Sunday, December 21, 2008

2008 in Review

Do I have it in me? Am I not lazy enough to make this epic post? Can I even remember back to January?

Who knows?

I'm not one for a "holiday" letter, but after this past year, it might be a good idea to look back over the past 12 months and evaluate.

It all started in January, of course. I lucked myself into a new HDTV courtesy of Dad. Once that was put in, well, there was no looking back. With the new TV came new HD from Comcast. Then I discovered the beauty of On Demand. I started working out and kept with it for many months. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I worked out more this year than I have in my entire life.

Sadly, the results are less than exceptional.

In February I neglected to get Marci a Valentine's Day gift, so I wrote a poem instead. I continued with working out and got all geeked out about Indy IV.

March rolled around and the workouts continued. Incredible! I had a couple of Lund Bros. gigs, including what might possibly have been our Worst Show Ever at the Swiss in Tacoma. Interestingly enough, these were our first gigs for 2008 (we ended up having fewer shows this year than any of the past 2 years I've played with the Lunds). I also started up playing with the Scheme again and that was great. Why? Because we rehearse in Bellevue! Go Eastside! I also started getting the itch for another bass. The seed was planted and, evidently, the economy wasn't in the crapper yet. These days, a new bass is the furthest thing from my mind.

I turned 36 in April. Haley turned 6. I will forever be 30 years older than her. Kind of cool. I remember (without checking the blog archive) that my birthday was approximately 80 degrees. 9 days later, for Haley's birthday, we had snow, IIRC. I also received Rock Band for my birthday and that made for some great distractions for the next few months.

May rolled around and that meant Marci's birthday, a Rush concert, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. One of those was a lot of fun, one I didn't attend, and one was a big disappointment. Guess which was which? For Marci's b-day, I took her to Cirque de Soleil and had some sushi afterwards (again, what recession?). I skipped Rush as I'd seen them the last time they were here. And I saw Indy twice. Once at a midnight show, when it was a bit nostalgia trip; a second time with my bros, which was great, but made me realize how crappy the movie actually was.

Speaking of my bros (my blood bros, that is), Dung was in town from Ireland for 2 weeks in May and it was superb to hang with him. It was like having a bonus friend around. We got to spend a lot of quality time together, and with Mom and Dad as well. It was good times.

June was a busy month. It was still cold (the whole first half of 2008 seemed cold and grouchy). I recorded some songs with the Lunds. Had a show at the High Dive. Bought a couple CDs from two of my favorite musicians/bands (Aimee Mann & Weezer). Then we went on a road trip to California. We also found out that Riley had/has Chiari Malformation. We learned that surgery would be the best option and started the research to change his life.

I spent the first 2 weeks of July in California. It was right about then where my workouts started being less and less. I don't remember if I started them up again when I got back (sans Marci and kids). What I do remember was starting my Mad Men obsession. What a great show! I watched all of Season 1 On Demand. Marci and the kids got back later that month (with Ted in tow) and we proceeded through our summer until...

August! It was the dog days of summer. Or something like that. Riley turned 4; we had our annual swim party for him at the local watering hole. I traded my trusty Sterling for a new pretty red Lakland bass. So pretty! Marci took the kids camping at Mt. St. Helens and I stayed back again. We also set a date for Riley's surgery and started planning for that.

September is when the shit hit the fan. First off, I made an unscheduled trip to Texas to check on Dad. He had been diagnosed with colon cancer in 07 and spent most of his time trying to get it treated alternatively. His health took a downturn while he was in Texas so I headed there in early September. Shortly after bringing Mom and Dad back, things just fell apart. Dad died on 9/10/08. It was fast and swift and not completely unexpected. It was also numbing, heart wrenching, and completely a kick in the gut. So many things changed for us that month. My kids lost a grandparent for the first time. Hell, I suffered the biggest loss in my entire life. Until Dad died, I hadn't lost anyone close to me before other than my grandmother. Mom was now alone and we (including the Ireland Changs) were all there to console and comfort and just be with her. We cremated Dad a week later and proceeded to put our lives back together. I seemed to have a better (easier) time doing so than some other family members, but everyone does it differently, right?

October blew in with a bathroom remodel and a couple of rock shows. We also started gearing up for Riley's surgery. Getting nervous as well. We all started the healing process with Dad. Mom made big steps; she was busy and keeping me busy trying to take care of Dad's loose ends and stuff. Oh, yeah, on Halloween, one of my main generators at work decided to resign. It was totally addition by subtraction, but the timing was a little bad, especially just before the surgery.

November was filled with drama. After the first weekend, someone else quit on me that Monday, the day before Riley's surgery. It put me in a little panic as I was planning on taking a lot of time off to be at the hospital with Marci and Rye. But, luckily, things were able to work themselves out. We had Ted and Judy with us and they were able to keep an eye on Haley while Marci and I tended to Rye at Children's Hospital. The surgery was a complete and utter success and we were able to get Marci and Rye home in a few days.

In addition to the surgery, we had Marci with some health oddities (new allergies and things like that), as well as a stressful episode with Mom. Thanksgiving rolled around in a mellow fashion and we just took it easy. On the plus side, I got to carve a turkey for the first time in my life. Go me!

And now, it's December. As I type this up, we're up to probably 12" of snow. I can't remember the last time we ever had snow like this. We've been cooped up for the better part of 3 days. Thank the good Lord we have power still. I will take 10 feet of snow; as long as we have power, bring it on!

I'm supposed to have a Scheme gig tomorrow at the High Dive. A month ago when we booked the show, it sounded like a decent idea. Now? Not so much.

Riley continues to heal and amaze. As you know, a wish from the Make a Wish people was given to him. We're just waiting on it to become reality.

Haley was fabulous today. Her and I went out and worked on the driveway for a bit (if you call sledding "work"). She helped me clean, set the table, etc and was a good girl for the most part. It's been a tough year with her. Her behavior at home and at school (nurse visits weekly) have been quite confusing.

Marci's health seems to be under control now. She's aware of what she's newly allergic to (soy and nuts) and keeps an eye out for those things. Her parents are with us again for Xmas and we should have a good time this week.

I've been doing pretty good. Work has been horrendous. Business is way down. Snow day closures certainly aren't helping either. Cash flow is tight, but we are plugging away. It's hard for me to get down, though. As difficult as these past few months have been (and they have been tough), there are so many reasons for me to be thankful.

The people under this roof as well as the roof itself. I mean, c'mon. To be homeless, or have sick kids, or worse? I wouldn't be able to function. I'm blessed and so so so lucky to have been able to spend as much time as I did with Dad. I'm blessed to be able to try to carry on his tradition at C&A. He paved the way for me and I have a job/career because of it. My son had brain surgery and he is going to be a better, healthier kid because of it.

See? Things are good. Here's hoping they continue to go that way.

Merry Xmas to everyone, and, please be careful out there. There's a lot of snow!