What do I have to bitch about? Not much, really. I turned 41 yesterday and I’m surrounded by a wife that loves me, kids that love and look up to me, parents that are proud of me, and an older brother that comes by with a couple beers in hand and a Primus record to give me. Not to mention the many folks I call friends and kind acquaintances that I converse with rather regularly that seem to think I’m a pretty all right dude. I must be doing something right, right?
This was a strange and transformative year for me. 40 brought some great things and some not-so great things. We did some amazing things as a family. We got to travel to Colorado for my wife’s cousin’s wedding. The kids got to fly for the first time. It was a really fun time to be out in the Rockies and experience thin air(I personally prefer my air to be fat…obese even.) But still, the views were amazing, as were Tattered Cover Bookstore, Wax Trax Records, and Twist ‘n Shout Records. We also had an amazing vacation at the end of June down in Brown County. We stayed four days in a beautiful cabin atop a hill our Honda van could barely make it up. Still, we chilled in the hot tub, had some amazing ice cream in downtown Nashville, and hung out in Bloomington for a day as well. We also discovered the fun of the game Apples To Apples. My wife got a new job that allows her to travel once in a while and has the potential for her to really grow the business. What business is it? Taking pictures of your kids in school. Yep, she’s a school photographer. She’s still learning the ropes -both with the camera and with building the business- but so far she’s done great and the owner of the company has had nothing but great things to say about her. I’m hoping within a couple years she’ll be making enough money that I can quit my job and follow my lifelong passion of running a simple Miniature Schnauzer farm somewhere in the fields of Northeast Indiana(a guy can dream.) Another amazing thing that has happened is that my wife and I have finally figured out how not to blow our money. She created a budget for us back in 2012. Since then we have paid off over $12,000 in debt. Within the next two months we will only have our house to pay off. No other outstanding debt. I can’t tell you how freeing a feeling that is. It’s like breathing fresh air after living under a pile of dirt for years. We don’t have to feel guilty about spending money on ourselves here and there(me, on vinyl and her on stamping supplies…she made my birthday card with her stamping stuff.)
So there were a couple not-so great things that happened this year as well. After years of alcohol abuse my wife’s mom succumbed to the disease. She passed away just a mere two days before we were to go to Colorado. It was a very bittersweet trip, as she was the one who pushed us to go and even helped us get there. My mother-in-law, for all her foibles and serious personality flaws, loved us and showed that love in her own way. She wasn’t a lovey-dovey kind of woman. In fact, she could be very cold and distant. But if you know anything about alcoholism you know that those traits come with the territory. I think she was happy for us, and she loved her grandkids. She spent time with them up until the last four years of her life. My wife’s brother killed himself in early 2010, and from that point my mother-in-law went from a functioning alcoholic to a non-functioning one. She lost her job, she became a recluse, and started hanging out with a 50-year old man-child that had a drinking problem as well as a pill problem. In 2013 as my wife’s mom walked from a friend’s trailer to her own she blacked out. It was March and 30 degrees out. She was outside for nearly 12 hours. My wife was the only one(she has another brother that was non-existent during all of this) that took care of her mom. Stayed at the hospital, got her into a rehab facility to get her strength back, and got her set up with an apartment for when she was ready to leave. She took her to get groceries, paid her bills, and attempted to have a relationship with her. In the fall of 2013 my mother-in-law broke her hip. We’re still not sure how, but we think it had something to do with alcohol. Again, my wife took care of everything for her. We thought she might actually pull through all of this, but by early spring of 2014 she was drinking more than she was prior to passing out outside the previous winter. She reached out to my wife about wanting help and so we found a rehab facility for her to stay at in Indianapolis. She was there for a week and seemed like a completely different person when she left. She was truly on the mend….or so we thought. She fell back into the drinking and succumbed in May of this year.
The other not-so great thing was I discovered the wonders of anxiety. That was my great surprise for my 40th year of life. I’m dealing with it, and haven’t had any real issues with it since the summer. But still, it kinda sucked.
So despite some rough patches, the good far outweighs the not-so good in my life. I’ve got a pretty damn good life, with some damn good people in it with me. I’ve got nothing to bitch about.