Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 in review

So—the end of the year blog post.

2016 has been a tough year for me, I won’t lie about that. I thought 2009 was the toughest year I’d had so far, but 2016 is its equal if not a bit worse. I’ve been thinking about why that’s so, and honestly, I think Kent and I were a little too far down the sunshine and lollipop path in 2009 and heading into 2010. For example, we didn’t realize at the end of 2009 that we would be displaced from our home for five months (yeah, we were crazy optimists about that rehab timeline!).

This year I finally realized that I was being bullied at work, and had been bullied since I started in May 2015. It took me eight months to put that together, and I thought I was crazy the entire time. I finally started speaking up to my direct manager (not my bully) and talked with HR and used our Employee Relations Services to get counseling for tips and tricking on how to cope. Just using the term “bullying” helped open people’s eyes and you’d be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t) at how many people told me privately that my bully had also bullied them. That part of 2016 has a decent ending in that my bully ended up finding another job and leaving the company at the beginning of November. Thank God.

In April, my company went through a pretty drastic round of reorganization and layoffs. Because the person who’d been bullying me had been with the company for years and was very knowledgeable in a specific area that the company absolutely needed (and was the only person with that knowledge), I fully believed I would lose my job. I was so sure, in fact, that I’d cleaned out my desk. As it turned out, I didn’t lose my job, which was a relief—but then the presidential campaigns started and our incoming president called out the company I work for as one he wants to put out of business.

I would characterize this year as being death by ten thousand cuts rather than having one great looming catastrophe. I am looking forward to putting this year behind me—I am, at my core, an optimist.

  • In June, an old Army buddy of mine died from a very specific kind of cancer directly linked to his exposure to Agent Orange when he served in Vietnam. Dave was a great guy, wonderful musician and very kind to me when I was young and immature.
  • In July, Kent was laid off and we lost 2/3 of our income.
  • In August, we had a lightning strike at the house which fried some appliances, and our cats racked up nearly $3,000 in vet bills.
  • Also this summer, two friends who are important to me had their husbands walk out.
  • In September, my younger son was deployed for the second time.
  • In October, on a positive note, I picked up another team to manage (which I am evilly pleased to think annoyed my bully to no end).
  • Also in October, we learned that Kent’s mother’s health had taken a nose dive. She is 80, so it’s not unexpected. Kent’s been to visit her five or six times since, and in early December it became clear that she needs to be in an assisted living facility.
  • In November, we were able to spend a great Thanksgiving with our daughter-in-law, the grandchildren and our older son—and did some video calls with the younger son.
  • In December, Kent’s been mostly in Tulsa helping his mother. In fact, he will leave again early this next week and I will join him on Thursday to help move his mother into her new apartment. She’s in good spirits about the move although she’s sad about leaving her house.

So with all of that out of the way, here are my answers to the usual end of year blog questions I’ve been doing for a few years now.

What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before? My answer goes back to what I wrote at the beginning of this post—I think in 2009 and early 2010, I didn’t realize how close to the edge of utter financial ruin we actually were, nor did Kent. When Kent was laid off in July, we both knew immediately that we were on lock down for spending and that his job search was likely to take a very long time (the more senior you are in an organization, the fewer positions are available). While we’ve had his unemployment since August, it’s not a lot of money and we are living on what I earn. That’s both cool and terrifying—cool that I am able to do this and terrifying that it has to be this way.

Did anyone close to you give birth? Not this year.

Did anyone close to you die? I already mentioned my friend, Dave.

What countries did you visit? Sadly, none. We did get to Miami again over Memorial weekend, and Jordan joined it for a great get away. We had a lot of fun, but it wasn’t international travel.

What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016? I would love a little more stability across my professional life. Our incoming president makes that very difficult.

What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? To be honest, I would rather not honor the dates of bad shit happening.
What was your biggest achievement of the year? I essentially got a promotion when my manager asked me to take on a second team. With my bully out of the picture, I like what I do and I’m quite good at it.

Did you suffer illness or injury? No—my health is good.

What was the best thing you bought? We got an Instant Pot (love it!) and also took our daughter-in-law’s recommendation and bought a steam mop. That thing is amazing and cleans our wood floors really well.

Where did most of your money go? Home repair from the lighting strike and vet bills. Oh and also repairing cracks from the foundation work we did in 2015, plus rebuilding the built in storage in our dining room (blogged about here).

What did you get really excited about? We got an electric leaf blower that has an attachment you use to clean leaves out of gutters. It’s amazing.

What book(s) did you love this year? I finished Justin Cronin's trilogy (City of Mirrors) and also read two books by a new to me author (N. K. Jemisin) and enjoyed them both. I hope she writes more.

What song will always remind you of 2015? While I liked David Bowie, none of his songs defines 2016 for me. Honestly I think the song I will remember is a George Michael song Jesus to a Child.

Bye, 2016. I won’t miss you.

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