(ed note: This post is going to be a bit long so settle in if you are interested in a near chronological telling of my 2018.)
Where to start.
2018 started out like any other year.
It just was. There was nothing extraordinary about the beginning of it.
December 31, 2017 became January 1, 2018 and on time went. Maybe that was part of the problem. There was nothing special about the beginning of 2018, and it seemed the continuance of the mundane would roll on unimpeded.
Things did change though and mid way through, we bought a house! It was so exciting. This was something we had always wished we could do. Living on Cape Cod it always seemed so far away but in June of 2018 we finally became home owners. The year changed from there as our responsibilities changed, but our dream of home ownership had come to fruition.
On a personal note, I hit a running stumble in June as I took my first DNF in a long time. I hadn’t taken one since the Winter Death Race in 2015. I had run the Vegan Power 25k before and while the course was treacherous, it was manageable and I trained to finish. I hit the starting line ready to go and ran the first couple laps with friend and teammate Jess Ryle. I think it was lap 2 (or 3) that I hit a root and twisted my right knee. After lap 3 or 4 I decided to pull myself out of the race, there was no way possible I was limping through the last couple laps. I was demoralized and ashamed. I was so prepared for that race and while there was no way I was winning I knew I had it in me to finish. Never the less, I did not.
After the race our boys reminded us of something we had been telling them for a while and that is when we finally bought a house we would adopt a dog. July 2018 we adopted two, Buster and Master. They are two handsome Great Pyrenees rescues from Tennessee. They seemingly completed our family and we couldn’t be happier. Buster was care free from the get go and is such a love Master took a bit to warm up, and is still timid with strangers, but he now shows love and is an amazing companion. Our two cats got along great with the boys; it was perfect.
On the morning of August 7th , one of our cats went missing; Agatha. She was sitting in the front garden and the morning sun was hitting her just perfectly, her black fur was lit up all amber and she was beautiful. I took a photo as I got into my work van not knowing that it was the last time I’d ever see her. She was an amazing cat. Her kindness was amazing considering when she came into our lives it was because her previous owner had abandoned her and she was feral for many years. We loved that cat; I loved that cat.
My running redemption came in September when I ran with Strong Hearts Vegan Power again at Ragnar Adirondacks. We had a great van, we were team All Out War. The inside joke was that the average age in our van was well over 40 so we became team AARP. It was such a great race, we had so much fun and I really pushed myself. My last leg specifically, I felt someone breathing down my neck as I was maybe 1/2 mile to 3/4 of a mile out from the exchange. At that point we were running in the Whiteface Mountains and it was tough, my legs were shot. I was not getting passed, no f*cking way! Not here, not in front of my team. This race I made more kills than I had at any other Ragnar, I was f*cking strong as I ever was. I threw the hammer down and finished a few hundred feet ahead of that person! F*ck yes!!!
That said, there was a moment during that race that was quite sad and you can read more about it here. Peter Nussbaum (co-founder of Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary) and I had witnessed something at a dairy farm that will live with me for a long time. The cries of a young calf have been etched in my brain.
The runners high of that race was short-lived as something I felt coming for a while reared its head. My wife and I decided it was time to end our relationship. There are no hard feelings, we decided to do it amicably and not keep it from our sons. We told them and it was hard at first but we were still living together so they saw that divorces didn’t always have to be ugly and nasty, they could be civil.
The hits just kept coming after that though.
One night while Leah was at work, I was at home with the boys. Itsy, our other cat, was meowing to come in which is something she NEVER did. She would stay out all night if we let her. During the summer she spent many nights out as she refused to come in. This time she was meowing to come in and was limping. I figured maybe she was sleeping under a bush and her paw had fallen asleep. I helped her up onto my bed and consoled her for a bit. I left her alone for a short bit of time hoping the leg would wake up. It never did and I called Leah to come home so I could take Itsy to the all night emergency vet. Long story short, Itsy was throwing blood clots and we left the office with her in a box. We were told it was the compassionate thing to do as the next clot could be in her brain, heart or somewhere else that might cause her pain. So we took on that pain and lost our other furry friend. We had her since she could fit in the palm of our hand. We loved her so much.
Shortly after all of that stuff, I had moved into a two bedroom condo. It is a serviceable place and fits what I need; for now. One Thursday (December 6th) I had gone in to work for an 8 hour overtime shift. The boys come over on Thursday so I had just picked them up. We walked into the condo and sure enough, my first step onto the carpet made a squish sound. The water heater had blown while I was at work and flooded the whole first floor. It took 24 hours to get someone out to put in a new heater and shortly after someone else to remove all the water and the soaked carpet. At that point there was nothing but a concrete slab and 4 machines running to dry the place out and clean the air from any spores that might be growing.
Here we are, December 28th and I still have a cement floor.
We celebrated our first Christmas in the condo on cold concrete and that is exactly how I’m going into 2019.
That said, I refuse to let it define my year and there will be a second part to this post on January 1st. I have plans and goals and aspirations. 2019 will not be a repeat of 2018. I’ve been given the opportunity to redefine myself and re-center my life. I can’t wait to share what’s going to happen next.