Tater’s 2020 in Review

I considered not doing a 2020 in review post. Does anyone really want to look back on such a terrible year? Obviously, I decided to go ahead and do it. There were some good things this year. There were some big, life changing decisions this year. 2020 sucked, but I would think I would regret not doing a look back.

The start of the year was typical. Had I known what was coming, I would have done more fun things. We went back to the normal work schedule. Our life at home was the nice, normal and boring. My son was back at his house. My daughter moved back to the dorm. The day we were moving her back in I got a text from my brother with the news of Kobe Bryant’s death. At the time I thought that would be the biggest news of 2020.

February is birthday month for me and my wife. It was a milestone birthday for her so we convinced her to give up on her normal “let’s go to a boring chain restaurant” celebration. We went out and had a nice seafood meal on the water. My birthday was not a milestone one. I can’t even remember what we did. I know I did my typical circuit of all the free food and drinks I get from apps and emails from restaurants. The end of the month was my last big public event. ESPN’s College Gameday was filming at my daughter’s school. She woke up early on a Saturday to go stand in line with me to watch it. I overestimated how many people from the general public would go line up. We were first in line and ended up in seats that meant we were on TV consistently during the show. It was a good time.

March is when everything changed. My daughter came home from school for what we thought was just an extended spring break. My work sent us home for two weeks. My wife was going to work from home. We went out for one last meal in a restaurant for my daughter’s birthday. At the time, I really thought this was just a pause. It was going to be nice. My daughter was home. I was home. It was a break from life. A time to rest, reflect and reset. Unfortunately, that pause was extended over and over again.

The next few months were all spent at home. I had to figure out how my public service job could translate to at home work. It was complicated by poor management and made stressful by that management insisting on multiple phone calls a day to make sure were were “productive” My son got sick around Easter. It was all stomach issues and the doctors were sure it was not Covid. This is back when you could only get tested with a doctor’s order, so we never knew for sure. It was a stressful few days, but it was nice to have him home. We watched Tiger King and Community together until he was better and ready to go back to his house. Soon after this is when I starting talking to my wife about the possibility of leaving my job. All of the good was gone and all of the bad was even worse.

Eventually, I went back to in person work. No customers. Curbside pickup only. It was nice to have some place to go. It mad the days go faster. It also increased my exposure to toxic people. So the good was unfortunately way outweighed by the bad. At least I had access to physical books again.

We did still go on a trip in July. We drove to Kentucky. We had a socially distant visit with my mother in law. We saw my family. We played in a pool. We went hiking. We found a fork in the road. My son decided the answer to what you do when you come to a fork in the road is climb it. We went to a place called spray paint road and illegally painted our names on it. We had milkshakes. We had food truck donuts. It was a nice trip in the middle of a bad year.

After the trip was over, I went back to the routine. My daughter moved back to an apartment close to campus in August. I was happy she was with her friends, but I was sad that she wasn’t there to watch TV with me in the afternoons anymore. The monotony was broken up by a few trips to food trucks. I became more stressed, anxious and depressed. I kept asking my wife about leaving my job. She kept not wanting to consider it. I started therapy for the first time in my life. We did go on a hike to find a car graveyard I had read about.

Work got worse. I was miserable. I wrote up a plan for what I would do if I was able to leave my job. I sent it to my wife via email. I asked a few times about it. She kept putting it off . Then last month while on our walk she surprised my by saying she thought it was the right decision. I should quit my job. I turned in my resignation the next day before anyone could change their mind. I had one month left and then I was free.

We had a nice, quiet Thanksgiving of just the four of us and my son’s girlfriend. I had a nice Zoom gong away party. Today is the my first real day with no job. The plan now is to get tested and quarantine so we can see my mother-in-law next week.

Here’s hoping 2021 brings better things.

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