Friday, December 28, 2012

Curmudgeon's blog year in review -- 2012 edition

It is customary at this time of the year to take a look back -- to revisit, and make a list of, some of the year's highlights.

I know why newspapers and magazines do this: They have pages that must be filled even when all the real staff is on vacation. Low-paid interns can cut and paste from already-published stories and fill those big empty spaces.

It doesn't make that much sense for a blogger to do this -- it's still work -- it still takes time -- and, of course, this blog is the product of me and my keyboard: I have no interns on whom I can dump this responsibility.

Nevertheless, in my ever-optimistic, delusional imagination, I see bored literary agents or book editors surfing the web at this time of year looking for fresh new writing that might be teased into a salable book, or at least an e-book.

The list of posts that follows -- all scrupulously linked -- will take you with me on a trip through a thoroughly exhausting year for yours truly.

May we all be blessed with a peaceful 2013.

I had lost a good client in 2011 (I still have one open file with this client, but nothing new in over 18 months). It was, of course, my fault: I did not obtain good results for this client in contested cases. I can (and do) blame the judges who ruled against me -- but, in the final analysis, I was not sufficiently persuasive. A post I did in April, "Curmudgeon on insurance coverage litigation," may be seen as my apologia about (and perhaps my farewell to) this lost business.

As 2012 began, I found myself wrestling with the prospect of being involuntarily retired. In "Curmudgeon not the retiring type" I confessed that my wife thought I was depressed. And I agreed with her: "If depression were a contact sport I'd be a mass of welts and bruises from head to toe."

It was in January that I put up a trio of posts that ultimately inspired the creation of The Blog of Days (I do hope you're visiting there regularly):
At least they were short.

But these silly little posts didn't really turn the tide of my depression. I actually reached out, for the first time in my life, to a group that offers help to attorneys in Chicago.

And who knows? It might have helped if I'd followed through. But what really turned the tide was being pulled out of my own problems and plunged into my family's problems.

My two daughters were at the top of the headline package this year. Both had fertility problems. Very different fertility problems. One couldn't conceive -- and the other could. But read for yourself:
See how it all tied together? Depression, pregnancies, and imaginary giant sewer rats in my mother-in-law's basement... well, maybe the last doesn't tie in quite exactly. And I was moving my office in the midst of all this, too.

You know, there's a reason why people space out major life decisions -- graduating from college, getting married, starting a family -- so much is involved with each of these that everyone can't help but become exhausted. But Younger Daughter had just undertaken to cram all of these milestones into less than six months.

At least I had something to blog about, right? And even with these family crises ongoing, I could still blog about normal things (well, normal for us, anyway), as in this post about Easter dinner at the Curmudgeon home, "You thought ants were bad a picnic?" (The illustration I used with that post got me in trouble. In July I received my first DCMA takedown notice from Blogger -- but I eventually squared things with the copyright holder and blogged about it, too.)

Still in April, I went with Long Suffering Spouse to Indianapolis to keep Older Daughter company after her second implantation. I wrote about it, of course.
It occurs to me sometimes that I am too hard on Older Daughter. (She'd be the first to agree with that.) But if I were to die tomorrow, I'd want her to be the one to find this blog and try and turn it into a manuscript or two. And not just because she's the only one of my five kids who has written a blog or who reads books regularly. Although both of those count in her favor....

I'm complaining about 2012 -- but think about what Older Daughter went through this year. These first two attempts at IVF failed, as would a third just a few weeks ago. No, I didn't even try to be light about it in "Older Daughter gets more bad news." There's nothing lighthearted about the shots, the bloating, the hormones, the indignities -- not unless it actually works out. And every time she'd return to work after a layoff for a failed IVF procedure (she works as an ER nurse in a children's hospital) she'd wind up taking care of some battered infant -- some poor child whose own parents had done it harm -- and she'd want to scream at God, "You let these morons have babies! Why won't you let me?"

I'll wait while you finish crying. I couldn't type right away either.

But Older Daughter's been a trooper. With all the conflicting emotions she must have felt, she loves her little niece; she became the baby's godmother.

But we're getting ahead here, aren't we? We still have to get Younger Daughter married off....
Younger Daughter and Olaf moved in with us after the wedding. It hasn't always been beer and skittles, as I tried to explain in "Long Suffering Spouse starts to chafe."

Part of the problem was that, though Younger Daughter did manage to graduate from college on time despite her delicate condition, Olaf did not. As you'll have noted from at least some of these family way and wedding posts, he'd been suffering from chronic migraines that had prevented his completing his math major in time. It wasn't until after he had already found out he would be a father that he and his family finally got serious about getting his condition under control. I'm not blaming them; after all, they had an HMO -- you don't even know what actual medical treatment is when all you have is an HMO, and it took Olaf and his family a while to understand that we weren't kidding when we assured them that things could be improved.

Although I was flirting with the possibility of repositioning myself as the world's worst lawyer, I took on a new, non-paying client.
If Olaf had continued to follow my good advice, he'd have graduated this month. But he didn't, and he won't.

We got him through the worst of it, though: There's just a single hour course that must still be handled. He'll get it done. In the meantime, Olaf has a job -- a pretty good one -- and, despite not graduating in December he will (I think) go on salary after the first of the year. And then they might be able to start thinking seriously about moving out.


Long Suffering Spouse will be glad when Olaf moves out. But she will miss the baby, whether she says so or not.

I didn't miss the baby in this year-in-review piece. I just thought I'd put her in as we near the end.
Of course, these stories are just about the blessed event itself. In the coming year there will probably be more posts like, "One good thing about grandpa-hood, even if the kid is under my roof" or "Younger Daughter learns some lessons of motherhood -- some of them true." I hope, however, to be observing the continuing progress of this child on a slightly less daily basis.


With all of that, there's been no mention of Youngest Son's struggles in college -- he wants to be a teacher, but he's locked in a seemingly constant struggle with the Education Department at South Janesville College. Nor did I mention his baseball career (he had a start in a playoff game... but there was no Hollywood ending).

I did win an award this year for blogging in real life. I wrote about it in "Nothing like family to puncture your balloon" and "For $1,000, Curmudgeon gets a free lunch." I also got a serious article published in a local bar publication. And a post I haven't mentioned in this retrospective (yes, there have been lots I didn't mention here, smarty) got picked up by the e-zine BoomSpeak.

Who knows? Maybe in Year Eight of Second Effort (I just passed my 7th Blogiversary) I'll become an overnight sensation.

Meanwhile, I'd better get back to the end-of-the-year drudgery here at the Teeny Tiny Law Office.

See you next year.

I hope.


Steve Skinner said...

Your blog has caused me laugh and cry the past year. Wishing a better 2013!!

Mother of Chaos said...

Aww, Older IS so unfair. Ridiculously unfair. :(

Here's to a better, brighter 2013 in the Curmudgeon household!

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

happy new year curmy!

smiles, bee

Sari said...

Happy New Year! I have lost touch with blogging since I joined Facebook, which is sad, but I hope you have a great 2013. I'll be checking in to hear about it.

:-) (yes, an emoticon for you).

Sari said...

oops I think I used my *other* blogger account...but you'll know it's me because how many sari's are there? also, you don't have to publish this comment.

The Curmudgeon said...

Sari, I'll cheerfully publish both; it's few enough comments that I get. I'm on Facebook, too, but that's to keep track of the kids. I don't put a lot up there -- because that's all in my real name.

The Curmudgeon said...

Thank you all.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year and yes I did cry about older daughter and the total unfairness of it all.

Sari said...

Oh yes, I know. The real name you don't tell even your oldest blogging friends. ;-) ha ha ha