I didn’t do one of these surveys last year because I felt like 2015 was particularly hard and just… not fitting for a survey. I wasn’t feeling it. 2016 would be the year I could do a great survey.
I was wrong. 2015 was not that bad. I miss 2015. I miss the particular shambles my life was in in 2015. This is a whole new shambles and I regret not appreciating my previous shambles.
I will put pictures of Penny in here so you can just skip from picture to picture like islands in a sea of crap.
1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
I learned how to make fancy coffee. I took over the day to day operations of a shop and did a lot of stuff I didn’t really picture myself being the kind of person to … do that stuff. I apparently kept on with the habit of starting sentences without knowing where I was going with them. I put a pet to sleep. I took my child to Disneyland (that was last week and I haven’t written anything about it yet, but it was swell). I sent a kid to kindergarten. Geeze. Without a consistent blogging habit to look back over, I really don’t remember a lot of what I did this year. I think it was a lot of the same with a few events sprinkled here and there.
2. Did you keep your resolutions and will you make more for next year?
I don’t make resolutions, but I did have a general feeling that 2016 was going to finally be our year. It wasn’t, and I won’t make the mistake of pinning hopes on the flipping of a calendar page again.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
I have always defined this question as, “did anyone I know well enough to visit in the hospital or immediately following the birth of their child give birth?” and that remains a no, though all three female friends I have on this base did give birth this year. Or near the end of last year. I can’t really recall. So, not that close, then.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
5. What countries did you visit?
I still do not travel. I still do not even own a passport. I don’t really have any thoughts of abandoning this country after the election, either, so I don’t know when I’ll get around to getting one.
6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
A more solid idea of what our exact plans are when Phil retires at the end of the year. Financial stability. I don’t even care about financial security at this point. Just pick a spot and stay stable there, finances, even if it’s a shitty spot. A vasectomy (that one’s not for me). A bigger house. Less stuff. Way, way, way less stuff.
7. What moments from 2016 will remain etched in your memory and why?
When I realized Hillary Clinton was going to lose. The day after the election when some friendly Germans asked me about it and I cried. Watching Penelope watch the parade at Disneyland. She was on Phil’s shoulders and kept turning around to scream down at me. “IT’S GOOFY! MAMA! IT’S DONAAAALLLLD!!” When we lost Brinkley, those last few minutes. When a customer bought two coffees and when they were made, said one was for me, because I never get to have coffee during the day. When the French guys left. WHEN FRENCH GUYS CAME INTO THE SHOP TWO WEEKS AGO!! When we took Penny to the beach, that whole trip.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I guess nothing in particular this year, other than just doing well at work. My customers like me, my boss likes me, my boss trusts me with a lot, and said she’s going to miss me when I had to give notice recently. I like the job, and I don’t hate going there or being there every day. Sometimes that feels like a pretty decent accomplishment. Also, I feel kind of okay about the fact that I worked as long as I could, and eventually got myself around to the point that I felt okay about quitting without soul-crushing guilt. Just a regular amount of guilt.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Every other aspect of my life that was not work. Our kid looks like a hobo all the time. I never grocery shop and rarely get a decent cooked meal on the table. My house is… well, disaster is putting it nicely. I was an utter and complete failure at managing to hold it together this year. About halfway through, shit went sideways and stopped working well for us, leaving us just hanging on by the tips of our fingers as the year came to a close.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I’ve talked about this before – how I have a rare condition, the details are stupid and unimportant and depressing. And how I lost a bunch of weight and was feeling better, but then not feeling better again, and I had a spinal tap, which showed that my condition was controlled. Which was good news and also depressing, because if the condition is controlled, why do I feel like shit? So, turns out I have two other, less rare, pretty normal, but definitely shitty migraine and headache type conditions as well. So we adjusted some medications and lifestyle shit, and I started to feel okay again, until I didn’t. Until I really didn’t. So, back to the doctor, and he decided to do a spinal tap, because it’s his damn favorite thing to do. This was probably the hardest part of my year, if I’m thinking selfishly only about me, which I usually do. We all expected this spinal tap was just a check in, just to confirm that condition 1 is still under control so that we could move on without having to consider it as we figured out how to handle everything else that was happening. Unfortunately, that was not the case and the test results were quite bad. My exact words when my doctor announced it were, “you have to be fucking kidding me.”
I don’t really know how to explain why this particular moment was the most difficult, except that… it made it clear that I won’t ever be done with this. I struggled with it for years, actual years spent doing not much more than just laying in bed every single day, dealing with not only feeling like hot garbage, but also the guilt that comes with being chronically ill, which either you understand or you don’t. And I met a new doctor and got better and set that part of my life aside as closed, except it’s just not and it won’t be. It can’t be cured, only managed, and we’ve once again hit a point of “this might be as good as it gets,” with “as good as it gets” being so not good that I’ve had to quit the job I really enjoy, cancel plans, avoid making plans in the first place, and spend so much time sleeping that my kid declared our 14 hour car trip “the best day of her life” because she actually got to hang out with both parents for so much time. And I think worse than feeling like shit – not much worse, but a little worse – are all the feelings that come wrapped up with being chronically ill. I feel guilty, of course. Like, all the time. And angry a lot. Then I feel bad for being angry because what right do I have to wail about the unfairness of it all? And I feel snappish toward well-meaning people who cheerfully suggest it will surely get better, or have I tried this, or have I considered that, and I have to bite my tongue not to tell them to fuck right off, and then, of course, feel awful, because they mean well. And I’m the buttfaced dickbiscuit for even considering raining on their cheer-parade with a trout-smack of reality. THEY’RE being hopeful for me, how dare I not play along like the brave little soldiers sick people are supposed to be?
Anyway, it’s complicated. I want to be sick without also being an asshole, but they seem to go hand in hand.
To answer the question, yeah, I suffered some illness. I also randomly went blind in one eye, but that was only scary the first time. It’s fine now, usually, except when it’s not, and I can just wait it out. Oh, also, I went to a trampoline park a couple days ago and my thighs are fucking killing me.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Hmm. LEE KWANG SCOOT.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Phil’s, of course. Just re-read above if you need help developing an accurate picture of all the shit that’s heaped upon him on the regular. Penny. She’s been pretty great this year. Five is pretty great. She’s generally understanding of situations as they stand in this house, and does her best to cope with them. As best as someone her age can. She also loves school and brings home great reports almost every day. Other kids like her and she’s made a lot of friends.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Can. We. Not.
14. Where did most of your money go?
The vet. Daycare. The beach and Disneyland. This year, she’s coming out of daycare, though, and we’re down a dog, so maybe we can catch our breaths a bit there.
15. What did you get really, really excited about?
Tickets to see BTS.
Taking Penny to Disneyland.
A new drink a friend and I invented called The French DeVonte. (My friend’s name is DeVonte.)
16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
It came a little late in the year, but Big Bang’s Last Dance.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?
sadder, about the same, poorer.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Texting people when I think about them. Don’t I say this every year? If I have your number, I’m writing you at least two to three texts a week, then deleting them before I send them. Sorry/you’re welcome.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Sleeping. Wallowing in a pit of despair/my own filth/empty diet soda cans. Being short-tempered.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
We spent it at home, as I prefer to do. We went out for Chinese the night before, then spent the morning opening gifts together. We told Penny she’d be leaving for California to go to Disneyland. Later in the day, I made a pile of snacks. I basically arm-swept the fancy meats and cheeses shelf. At night, after Penny went to bed, we packed our bags and our car and early the next day, we left for Phil’s aunt’s house in California. We went to the aquarium (though we had to leave quite quickly because I didn’t feel well, see entry re: guilt above). We went to Disneyland. We ate ramen. Penny taught a bunch of people how to play her favorite card game. We went to a trampoline park. And then we drove 14 hours home.
21. Did you fall in love in 2016?
Does renewing my love for DBSK and Rain count?
22. What was your favorite TV program?
Running Man. It’s always Running Man. I have a somewhat irrational attachment to the show. When I was spending most of my time in bed, it’s almost all I watched. 200+ episodes. I’ve always just told people simply, it puts me in a good mood. It always has and I love it deeply. Unfortunately, some things happened this year that weren’t cool but likely uninteresting to you if I explain, and the show will be ending in early 2017. I’m taking it so hard it would probably be comical to anyone else. But before you find it comical, you should know that Business Insider found Running Man to be the ninth most popular show in the world of 2016, and the number one most popular non-American television show. In the world. (link) So stick that in your butt and fuck off. I’m sorry, the pain is still very fresh.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate at this time last year?
I can’t remember what date exactly I started hating Donald Trump instead of just finding him to be a giant but harmless tool.
24. What was the best book you read?
Probably A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. Feel free to ruin your own life by reading it.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I continue to discover that kpop is fucking awesome.
26. What did you want and get?
My job. Um, some new sneakers the other day.
27. What did you want and not get?
Good results in basically any situation in which I was waiting for results.
28. What was your favorite film of the year?
I only saw one, and it was Sully, and IT WAS SO GREAT.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 35, and I’m pretty sure I took a nap. Oh, and I worked. Which was kind of weird because all my co-workers were surprised. “Why are you at work on your birthday?” Is taking a day off for your birthday a thing? Why? I dunno. I worked. It was fine.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
You know, I don’t know. I hate this saying, like everyone else, but it kind of just is what it is, right?
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Uniform, elastic pants, onesie pajama suits.
32. What kept you sane?
Probably Running Man.
33. What celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Always this guy. He’s so great and you don’t even know it.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
CAN WE NOT.
35. Who did you miss?
The characters from the dramas that I finished watching.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
More like a group of people. I love my little German lunch groups. These little pods of regular customers who are also German. They are my favorite people, after me.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
I will not.
38. Quote a lyric that sums up your year.
I don’t think so Tim.
Happy fucking New Year. Don’t fuck it up.