Usually I don't think much about the start of a new year. I've never been one for wild celebrations or resounding resolutions. I've always seen January 1 as the day which follows December 31, my only nod to the New Year being eating a meal which includes black-eyed peas. That is until 2008. 2008 was the type of year that caused me to long for a new calendar, a fresh start, a beginning of something better. Because 2008 was not a good year and I was eager to have it gone. My mother died in 2008, leaving my 95 year old dad and her husband of 73 years, alone and a five hour drive from me. The economy spiraled downward, taking a direct hit not only on our savings, but also on Joe's line of work. After a somewhat smug decision made in January 2008 (following a healthy 2007) to sharply raise our medical insurance deductible, I learned in 2008 that an MRI is really pricey, specialists charge an arm and a leg, and that physical therapy requires a lot of expensive sessions to effect even the slightest improvement. One of my daughters faced a huge disappointment in the fall, and the resulting sadness lingered. The roof leaked. The oven broke. Our stock portfolio only got worse. D came home from college for Christmas break and within hours was violently ill. On December 26, my son-in-law's car was hit by a red light runner. He was fine but the car was totaled. How many more days until 2008 is over?
So, imagine how I felt on the morning of December 30, when I awoke with a sore throat. Undeterred, I got up, dosed myself with zinc, vitamin C, and Advil and assured myself it was nothing. I would get better. I would in two days time feel great and welcome the new year with open arms, assuring myself a change of fortune and happier days ahead. I felt lousy on the morning of the 31st as well, but surely I would make the turn-around and be fine for the planned evening activities of a nice dinner and a movie. Okay, Chicken Out eaten while lying on the sofa was not what I had in mind, and I was in a feverish fog at midnight, but still I planned on waking up on January 1, 2009 feeling great and ready for a happy new year. Fast forward to January 10, ten days of misery and a Z-Pack later, and hello 2009. It's time to get this party started. But wait.... there's the sound of sneezing and snuffling. Joe is sick. And 2009 remains on hold.