It’s been a busy year to say the least. To try to recount all the things that went into making this year both good and bad at This D*mn House would be impossible, not to mention boring and time-consuming. Here’s what I hope is a digestible list of my Top 10 highlights for the year 2008, in no particular order.
1. Cancer scare. The highlight: It was just that – a scare. While the mother had some serious ill effects from having a growth removed, it wasn’t cancerous and she got well.
2. This D*mn House, the blog. While the blog is technically a product of 2007, I didn’t really do much to build it until Q2 of this year. The rewards from it (connecting with bloggers all over the world, reconnecting or making deeper connections with friends in the real world, getting an outlet for my writing addiction, being read – and recognized by -- *gulp* published authors, being read at all, ending up on at least two dozen blog rolls, getting love from tool companies) have been tremendous.
3. Crop Camp. This annual scrapbooking pilgrimage is a highlight of every year, any year. The comical camaraderie combined with scrapbooking is a high for me without chemicals (‘cept sugar and caffeine). After having had to miss it in 2007 though, this year’s was particularly eventful for me.
4. I have a job. In a year of cutbacks, including some at my own company, I wasn’t among them. (Crossing fingers for repeat highlight in 2009.) It is this job that makes almost every other highlight on this list possible. And some mini-highlights directly related: receiving both the day after Christmas and the day after New Year’s as holidays.
5. Barack Obama. The world, not just this country, is going to hell without the benefit of a handbasket. I’ll concede that some of our woes are cyclical, yet I believe that a larger portion were the direct result of failures of the current administration. Is Obama going to fix it all? No. But what he can do is stop the bleeding. I’m encouraged by the quick but deliberate movements of the transition team thus far and hopeful that we can get this country back on track.
6. This D*mn House, the house. I have the house to thank for the blog. I also have the house to thank for bringing in some of my friends that I hadn’t seen in a while. And I have the house to thank for a general sense of well-being at home, particularly as some ginormous projects – some that have been talked about for years – have officially been completed.
7. Closer to debt-free. This was the year that This D*mn House truly became ours. The mortgage and another multi-year debt were cleared up this year. Now it’s on to killing the credit card. Maybe that's 2009.
8. The porch/walkway project. While this is sort of tied to both No. 2 and No. 6, I think it deserves its own highlight reel. This is one of the largest and toughest jobs (if not the most in both cases) that I’ve ever tackled. And the satisfaction I get not only comes from the many compliments that continue to be voiced by others, it comes every day, each and every time I walk down it.
9. Healthy pets. While Tigger has his issues as he approaches 17, and Toby is mentally unstable on a good day, the fur fiends have enjoyed relatively good health this year. Ozzie, who was incredibly sick at the end of 2006 and early last year, is going strong at 11.5 years.
10. The goodness of others. Maybe it was something nice someone did for me. Or maybe it was goodness I witnessed that was done for someone else. Whatever the case, I saw it in abundance this year and was very glad for it. In a world where so very much is wrong, it's heartening to see so much that's still right! (Hoping for another repeat in 2009)