Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009...like wine, only got better with time


Where do I begin?

It has been quite a year. It amazes me to look over various pictures, facebook & blog posts and even my top iTunes songs I’ve played this year to get a good feeling of what 2009 ultimately means to me. First and foremost I’m thankful that life is a marathon and not a sprint. This is evident in how the year started off for me.

In January I found myself in a deep depression. We were three months into our apartment life with an unclear future to what was next—staying in Puyallup or moving back to the Kitsap/Mason County area. For me, the effects of my business decisions in 2007 had finally caught up to me in the failures of 2008. I felt like I had let my family down and I was in a pretty bad place. I still remember the day I visited Flaming Geyser State Park and wasn’t sure I was going to come back. I found true therapy in writing…and that’s exactly what I did. I wrote out my life’s story—the pain, the failures but also the joy and happiness that there was in my life. I’m very thankful for that rainy day in January.

Well, except for the usual whining associated with my job and the economy, it was a fantastic year! The house we left for dead in foreclosure remarkable came to life in February. I figured with all the fervor behind President Obama’s plans to help people keep their homes I’d give it a shot. We were already experiencing the worst case scenario financially so we had nothing to lose. We finally moved back into our home in June and the loan re-modification was finalized in November. Things will still be tight, but this puts us in a better situation than before. Just need Kristy’s daycare to take off to help with the mortgage. ;-)

I also witnessed the gift of a second chance. My little brother stepped up to the plate again in May and found a beautiful bride. I was honored to be the best man at Russell and Brecken’s wedding. He was lucky enough to find such a caring and precious woman to put up with his crap. I think she gets a gold star for taking him off the down-on-your-luck streets of Kirkland. LOL!!! I also enjoyed injecting a little fear into the best man’s speech—if you know, then you know. It was probably the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever seen and it was wonderful to see a buddy of mine, Pastor Steven Davis officiate the ceremony. It was a great day.

But before the wedding could happen, there had to be a bachelor’s party. Where else should we go then out of the country and tear up Vancouver, BC. Peter, Russell, Jeremy, Randy and I had WAY too much fun. A good amount of alcohol was consumed, a car was impounded and Russell got intimate with a dishwasher (don’t ask). Probably the most fun I had ever had with the boys…..until October.

OMG! Oktoberfest in Leavenworth. I’m pretty sure we drank the beer garden dry. We had such a wild and fun weekend and horribly nasty hangovers that I’m not sure we could ever match it. But, that’s what I said after Vancouver, BC. LOL! I also had the great opportunity to catch up with old friends. It was awesome to hook-up with Glenn and Shelby Miller. Ask Shelby about the Leavenworth pumpkin sometime. Ha! Ha!

This past year also was a chance to try new things. I picked up the hobby geocaching. For those of you who need a refresher:

Geocaching is a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure (not $$$). A geocacher can place a geocache in the world, pinpoint its location using GPS technology and then share the geocache’s existence and location online. Anyone with a GPS unit can then try to locate the geocache.

Geocaching is a silly little hobby, but three things attracted me to it: 1) IT’S FREE!!! 2) I could do it with the family—Jessi and Jon really got hooked, and; 3) the thrill of the hunt is greater than the finding of the treasure. I really enjoyed looking for caches while listening to the Seahawks suck it up this year—figured it was better than wasting my time actually watching the games. It was a tough year for me for sports.

The Mariners were the only bright spot for me. It’s nice to see the M’s turning things around after many dismal seasons. The Seahawks saw the winningest coach in team history leave, only to be associated with rumors of replacing the general manager before he was shunned and took a new job in Cleveland. For as successful as the ‘Hawks had been, it appears things are going to get worse before they get better. Speaking of getting worse, I can’t leave out my beloved Cougars—one of the most horrible seasons ever. There are numerous reasons for why, but there are many more reasons for hope in the next few years—it’s always darkest before the dawn. GO COUGS!!!

I had the chance to fulfill a dream of mine during the summer. I decided to enter myself into a contest called Joe The Fan that was being put on by 950-KJR. I was fortunate enough to be chosen as one of the four finalists. I took to the air like a fat kid at a candy store. I ate it all up and had so much fun. Although I didn’t make it out of the first round, I had a blast. My prize allowed me to take Kristy out for a great night at the M’s game and enjoy a comfortable stay at the Silver Cloud across from Safeco Field. Big thanks to Ian Furness and the rest of the KJR crew!

Some local stories that unfortunately made national news had a big effect on me in 2009. The most prominent, and closest to home, was the senseless murder of the four Lakewood Police officers. The Forza Coffee shop where it took place was a location I had visited many times in the past for a cup of joe. I still cannot imagine how the families will move forward except with courage and faith that life goes on. The memorial service was amazing. I watched the entire event at PLU and couldn’t keep my eyes dry. Losing a total of six officers since Halloween has been heartbreaking in the Puget Sound. My prayer in 2010 is laws are changed and we don’t lose anymore of the men and women in blue. May the ones we've lost find peace in wherever their journey takes them next. Gone, but not forgotten.

No way to flow from that so, shifting gears…

The kids had a lot of fun in 2009. Jessi and Jon were part of the local community play, Oliver. They put in countless hours of rehearsal and performed exquisitely when the show hit the stage in July. This was such a great moment for me being their dad. I think I watched half the performance through water stained eyes!

We had the chance to surprise our big Twilight fan with a surprise trip to Forks in September. The look on her face when we pulled out of the drive-way and broke the news was priceless. Forks was littered with tourists and shops took advantage of the Twilight craze by selling merchandise and land marker maps. That was a great day to be the parent of a tweener. Our adventure took us out to LaPush where this country has some of the most beautiful landmarks out in the Pacific Ocean. We all had a blast and were dog tired by the time we got back to our hotel.

In all, 2009 was a very good year. When I finally realized there was more to life than chasing around every temporary high—yep, stole that from Stacey Orrico—I knew that when life gives you lemons, you throw them back and absolutely demand cookies!!!

I raise my flask (groom’s present) to 2009 and embrace all the great memories. I pray that 2010 brings hope and prosperity to those who truly seek it. As for me, I’ll continue to seek the winning lotto numbers. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!