2014-IT'S MY YEAR! Guest Writer Michelle Gets Creative.

Despite the psychological gurus who warn against making New Year's resolutions that will only be broken, I rather like resolving to be a better person.

I try to follow the path of Jesus Christ as this will always make one a better person. It will also bring one sweet happiness and allow us to inspire others.

I am not a great evangelizer but I thought I'd throw that out there.

Jesus Christ probably wouldn't make resolutions to get more organized and to clear out the garage. He would, I surmise, resolve to follow the path God leads us on with no restrictions.

So okay, God is Jesus' Father but we all share Him.

I consider that 2014 is my year but I don't know why. God has a plan for me but I don't know what it is.

I do know that 2013 was a year of monumental life changes for me and this fact might be why I feel pointed in a direction and down a path that is new to me.

In April of last year I lost my husband. No it was not a surprise but yes, yes it was. Whatever the case, the worst day of my life was the last day of his. I'd dealt with medical people, I'd struggled to keep him comfortable and warm, I fed him as best I could, I had to keep his deterioration a secret from his family.

He was dying. They could nothing to help him. I was alone to help him die.

I remember finally leaning back in my easy chair at the end of that awful day, having finally gotten him into bed and noted his breathing seemed to have gotten a little less labored. He'd refused all medical help. Billy told me that morning, as best he could, that he wanted to die at home. He'd been in and out of hospitals the prior three years for major, major procedures to include a nasty brain infection.

His lungs finally gave up the fight and Billy wanted to go home to his Lord and Savior where the air was sweet and plentiful.

I prayed and told my Lord that there was no way I could possibly, NO WAY, go through another day like that. I am a strong woman but my day on Billy's last one had been so horrible I was ready to just run away.

At 5 am the next morning I decided to go check on him. I couldn't sleep in the same bed with him. He was breathing so hard that he needed space as any touching made him physically uncomfortable.

I found him early that morn. He was dead.

Funerals and services and family travel was going on at the same time some horrible people behind me decided that my fence was on their land. On the day of Billy's funeral I had surveyors walking around behind my fence. I begged them to go away, that it is my husband's funeral.

I resent that I had to fight a builder, a Czar of fences and borders and an especially nasty guy from New Jersey who told me to clean up the "trash" on "his" property that I'd been living on for ten plus years and he hadn't even moved into that absurd McMansion he bought behind me.

But I fought back as I had a legal survey done when I purchased my home some ten years prior not that anybody asked me for MY survey. I went up and stood before the Sussex county council and complained in length about how awful that property dispute was handled.

The county revamped its entire property dispute procedure cause, go on, there's no rule says only the BUILDERS' clients' surveys are good. Everybody involved should be asked to produce their proof and NOBODY ASKED ME!

Which is not to say that there still was not a dispute; we had conflicting surveys after all. But it should be handled in a court of law where EVERYONE gets to state their case, not commanded by some Czar of property lines, a guy not even elected for God's sake!

I managed to get the nasty people shut up although they still threaten to take me to court….whatever. At least I will get to look a judge in the eyeball when he tells me to tear down my fence and hand over my land, should it come to that, and am not forced to have my property destroyed by some bureaucrat. My neighbor on the right did NOT have a survey and in total exasperation, she finally agreed to hand over some of her land. BUT SHE'S MOVING OUT….nice job fine folks behind me. You will always be loved for the damage you done for something that should have been handled so much better.

The year was 3/4 over when I chanced to be sitting on my front porch. I looked across the way to a house cater-corner from me. "I'm going to buy that house," something in my head said.
And so it was reverse mortgages and 401-k withdrawals, lines of credit and endless days of hurrying up and waiting.

My daughter and granddaughter now live across the street from me and hey, it's a comfortable and happy arrangement.

In my journeys to the Sussex County council meetings I developed a keen interest in such things as local government and stupid laws. I fought against dog barking laws that would do little save annoy most people. With a grandchild now enrolled in the county public school system I began attending Board of Education Meetings and grew a distrust for Common Core.

Because our plans all along, no mind husbands passing and buying homes, was to go to Disney World. I'd planned it when husband was alive and as the time grew near to either lose the deposit or augment it to full cost, we decided to do it.

So it's been a whirlwind of a year and that does not include a nutty Talent Show or the Choir Christmas party at my house and the loss/profound sickness of close friends.
Me, as Sister Pat, in the St. Jude the Apostle Talent Show

My brother-in-law warned me not to make any major life decisions for at least a year after husband's death. Well I didn't make a lot of those choices. The property dispute came along through no bidding of mine. The house….well husband and I had discussed buying daughter a house via reverse mortgage, to give her property she needed now, not after our death. Same with the Disney trip.

Way I figure, 2014 is a beacon on a hill of new dimensions. From learning to fry an egg to getting involved in state politics, I'm going there. Granddaughter is apple of my eye so she shall keep me sane and straight and serve as reminder as to what it's all about.

I got through arranging a funeral through attending one through planning parties and receptions to battling the gubmint to dealing with finance organizations.

All in one memorable happy sad bittersweet year.

2014 looms big and bright.

 Posted by Hello
Drivel: The Last Try

No, I'm not giving my work a "last try." Guess I should update you about that first, eh?

I got the job! A bit of a promotion, and I keep my Supervisor. I'm thrilled with the opportunity for growth this new role will provide, and I hope those members of my ex-team who moved to other areas find satisfaction in their new roles, too. I think a position or two in my new team are still being filled. If not, I haven't yet been introduced to all my teammates.

I'm a little concerned, too, since I am once again the only member of my team in my work site. It always makes me nervous when "everybody else" is at the other site an hour and fifteen minutes away. I'll keep you posted on how things work out.

What *is* getting a last try is the aquarium. If you came to the Bash, you saw the golf course that was on its second year, and if you looked closely, you might have noticed it was getting a bit ratty. No country club green anymore, it looked abandoned. The tetras were only surviving, not thriving, because the water quality wouldn't cooperate. The aquarium continued to be an alkaloid soup. I could get the levels to change for awhile, but not to stay.

So we've admitted defeat, and the week after the Bash we took the golf course apart. The new look is an African cichlid rocky heaven, and word is those fish like alkali hard water. Should be right up their alley! It hasn't been long yet but they've already rearranged some of the rocks and seem to be doing well. One has begun changing color, which is supposed to be a good thing.

The Bash went well. As always, it had a unique feel, even though many of the attendees are the same every year. This year, most folks came earlier and didn't stay as long, though we still closed down around midnight. Final count was 33, a bit lower than last year.

Best of all was this year's puzzle. Last year one of the attendees told me I needed to find a bug puzzle. You know what? You can't find a good "bug" puzzle. There's a pretty one of butterflies and an interesting one of beetles, but no variety unless you get one that has other things besides crawlies.

So I enlisted two folks to *draw* me some bugs. When I had thirty or so really nice insects (and one spider), I sent the whole collection to our graphic designer - the same person who helped us with the business decal on the scoop of the big rig. She took the bugs, arranged them artfully, and added greenery twined throughout.

The resulting picture was pretty darn cool. I sent that to a make-your-picture-into-a-puzzle place, and got five great 1,008 piece puzzle copies of the picture. One was up at the Bash and completed the next day. One went to the graphic designer. Each artist got one. And finally, the person got one who came up with the idea. What a great bunch of folks I know!

What will I do for next year's Bash? I have to be careful I don't end up creating such an event I can't top my own production, right?

The Desk Drawer writer's exercise

Ending With a Smile

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