Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy New Year!

A very happy New Year to all! I hope you're looking forward to the start of 2015. I know that it has been a bit of a crazy, chaotic mess for the E.V.L. household at the end of 2014. As stated prior, I knew we were in for a busy several weeks and months, but it's been no joke! The last several weeks have been challenging, sad, and somewhat fulfilling, making it a confusing end to the year, for sure.
*Image found here
The start of renovating the home we purchased has been nearly all-consuming. We wanted to do our best to get as much completed before moving in. We've managed to do much more than I anticipated thus far, but along with the projects came some frustration and realization that not everything is going as smoothly as we'd hoped.

In addition, just before Christmas, we lost one of our dogs. My heart still stings when I think about it. Our small dog, Gandolf, had been dealing with a lump on his head near his eye and I'd taken him to a variety of veterinarians in an attempt to have it removed. It was quite apparent that it was causing him much pain, but no one was taking the steps to move forward with removal.
Finally, one vet agreed to remove the lump. I was nervous, but knew it needed to be done because he was now avoiding eating due to the pain. Before surgery began, I was informed that the (as I'd been told prior) benign cyst was actually a cancerous tumor and it was very aggressively eating the bone in his skull. There was nothing they could do to help him and we suddenly found ourselves switching from how-much-is-this-surgery-going-to-cost to holy-cow-we're-going-to-lose-our-family-member.
Always digging for trouble... you'll be missed my little man.
It was crushing to say the least. I still cry and miss him because our dogs are very much our children and such a huge part of our lives. This little guy was a ray of sunshine, always protective of me, the best lap dog ever, and always looked at me as though I could do no wrong. He had a rough start in this world and sadly I couldn't protect him from the cancer that stole him too early. His just over 12 years with us were full of times I know we won't forget. It's difficult not to have him around every day, but I've tried to keep the good memories close to prevent the heartache which takes over more often than I'd prefer.

In the midst of all of dealing with the loss of our little guy, we had drama with the house closing and weren't sure it was going to take place. It did close, though not without delays and road blocks. Eventually, we were able to get into the house and put hammer to walls and scrapers to flooring and work got under way.

Through all of this, I have learned that I am not nearly as resilient or hearty as I believed prior. We've completed many home renovation projects through the years, but attempting to finish an entire house in a matter of a few weeks by ourselves is exhausting, daunting and overwhelming. Each project seems to take 2-3 times longer than anticipated, and often the costs fall in line with those same figures.

By no means are we at the end of our renovations, but soon it will be time to begin moving the household over which will no doubt bring another layer of difficulty to the process; but paying for two homes simultaneously isn't exactly prudent (or an option) either. The super messy projects will hopefully be completed before the move and the rest will be items to work on as we go forward.

In all of this, I've been pondering my inability at times to look at things in small segments or to allow things to simply be what they are rather than trying to force an outcome. I think I have done just this with the blog and allowed myself (at least during more stressful times) to feel as though I'm letting someone down by not posting. Velouria made an excellent point in her comment on my last post when she stated that perhaps I've put pressure on myself to put up posts and I should allow the freedom for posts to be more of a when-I-feel-like-posting sort of thing. Others made similar comments at various points and I've appreciated every idea and have let it all sink in.

With this, I intend to move forward with the blog, but I know it will be entirely sporadic for at least several weeks and/or there may still be a long lag time before anything remotely thoughtful is written. I believe 2014 was one of the roughest years I've experienced in some time and I'm looking forward to a better coming year. Sometimes I seem to let the life stuff get to me and it can be challenging to find equity in all parts of existence, but I have hope that with some work I can find that balance in the coming year.

Wishing you and yours a very peaceful, prosperous, and happy cycling New Year! I look forward to continuing our chats about bicycles in 2015.

18 comments:

  1. I will certainly miss Gandalf, he was the OG, it just won't be the same without him. As far as the end of year projects go, I think we are "killing it" as they say, nobody can do what the 2 of us can do. Yes, there are times where we might over estimate what is possible, but I think the curve was blown before we reached that point, it's just hard to see when you are swimming in the middle of the ocean. In a couple of weeks, we will step back, and look at the laundry list, and be impressed. I'm convinced 2015 is going to be pretty awesome, on all accounts! I know we both look forward to the ice melting, and getting back on a bike : ).

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  2. So so sorry for your loss. It must have been an awful shock. Good luck with the house move, it sounds pretty stressful but I am sure it will all work out beautifully in the end. Very glad that you have decided to hang on to the blog, at least for now :)

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    1. Thank you, Stephanie. We were definitely not prepared to lose the little guy and I think it is partially what makes it more painful. Thank you for your well-wishes with the move too. I think I'll be glad when we can just start settling in. :O)

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  3. G.E., I am so sorry about Gandalf. I lost my cat Sara in June. Our fur babies do bring such joy and heartache.

    Wishing you a brighter, happier 2015.

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    1. Thanks, Rebecca. I am sorry for your loss too. It is definitely difficult to lose the fur-children. I always think I'll be strong and get through it the next time it happens, but I just don't think it's possible.

      Happy 2015 to you as well!

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  4. I'm so sorry to read about Gandalf. From the pictures, he looks like quite a character.

    I'm glad to see you decided to continue writing on the blog. One the many things I find freeing about this kind of platform is that it is not regimented. Nobody is going to fire you for not writing (or for writing too much, either, for that matter). Over time, I learned that I like to consider doing a certain number of posts a week, but I personally don't want to bind myself to that. Also, I don't want to put up content just because I feel I should-- unless I'm managing an event like the Errandonnee or managing Coffeeneuring or whatever. The blog is an outlet that I do when I can. I hope others enjoy what I write, otherwise I would be doing this as a private personal journal, but ultimately it's for my own fulfillment.

    On an admin note, I can't tell if Blogger is accepting this comment so I hope you don't have a million dupes of it in your approval cue... :)

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    1. He was definitely a character... a bit of a hellion for much of his life, but I loved him nonetheless. I've never been much of a fan of small dogs, but he was quite mighty.

      I'm excited to keep the blog going. Your thoughts are excellent. I do sometimes have to remind myself that there is no requirement as far as number of posts.

      I hope your new job is coming along nicely and that you're preparing for a great new year.

      On the admin note... I have actually just changed things so that word verification comes up, but I don't need to approve comments. Ninety percent of comments are decent and aren't spam, so I'm going to attempt to fish through those that aren't appropriate and delete them after the fact. Perhaps this will help with knowing whether or not the comment actually came through (I hope!). :O)

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    2. Yes, thanks for asking, the new job is going well, although I've welcomed the holidays for a bit of rest. WordPress has had similar problems with spam so I can totally understand why you'd want to continue moderating. Happy New Year!

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  5. I'm very sorry to hear about Gandalf. I know all too well what a large hole they leave in our hearts when it is their time. When they are pups, they need us. When they are gone, we need them. And it hurts terribly.

    I'm very glad to see your post. It's good to share this sort of thing with your friends. I hope you think of us as that.

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    1. Thanks, LC (and yes, I do consider you all part of my friend circle... I was just sharing with someone how cool it is to be able to chat with people on other sides of the country or parts of the world)!

      There's definitely a hole in the heart and I'm trying to snuggle in with the other two (whether they like it or not) and soak up the time with them. It's a good reminder that none of us get to be here forever and we honestly can't know when it's our time to go. I just hope he knew how much he was loved.

      Thanks for checking in... sending you wishes for a happy New Year! :O)

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  6. I am so sorry about Gandalf. I've lost two dogs in the past two years. It is hard, really hard, to let them go. The wiggle their way into our lives, onto our furniture, and around our souls so that there's no way to avoid their memories. A year after Claire died, I would still come across sweaters that had a bit of her hair clinging to them. The picture of Gandalf digging almost made we weep. We used to call our Springer "little man."

    I'm glad to see you back here. I hope you will continue to write whenever the urge strikes, with no guilt or sense of obligation. Even if you take a very long break, we'll still be here when you come back.

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    1. I am so sorry, Kendra. It isn't fun at all. This is our second loss in less than a year and a half and it totally stinks, so I can identify with the back-to-back losses. The littlest things seem to bring me to tears, but I know we gave him the best life we possibly could and all I can hope is that he knew how much we loved him.

      I was in such hysterics the day I found out we'd have to let him go. One of the volunteers in the vet's office said, "You know, I hate to say it, but it's always good to get another one right away." I started laughing and said, "I have two more at home... but it still doesn't replace him." It's amazing how much and how different all the personalities can be. I think it's why I've always ended up with multiples. I love them all for different reasons.

      Anyway, thank you and I am looking forward to writing more as we get into 2015. I feel as though I let so many things go toward the end of this year and I should have lots to write about when I can get myself to a place to make it happen. :O)

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  7. Happy New Year to you too! It's great to hear you sounding so positive despite all your upheavals and sadness. I always say that a dog is a child in wolf's clothing (that's what I think about our Springer anyway) - your little guy will be sorely missed but eventually there will be more happy memories than sad ones.
    Also, about your blog - just write when you feel like it :)

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    1. Thanks, Mary. It's hard to lose our furry ones. He was a little stinker most of his life, but I loved that he danced to his own drummer (perhaps I identified just a bit with him in that regard).

      As for the blog... I am hoping to get back to some semblance of normality soon. :O)

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  8. Hi, Ge. Sorry to hear about your beloved dog. I've had to go through that a nubmer of times, and it never gets easier. LIke you, my dogs are my kids, and watching one of them go through this is never good. congrats on the house and I'll be thinking of you!!

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    1. Thanks so much. It isn't easy to lose the fur-kids. I actually thought I saw him sitting in a chair the other day... had to do a double take to make sure I wasn't losing my mind! :O) Thanks for all the good thoughts sent our way.

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  9. Just wanted to let you know I was thinking of you and hoping your move is going well.

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    1. Thanks, Kendra! I hope you're doing well too. :O)

      The move went smoothly, but has taken some time. Renovations are ongoing, but we're getting there - slowly, but surely. It's a shame my days are consumed with all of these house things because we've had a couple of days of absolutely gorgeous winter weather with temperatures hitting the mid-70s!! I wish I was on a bike instead of inhaling paint fumes. :O) Soon... ah, soon I'll be back to a more normal life (I hope).

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Word verification is on, but I've turned off the moderation portion in an attempt to make it easier for you to know that your comment has indeed made it through. We'll see how this goes, but I'm hopeful that this will help out and I'll try my best to weed through and remove spammers comments. Additionally, I recommend copying comments before hitting publish as the "blogger comment eater" seems to continue his snacking.