Monday, December 31, 2007

My year in review

This isn't something I'd normally do, but this has been an unusually "heightened" year, involving travel, self-reliance, education, property damage, and family drama. Here, then, is a month by month breakdown of the events of this year.

January--At the age of 47, I finally start graduate school.

February--My husband is offered an opportunity to take a four-month assignment in India. I am delighted, but panic a bit, because he is the house guy. I am daunted (and rightly so, it turns out) at the thought of holding down the fort.

March--My husband takes an exploratory trip to India at the end of the month.

April--He returns to India to begin the assignment. I conclude my first semester of grad school, which I approached in a toe-in-the-water sort of way with one class. I get an A, so now feel brave enough to try two classes. Fortunately, I can take them locally.

May/June--I start my second semester of grad school. I also experience household annoyance #1. Someone has an accident down the street from me, resulting in one of the cars careening down the street, knocking down my mailbox, and a the car's fascia falling off and tumbling into my driveway. I was actually walking onto the driveway from the backyard when this happened.

I then have to call handymen, which is a thing I have never had to do because my husband is a handy guy. Also, I have to call insurance companies while lacking info about who was in this accident because I have to wait on the police report, yada, yada. It makes me too tired to even think about it now. Long story short--my husband comes home for a few days on a scheduled break, and fixes it himself before returning to India again. The insurance company of the at-fault driver eventually covers the expenses.

July-- I host and enjoy our annual family 3rd of July (because that's the fireworks day) celebration, even though I can't get the grill to work (I broiled the chicken instead). The pool, however, which I have been maintaining myself for the first time, sparkles. (My husband opened it back when he was home.) I finish my second semester of grad school (and my work semester) at the end of the month, attend my 30th high school reunion, then go off to meet my husband in Amsterdam. I had never gotten on a plane alone before, so that was a bit of an adventure for me.

August--I thoroughly enjoy my time in Amsterdam with my husband. He returns home with me for a few days, then goes back to India to wrap some things up. At the end of the month, there is a week of severe storms in the midwest. On Friday of that week, there was a tornado in a nearby town. The night before that (also coinciding with my first day back at work), though, my neighbor's tree is struck by lightning, causing it to fall into my backyard. It crushes her gazebo and my chain-link fence, and punctures a hole through our swimming pool's winter cover (which, thankfully, we had put on before my husband went back to India, or the damage to the pool would have been awful). It took down my (and only my) power lines, resulting in no electricity, no phone, and no Internet. I spend the night at the house of the neighbors who have the offending tree.

September-- My son starts grad school. Because of the August storm, this is a month of calling power companies, tree removal people, pool/repair concrete folks, and the insurance company. My husband is now in Russia and wants me to come visit, which involves applying for a visa as quickly as possible (also something that makes me too tired when I think about it now.) I also start my third semester of grad school. I find out during this time that one of my family member's marriage has fallen apart (to everyone's surprise) and that he has been having serious health and emotional problems.

October--September blurs into October. The tree has been removed, the fence repaired, but the first pool guy I called never really communicates with me, so then I get a new pool guy who replaces the cover. I finish my 8-week work session, so there is a week where I have to write and grade exams and calculate grades, turn in a project for the class I'm taking, and get ready to leave for Russia (I have also been tutoring twice a week for pretty much the course of this entire narrative.) I also need to prepare lesson plans for two weeks for my sub.During this week, there is an unseasonable evening of storms involving several tornado warnings, so spending two nights before I left grading papers in my basement until I go to my neighbor's house because I don't want to be alone if trees start to fall again. Finally, I leave for Russia. As October turns into November, I enjoy two wonderful weeks in St. Petersburg.

November--I return from Russia on a Sunday night, go to work on Monday, spend all day Tuesday finishing a project for a class on Tuesday night, send an e-mail to my Wednesday night teacher begging for mercy and a 24-hour extension for the project that is due Wednesday night (which he mercifully grants), attend class on Wednesday night, and spend all day and night Thursday finishing the Wednesday night project (thank God for digital Drop Boxes.) I promise, I had worked on these in Russia, but just didn't have everything I needed there.

Thanksgiving was pretty low-key, just the way I needed and wanted it.

December--Much scrambling to finish my work semester, my school semester, do some minimal Christmas shopping and decorating. My husband comes home for good (oh, and did I mention I had also been scrambling around rounding up & mailing various documents regarding his upcoming retirement and dealing with the [very annoying] relevant investment company [which I can't write about too much, or I will burst into flames]). Christmas was lovely, but I have pretty much been spending the last several days sleeping or reading my library books...ones I checked out to read for FUN.

Also, sometime during these months, my washer broke, my oven is usable but has developed a problem that requires its replacement, and both panes of glass broke out of my side storm door during a windstorm.

In a week or so, it will all start up again, but my husband will be home. Yay! I told him next time he leaves again (which he might if he gets contract work during retirement) I want power of attorney and a condo. He said I can have them, but I will have to stop by the house once a week to check on the house. :-(

I must say, during this time, my oldest stepson and his wife and my next-door neighbors have been absolutely wonderful to me. Without them, these past few months would have been so much harder. It has been one of the most interesting years of my life, but I'm sort of glad to put it to bed.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A thing that annoys me

I hate it when people call Banana Republic (the store) "Banana." It makes me unreasonably angry. That's all.