Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 in Review

If 2007 was a year of preparation, 2008 was the year events came into fruition.

Of course, the news event that most people will associate with 2008 is the election of Barack Obama. I intended to vote Democratic, as I have in nearly every election since I came of age. But I struggled with who to support in the primary. (For the record, I don’t have a good record for picking the winner in the primaries. Some of my previous selections: 1988 - Jesse Jackson; 1992 - Jerry Brown; 2004 - Howard Dean). After much internal struggle, I decided to support Obama in the primary due to his consistent opposition to the Iraq war. If Hillary Clinton had come forward earlier, and said “I was wrong” about her 2002 vote, I may well have supported her. But she didn’t, so I selected Obama, despite his weaker position on gay issues. In the end, he won. Time will tell if he merits reelection.

Danny and I did not take a joint vacation in 2008. For me, there was only a brief trip to Florida for my niece’s high school graduation.

Careerwise, after years of attempts, I’ve finally been relieved of my phone job, at least temporarily. I’ve enjoyed my new position, testing our new policy servicing system. It’s scheduled to roll out in April, at which time I may have to return to the phones. But I’m hoping to spin it off into a permanent position in my new department, and my new manager seems eager to help.

In August, after months of scouting the market and saving money for a down payment, Danny and I made an offer on a house. After some negotiations, the deal was finalized, and our loan was approved mere days before the economy suffered a ground quake. For someone who’s used to stumbling while reaching for the goal, it was a rare moment of serendipity in my life. Between the deflated housing market and low interest rates, we secured a very good deal. Buying a house is a major hassle, and I don’t plan on doing it with any regularity. Unless we have a massive increase in income, or leave Northeast Ohio, Danny and I plan to remain here until we retire. The house was built in 1942, and many of my plans for 2009 revolve around sprucing up the exterior, and, of course, buying furniture!

But for me, the greatest event of 2008 was adopting Mason. Indeed, one of the primary reasons for getting a house was so I could get a dog. Ever since my childhood, I’ve related to dogs on a level where I often encounter failure with humans. I’ve wanted a Labrador for over 20 years. Mason is not purebred, but I’ve learned the benefits of mixed breed, or All-American dogs, and I couldn’t be happier with him. He sits by my side as I type this. All too many people treat pets as toys. But I’m always cognizant that Mason is a living creature. It’s a major responsibility, but I welcome it. In less than two months, Mason has taught me so much. Dogs don’t spend time worrying about the future or fretting over past events. They live for the moment, and Mason is helping me to do that. Theologians debate whether animals have “souls.” Although I’m not particularly spiritual, when I look into Mason’s eyes, I know he has a soul.

Mason on November 3rd.

Mason on Christmas day

On to 2009!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello Hank -
I just wanted to write and say thank you for all of you insightful reviews of discs from the Rubinstein Collection on I suddenly realized that CDs are disappearing rapidly, and owning many of the discs in this collection was important to me. I soon found your reviews, found myself in agreement with two of them, and proceeded to work my way down the line.

I've pretty much gone down the list and purchased your top 25 (your desert island#68 just arrived today) and I'm pleased to say I agree with all of your assessments so far (!) and the discs have brought me a great deal of pleasure.

Anyway - thanks again -

Gary in NH