I’ve got to say, I’m so happy to see 2010 go. What a tumultuous, strange 12 months. Should you find yourself trapped on a snow-covered mountain pass until spring, feel free to go back into my blogs and read my endless drama sagas of 2010.
Most of you have real lives, though, so here on the eve of the new year, a brief recap of our bizarre, painful year, in a vaguely chronological order:
– Happy New Year! 2010’s going to be great! D and I have jobs we love. I’m healthy again. We are surrounded by family and friends.
– Big news: D’s lab being merged with the Dallas lab. In Dallas. What to do? Our vanity plates, if we had them, would read “LUV10EC.”
– We agonize. Move? Not move? I love Vanderbilt Medical Center. Hard to leave my cancer team. D could work for the state or city DNA labs. But what is life without adventure? We look for signs from the universe.
– Decide D, a native Tennessean who’s never lived anywhere else, should follow her career love of DNA to the Great State of Texas. Her parents plan to go with us. I’ll stay through the summer to pack us up, sell the house. Then I’ll move, too, and look for a job. Looking forward to being a woman of leisure for a few months.
– Oops. I stumble into a great new job. But I must start sooner than D, who has to help close down the Nashville lab. She and Chase stay in our house and begin to get her parents ready to move. I take the little car, a few suitcases and head for Big D. Again. (I lived there many years ago, when people still read newspapers and there were actually two of them in the city.)
– On the road three hours, I come down with pneumonia. Spend feverish evening having hallucinations in Texarkana. Must call in to cancel a meeting with my new bosses before I even work there.
– Start work at massive children’s hospital while regularly hacking up lungs. Vaguely remember one or two tidbits from two-day orientation. One was something about fires, the other something to do with W-2 forms and taxes. Photo on ID badge looks like Typhoid Mary on a bad day. Try to memorize coworkers’ names and find the bathrooms.
– After 3 days of work, the weekend arrives and I collapse into bed, planning to spend next 62 hours there. On Saturday, D and her parents have huge auction, condensing years and multiple homes into a smaller load for move. D’s fabulous dad, Roger, has a wonderful day, greeting a zillion old friends.
– On Sunday, the worst news ever: We lose Roger to a heart attack. I fly home, can’t get there soon enough. Leave apologetic message for new boss. Get a very sweet return message the next day: Don’t worry, take my time, she’s praying for me and my husband. We smile through our tears.
– D is being strong for her mom. I’m being strong for her. Our chosen family is being strong for all of us. Heartbroken.
– I return to Dallas a week later, sick over leaving D. I begin house-hunting. Find one, buy it without D ever having seen it. Hope desperately that after 12 years I really do know her as well as I think I do.
– Nashville floods. Horrible. Some friends lose everything; all friends lose something. We return home for cleanup. We Are Nashville.
– North American Van Lines arrives at Nashville home to move us. We won’t see our stuff again for weeks to come. And it’s the last time we’ll ever see many of our things. We end up helping load truck in 99-degree weather. Stave off heat stroke with cold adult beverages. Tears, hugs, sad goodbye waves.
– D, Chase, her mom and her mom’s two dogs move to Dallas. All 18 legs stay in 800-square-foot apartment because North American can’t find find our stuff, find a truck, find a driver, or find star coordinates to be able to find Texas.
– 17-year-old kitty Rascal dies. He’d been sick, so he stayed with best friends in Nashville so he wouldn’t have to endure long trip to Dallas and stress of living in an apartment with three dogs. (Even though he was definitely the alpha dog in the household.) Such a small little guy left a very large sad space behind.
– D’s mom and her ancient dog are attacked by an off-leash boxer at public park. Blood, oh the blood! Big gash on arm tears open vein. ER trip, wound care specialist, surgery, antibiotics, c.diff infection from antibiotics, weeklong hospital stay. Dog’s young owner apologizes at first, then later declines responsibility after talking to “friend who’s a lawyer.” He moves out of state. I find him. Don’t piss off a PI.
– We wonder if the universe has changed its mind and now wants us to stay in Tennessee. We decide to hang on to Nashville house for a while, just in case. Our best friends unselfishly offer to help keep an eye on it. From the pool. They’re good people.
– North American finds my cranky blog posts about missing stuff. They send us money and find our stuff. Excited about finally sleeping in new house. That day, A/C in new house burns out. It’s 104 degrees outside, 348 degrees inside.
– We decide to go all-in, commit to Dallas. Put our beloved Nashville house on market, warned repeatedly that we will be lucky to only lose $40,000 on it. First open house, Realtor calls. A/C is out. Universe signs seem to be getting bigger and louder, backed by new Facebook page: “Bring Laurie and Deanna back to Nashville where they belong.” I watch it fearfully, afraid my Dallas coworkers will join.
– Couple whose wife is just weeks from delivering their first child falls in love with Nashville house and makes nearly a full-price offer. Wife goes into labor at closing, scrawls her name as her water breaks. Well, almost that close, anyway. But house is sold. What? Good news?!? Hmm, maybe things are turning around for us.
– Visits from best friends from Nashville, Chicago. Almost kill goddaughters from heat stroke in midguided fossil-hunting adventure in desert in August. Duh.
– Visit to my new oncologist finds big tumor. Again. Crapf*ck. She thinks it’s going to be bad news. Surgery looms.
– I refuse to have it before end of October, for two reasons. One, so we can return to Nashville for The Ta-Ta Sisterhood’s annual Komen Mosey. Team is 40 strong, drinks a lot and raises bunches of money. (We are still a Vanderbilt team, which warms the cockles of my heart.) And two, for a family member’s 50th birthday on the bayou, complete with a live concert by our fabulous singer/songwriter friend Cheley Tackett. Both weekends are incredible, full of love and laughter. Hope I’m not going to die, but if I do, would be happy with those memories fresh in my heart.
– Birthday. Three words: red cowboy boots.
– Worry about going through such major surgery in a town where we don’t know many people yet. Think about going back to Nashville for it. Decide that won’t work because of D’s job. We’ll be fine. Really.
– Cantaloupe-sized tumor removed, total hysterectomy, Quasimodo-like scar down abdomen. Complications. ICU. On great drugs, so I don’t care. Six days later, get to go home. Unfathomable pain. All of that rendered irrelevant by outpouring of support from my Children’s colleagues. Meals on Wheels every night. Funny notes. Cards. Flowers. I am deeply touched and humbled.
– With help of great drugs, make it to my first Children’s holiday parade. Wow. Big balloons. Bands. David Archuleta. Santa. Batman. Star Wars. Rangers players. Warm weather. 350,000 people.
– Happily return to work. Kind of dumb, but everyone cuts me slack. Pain retreats from constant to frequent, then to sporadic.
– Christmas. Low-key, because of huge hole where Roger should be. Somehow we survive. D and I cook for us and her mom. Chase plays with his cousins. Santa somehow fails to notice I am on “Naughty” list, brings me remote-controlled helicopter, Nook, Flip camera.
And now, it’s sayonara for 2010. Although it was a really hard year, in so many ways, there were moments of wonder and magic, as well. We are still here. We are cherishing old friends and making new ones. I have this blog to keep me somewhat sane, and I thank you for being part of it.
Happy New Year! 2011’s going to be great. I’m sure of it.