This year has been a roller-coaster for the Ward household. I won’t rehash the crazy politics or the plague. Everyone’s been dealing with that – and many people have had a much harder time than The Wife and I had. A lot of that was good planning, but there was also a lot of just luck.

For us, the roller coaster really started in March, but not for the reason that you might think. In March, we sold my Tampa house. The negotiations started back in December, but we finally closed at the beginning of March. Yay, we freed up a bunch of cash! Plus we got some cash influxes from the sale. Some of that was used to buy two new handguns (a Ruger SR1911 Commander and a Steyr L9A1). Some of that was used to buy The Wife a Cricut Maker. Some of that was used to pay down our debts. A good deal was needed when the world went insane with COVID. Both The Wife and I were thrown into full time telework. We used some of the funds to upgrade the home office, since we would both be using it. MArch was also the month we pulled the plug on our planned trip to go out west so that The Wife and I could meet each other’s family out that way.

April and May went by in the blink of an eye as The Wife and I adjusted to our new routines. My prepper instincts meant we were never in danger of being out of toilet paper or other essentials. In fact, we were able to spare some to one of our neighbors. That’s the nice thing about prepping. You can help those in need. Our Toastmasters club transitioned to Zoom.

Then came June. The Wife was talking with one of her friends, and it came up that the friend’s daughter was looking for a car. When the friend mentioned the daughter was looking for something like a Hyundai Elantra, The Wife joked that she could sell the daughter hers. Yeah, it turned out to be not so much a joke, and we ended up selling the car. There was some discussion if we could be a one-car family, but her job was talking about bringing people back in July. Which we could technically do, but there was the unknown as to what my job would do. So, we started looking for a new vehicle. Or more to the point, we started looking for a new-to-us vehicle. I convinced The Wife to forgo a brand-new vehicle and at least see what we could get in the used market. She converted when she realized that for the cost of a bare-bones new SUV, she could get a fully-loaded three-year-old SUV. She loves her “new” vehicle.

July was a month of cancellations as we were forced to cancel our birthday plans, and our anniversary plans. The Wife’s job pushed back her return to the office. There was also a shake-up at her job and at the vet office we used. In the writing world, we would say that July was a month of foreshadowing.

August started the roller coaster into a series of ups and downs in very rapid succession. It started on a high note with my brother-in-law getting married. Due to COVID, it was a small ceremony, and many of the attendants were there virtually. Also, The Wife got dragged in as the officiant because the initial officiant backed out citing plague concerns. Still, a very high note for what had already been a kind of fucked up year. Then the down. We finally got fed up with our vet practice and transferred care to a new place where one of our favorite vet techs started working. Over the next six weeks, the mother-in-law lost two cats and we lost our two oldest cats. Some of it was just that they were old cats, but there were some issues that our previous vet practice missed completely. There was a high point among all this loss. At the end of August, we welcomed my new niece (technically great niece) to the world.

Now we turn to September. The Wife and I bought a new house. Well, technically we bought a house that was being built. We’d been looking since before the Tampa house sold back in March. We found a house in Bradenton that we both liked, but we wouldn’t be able to move/purchase until spring of 2021. Plus, the house was over a hundred years old (built in 1911!), and we had some concerns. Then we went into one of the new developments springing up in our area. One of the models just spoke to us. We talked it over, and signed the contract for a new place that will complete in spring of 2021. The high point was when we maxed the options, looked at our budget, and realized we could afford it. Unfortunately, with the sudden need to stockpile cash, we made the hard decision to not renew our Toastmasters membership. That was a difficult decision.

October we finished the refi on our current place. The plan is to rent this place to the brother-in-law and his wife, so we wanted a lower payment and consolidate the first and second mortgages. This turned out to be of more import as the refi also smoothed over a hiccup with the approval process for the mortgage for the new house. Yeah, that was a fun phone call with us flipping through refinance mortgage documents to verify details. By the end of October, everything was seemingly smooth.

First week of November. Everyone was focused on the election. The Wife and I had something else to focus on. She was informed that her position was eliminated. The shakeup that began in July had claimed her position, and that of her entire section. No chance to go to another department in the company, just you are out on the street after twenty years of service. Make an appointment to come get your stuff from your desk. Yeah, and we had a call with the mortgage company for the new house a half-hour after that call. So, November was a month of sending out applications, resumes, going on interviews, and hoping that we wouldn’t have to walk away from the new house. The day before Thanksgiving, The Wife received an offer. It was a pay cut, but not as bad as we hoped. Plus there were some fringe benefits.

December had The Wife going back to the office. Except it was her new office. She has a commute about as long as I did before they sent us out on telework. After seven months of having her in the home office, it was odd to be the only one home all day. Plus, with her new commute, I’m having to do all the afternoon chores. All sorts of changes.

I won’t say that 2020 was the worst year for the Ward family. Too many good things happened. I will say that I’m hoping 2021 won’t be as full of changes. If the move is the only big change next year, I’ll take it.