The Year is Dead; Long Live the Year

18 February, 2016 Ken Business & WorkChroniclesEveryday Life

For me, I’m not sure when one year ends and another begins. It’s bad enough they often assign a Winter to the year it ends rather than beings, in spite of a Solstice (or Equinox) being in my own opinion the middle of that season and not it’s birth. Whatever.

I usually end my personal year the day of the Little Christmas party, sometime near January 6th. My later Holiday party photos do not go in the calendar year with the next Christmas — I put all early January images in the previous year’s archives.

And this year was especially delayed in ending because we postponed by Mother-in-Laws Christmas / Birthday until she was out of the hospital.

I was also devastated by the death of my college mentor, Professor Robert Nielsen. I had already attended a funeral recently for a high school teacher of mine, Mr. John Hay, but this was far harder on me. I am much of what I am because of Prof. Nielsen — though he wished to be called “Bob” once we were “colleagues”. At the final class at end of each semester’s courses he recited “Beckett’s Last Sermon” as a farewell sentiment. At his wake service, I delivered it on his behalf, for the last time.

And then, when meeting a couple about a wedding — in Batavia during a snowstorm — I went to turn into a plaza and my car didn’t. It skimmed over the medium and played shot-put with a huge boulder. The boulder lost the bout and I couldn’t even move it back to the median. The car won the battle but lost the war — after my appointment, it died on the Thruway halfway home.

That was a Sunday. I didn’t take the rental car right away because I was taking a trip to Queens — the first time a client ever payed for my travel, and I really needed a good-paying project after a very shallow year. When I returned, got a ride to Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Besides taking care of all towing costs, Geico (my insurer) covers $30 a day for a rental. Somehow I ended up with a Chrysler 200 with all the options. It wasn’t as spacious as you’d think, but seemed like it came from the future, and from outer space. The only thing I didn’t like was the awkward dial transmission.

Life didn’t quite get me down as much as I thought it would, but I didn’t want all this to be the start of, or being emblematic or foreshadowing of a new year.

Then. a few days later, the adjuster told me they were writing off the car. I didn’t know it had lost its coolant — I smelled and saw nothing, but then again it was a blizzard — and driving it ruined the engine. The crazy thing is that Geico didn’t give me blue book value, but replacement value based on actual cars on the market! So for my 2006 Kia Sportage with 145,000 miles on it, after deductible I received a check for $7300. Merry immediately took me car hunting with the idea of a down-payment rather than a replacement.

I was resistant at first to having something more than utilitarian and basic, but kinda fell in love with the car both Merry pointed out and the dealer suggested (independently) after being told the Kia Soul we came for had been sold. (That is her dream car, and she hoped to replace hers before mine. Fortunately, her car has a few years left in her.) With a huge down-payment and a small monthly charge, we were good to go — I now own a 2010 Chevrolet Equinox with 53,000 miles on it.

The next day I picked it up and named it “Mocean” (rhymes with “Ocean”, inspired by the music artist “Mocean Worker”). The interior reminds me of a two-color Dolphin, and the thing is like a small whale — certainly not the biggest thing I’ve ever driven, but the largest vehicle I’ve ever owned. There’s so much more room and it seems to hulk out in its shape, but to my surprise I looked it up and it’s only a foot-and-a-half longer then my Sportage. When we met up that evening, I took Merry out — to Sonic, with it’s drive-up ordering and roller-skate service. It just seemed right that the three of us have a good time.

The weeks that followed were spent overcoming the inertia of little work to multiple paying projects. I received an award from the Grand Master and Deputy Grand Master in appreciation for my service. My bills are being paid up and I spend quality time with the wife watching Poirot on Netflix and playing Blossom Blast.

I didn’t upgrade to Windows 10 or Quickbooks or replace my newer printer, but I’m down with that for now. I’m a little overwhelmed on many levels, but life is good. Seeing Star Wars wasn’t life-changing, but our Valentine’s date of the Peanuts movie was comforting. I’ still not sure when the last year ended for me, but I think it’s going to be great. I feel a bit of a rebirth. I’m questioning assumptions about myself and past choices to carry or not carry forward. And I’m finally blogging this, at least in some cursory amount of detail to present a slice of this time and place.

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