Wednesday, January 03, 2007

End of year wrap up

Well the holidays are over. Now I have to get used to writing 200…7.

My holidays were distracting, unexpected, sad, fun, odd and happy depending on the day.

The pacific northwest got hammered by a tornado class wind storm that knocked power out everywhere for days. My home was without power for 3 days, my office was without power for about 5 days. This is amazing as this is the first time I have ever lost power for more then a few minutes (my home is right next to a primary distribution substation for the area, in order to fix the power it has to flow out from the substation first).

The power outage really killed my momentum for getting things at work neatly wrapped up before I left for the holiday break. It also put a complete stop on all my side projects too. So I felt a compelling urge the whole break to cancel my time off and get back to work (which I mostly ignored but that caused me to be a little distracted).

My mother's office was totally weirded out and her normal computer guy couldn't figure it all out. So she was calling for help and I ended up spending a few days in working on her networks trying to figure out what the heck was wrong in a 3 person, small network office where there shouldn't have been half of the issues there were (which was entirely unexpected). There were about 5 contributing minor issues which all added up to a major disruption and had to be individually traced down and properly corrected before moving on.

Most of the holidays were spent alone at my house as I was trying to get some work done, too distracted and bouncing around in my head while my wife tried to get some quality time in with her mother before she left. Apparently in Russia the travel papers that let you come and go are issued for a window of time and then expire. It takes a little over 2 years to get travel papers. But if you had travel papers and USED them then it then takes up to 5 years before you get more. My wife’s mother was going back and her travel papers expired December 31. So it will be at least 4 years before she can come back and visit. Considering where we are it might be 3 years before we have the ability and opportunity (at the same time) to go visit Russia. Hence things were pretty tense emotionally and my wife was on and off sad.

When we got together we did things like light shows, we got out to a holiday pageant and we managed to get ALL of the local family together in the same spot for a fabulous holiday diner and present exchange. I managed to get my wife doctor stuff (which she has been complaining about not having for a year now) and she is bouncing off the walls over the new tools. Naturally she gave the entire family a check up on the spot.

My daughter got more then she hoped for and everything she didn't expect. I found her a Sony play station (which she has been pining for as there are a few games she wants to play) and 3 mega pixel digital camera (which is about as good as a high school student could hope for and perfect for these important memory years).

I made picture collages and enlarged old family photos for everyone. Between thrift stores, garage sales, pawn shops and careful scanning/printing at home I managed to pull off a holiday present bonanza for 14 people without diving into deep pools of cash. Really the whole holiday diner and present exchange were a great deal of fun for everyone.

We had a lot of plan changes, alterations and other emotional issues which kept tossing everything into total shock and disbelief zone throughout. I can count on two hands the number of times who was going where and when changed more then once including as it was supposed to be happening. This made everyone (especially my daughter and I) feel very odd and mixed up on what we were doing.

After my wife’s mother left on the 29th my wife, daughter, son and myself ended up at our home. We went no where and did nothing more then sleep and watch old DVDs for 3 days making the end of the year very anticlimactical. But, then considering all that we went through to get there I guess that is as a good an end as any other. So no fire works, diner cruises or other amazing end of year stories. In fact I barely had enough to pay the mortgage yet I had just enough and no more. So we ended the year calmly, healthy and with a positive cash balance. And I we are all very happy with that.

Happy new year everyone!

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