Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011 in review

It's been a LONG time since I blogged. I needed a break and while I had so much to say I also had nothing to say about it. Some of you will know exactly what I mean by that. If you don't, you're lucky. I wasn't going to do a year in review post, but I decided I needed to. I need to see 2011 in writing and know I lived through it, I survived, and am stronger for it. Without further ado, a month by month rehash of the suckatude that was 2011.

What to say about January other than holy mother fucking SNOW Batman. It was the snowiest month in recorded history in CT. I own a house and live alone (with very vigilant neighbors, burglars be warned!) which means I was the one who had to snow blow and shovel all of it. I think it snowed every three days for the entire month. By the end of the month I was walking full shovels of snow from the end of my drive way up to the middle of it because I could no longer throw the snow high enough for it land on top of the (over 6 foot tall) snow banks. I swore a lot that month. And I was sore a lot too. Thank god for snow days, vacation time and comp days. They are the only way I survived last winter.

Also in January my cat, Moonshine, got sick. We upped his meds and hoped for the best.

Moonshine didn't get better no matter what we tried. He got worse and by the end of the month I knew the end was coming very soon for him. He was 13 and to me that's still young for a cat. My cats growing up lived to be 18. I thought I had more time with him.

Also at the end of February my garage door broke. One of the springs finally rusted completely through and snapped. I'd known that day would come since I bought the house, but I still wasn't prepared for it. My car was in the garage when it happened. Thankfully, the only damage was the garage door. Somehow the spring completely missed my car when it snapped. No idea how that miracle happened, but I'm glad it did!

The beginning of March brought the death of Moonshine. His heart disease was too bad for the medicine to work anymore. I had to put him to sleep. It was one of the absolute worst days of my life. That cat was like a child to me and for a cat we had a lot in common. I still miss him every day and even writing this paragraph has made me cry.

The only good to come of March was my new garage door. The new one doesn't have holes in it that you can put your fingers through and it has springs that are brand new and not all rusty. Of course, I had to pay for the door, but still. New garage door! And you know you're a grown up when a new garage door is exciting.

Ahhhh April. The month of my birth. April started with $1300 worth of unexpected car repairs when my check engine light came on and my car randomly stalled twice while I was driving. That's not awesome. After the car was fixed I'd driven it 36 hours before said light came BACK on. Needless to say I was back at the mechanics and PISSED about it. That visit was free because they "probably" should have caught the problem when I was there previously, but I shouldn't have had to go back at all.

I don't remember much about May. I think it was the only month where something bad didn't happen last year. It's one of my favorite months of the year so that's a bonus. Everything blooms and the days are noticeably longer and warmer. It's just an overall good month.

Oh June, how I loathe thee every year. June at work is crazy. And by crazy I mean infuckingsane. I work in fund raising and the end of our fiscal year is June 30th. This year we stopped being able to process Visa card charges for a week because someone at some company somewhere did something that effectively broke our account. A colleague and I spent literally five full days on the phone, either on hold or on conference calls or being shuffled from person to person and company to company to try to get the problem resolved. It wasn't anyone's problem, no one caused it and no one could fix it because there WAS no problem on their end. A nice man named Justin finally had the answer for us and was able to fix the issue in less than 18 hours once we finally got to speak to the right person. That was stress I didn't need in June because June is stressful enough as it is. Oh and one of the days when we were on those damn conference calls? The power went out at work so we sat in a dark office in a stuffy hot building where the windows don't open trying to convince someone that they really needed to figure out what the problem was. Good times. Good. Times.

This was the July where I had to push my vacation back by two days. On the plus side to compensate for that I ended up taking an additional week off so that was nice. On the minus side, pushing your vacation back because of work SUCKS. It was the right thing to do, but let me tell you how that isn't going to happen again.

August brought Hurricane Irene and the destruction of the area I grew up in. I, personally, had a hurricane day at work (think snow day, but with a hurricane instead of snow) and thus sat on my couch refreshing my Facebook page and scouring Youtube to see photos and videos and read personal accounts as the water rose and swept away everything people owned. I don't often feel helpless, but let me tell you that day I felt as helpless as I've ever felt in my life.

On the plus side from all of that my faith in people was restored as I reached out to friends and colleagues for aid and they (you all) gave generously to people they've never met and to an area which most of them have never traveled to. Thank you again to everyone who donated anything at all (or even tried to). You all are my heroes and are just awesome people.

I had to think a bit about what happened in September that was bad. I think I've blocked this event from my mind because...ugh. September was the month that my lawn tractor blew up while I was mowing my lawn. BLEW. UP. with me on it. My first thought was thaaaaaaaat's going to be expensive. My second thought was holy shit, I hope I don't have to call the fire department, that would be embarrassing. I mean, the damn thing was on fire for a short time directly behind my kitchen and under a huge rose of sharon bush (tree?). It didn't occur to me that I could have been hurt until hours later. That's when I started shaking. Gotta love the delayed onset of shock. Oh, and you know how in movies when cars explode their hoods fly up? That also happens in real life when lawn tractors explode FYI.

Fucking October. On October 29th we got 13 inches of snow. And because it had been unseasonably warm all the leaves weren't off the trees yet. Which, of course, caused damage beyond what you can even imagine. My power went off at 4:20 pm on October 29th. It was off for a very long time (see November, below). I lost the cherry tree in my front yard. It just tipped over. My beautiful magnolia lost half it's limbs. My enormous maple in the back lost a limb the size of a 40 year old tree. It was HUGE. I spent the night cringing every time I heard the snap of another limb breaking convinced that would be the one that would crash through my roof and into my bedroom. I was lucky. My house suffered no damage, my psyche on the other hand....jury is still out on that one.

My power did not come back on for 10 days and 5 hours (245 hours). Have you ever been without power for more than a day? It isn't fun. I had running water and that was it. No heat, no hot water and obviously no electric lights. I "cooked" on my gas grill and with sterno. My house smelled of candles and sterno for a VERY long time. It was 42 degrees inside one morning when I woke up. I opened my windows that day because it was warmer outside than in. I'm pretty sure I now know what it feels like to be crazy. I was not in my right mind by the end of day 5 with no power. I started to do stupid things on day 6 when I grabbed the hot pan off my gas grill with no oven mitt. Thankfully the burn wasn't too bad. I am SHOCKED I did not set myself on fire while lighting candles. I have never in my life been more conscious of when sunset was and of the need to be home before dark to get the candles lit and dinner started.

Next time it's 45 degrees outside go stand in the shade for an hour and then go ahead and change your clothes. All of them. Get completely naked and enjoy the hell out of that briskness. That was my life (inside my house) for over a week. I'm just going to go ahead and say it again, FUCK YOU CL&P (Connecticut Light and Power), FUUUUUUCK YOU, the storm wasn't your fault but your piss poor response to it was. Someday I'll write more about what those 245 hours were like. Someday.

I am eternally grateful for the offer and use of hot showers and for the fact that my place of work had power and heat and I could charge things there. I might not have gotten ANY work done, but I was warm and fully charged for a few hours a day. I think that helped keep me sane. I'm also grateful for everyone who offered a warm place for me to stay or shower or do laundry and the warm food people brought me. You guys are all awesome. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The crews from Pike Energy in one of the Carolinas turned my power back on at 8:20 pm on Tuesday, November 8th. 245 hours almost to the minute from when it went off. I missed the one day a year where we get a bonus hour to sleep or watch a movie or walk our dogs or do whatever we want because I was sitting on my front steps shivering and trying to warm up a full week after the storm.

Oh, and Halloween was canceled. Just canceled. Most towns in my area just skipped it this year because it was too dangerous with downed limbs and downed power lines. I know it's not a major holiday, but it still strikes me that it was canceled.

The morning of the day before Thanksgiving I was in the shower, just rinsing the last of the conditioner out of my hair when the power went out again. I turned off the water and stood in my shower for a few seconds hoping the lights would come back on. They didn't. I got out and got dressed and shook for the full five minutes the power was out. Pretty sure the PTSD from the power outage of 2011 is going to take a long time to go away. I've never been happier to have a reason to leave my house. Getting the hell out of CT on that day was the best thing that could have happened to me. Thank god for Thanksgiving!

I guess December wasn't all that bad either. It was just busy. Frankly after the rest of the year I'm not sure I could have handled anything going wrong in December.

So here's to a 2012 that is NOTHING at all like 2011!


kvonhard said...

I couldn't agree more with your assessment of the last few months. I know we didn't know each other well or much then, but I recall a bit about seeing Moonshine and didn't really know. My sympathies and apologies. Here's to a new year. A new beginning. And being able to sit in the dark, hearing sirens, and not freaking out.

Jess said...

The sirens...yeah. That. I think there are thousands of us that aren't ever going to hear every day noises like that in the same way again.

And thanks for your sympathies. Moonshine was a great cat.