

2005

My friend Kevin did a year-end recap of his life, excerpting his own blog to look back on what has happened. I thought it was such a great idea that I immediately made plans to copy the idea. Why not? Everyone from Comedy Central to MSNBC.com will have a year-in-review. What I quickly realized is how many things actually didn't go anywhere. For a few months, I was faithful to a diet. A few times I attempted to break the mold and be creative for creative's sake. The only common thread among the blog was probably unhappiness and reminiscing about a different time in my life.

I reconnected with people I hadn't spoken to in years, I encouraged friends to start and maintain blogs. (Why no new posts, Allison?) I provided my own commentary on a lot of news events, whether you cared or not. My blog wasn't well read, but that's ok with me. I know that the people who read it are close to me and mostly weren't people next-blogging in order to leave me comment-spam.

At the beginning of the last year, I announced that I didn't like resolutions. I never have. But in what now looks infantile and stupid, I closed out that post by saying

But, if I must, maybe I will resolve to be more awesomer than I was last year. I don't know how possible that is, but that's something I can shoot for.

Looking back, that has not happened. There were good times and bad times with the wife and I think in our current plans we've reconnected, built momentum and are really strong and tight right now. I hope to keep that up into the new year. The little one grows in leaps and bounds, almost daily amazing me, but certainly, bringing me joy by the hour. I've really come to appreciate family, especially family that was new to me 6-1/2 years ago. I've really come to love the idea of big families and look forward to next year when we are able to regularly surround ourselves with lots of family.

The job situation is still troubling. I think the single biggest topic last year was my dissatisfaction with my job. In some ways, perhaps that's to be expected. Not so much the dissatisfaction, but how much my blog looked at it. For most humans, we're defined by our jobs. Usually one of the first questions we ask each other upon introduction is "So, Bob, what do you do?" Now, I'm at a crossroads. I do not have an answer to that question. I am job searching in one state while my current employer considers the idea of having me telecommute after the move. Were I to accept, I would continue to work for an employer who gave me a lot of grief this past year, but it would be for a greater good. On the other hand, I'd be breaking my own rule, something I wish they would adopt, but so far they haven't.

But the move to Seattle is exciting. And very scary. As we move into the final week of December, we have a lot of work to do. The laminate hardwood floors in the den and dining room are done, the hardwood refinishing in the rest of the house is done and looks so beautiful. All that remains for which I need outside help is the kitchen cabinets and new linoleum. The rest is all on us... repainting trim, patching some damage to a wall, erecting new walls, replacing a door and quite a few light fixtures, hanging curtains and the list goes on and on. And then there's the need to probably find a new job, the first long-distance airplane trip with the baby to house-hunt.

But how did I get here? Here's a quick look back.

January - Was it the start of something? Was it foreshadowing?
...But I find it interesting that people down here underappreciate Seattle because of the rain. But as I write this, I can imagine Seattlites cursing me. Shut up! We don't want the California people up here! Shut up!...
February - This month saw me get a year older, fully into my thirties. It rained again, and I felt homesick for life in the late 90's.
...I wonder what it would be like to live somewhere where it rains all the time. I remember a lot of rain in Seattle, but I don't remember it ever being like this. Apparently, statistically, it usually isn't. I guess I would own some sort of coat that repelled water, to start. I do have to say that the rain sounds really neat outside right now, now that I'm happily back indoors and very quickly getting really exhausted. It is nice to have the hot water heater (I still need to fashion a new exhaust pipe) done, it seems to much more open in the garage without the large box taking up space. Despite the project taking way too long, I think he knew what he was doing and I don't think it will explode or leak all over and make our house moldy, so that's good...

...I've come to realize that I've missed a few things and not even realized it. One, I've missed driving at freeway speeds. My morning commute in the carpool lane maybe gets up to 35. My evening commute, not that fast. Two, I miss driving my car. Most of the time I drive my wife's small SUV; I don't get much time behind the wheel of my Intrepid. Three, I miss driving after dark. Married with a kid kind of limits how often one can just get on the road at 11, 12, 1 or 2 am. It just doesn't happen, it's too hard to find a solid reason. And finally, as much to my surprise as anyone's, I miss the valley...
March - Apparently the sun came out in March...
...But now, when things are going really well, I'm not sitting here going "What could I have possibly done to deserve this?" Sure, I made an extra effort to be really nice and grateful to the AAA lady and the tow truck driver last week when I had to have my car towed, but I still drive to fast, get irritated too fast and probably spend a little too much time each morning at work reading the day's headlines. I really can't have done anything to deserve this, nor could I possibly believe that I had anything to do with this. It could be God, giving me a period of sunshine, or it could just be life going smoothly for the moment. Or, it could be part of my attitude... the thing about trying to be nicer and more social to people, beyond what it takes to conduct a transaction. Or maybe it's just a nice time....
April - Was the world about to end? That was the fear of a dream recounted.
...From the room, we could see the ocean. There were dark angry clouds in the sky. Pure white clouds or steam stretched from the ocean to the clouds. But, there was one opening. In that opening, the wind kept whipping up and swirling trying to form a tornado. It would, but kept loosing steam almost immediately. There were lots of silver birds flying around the area and you could see just the purest blue through the opening. Someone said that it was the kind of color you could see after a nuclear blast. But, we were facing the Pacific so I didn't know what that meant, or even what I was looking at....
May - Apparently in May I tried again at weight loss... it was my best attempt to date, a really great strategy called "There Will Always Be More Cake." The idea was that I would identify all of my problem foods and then each week I'd only be allowed to eat one of them if it was offered. That did actually last awhile, but not actually produce any results whatsoever. I may try it again, though.
...The family's been sick and the really twisted hours didn't help any. Nor did access to mostly bad-for-me foods. Even though they were supposed to be off-limits, I ate cookies, ice cream and doughnuts last week, and consumed several dark sodas, mostly just at the end of the week when everything went screwy. And, I paid for it. Probably about half my gain was lost (or half my lost was re-gained, depending on how you look at it.)...
June - Diet continued to be a big issue, but I also began to wonder if I was doing the right thing at work.
...But I'm wondering lately if it really isn't my purpose in life. Sometimes lately, I've started feeling like my purpose in life is to sit down and shut up. I could continue to see what was messed up, continue to know the best answer for solving it, but that it was not my place to try to fix it, that I should just accept the mediocre, the broken and the less-than-optimal, just as the rest of the world accepts it, often blindly missing the fact that things could be better. It's very unsatisfying....
July - The downhill slide continues...
...Every day my colleague and I waste so much time fantasizing about quitting. Although I'm not sure if he's being serious or not. I know he's at least half-way serious. He's lucky, that boss isn't his boss. My other boss is his boss. My other boss shows up in the office for maybe 20-60 minutes a week, spends most of that time on the phone working on consulting gigs and always leaves us hanging because he doesn't fully trust us, so all of our tasks are waiting for him to finish stuff. But his wife's a flight attendant, so he gets free flights, and he buys alot of stuff for work on his own credit card and gets reimbursed but gets to keep the Hilton points, so he's always flying places and stuff and we never know where he is. And his boss is completely oblivious to that fact. It's pretty annoying...
August - I finally give up...
...Which is why I've adopted a new motto for work. I DON'T CARE. I am not on leadership. I do not possess independent thought. I am a robot. I will do as i'm told, to the letter of the law. There is no spirit, there is no correction, this is no other possible way that could possibly be better, because if there was, someone else would have thought of it and told me to do it. I will not think for myself. It is a hard pill to swallow, and I'm finding it actually takes more work on my part to disengage my brain when I arrive at work. But I'm trying. It's a sad, frustrating world I'm trapped in....
September - And in September, I challenged God. Give me some kind of sign. The absense of a sign (anything!) means it's over. Led to some lively debate over whether or not God works so obviously in people's lives, butI don't think anything was ever solved, but I did take the lack of anything whatsoever as proof. A separate moment later on never made it into this blog because it was still under wraps, but maybe I should recount it later today since people keep asking about it.
...Crunch time. God, I already told You this in prayer, but I'm gonna put it here, too, in case You're reading blogs today. 40 minutes. If I don't have a super-huge-major completely-obvious no-doubt-about-it sign that You need me here at this job at this church, then I'm moving up the timetable. I cannot believe that it's in Your plan for me to be here and miserable. I need some beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt-proof that you need me here, or it's time for me to move on. 36 minutes.....
October - In the end of October, it did. I couldn't say it then, but the decision had been made. The clock started ticking. Even the blogs changed colors to symbolize that things were changing and I closed down the LA Traffic blog.
What if everything changed? I think that would be good.
November - The beginning of the end as we unravel things. This month I also started a separate blog where I can speak a little more freely about things I don't want to haunt me later. Nothing about it is tied to me and this is the only time you'll even hear me mention it.
The ambience of Islands is wonderful. I've lost track of how many different ones I've been to, but the experience is consistently great, a terrificly done tropical escape from the world around us. Last night we had dinner at the Islands in West Covina. It was sort of a last hurrah for us. Islands, we'll miss you.
December - The pieces were there, but cohesion was still lacking as the month began, though the picture began to become clearer as the month progressed.
...It feels like the impatience has come to an end, that we're now rushing madly towards something. It's like we were shown the box, and then it was poured out from the top of the Space Needle. All the pieces are there, but the task of getting them all togther seems both daunting, scary and nearly impossible. I know for my part, I have not been working hard enough. It's been really stressful and I've taken breaks when I could have been working on it. I'm worried that I'm not good enough and my failure is what's going to keep it from all coming together. Not to mention that we're trying to squeeze the contents of a 1,100 square foot home into much smaller amounts of space as we clear rooms to have flooring done or redone. And everyone else is sick. It's all very draining....

So what's next? I'm going to try to get back to the diet, back to the creativity, and maybe some more regular introspective and real posts, not just commentary on the news.
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