Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Talk Thursday (on Friday): The Year That Was

Well, it's as good a topic as any, seeing as the topic-o-meter is misbehaving again. So as my li'l fishy on the left there swims boldly forward into 2011, here's some highlights (and lowlights) from the Year that Was.

We didn't get off to a great start. On the first day of spring (!), ol' Dallas was hit with a blizzard-cum-ice storm that knocked down zillions of trees and killed power all over the city, including here, at the Flaming O Ranch. We spent four days in the dark and
cold, which was I guess less
cold than it could have been on accounts of our gas fireplace, but a lot colder than was strictly pleasant. We ate more than a few meals from our Cookbook o' the Decade, Apocalypse Chow: Emergency Eating For Hurricanes, Blackouts, Bachelors and Other Disasters (available everywhere and very
handy, I might add.) Why didn't we evacuate to a hotel? Uh, three cats, that's why. They thought it was awesome that I was sleeping
bundled up on the couch, pulled up next to the fireplace. I didn't exactly get the awesomeness. Next time, generator and air mattress. Sincerely.

Fun with Appliances, Part 1: This summer our kitchen range blew up (!), showering sparks all over Joan. In keeping with the best advice about how to deal with electrical problems, I grabbed the plug with my bare hands and pulled it out of the wall. The nice electric guy says not to ever do that again, please. My hair has mostly stopped curling now, and we have a new range that looks exactly like the old one. Let's hear it for Sears Home Delivery.

Fun with Appliances, Part 2: In the very hottest part of August, our brand-new air conditioner decided to go all kamikaze on us. Our air conditioner repair guy was here for four frickin’ days (with the internal temp hovering near 90) trying to figure out what in hell could be wrong. It turned out to be an obscure part that never, ever goes bad -- and which was still under warranty. So the whole four days cost us $50 bucks for the service call. Wow. Our air conditioner repair guy is a saint. Also, Caesar the Cat loves him.

Fun with Appliances, Part 3: Our plumber threw in a free inspection as part of an end of the year special. Boy, were we surprised to find out our water heater is 19 years old – which makes it a full 7 years past its natural life span. Guess what’s next on the list to be replaced? And here I was hoping for a new dishwasher.

I went to the Pen to Press Writers Retreat in New Orleans in May. That was great. Besides getting to meet F. Paul Wilson, which was basically the Jen equivalent of Judge Harry Stone getting to meet Mel Torme (yes, I'm old, so sue me), I crammed tons of publishing-industry stuff into my brain and learned not how to write great literature but how to tell a good story. And yes, I took scads of notes. I'm a paralegal. I take notes. It's just what I do. So do I have an agent yet, and am I on my way to mind boggling success in the New York industry corridor? Uh, no. But I am getting rejected on a higher level and by more important people. Stay tuned. I also met two really cool people who have become good friends - Rhett in Jinks, Oklahoma and JulieAnne in Ogden, Utah. Get this - JulieAnne and I knew each other in junior high school. Small world? Or small script? You tell me.

The City of Dallas, in a budget-balancing exercise, laid a bunch of people off. Then it said it was just kidding and hired most of them back. Then some departments were eliminated. Then they weren't. It was a bad time to be working for the City. We didn't really think Joan was going to be laid off - she's sort of the last woman standing in her department - but stranger things have happened, so we were pretty nervous between, say, June and October. This ended happily; Joan didn't get laid off. But her salary got cut. Which is not a happy thing. Meanwhile, Jen got a new job, which is a really good one.

In addition to the backyard cats, we seem to have acquired a pair of backyard raccoons. They
are, of course, attracted to the cat food, and since I won't stop feeding the cats, I think we're stuck with them for the duration. They really are kind of cute, and if we can keep my idiot neighbor from shooting them, we could all coexist in peace. That is to say, unless someone else can trap them; I kept trying, and the only things I ever caught were confused cats. The raccoons just managed to get the food out of the trap and take off without triggering it. Not only are they smart, they make me look stupid. Ya gotta admire that in an animal.

In October, the long-suffering Texas Rangers won the National League pennant, only to lose the World Series to the Giants five games later. Win a pennant, lose a Series; that's the way baseball go. It was an interesting time to be a Dallasite, though; I sat through an OA meeting where somebody with an iPhone called out the score every ten minutes, and when the trick-or-treaters came around, Joan and I would pass out candy and yell "Five to two Giants!" to the parents waiting on the sidewalk. I'm thinking this year we might do something crazy like actually watch the games or, even more radical, attend a few, so we know what's going on before the post-season stuff starts. If the post-season stuff starts. Only problem: Tends to be about 103 degrees in the stands for most of those games. Hm, I wonder if I can convince my law firm to rent a corporate box.

So anyway, that was the year, or most of it. 2011 can be a lot more mellow for all of me. I always make the same New Years resolution - to wing it and see what happens. Best of years to all of you, too. And watch out for raccoons.


Cele said...

Hey Jen Happy New Year. I came in half way through your but it's been an interesting ride since. Thank you for taking me along, I look forward to 2011. Happy New Year.

Jen said...

Happy New Year!! Welcome to 2011. Oh, guess what, I can't drink Martinelli sparkling cider. Same problem as with all carbonated beverages: tastes godawful. Oh well. May this be the year, whatever that means for you. Cheers!