What a year this has been. Big? The biggest.
In the first part of 2005, we were mostly just waiting. In January, we heard from Immigration: the request for additional documents. In February and March, applied for our FBI clearances, had our medical exams, collected whatever other documents were needed. End of March, mailed our second round of documents - although even much of that time was spent waiting.
I had a good amount of writing work, but not overload. I spent my time getting together with people I seldom saw, enjoying New York, making lists, waiting for the mail every day. Waiting, waiting.
"The Gates" came to town, I adored them (more here, and some little blips here and here), then: waiting, waiting.
Then the pace picked up.
Buster gets sick - and keeps getting sicker. A monster writing assignment falls into my lap - a major writing challenge, impossible deadlines, more money than I'd ever been paid to write anything in my life. And we hear from Canada. All at once.
And picked up again.
I am still involved with the Haven Coalition. I disentangle myself from that work in order to remain halfway sane.
And picked up again.
The stress of trying to diagnose and treat Buster's ever-worsening intestinal trouble, writing under intense deadline pressure for weeks on end, the emotional turmoil of knowing I am leaving friends and family. And then: the perfect place to live appears out of nowhere, and the next thing we know, we're moving.
The summer was so intense. All of the above, doubled and tripled, still working our day-jobs on the weekend, grinding out the Ancient Civs manuscript during the week, taking care of Buster (who is getting sicker and sicker), trying to wrap up our lives in New York, organize the move itself, and plan the essentials of our lives to come.
It was a pressure cooker.
Finally, some steam escapes.
In late July I finish my writing assignment.
In early August we get a breakthrough diagnosis for Buster (inflammatory bowel disease) and a treatment plan that immediately starts to work.
Three weeks to go.
Through our last weeks in the city, we are constantly picking up day-rental cars to bring Buster to appointments - including his final eye re-check, the glaucoma still holding steady with medications, sigh - and arranging schedules around his needs. (He can't be alone for more than a couple of hours.) My life is a long series of lists. Allan and I are constantly working through logistics and rearranging plans. People I haven't seen in years are self-absorbed enough to think that, two weeks before I move to another country, I have time to hang out with them. Two and three times a week, I say goodbye to someone I love.
My heart is a whirlwind of emotions.
Then, the big day. Our stuff leaves, then we do.
The whirlwind stops.
We are busy, sure, but the pressure has dissipated, the turmoil has disappeared. We are here. I feel free.
Thanks to those insane deadlines before we left, we don't need to work for a while. We unpack. We fix up the house. We sit in the backyard. We walk by the lake. We take care of paperwork. We fix up the house. We meet new friends. We relax.
Buster continues to improve. Everything falls into place.
We buy a car. Our dogs have a backyard. We have a dishwasher - and a washing machine! The weather is beautiful. We walk by the lake.
I feel calm, and grounded. (And only then do I realize just how crazy I felt through the spring and summer.)
We start to work again. Life is normal. Life is good.
Then, mid-November, a shock. A loss. Our hearts break.
Our lives go on.
When this year started, there were four of us in an apartment in New York City.
As it ends, there are three of us, in a house, in Canada.
A big year, full of life. Thanks for being there, friends of wmtc. It would have been a lot tougher without you.
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I know many of you have had big years, too: lost loved ones, lost jobs, weathered life changes, both planned and unasked for. I hope, on balance, there's been more joy than heartache.
Here's looking forward: peace, love, happiness and fulfillment. Bring on 2006.