A New Year
2008 started in November 2007 for me when my oldest daughter came home from FSU very ill and unable to continue her classes. Life got a little darker in December with the death of the family's chocolate Lab, Babe. She spent the last week in increasing disability until she finally died, at the vets, on December 29th.
Then in January my wife started the first of four operations and a separate hospital stay. The first two operations were for her feet, the hospital stay was due to a staph infection in her artificial knee, and the last two were operations to replace the first artificial knee. All of those operations and stays finally stopped the first of June.
That staph infection required that the artificial knee she'd gotten in June 2007 be replaced with two back-to-back operations. The first, in April, was a prosthesis with embedded antibiotics to make sure that all the staph was killed and none remained. The second on the last day of May required the installation of the final second artificial knee. In both cases she underwent physical therapy.
Then there was my job. I left SPARTA after working there for three years to begin employment June 2nd with The MITRE Corporation. This was two days after Judy had that second knee operation. I'd joined SPARTA from SAIC during the process where SAIC was going from privately owned to publicly traded. SPARTA was like a very early SAIC in that it was also an employee-owned company. But after two years at SPARTA, SPARTA announced that Cobham plc would be purchasing SPARTA. And so SPARTA would transform into a wholely owned subsidiary to an English defense firm. That purchase was finalized, also in June 2008.
The second half of 2008 seemed almost anticlimatic. My time was filled with getting used to a new job and attempting to provide quality output to several existing projects. I think I succeeded in that effort, as I'm still employed and will probably remain so for all of 2009.
In late September Judy and I adopted a yellow female we named Ruby Tuesday (named after the Rolling Stones song). This was Judy's birthday present as well as another buddy for Max. Max had been lonely with the passing of Babe, and his moping was a constant reminder to us all of all that had happened and was happening. Judy and I decided Max needed a new buddy, and we needed to somehow fill the hole that Babe's passing had left. And that's what started the process that led to Ruby.
All the family has been home for Christmas since the youngest came home from FSU in early December. I rode up to Tallahassee on a Grayhound bus and spent the night on an old sofa in the basement of the Presbeterian University Center where the youngest stays while in school. The next morning I helped load up the Volvo and we drove home to Orlando.
With all that was happening in my family, the meltdown of housing and Wall Street and all the resultant fallout seemed like a distant and distracting story. Because I've had to live so fiscally responsibly all these years we got through unscathed. Yes, I've lost value in my retirement funds, but I don't expect to retire for some years yet (if ever), so that doesn't really bother me.
So now we're poised to keep charging through 2009 and beyond. It's going to be interesting to say the least. The girls are ready to head back to college (oldest to UCF, youngest back to FSU). Judy is walking again, and Babe is approaching her fifth month. The picture at the top is Ruby at 15 weeks wrestling with Max on the ground (he's 8 1/2 years now). Along with our three cats (Elipse, Lulabell, and Lucy) we've got a house full of interesting critters and lots of positive possibilities for the whole family.
Happy New Year to everybody.