2013: A Look Back

Some years thigns feel perfectly normal with some highlights but few significant changes. In our life, we seem to let thigns pile up so there are really packed years. This was one of them.

In January, after a few months preparation, the house was put on the market and much to our surprise, we had a solid offer within 13 days. The catch was: they wanted us out in six weeks, meaning we had to pack and find a place to live. Somehow, we did this with nary a problem. On February 22, we signed the papers and drove out of town.

Leaving Fairfield was not an easy choice. We invested 20 years of our lives here and many memories remain, as do good friends. Keeping in touch has proven iffier than I had hoped but as long as both sides keep making the effort this should evolve into a new set of relationships. Oddly, there next came the period where we technically homeless, staying with Kate in her one bedroom townhouse. Even after closing on the place in Fulton on April 2, we had 10 days before the movers arrived.

Since then, we’ve been settling in to the house and the community. It’s a growing area with Maple Lawn now slightly over half built and houses spring up behind us with startling regularity. Our neighbors have proven friendly and helpful and the dogs adore their four walks a day. Both mothers have visited and given us a thumb’s up so that’s something.

And as we settled into the new environs, my attentions turned to the next major life change, that of switching careers. While job hunting for a teaching gig in Connecticut proved frustrating, it was far more fruitful here. I landed a series of interviews in Baltimore County which resulted in three offers and I chose Owings Mills High largely based on the good vibe I received from the department chair and assistant principal. Despite all the challenges my students give me on a daily basis, I do not regret my choice.

This does mean once more living by the school calendar, the only downside of the new career in Deb’s mind, so we’re doing what we can with the time available. The year ended, for example, with us taking four days in Virginia, an enforced break from chores, writing, and life. We toured the Manassas battlefield and James Madison’s Montpelier in addition to two full days in Staunton. Our other big trip was, of course, the much written about NASA experience in June.

All of this has altered what I have managed to do with my time. I’m clearly writing less and also reading less, or that is, doing less leisure reading. This was also the year when two-plus years of effort into building the After Earth universe into something Peter David, Mike Friedman, and I could be proud of turned into ash the weekend the film crashed and burned at the box office. As a result, very little of our contributions were going to be seen beyond the book work we did.

These are adjustments to my lifestyle and have been almost as challenging as my kids.  I’m making these changes incrementally, helped in part by the last major change in our life: replacing the Odyssey minivan with a CR-V crossover in October.

If 2013 has been a year of significant and frequent change, next year will be a period of settling, deepening our roots in the area. As of now, the one major event, becoming the focal point of the year, is Kate’s fall wedding. While planning has been underway since the formal engagement in the spring, things ramp up in the coming months.

With luck, 2014 will be a better, saner, wiser year for one and all.


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