Goodbye and Good Riddance 2022: Hindsight is 20/22
Take stock, reflect, butch, moan, vent. We are all here for it.
To go back to a positive note, we reconnected with a software engineer who pretty much designed our software back when he was in his early 20s. He has been working with us the past month on fixing issues and we are embarking on a complete rewrite and update. He is more brilliant than ever and it is a joy to work with him again. Also fun since he travels all the time so we hear from him in Japan one week, and his home of Ecuador the next, then Europe. He has been very successful, but I think since our software was his baby when he first started out it is special to him.
That's so great when you circle back to an old relationship and renew it.
2020 was awful for us (as it was for most people): Death, house fire, depression, grief, isolation, loss, anxiety (much of it about the upcoming election). I'm really only now beginning to grasp how damaging it was to both Emmett and Matilda.
2021 started off with the other shoe dropping on Jan. 6th. I knew some shit would go down but even I was shocked by an actual coup attempt. Matilda was still doing school from home through the second half of the school year (and I am still wroth with SFUSD for that decision). The City was still pretty shut down, though it was beginning to come back.
Things began to turn that spring when Matilda was hired to work with Parks and Rec and vaccines began to roll out. I remember that glimmer of hope in June that the pandemic was going to be over once everybody was inoculated. (Ha!) That Fall Matilda got to go back to school again for the first time in 18 months. Things weren't back to normal but it was so much better.
In 2022 we finally cleared the money from JZ's father's estate and were in a position to buy a house in San Francisco. Something we had never imagined would be possible.
It was disorienting. In January of 2020 I was still selling my records for milk money when we were short. The entirety of Matilda's childhood had been scraping from paycheck to paycheck with no margin for error. Two years later we were actively house hunting.
It happened so quickly. Our fantastic real estate agent, Alex, pointed us at an open house on Monday in February. It was just about everything we had hoped for and more. We talked to our financial advisors on Tuesday to be sure we could make a bid. Saw the place again on Wednesday. Had the bid in by Friday and it was accepted on Saturday. Five weeks later we closed Escrow on March 8th, 2022.
We weren't scheduled to move in until June, but we had the Garden Apartment available to us and Emmett and his girlfriend, Kalena moved in by April. They'd been really hammered and depressed and in full Goblin mode up in Sonoma during the lockdown. So it was a huge hopeful reprieve for them to move into the City (which had seemed completely outside their reach before).
Then so much work prepping for the move, working with the outgoing owners, lining up movers and contractors. All while doing a delicate dance of trying to move Emmett, Kalena and Emmett's best friend, Joey, into our old apartment. Completely unsure if our old landlord would accept it.
The actual move started in the last week of May and really took almost four weeks to finesse. Every step was timed (had to wait for the tenants to move out before we refinished the hardwood floors, which had to be dry before we could move furniture in, etc.). It was completely and thoroughly exhausting even with hired movers for the big stuff we moved a ton of shit on our own and that's a lot of steps up and down. I averaged 50 flights a day and 20,000 steps during that month.
It was chaotic, and transitional and we lived among boxes and moved and re-arranged furniture and got used to the new appliances and at some point this became our home. (And Emmett, Kalena and Joey successfully settled in at our old place. With the rent control intact.)
Having money doesn't erase all your problems, but you will be unsurprised to hear that it solves a lot of them, and cushions the others. We've had losses and stressors this year too. Lost our sweet little Guinea Pig Marcie. A friend committed suicide.
But I have to say it's really gratifying to be in a position to help our friends. We were the beneficiaries of that aid in the past (frequently by Buffistae), and it feels good to give back.
It's been incredibly fun building the new home with Jacqueline. We've been remarkably in concert through a thousand big and little design decisions, and it really feels like a beautiful collaboration. I think the moment I saw our bedroom with the wallpaper up I really felt what we were doing.
From March of 2020 to September of 2021 I felt like I was desperately trying to keep everybody's heads above water. And now I feel like we have safely landed ashore.
I look forward to showing our new home to visiting Buffistas in the coming years!
I really do need to put in our reservation to visit. Your pictures of the new home and design selections are so inviting and I would love to see you enjoying it in person. Of course you guys need to make a visit to your old stomping grounds and stay with us too!
Just sticking my foot in the door for a low number.
I've continued putting my natural obnoxiousness to work for the progressive movement. Guess the biggest thing there is that we've had a Disability Issues Organizing Team since April, and that I inspired it.(we're getting there, is about all I can say about that...it's a neglected constituency)
I get published about once a year...most recently in an Anthology about coronavirus.
Feeling a bit as though as this collective work makes it easy to lose track of *Erika*, but maybe I can't really think about that till things get less "stupid and contagious"...I don't know.
I still have some 2022 to go, so I'm not going to do a year end post yet. But I will cop to losing tLDB Monday evening. It's possibly my quickest loss yet.
2022 isn't over but I'll give a run down of what has been going on with me up until this point. Last Nov I hit my head at work and ended up with a concussion. I closed out the year by finally getting the walk in clinic PA or whoever to say I should be out of work until I saw a neurologist. Which didn't happen until March. Worker's comp is bad but the one I'm dealing with is the worst. I had lots of dizziness/vertigo, brain fog, photo sensitivity, all kinds of issues. Saw the neurologist and got referred to an ophthalmologist, neuro ophthalmologist, physical therapy and for a MRI. The regular eye doctor was a bust. Workers comp claimed they couldn't find a neuro one , then they lost the referral... that never got resolved until June (with the appointment on Dec 6)_ . I did physical therapy, saw the neurologist a few times, finally got sent back to work on a part time basis, then that was too much and got my hours reduced, saw the neurologist again and we parted ways and worker's comp wouldn't authorize another appointment until I saw the neuro eye doctor. I did end up hiring lawyers and they have helped deal with this. Worker's comp got my address wrong back in Nov and were late in sending me my initial payments, then in June tried to claim I didn't "qualify" for partial benefits when I returned to work full time. That took until end of Oct to resolve.
It's been a horrible ordeal and it's not done yet. I need new glasses, I have problems focusing my eyes that need to be addressed with exercises and hopefully the new glasses will help a lot. But I'm currently waiting for worker's comp to approve for the prescription for the glasses to be filled.
Also in the winter/early spring my bridge broke. I went and got a temp, which I broke, but they replaced it. Which I broke. Then they replaced it and I broke that one. Finally they had to put in one that is mostly metal. That took quite a while to handle and wasn't the most fun thing in the world. Luckily the bridge was under warranty and I had so many problems so the dentist cut me a deal on the replacement.
I'm currently waiting for next year to get a new crown put in because I had to have a root canal on my front tooth last month. And I have another crown that needs to be replaced but I keep putting it off because of all the other stuff.
Work has been hard for me at times. My brain doesn't work the way it did before and I'm often struggling with certain things--- it's harder for me to handle multiple things at once and the busier and more complicated my life/work/etc gets the slower my brain seems to go. I'm hoping that whatever neurologist I will see in the future. I'm especially having trouble getting my thoughts ordered so I can say what I want and it's hard to describe but my brain will gear up to start thinking and then kind of stall out because I can't recall something or I'm just not making connections the way I did.
I also gained back a lot of the weight I lost last year so that has been frustrating as well.
BUT There have been good things coming out of this year-- I've been interested in mixed media and collage and things like that for a long time and dabbled a bit but never really committed. Somehow I saw a video or something about junk journals and got into that which lead me to more mixed media and collage and I really started trying to express myself with art and creating things. Which I have! I've posted on my facebook. So that has been amazing to be able to branch out and create and learn some new skills.
I have a wonderful spot to do this because back in the summer I was at thrift store and saw an amazing roll top desk. Only worker's comp and been stiffing me on the money I owed and I had no way to get it. I posted this on FB and David and JZ were absolutely wonderful and gifted me the desk. It's a total mess right now filled with papers, stickers, stamps, etc because I'm trying to get projects done for Christmas. But it makes me happy every time I see it and I keep reorganizing things in it and it's just amazing. Buffistas rock.
All of you do, with out the board and encouragement this whole year and post concussion experience would have been a lot worse than it was.
We got another cat- M's mom came home with an orange tabby kitten. Think Jorts, except Jorts that has some smarts and way too much energy and wants to PLAY PLAY PLAY all the time. And he's huge. He's 7 months old I think and already as long as most of the other cats, We have 5 now.
M and I are still together and still living with M's mom. I really want that to change but until a lot of this worker's comp situation is resolved it's not something I want to take on and rent is just crazy expensive and getting worse as the area gets more and more popular and more and more STRs pop up.
I have no idea what will happen next year. I have gotten approval to increase my hours again so that is a big step. I'm hoping that in several months I'll be back to full time. We shall see what happens.
Fingers crossed nothing dramatic will happen between now and the end of the year.
I don't remember anything specific from the first half of 2022. I'm exhausted right now, and I think it was just more of the old Try Not To Catch Covid game, which has grown far too long in the tooth. Oh, here's a memory: the rest of the household managed to avoid it in April, when my daughter, who then lived at home (but has since gotten her own place) caught it at work. I think we escaped thanks to open windows despite the temperature, HEPA air filters, N95s, and a good bit of dumb luck.
Over the summer, my anxiety flared like it hasn't flared in a decade. It increased as my older son's October wedding; my daughter's move-out date (and her multiple solo travel plans); and my younger's son long-awaited return to living on campus approached.
It was horrible, but it led me to getting my tush to a doctor, which I also had tried to avoid for the better part of the last decade. Thank goodness I did so, when I did. My anxiety would've wrecked me by now, had I not.
The rehearsal and wedding were wonderful, and no one caught Covid at those events or the shower, bachelorette weekend, and bachelor party, which seems fairly miraculous. The day after their wedding, the newlyweds were rear-ended on the highway by a hit-and-run driver who totaled their car, but did not hurt them. They flew off for their honeymoon the next day, had a wonderful time, and returned safely.
I hosted Thanksgiving this year. My younger son picked up my mother, because she doesn't like to drive alone. She sent him up our concrete driveway stairs with the pies she'd brought, while she took the path up to our house (which sits high on our lot). She then lost her balance and fell. Still, we got her to her feet, and she walked up to our house (with our assistance), and gave her some Motrin and a glass of wine for good measure, because she said she wrenched her back. She didn't want to go to the ER.
My husband and my younger son took her home before dessert. The shock and pain from fall had dampened her appetite. I called later, and didn't like the sound of her voice, but she insisted she was fine and did not need me to come over. My kids told me to listen to her. I lasted 40 minutes, called again, and told her DH and I were coming over. We stayed maybe 'til midnight, but she insisted I go home. I gave her Tylenol, Motrin, and an Ativan. She slept the night, but getting in and out of bed was agony.
The next day, we took her to Urgent Care (where we were low priority and surrounded by oozing Covid and flu patients). When we arrived they told us to expect a 2-hour wait. after two hours, they told us to expect two or three more. We decamped for the local hospital E.R. instead, where we learned mom actually had a compressed fracture of her L4 vertebra. We were sent home with instructions to give her muscle relaxers, Motrin, and Tylenol, and call her doctor on that Monday.
Her doctor couldn't see her until Tuesday. He told us not only did she have a fractured L4, she also had an old fracture of the T11. He recommended kyphoplasty (it's a good thing, people), but that took another 13 days to get. She was hospitalized four days before that, because the pain was unmanageable, but the injury and medications also made a mess of her digestive tract. We finally took her home the day after (12/13/22).
I'm an only child, and one of my older cousins and I are the only people she wants providing her care. It has been tough on both of us. My cousin is divorced, and her kids are in their 40s, so she's stayed with my mother most nights, while I did days, and spotted her on the nights where she had to and wanted to go home.
We're not out of it yet. I just finished a solo 80 hour shift, am in the middle of my 36 hours home, at which point I will return to her place tomorrow morning, until at least Monday (provided my cousin doesn't get Covid again, from her antivax kid).
I'm a little at the end of my rope, because mom isn't a great patient, although she is much better since she stopped taking the opioids (which made her paranoid and anxious). She is ambulatory with a walker, but cannot be left alone yet (and even if the PT said she could, I wouldn't be able to do it). I miss my husband. I miss my kids. (He and they all visit/help when they can, but there's school, and work, and life.) I miss my dog. I miss my bed, but fell asleep on the loveseat last night, after the kids came over to decorate our tree.
We're doing Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at my mother's. All food will be brought in. We're thinking Chinese for the 24th, and are doing a Whole Paycheck meal for the 25th, that we just have to reheat, so that I don't have to cook in her small condo kitchen.
Still, I think she turned a corner the night before last. I got four hours of sleep (a record in all the nights I've stayed over).
Yesterday was the best day she's had in four weeks. In the midst of all this, my new daughter-in-law had a Covid exposure from her folks. My son wasn't with her at the time (she and they were going out of state to a family event and he had to work). My daughter-in-law stayed with her parents, thinking she'd probably already caught Covid. In truth, she might have escaped it, had she returned to the newlywed apartment, but she and my son were trying to do the best they could, so that we could all do Christmas together. I am filled with gratitude that they were so ready to protect us.
Now, we're sweating out whether d-i-l will be negative by Christmas Day. We not only can't risk exposing my mother to Covid — we can't risk exposing me to Covid, because that will mean no one in my house can help her out, and my mother will need to go into a rehab at least temporarily. We don't want to put this still Covid-naïve soon-to-be 86-year-old in a congregate living situation, if we can avoid it.
TL;DR: Anxiety flared, went to best wedding in the history of the world, had sudden empty-nest syndrome, survived a few scares, and am currently Going. Through. It.
Here's to a good 2023 to all of you. I'd just like some boredom. (Okay, and grandchildren, but I know I'm jumping the gun on that.)
Askye and Cindy, That's a lot! You both seem to me to be doing an admirable job of trundling through what life is throwing at you. May 2023 bring much less drama and trauma.
Thank you, Laura.
Askye, I hope this coming year is easier on you.
I have received cards from: erikaj, JenP, Laura, Kat, Pix, aurelia, sj, DavidS, flea, java cat, and smonster.
The cards are hanging from a cord along my mantel. They brighten the room, and have cheered me up through this season.
Thank you all, very much.