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Normalcy

Started: 2006-01-01 19:03:34

Submitted: 2006-01-01 20:21:11

Visibility: World-readable

... in which the Narrator contemplates the year 2005.

In many respects, I ended 2005 the same place I started it. I'm a bit older and a bit heavier, and my net worth is a bit larger; but I still have the same house, the same job, and the same Gem I had at the beginning. In 2004 I bought a house; in 2003 I got a job and moved out of my parents' basement; in 2002 I graduated and got married. I guess I'm settling into mundane middle-class normalcy, which isn't really all that bad.

Two thousand five was a big year for me and air travel. I went on my first business trip and ended up spending twenty-two days out of the office in six trips; that's 8% travel. I visited exciting places like Kent State University, Cambridge (UK), and greater Boston. I flew 29,555 nautical miles in twenty-one segments on five airlines (United, Continental, jetBlue, US Airways, and Frontier; the count increases if one considers Ted a different airline from United and if one counts regional carriers: I flew on Air Wisconsin and SkyWest operating United Express flights and Horizon operating Frontier JetExpress flights), accumulating frequent flyer miles on three of those airlines. I flew across the Atlantic, used three different computers on different flights, had flights canceled and booked a ticket at the last minute so I was selected for extra-special screening. I sat in window seats and aisle seats and cramped middle seats; I spilled Mountain Dew on my keyboard 35,000 feet above Iowa. I visited the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in the same month. I visited new airports and gained new loathing for airports I'd visited before; my travels took me to Denver International Airport, Chicago/O-Hare, Akron-Canton Regional Airport, Cleveland Hopkins, Will Rogers World Airport (Oklahoma City), Houston Intercontinental, London-Gatwick, Newark Liberty, Ontario (ONT, not YYZ), LAX, SFO, Boston's Logan, Philadelphia, and Portland. Any fear of flying I once had is now long gone.

Professionally, 2005 was ... interesting. My manager quit without warning in July, ten days before we were to deliver a major new product to a critical customer. That product became the project that wouldn't die, sending me to Boston on three trips. My employer is growing, which is good, but I'm concerned it isn't growing in the right ways.

Our household doubled in size to include two felines, Cat5 and Willow. Our cats almost get along, as long as they're not hissing at each other, and a spray bottle comes in handy for keeping them off the furniture they're not allowed on. Despite a number of our friends having children, we're not planning on procreating anytime soon; our cats will have to be our parents' grandchildren for now.

Kiesa and I finished unpacking in January; in April I bought a lawn mower and in June I fixed my sprinkler system. We shuffled the spare rooms and bought a guest bed. Kiesa's piano rounded out our living room; spare cubicles took root and grew in our basement.

I finished watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and started watching Battlestar Galactica and Veronica Mars. Despite Hollywood's best attempts to drive me away from theaters (with expensive tickets, inconvenient showtimes, blaring ads, and public-service "don't pirate" messages), I managed to watch The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Revenge of the Sith, Batman Begins, Serenity, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. (Netflix kept me occupied the rest of the time.)

My GPS receiver took me outside and to exciting places I wouldn't otherwise visit; I found 118 caches in seven states in all four lower-48 time zones. Even when I wasn't Geocaching I still managed to get outside; I got sunburned hiking to Chasm Lake at the base of Longs Peak, got devoured by mosquitos in Flat Tops wilderness, enjoyed hypoxia on the summit of Grays Peak, and managed to avoid all three at the top of Twin Sisters.

For me, 2005 was a good year. With any luck, 2006 will be even better.

I *am* going to be rejected several times tomorrow.
- Centurion, 09 November 1999