2019 Year in Review: A Bounty of Blessings

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I failed to do a year in review for 2018, but this time I’m working on this one early so I can publish it on time. Faster than a blink of an eye, 2019 flew by. My memory is pretty terrible these days, so I had to go back through my personal planner and my bullet journal to figure out what exactly happened this year.

We Expanded Our Family by Not Only One, But Two New Additions

Fiona

2019 marked a year of growth for us in so many areas, but most importantly in our little family. It started in June, my friend Briana told me her boss was looking to find a new home for a kitten named Fiona they had been fostering. Since Patches’ passing back in 2016, we had been back and forth on the idea of bringing a cat back into our lives. I know Craig really missed Patches and longed for that bond again. But every time an opportunity presented itself, Craig was never ready.

This time, rather than asking for permission, I decided I would take a chance and surprise him with her. So I agreed to take Fiona. Initially the plan was for me to make up a story to Craig about why I had to be gone for a couple hours one Saturday afternoon so I could meet them and pick her up, but that fell through mostly because I’m a terrible liar. I ultimately had to spill the beans and tell Craig the real reason I was leaving on an errand for a couple hours.

Meet Fiona. At the time, she was so tiny–only about the size of a hand!

“Sweetie, I don’t know,” he said. It was not quite the reaction I had been hoping for, but it was the reaction I expected nonetheless. “I don’t think I’m ready for another cat.”

The thing is no one is ever ready to move on, which is exactly what he meant to say. But I persisted. “She’s a kitten. She needs a home.”

He paused for a few seconds and he pursed his lips together. I could see him blink away tears. “Ok, let’s go get our kitten.” And just like that, our lives were changed forever.

Cali

It was September and Fiona had already been with us for 3 months. We experienced all the ups and downs of being kitten parents: the multiple injuries to our arms and legs, the sleepless nights, and the non-stop hours of entertainment she provided not only for herself but for us.

During this time, I was doing all my research by reading up on kitten development. I made sure Fiona had the best toys recommended by experts to hone her skills and keep her occupied. But there was one thing that cat behaviorists recommended that we didn’t have: another feline companion for her.

But it wasn’t just behaviorists who were recommending it, other friends and fellow cat owners recommended it as well. Kittens learned how to be cats from other cats. It was something that couldn’t be taught by humans obviously. It would also cut down on a lot of the injuries that Craig and I received.

That was when my friend Steph contacted me and asked if we wanted another cat. Her friend was retiring and needed a home for her cat Cali. The family who had agreed to take her before backed out at the last minute so she was scrambling to find a new home for her. According to Steph, Cali was a sweet, mature calico who would hold her own among other animals in the house. She sent me a picture of her and I was smitten.

The timing was impeccable. This time I texted Craig about Cali and he was immediately game. Steph lived only a few minutes from my office so I visited her after work.

Cali was a big, beautiful mama. She probably weighed close to 12 pounds at the time. She was shy and she had been well taken care of by her previous owner as she came with a lot of toys, her own cat fortress, and a ton of food.

Because Cali was an older cat, she had already lived half her life and was set in her ways, so I knew adjusting was going to take some time. The drive home was pretty traumatic for the both of us. She had just lost the only human she had known, then she moved in with another set of temporary humans for a day, and now who knows where she was going next. Her heart was broken, she was stressed out and grieving, and I was grieving along with her.

The first few days, Cali spent her time hiding behind our couch. She was annoyed by everything in life. She didn’t like Fiona, she hated Izzie even more, and she wasn’t interested in either me or Craig.

Once she was done with her hiding phase, she transitioned to her “roosting” phase where she pretty much spent most of her time up in the cat tree. She nibbled on her food, but only when Izzie wasn’t around, and she socialized with Fiona in small spurts at least when she could stand her because let’s face it, Fiona is a handful and can only be tolerated in short amounts of time.

Gradually she began to spend more time on the ground. I think she had to gain the courage to be around Izzie first. Izzie, in turn, became less curious about her and gave her the space she needed. Before we knew it, all 3 of them were hanging out in our bedroom with us. It was indeed a happy day.

October 2019 Tornado Passes Through Dallas

On Sunday October 20, several tornados passed through parts of North Dallas and Richardson, leaving a lot of destruction in its wake. Craig and I were at home at the time, preparing for our work week, when I started receiving texts from my sisters and brother about a tornado crossing I-75 near Northpark.

Seeing as how that was right down the highway from us, I became alarmed and alerted Craig. It had been raining off and on that day and the rain was just starting to pick up.

Another text from my sister said it was crossing over 635 near Richland College which probably meant it was near the Texas Instruments campus (a mere 10 minutes away from us).

Rain and debris began pounding harder against the sides of the house. I insisted we bunker in the hall bathroom as it was the only room in the center of the house without any windows. I picked up Izzie and carried her into the bathroom with me. Fiona, who never wanted to be left out of the party, happily followed behind. Craig went in search of Cali who didn’t put up much of a fight when he scooped her up and brought her into the tiny room.

By then, the worst of it had passed. The high winds that had beat against the house died down and the rain was now a gentle trickle. Craig decided to step outside and peek out the front door. There were a few things knocked over, some fallen branches, but for the most part there wasn’t any significant damage.

Meanwhile, a few blocks away, some of our neighbors were not so lucky. Houses were severely damaged beyond repair, some were leveled, traffic lights were ripped right out of the concrete. It was chaos. It will take months for people to recover.

We Celebrated our 2nd Wedding Anniversary

Craig and I celebrated our 2nd year being married, and our 4th year being together. I’m not gonna lie–it’s easy getting caught up in the daily drudgery that is life. You get up in the morning, go to work, come home, make dinner, pay bills, go to sleep, get up again, go to work, wash, rinse, repeat. To be honest, we don’t always remember our exact wedding date. We know it’s at the end of March at least.

Our friends and family are shocked at how we don’t even know our anniversary date. To us, it’s a number on a calendar. It’s not how we measure happiness in our marriage. From the very beginning, Craig and I were on the same page about what we expected from our marriage and each other. We both wanted love, trust, honesty, kindness, and communication. From that point on, we would be a unit of 3: Craig, me, and our marriage.

I Received My 2nd Promotion in 2 Years

In 2018, I was promoted to Web Developer. In 2019, I became Website Architect. It was a surprise promotion, one that I excitedly accepted despite the short notice at the time. It’s been a gradual transition, but I truly do enjoy the work that I do and the team that I work with every day.

A Few Other Notable Milestones This Year

  • I said goodbye to a friendship that was unknowingly toxic.
  • I reconnected with an old friend who subsequently became our neighbor.
  • I started learning embroidery.
  • Craig bought me a ukulele and I began learning how to play.
  • I started learning Japanese.
  • I visited Shamrock, TX for the first time and traveled on historic Route 66.

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