January -Rob and I spent New Year’s together at my then-apartment in Alexandria. At that point we’d been dating for maybe three months, but we were having a great time together.
A schizoid shitbag shot and killed a bunch of people in Tucson, and maimed US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. I got into a huge debate with some leftard on my friend Bill’s Facebook page. Bill and I agree on little politically – he’s a Democrat and a member of the Baltimore City Council – I’m, well… not any of those things. But Bill and I have known one another since college, and I respect him and consider him a good buddy, who cares more about the city than anyone I know. Proof positive you can be close to someone, and disagree about politics without vitriol or hatred. Too bad some of his friends and followers don’t get that.
February – I gained a new account at work. It was challenging, and I felt like I knew next to nothing. I spent much time at home perusing documents… and drinking wine. The wine didn’t help me understand the documents any better. Just saying.
Rob and I attended CPAC and drank with the inimitable Stephen Gordon and his wife Deb. Rob also got to meet my friend Bonnie, whom I met at Oleg’s house a couple of years ago, but haven’t seen since. We started spending a hell of a lot of time together.
By the end of the month, we started talking about moving in together. Just talking, mind you.
On the last day of the month, I applied for a promotion.
March – I began massive repairs to my house. A few months prior to this, the kids informed me that they wanted to move away from Stephens City and to a place that was a bit more… cosmopolitan… advanced… not in the middle of nowhere…
I installed new carpets, cleaned the place up, fixed doors, scrubbed the place down, and got rid of stuff… a lot of stuff to get it ready to sell.
Rob and I moved in together part time. Well, there wasn’t anything really different about our arrangement, actually. We’d been spending a lot of time together anyway – we were together every day I spent in Alexandria – so the only thing that really changed was that he was taking out the trash a lot more. We eased ourselves into our new arrangement, which was smart. We learned one another’s quirks and had time to see if we could actually get along under one roof. We did.
April – I celebrated my 40th birthday. Yes, I’m 40. Rob took me out to one of my favorite Italian restaurants – Murali at Pentagon Row.
I continued working on the house, and put it up for sale. Selling it turned out to be a nightmare. I own a five-bedroom, two and a half bath house in Stephens City – a corner lot on a third of an acre of land with a beautiful fenced backyard. Yeah. Couldn’t sell it to save my life. Dropped the price to less than what I owed for the damn thing. Still couldn’t sell it. My final option, other than a shortsale was to rent the thing, so I put that option out there. It took an additional three months.
Oleg came to visit. The visit was too short, but he got to meet the kids and hang out, and we had a wonderful dinner together.
May – Rob and I went to Vegas. No, we didn’t get married. But it was a much-needed vacation – the first one I’d had in several years. We spent a week eating great food, going to clubs, seeing shows and movies, and generally just loving life.
I came back – the house was still not rented or sold, and it was time to start looking at places to live. I had made a commitment that the kids would start at their new school in September. That meant that I only had a couple of months to sell my house and find a new place to live in Arlington.
At the end of the month, Rob and I were intensively looking for places to live, which proved to be more difficult than I anticipated. Most places here were incredibly expensive, and we couldn’t find too many that would allow us to keep our pets.
I was stressing. If I didn’t sell my house, I’d be paying rent and mortgage at the same time – not an amount I could afford. Those who wanted to buy my house, made ridiculously low offers for it. The neighborhood stagnated so badly, that I couldn’t sell that home for half of what it was actually worth. Meanwhile, my mortgage remained the same, and I knew I would have to pay not only rent on a new place, but also a security deposit. Things were not looking good.
June – I didn’t blog much, and I worked a lot. We found a house, and I had to arrange to have the movers come and pack up my old house, move into the new one, and arrange it all for the following month, when I had a two-week class I had to attend, and a week-long trip to Greece shortly afterward.
July – I went to Athens. I learned that I got my promotion upon my return. The move went as well as could be expected. Rob and I worked on consolidating the vast amount of crap we had accumulated in a relatively short time. Goodwill loved me. I gave away half my clothes, sold a lot of furniture and trinkets, and threw away even more.
Teeny enrolled in Commonwealth ChalleNGe – a program for at risk youth that provides values, skills, education, and self-discipline to kids who desperately need structure and challenge. It would be nearly six months before she came home.
My friend Pam was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. She’s in her 30s.
I had to say “goodbye” to my beautiful black lab. The ex – despite having raised that beautiful dog from puppyhood – wouldn’t keep him, and I was forced to give him to a friend from work. I still miss him.
August – The new tenant moved into my old house. He claimed to have been a former Marine. He promised he’d take care of my home and treat it like his own.
The Redhead and I bid adieu to the Winchester area and set out on our new adventure in Arlington along with our cats and Prickles the Hedgehog.
We found a tenant who went from being a nice, sane guy at the walk-through to a demanding psycho prick, who threatened to walk away from his lease obligation if I didn’t pay for an $1100 cleaning of the house, the vents and the ducts three days later. I consented to one cleaning, because I wanted to keep my tenant happy. I’d hoped that was the end of it.
Pam went through surgery. It was rough.
There were three of us: Me, Rob and the Redhead in a new house, adjusting to one another all at the same time. The ginger cat fell in love with Rob, and Rob – who had never liked cats before – found himself actually enjoying the cat’s company.
We established a routine.
We ate dinner together.
We tried to give each other space.
It took a few weeks.
We had an earthquake. I was at work when it happened. My computer started to shake. I stood up. A big wave of something rocked my balance. That was it. We evacuated the building, and it took me more than three hours to get home, where my son informed me that one of the cats lost bowel control from fear when the quake hit.
September: After a sustained spam attack that had me deleting thousands of spam comments daily, I moved my blog to WordPress.
The GOP debates were in full swing, and Rob and I were annoyed by the Klown Kar of Kookery that was the field of candidates.
The Redhead started at his new school. The first few days were a bit rough. He didn’t know anyone. He was a small-ish redheaded kid in a school of more than 2000. People seemed to overlook a short ginger kid, and he told me he felt overwhelmed by the size of the school and everyone in it. It didn’t take him long to make new friends, though, and he’s now a happy, well-adjusted kid whose sweetness and wit have charmed others into making him their friend.
My friend Emily and I drove to Philadelphia and visited Pam in the hospital. We spent the majority of the weekend with her and her wonderful family. She will kick cancer’s ass.
October: I learned I would be going to Ottawa in December for a conference. Who holds a conference in Ottawa in December, right? Rob agreed to hang with the Redhead. Two boys. One house. Me gone.
The batshit crazy, lying tenant skipped out on his lease with two days’ notice, because he apparently “unintentionally” quit his job. He caused more than $1000 worth of damage and lied to me about having a dog in the house. He then took a lot of trouble to avoid giving me his forwarding address, and I had to pay an attorney to help me demand what he owed. He’s still paying it off.
I took the Redhead shooting. He got to shoot his little 9mm Glock, my Glock and our friend Anna’s rifle. Then I blogged about it.
I had a cancer scare.
We found new tenants for the house.
November: November was filled with family, Thanksgiving, a lot of good food, and good news. I don’t have cancer. Some new medication cured the issues I was having.
I found out I lost a friend. She didn’t die. She just left my life. I don’t know the reason. I spent weeks wondering about it. And then I bid her “Goodbye.” You can’t force someone to talk to you. You can’t force them to respect you. You can’t force them to be your friend. You just have to accept their decision and move on. I have.
Rob and I always liked to talk. In November, we stayed up cuddling and talking late into the night. A lot. We spent Thanksgiving with Rob’s dad and stepmother. Food was great. We played board games. And they have doggies. Wonderful, sweet, cuddly doggies. Doggies that make me miss my lab.
December: Business trip to Ottawa. My beautiful girl graduated from Commonwealth ChalleNGe, with a Leadership Award, one of the highest scores on her GED exam, and Distinguished Cadet. I couldn’t be more proud and happier to have her home.
I met my wonderful friend Cara Ellison in person, when she decided to visit DC.
Christmas. The kids were with their dad in Stephens City. Rob and I exchanged presents in the morning and cuddled in bed for a while. We had lunch at Johnny Rocket’s, saw the new Sherlock Holmes movie and drove to his dad’s for Christmas dinner.
Teeny and I joined a gym together. It’s a mom-daughter thing. The Redhead claims he’ll join us.
The year is almost over. We’re having a few friends over for the countdown.
This year was odd. Rob and I became so much closer. The kids are happier and better adjusted. I’m no longer spending 4-5 hours on the road to and from work. We now live 15 minutes away from the office. Twenty minutes in traffic. I have a big portion of my life back.
There were stresses and adjustments and money problems.
But I think overall, the year’s good outweighed the year’s bad.
But I also think 2012 will be amazing! Compared to it, 2011 will be a pit of despair and ugliness.
I’m an optimist overall.