The best that can be said for 2021 is that it was definitely an improvement over 2020, but it was incremental, nothing substantive.
Deb and I remained healthy and Covid-19 free throughout the year, suffering nothing worse than a cold. We’ve both been vaxxed and boostered, which has certainly contributed to that. Deb working out of the house certainly helped while the protocols at school helped me.
Speaking of school, teaching from January to May in a hybrid fashion was a challenge. As we invited the upper grades to begin coming in, I had hoped my three juniors in person would swell but we received just one more. My freshmen, though, packed the room and I had a wonderful year with them.
Starting in August, the new year began with everyone in the building and we had a handful of cases right up to the final week when we got caught up with Omicron. We had plenty of students quarantined at home and wisely, we return on Monday to a week of online so things can settle.
What frustrates me is that despite delivering a full curriculum, the students last year mentally checked out. The atrophy of skills is worrisome and my freshmen were last in school as seventh graders and they’ve struggled to adjust t the rigors of high school.
In February, our HOA organized a program to support our commercial district’s restaurants, filling the calendar with dedicated nights with participating establishments donating a portion of their proceeds to the charity of their choice. We ate well, they got a rush of cash, and charities benefitted.
The HOA continued to offer what programs we could as things got warmer and restrictions eased. In May, at our annual meeting, I failed to receive enough votes and left the board after four and a half years. I have continued to remain active, helping organize a New Neighbor Welcome event in September for those who joined us over the previous 18 months. It was so successful; we’re turning it into an annual occasion.
We began venturing outdoors, attending Mets games in June, watching them against Baltimore and Washington. In June we went to Pennsylvania for their Celtic Fling, which went so well, we hit the Maryland Renaissance Faire in late august. Our first outdoor theater event got rained out, but we managed to enjoy what we saw. We gingerly began dining outdoors then indoors and began to actually socialize with friends.
In July, we spent a packed nine days visiting family and friends from Connecticut to New Hampshire and back again. This was built around giving Deb’s brother John at hand at his campground, but it was great reconnecting with so many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
After virtually participating in Farpoint and Shore Leave, it was a thrill to actually attend the Baltimore Comic-Con in October and be with Deb at WorldCon in December. In all cases, I enjoyed my panels and hope a good time was had by all.
As the fall arrived, things were feeling so much like they used to. We attended movies, concerts, and theater with regularity. As Christmas arrived, so did Omicron and things quickly began to revert. Thankfully, we did manage to make it to Florida, where my brother, sister, and I hosted a 90th Birthday Luncheon for my mom. Friends and family gathered to celebrate, the afternoon punctuated with an appearance from Sarge, a local comedian who wowed most of the crowd.
We went electric in July, trading in the CR-V in favor of the Hyundai Ioniq, a smaller electric vehicle that lets us drive around the state, needing to charge it every five or so days.
The dogs certainly have enjoyed having us around although as I returned to school in the fall, they both bunked in Deb’s office until I walked in. Harley’s anxiety hasn’t improved and he’s on Prozac, which seems to have helped a little. Thankfully, our own health has held up beyond the minor issues that come with getting older.
We’ve read, played games, watched tons of series across the streaming spectrum, and made the most of our circumstances. When not teaching or with Deb, I was regularly working on various projects including the publication of Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2021 and a ton of material that should see print throughout the new year.
It wasn’t great, it wasn’t terrible, but it was wearying as we were constantly adjusting to ever-changing circumstances. With luck, the improvements will continue into 2022.
May it be a better year for all of us.