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2005 – A Valediction

December 31, 2005

At the time of this writing, fewer than four hours remain before 2005 gives way to 2006.

I usually shy away from writing "year in review" posts…if only because everyone else seems to.  2005, though, I believe deserves special consideration.  I cannot say 2005 has been a good year – there has been too much tragedy in the last 365 days to say such a thing – but it was certainly an eventful year.

It began in January, as most years do.  The wife and I started the year with our hands full.  We were building a house in southwest Austin…a house already behind schedule..and in the first days of January began the arduous process of cleaning out our house, packing away unnecessary items, and getting things presentable.

Around this same time, I finally admitted to myself that I was getting nowhere writing in the Xterra, and turned to my laptop instead.  I still felt like Sisyphus pushing at his boulder, but at least the boulder was finally moving again, however slowly.

January turned into February, and we were still packing up the house and getting ready to put it on the market.  When we did, in mid-February, we got a full-price offer within a day.  It was more than we could hope for.

But then tragedy struck.  Only days after signing the contract to sell the house, our dachshund, Meg, was attacked and killed by another dog at the doggy daycare we had been using to keep the dogs out of the house while it was on the market.  We were all devastated by the loss, and by the sudden and senseless nature of it, but none moreso than Jamie.  Meg was her dog, after all.

In March, the healing process slowly began, and Jamie began thinking about getting another dachshund.  She called the breeder she had gotten Meg from, and learned that Meg’s mother was pregnant with a litter of puppies sired by the same father.  We were not planning to jump into another dachshund so soon…but it seemed right that we should get one of Meg’s sisters.

March also saw me ramp up my efforts to sell the Defender…whose proceeds were intended to go toward the down payment on the new house.  As it was getting warmer, I began driving it around.  And then one day, as I was driving it home from work, it caught on fire on the highway.

The string of misfortune continued in late March when a strip of north Austin was pummelled by a hailstorm the likes of which I had never seen.  Fortunately, I was at a gas station when it hit, and took refuge with the Xterra under the station’s roof.  Jamie’s car was not so lucky, and took $11,000 worth of damage.  Our house took a beating, too, and we ended up having to replace the roof and garage door.  Fun, considering we were moving closer and closer to the closing date.

In April, our fortunes seemed to improve.  We got the roof replaced and closed on our house…though we continued to lease it until our new house could be finished.  I managed to (finally) sell the Defender.  And, also in April, we brought home not one dachshund puppy, but two, Maggie and Millie.

May, then, became a month of farewells.  On the 13th the Defender left for its new home in California, and two weeks later we closed on our new house.  We moved a handful of days later.

Much of June was taken up with settling into the new house and packing for a three week vacation we would be taking in July.  June was also a busy month at work – as I was working day in and day out to complete a massive project before leaving on vacation.  June also saw the last of Jamie’s Honda Pilot, which we traded in for a Ford Mustang, figuring that now’s the time to have one, before we have kids and she has need of something more practical.

In late June, we left on our trip, and were gone much of July.  It was a two-week Mediterranean cruise, bookended by a few days in Rome and in Barcelona.  The trip was filled with some familiar sights – it was my fifth time to Rome and my third to Pompeii – and some that were completely new to both me and Jamie.  It was the first time either of us had been to Africa, France, and Spain, and it was an incredible journey.  Yet, by the time I returned home, I felt as though I needed another vacation just to recuperate from my vacation.

The few remaining days of July, for me at least, were filled with things automotive.  Alarmedby the price of gas (funny, looking back, that I was appalled to be paying $2.10/gallon), I acted on a plan I had been considering for some time, and traded in the venerable Xterra for a more efficient Mazda Protege5.  The end of July also marked the beginning of my research on BMW, as the agency geared up to pitch the business.

In August, Jamie found herself a teaching position at an elementary school in the Manor school district  east of Austin, and much the rest of her summer was spent gearing up for the school year.  And then, at the very end of August, Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana.  The aftermath riveted the nation, but for me and the wife the impact was more personal.  My brother and his family were living in New Orleans at the time…and Jamie’s best friend was attending medical school there.  All got out safe and no longer call the Big Easy home…Tim has moved here to Austin while Jamie’s friend Jessica transferred to another med school up in Dallas.

September began with an impromptu hurricane relief effort that we threw together at the agency, and ended with another hurricane that brought Jamie’s parents, her grandmother, and their four dogs here to Austin for a few days.  The threat of Hurricane Rita striking Texas also forced Mark to cancel his plans to come down to Austin for the massive outdoor Austin City Limits music festival.  The hurricane missed by a wide margin…but instead we were treated to temperatures that would have been absurd in August, much less at the end of September.

In October, I made my way up to Dallas to visit Mark…and drove by the house I grew up in, the house my parents sold earlier in the year…and realized that it was not just another memory.

I went back to Dallas in November, and saw Ben Folds in concert.  It was an amazing show.  November was also the month when we learned that we had won the BMW account…a huge win for the agency, and one I am proud to have been a part of.

And then…December.  I must confess, this twelfth month has gone by in the blink of an eye.  The wife and I both had birthdays, I had my annual performance review at work(which went amazingly, staggeringly well), and we flew out to Arizona to visit my parents for Christmas.

And now, at last, after all the twists and turns and ups and downs, 2005 is at last drawing to a close.  I, for one, am ready to see it go.  Not because I bear it any ill will, or because it was an especially bad year (though it certainly had its malevolent moments), but because I believe it has laid the groundwork for what could become a stellar 2006, and because I look forward to finding out what the future holds.

A truly Happy New Year to you and yours.  May your 2006 be blessed with good fortune and, when 2007 looms, may you look back on it with warmth and fond memories.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 1, 2006 11:26 pm

    A Happy New YEar to you and Jamie as well. Here’s hoping 2006 proves to be the best year yet!

  2. January 4, 2006 12:58 pm

    2005 was a hard year for me for a lot of reasons, but like you, I believe those hardships have paved the way for a wonderful 2006.

    Happy New Year!

  3. January 6, 2006 10:10 am

    2006 is shaping up like an awesome year already. I’m here in Orange (right outside L.A.) and I Wednesday night I took a break from the restaurant opening and went to a local sports bar with a friend to watch the game. Of course I was wearing a UT shirt to support my team in the biggest game they have played since 1970! As I walked into the bar it was a seen of red and gold – just my luck, it was the meeting place for the Orange County USC Alumni. They had reserved almost the entire bar! I really felt like the music stopped and all eyes were on us when we walked in. The manager made it pretty clear that this was a USC bar but said we were welcome to stay if we don’t mind being on the losing side. My response….I held both hands in the air and yelled “HOOK EM HORNS” as loud as I could – and that’s pretty loud! Never in my life have I seen 300 people get quiet so quickly. I did get a thumbs up from an old-timer across the bar though. Well, we made our way to the bar and carved out a little spot with a good view of the Giant Big Screen. The game was completely INCREDIBLE!!!!!! Halfway through the third I started to lose my voice from all the friendly taunting. Then came the final touchdown – and my voice was lost for a day, I think I got a hgh five from everyone in the bar. Absolutley the most fun I have ever had watching a game, good people, crazy crowd, Southern California and a Longhorn National Championship. I actually have a pocket full of business cards from all the people there and may have several potential franchisee/investors. All this from a crazy fan! What a great start to the year!
    Anyone want a National Championship shirt – they are selling them here real cheap!

  4. January 6, 2006 11:49 am

    I got a cheapo knockoff one at the HEB…but if you’re getting the real deal ones, I’ll take one!

    Also, not sure I ever got you that longhorn emblem when were were out in AZ…

  5. January 6, 2006 12:32 pm

    No problem – we can make a swap.

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