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RIP 2020

This is later than usual. 2020 is a hard year to look back on.

We cancelled 3 out of 4 trips this year. Luckily we went to the Dominican Republic for Presidents Day Weekend just before the pandemic hit so we did get lucky there.

It was our first vacation together and if you will remember it started out a bit shaky (the original resort was AWFUL) but we powered thru that first night, changed resorts (and cities) and ended up having a spectacular trip. I learned Rob is great at rolling with the punches. And that after spending all day day-drinking I should not take a 2-hour bus ride.

Note to self: get some Depends for next trip.

Unfortunately, we had to cancel Matt’s 40th birthday celebration in New Orleans, a summertime trip to Scotland that was in the works but not fleshed out, and an intended December trip to Germany. I’m hopeful we can make it to Germany this year but even that feels optimistic still.

I spent the early days of the pandemic in pretty strict self-quarantine, not even letting Rob come over for weeks at a time. Eventually I had to loosen up and it was scary for me.

I finally volunteered at Operation Kindness just in time for it to close to the public because of the pandemic. I also almost got a dog that day but I was about half an hour too late.

I wish I had gotten a dog while I was still on my own. Those early days of quarantine were really lonely.

I finished 2 paint by numbers in 2020. I have one more to do…they are equal parts stressful and relaxing. Well not exactly stressful, but some of the spots are exceptionally small. Overall I enjoy the project – there’s no time limit and I feel creative even though I am basically coloring.

While being told what color goes where.

Whatever. I am an artist okay?

From the 2020 highlight reel

I also started a new craft project in April and finally finished up in December, just in time for Christmas. I made a felted wool Christmas trio and while I’m proud of the end result I am not sure that’s something I will be doing much more of. I do have a lot of supplies left over so I might make another set or try to branch out on my own. I did find the stabbiness of it quite fulfilling.

We went to a Covid wedding in May which was definitely different. And being invited to such an intimate event was an honor.

We also spent a lovely weekend in Austin visiting Misty and Ron and we are ready to schedule our next visit…or have them come here. Or anyone else. If you promise to strictly quarantine for at least 2 weeks before you visit we will too. And I have a comfy movie room and pool with hot tub…and a fully stocked bar. And did you see the Harry Potter themed guest room? What more do you need?

In June we went to a #BlackLivesMatter march on city hall with Darrell and Magan…Duncan joined us too. Xander and Zach probably would have but they both had to work. I have a lot to say about this…and I already have. This isn’t the post for that. But still, it felt good to do something.

Rob and I decided to move in together last year. We didn’t move fast enough to make it happen before my lease was up in May so I did renew. Originally I was going to move in with him while we fixed up his house to sell but he decided to sell as is instead (and sold his house lightening fast).

And all of a sudden we found ourselves looking for a new house to buy. TOGETHER.

I don’t necessarily recommend doing things the way we have…it is working for us but we both freely admit we have done things a bit backwards.

We skipped living together in a rental straight to buying a house together. The good news on that is, I qualified for the house on my own so this time if I find myself alone I won’t have to lose my home.

House hunting was a challenge because I didn’t mind paying less for something that needed cosmetic work whereas he wanted something more move in ready. I also really wanted to move closer to Dallas proper where he didn’t mind staying north. For a minute there it felt like we would never find a house.

I know. I can be melodramatic sometimes.

We found a fantastic house but our offer was not accepted. That really hurt. That kitchen was a dream – 3 pantries! I could have had an entire pantry dedicated to baking!

Luckily we had a patient and amazing realtor in Suzy and she soon found us the near perfect house. In fact, it was so near perfect we neglected to realize it was only 3 bedrooms until it was too late.

When you fall in love, you overlook the flaws.

Of course – being me – I had to paint EVERY surface. Luckily Rob indulged me and my friend Tommy and his crew came up from Austin to paint the entire house for us (significantly more affordable than using someone local). We also updated the kitchen with new countertops, sink, and back splash – this was my number one condition on buying this house. I hated the existing. Carpet had to be replaced and replacing all the hard surface floors is on the 5-year plan.

We still have some more tweaks (including master closet redo which is literally going on as I type) but I really think this feels like home. I know it is still more overtly my aesthetic but I’ve done my best to blend in Rob as much as possible.

Helping him define his style was fun. And by fun, I mean annoying since I originally wanted to decorate the bedroom with a more industrial vibe but he vetoed it…only to later find out he actually really does like that look. I’m not going to start over again just yet but someday we will need to update and maybe then I can embrace industrial. Meanwhile I still need to finish tweaking the bedroom (we settled on an Art Deco-ish vibe).

We moved in the first or second week of August. Jumping in feet first has had its challenges…some of which we are still working out. We never really discussed finances other than to confirm our max per person. I won’t combine accounts until we are married so we had to figure out exactly who pays for what. Complicating matters is the fact that he still pays for his son’s expenses…which we are working on. So in a very modern way we are keeping everything separate but frankly that complicates things. I’d prefer to have it be all ours – rather than mine and his.

And yet, it is kind of nice not needing his permission to spend money. Especially since I started a new job in late June working for a woman I admire a great deal. When she asked, I couldn’t say no. I’ve been much happier in this new job even though I am still settling in. I do miss my chats with Lisa and having that level of support from my manager. Ryan seems good, I’m just slow to warm up sometimes.

What else? Xander and his girlfriend moved to San Antonio together in September. She’s going to med school there and he is currently researching Master’s Degree opportunities. They celebrated 2 years together in December. The last few months have been challenging because her parents do not approve but I feel lucky to have such a wonderful young woman in our family.

Zach is currently disillusioned with school after a problematic spring semester. He’s working full time and trying to figure out his next move. I know the pandemic has been really hard for him. He’s upbeat but I know he’s lonely. He comes over about once a week or so for dinner and just to hang out.

Rob’s cats switched personalities when we moved in. Shadow went from hiding every time I walked in the door at his old place to jumping on my desk while I work here. And Lily went from being curious about me at the old place to hiding from me here (though she is getting better…she even spent half an hour on my lap last night).

I still miss Spike – of course. No cat will ever replace him.

I miss Trixie a lot. I really really really want a dog again. Rob is understandably concerned about how the cats would react but I may have to eventually put my foot down. Will it happen in 2021? Stay tuned.

We elected a new President in November and I am pleased with the result. He may not have been my first choice but I’m so glad Trump didn’t get a second term. I admit to going to bed election night feeling a bit disillusioned but the next few days and weeks turned it all around. (I’m not discussing the events of last week now – that’s 2021's fault).

I celebrated my 50th birthday in 2020 and not even remotely in any way I had planned (raise your hand if your 2020 birthday celebration went as planned). I’ve been envisioning a 50’s cocktail party for a long time but then Covid happened. And then semi-last minute we decided to rent a theatre to show Grease (costumes optional) but canceled that at the last minute because Covid was getting aggressive again. Ultimately we spent a quiet evening in with Darrell and Magan.

And Rob shaved his beard as a gift to me! But sadly, he opted not to remain smooth faced for long.

Our first Thanksgiving in this house was marred by a Covid scare, this time with Duncan. Although ultimately he was negative, he was sick and therefore banned. Rob took him plenty of leftovers.

I convinced Rob to celebrate Hanukkah this year. We had fun exchanging themed gifts and I think for an added challenge this year we are going to only shop at 5below for our gifts. I can’t wait to see how creative he gets.

We almost made it through the year unscathed Covid-ly speaking…but Rob had to go and get sick just a few weeks before Christmas. He’s recovering nicely and never needed hospitalization, but that was a tough blow for us. I’m so glad it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

Xander took it especially hard (the postponing Christmas part because it was Savreet’s first). But he and Savreet came to visit a week later so in essence we got to spread out Christmas – and who doesn’t like that?

I know 2020 was a dumpster fire of a year. We all miss our friends and hugs and parties…I even know some introverts that miss those things. But we made it through - a little battle worn but largely whole. Ultimately for me personally, it was a good year even if it was a little lonely at times.

We enjoyed a vacation, grew closer, bought a house and grew closer still. Our kids are healthy. My little bubble is pretty great all things considered.

I don’t know if 2021 will be the year things return to “normal”. I hope so. I love and miss you.

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