Parting is Such Sweet, Sweet Sorrow, 2010:

Friday, December 31, 2010

And I mean, that.  The sweetness of your departure cannot really be amply expressed.  It's the 365th day of you, 2010, you wretched beast of a year.  The very last day of what seemed to be an endless hit-parade of trials and tribulations.  The best I can say about you in retrospect was that you were unerringly efficient - with just 12 months to work with, you managed to pack a veritably bruising punch.

You took great delight in raising my hopes by delivering a price drop on the house I'd been pondering, and by the end of February, I signed on the dotted line.   And while all that was very exciting, you jerked the rug out from under me before I could get a stick of furniture moved in when Kudzu got sick just a week or two later.  That was a long and winding and emotional road to Tragedy Town.  Hours upon hours at the vet hospital.  Tests with bad results.  With no results.  With murky results.  The hope that he was getting better; the realization that he was not.  By the time Kudzu slipped away, I'd very nearly lost my mind.  His death left a terrible hole in my heart.

But I had to go on.  And you went on, too, taking another dear friend just weeks later.

There were less drastic measures in your arsenal - the 14-hour trip to San Diego and the $800 water bill from the running toilet at the house I didn't live in.  The occasion upon which I was mistaken for a pregnant co-worker.  A mistake that could arguably have been caused by my weight that yo-yoed between grief-stricken skinny and grievously chubbed.

Nashville nearly burned us to death.  And the burning question on everyone's mind was why, oh, why don't you live in your house yet?  At first, I was bothered, but as the year wore on, I became so accustomed to being asked that my hide toughened to the point that I had a pachydermal tolerance for it.  And I decided I didn't give a fig what anyone thought.  That's right.  I'm crazy - so what?  I do plan to finally move into the house, but that's to be filed under resolutions in a letter to a different year.

We started demolition on the kitchen in November - a process that seemed like it would be seamless enough.  But you, 2010, have managed to muck that up, too, and even as we speak, there's still work to do.

In addition to those things happening to me, you attacked the periphery - dear friends who lost brothers, grandmothers, grandfathers in sudden and terrible ways, leaving chasms in other hearts.  There were near misses, too, thwarted by surgical precision and medical miracles.  But at every turn, you were certain to point out to me that life is a desperately fragile thing.

You broke my heart, 2010.  In so many ways.  And so I find myself on New Year's Eve - chubby, single, cat-less and crazy.  You broke my heart.  But not my hope - I will ring in the New Year, a toast to your departure, filled with anticipation that your successor will bring better days.  Thanks for setting the bar so ridiculously low it's very nearly subterranean.

Good riddance,

The Kitchen Pit: An Update

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

For the record, we're 50 days into the yet to be finished project.  And while we've made some progress - a floor! a refrigerator! an island! - it wasn't smooth sailing.

The Domino Effect - Everything depends on everything else.  Which is why the cabinets had to be installed before they could measure for the countertops and the countertops had to be put in before the sink.  And it's also why when the cabinet above the microwave failed to arrive with the rest of the cabinetry, the microwave couldn't be installed as scheduled and sat in the kitchen floor for a week. 

The Focus Effect - Not one of the installers is a multitasker.  That's why we've had different workmen to install the cabinets, countertops, appliances, floor and backsplash.  And why the kitchen sink was installed but not able to produce water until someone else came to make the magic happen.

The Second Guessing Effect - With a little extra time and anxiety at work, you second guess everything.  Which is why Mom picked three different floors and two different backsplashes.

The Murphy's Law Effect - Whatever can go wrong will.  Which is how the plumber got called to fix the water spewing from the old dishwasher connection.  And why the cabinet above the fridge has no doors because the ones they sent were the wrong size.  And why the stove isn't flush against the wall because it requires some mysterious plug that - you guessed it - the installer doesn't do.

The Nervous Breakdown Effect - This occurs during the later stages of the process when your bedroom smells like coffee all the time and you've eaten six weeks' worth of meals on a tiny coffee table and you sawed your way through broiled porkchops weakly seasoned in barbecue sauce because you could find neither a pan nor appropriate seasoning and when you have to make ONE MORE decision about whether to move the island two inches toward the refrigerator or one inch toward the table and then you discover that the brand new sink is leaking in almost precisely the same way that started this whole thing.  And that's when you start drinking.

So when will we be done?  I'm guessing two weeks.

Why BuyLife is a Dead End

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ryan Seacrest, Alicia Keys and Kim Kardashian are dead.  And I'm not sad - I'm a bit disgusted.  I wrote a guest post for the Jackson Spalding Thinkstand on why this week's promotion for World AIDS Day is a grave misstep.  Please enjoy this little bit of shameless self-promotion - unlike the celebrities mentioned, I won't make you pay $10 for it.