Good Riddance 2021


This was a horrible year and I can’t wait to slam the door on it in 32 minutes.

Back in March, my 18-year-old dog Bubba had to be put to sleep after being with me for 16 of those years. We’d been dealing with cancer and fluid around his heart and lungs for about a year, and then the poor guy lost control of his bowels. It was a hard decision, but I had to let him go. He was a damn fine dog and a great friend.

Then I lost my job. I was the last teacher hired, literally starting work the day before the kids came back to school in the fall of 2020. At the end of that school year I was told the budget had shrunk and they “needed more bang for the buck” and I was being let go so they could hire a coach. That school wasn’t a perfect fit, but I liked it well enough and had hoped to stay.

With no job, I had to cancel the cross-country trip I had planned for me and my dog Bear. After I got my last paycheck in June, we had to live on that vacation money until mid-September, so my savings is mostly gone and thanks to inflation, I’ve not been able to replenish it.

I got a new job and on the third day of class I thought there was a swarm of gnats in my classroom. I asked a student about it and he thought I was nuts. I’d somehow torn the retina in my right eye. To make it even more fun, it was August and my insurance from the previous job had expired in July and the new insurance wouldn’t begin until September 1. I’m still paying on that bill.

And then September came. My mom died on the 4th after a long battle with COPD. This is still hard to accept and the holiday season was definitely different than ever before with her absence making a gaping hole despite my little sister stepping up to become the family matriarch. I visited Mom’s grave again today, and I still can’t leave it dry-eyed.

Some stuff has happened at work and I feel as burned out as an old nub of candle. I’ll save the details for a possible sequel to You Want to Do What? But, I’m asking myself if I want to continue as a teacher. Right now, the answer is no. I could claim my full teacher retirement in 8 1/2 years, but I don’t know if I can hold out that long.

I suppose I should end on some positive note. I haven’t gotten covid. My oldest daughter had it, but she’s recovered. My youngest kids gave me a kitten named Cleo and she’s (mostly) been a welcome addition to my home with Bear. That’s about as good as I can get right now, 8 minutes before the start of 2022 with my neighbors firing guns off all around me.


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