2014 Looking Back

2014 was a year of enormous change for me. All things look bigger when they are too close, but I think 2014 will still be a big year even as it lingers further in the past. I clicked on my old blog posts from January 2014 and it turns out that I was overly optimistic that the transition to Pittsburgh would happen faster than it happened. Back in January, we thought selling the old home in Hartsville would be a breeze and we’d be in our new home by March. Ultimately, it took us until August to complete the transition.

In January & February, I was hunkered down in a small apartment in the outskirts of Canonsburg, PA adjacent to a large cemetery on the top of a hill. I still remember an old gentleman standing by a grave every morning around 7AM as I made my way to work. The apartment was on the top floor of the building and during the polar vortex, I would be kept awake by howling winds and shaking windows. I didn’t allow myself to make the apartment home, in fact, the housekeeper must have thought I didn’t live there at all because I never did anything inside the apartment. I would get to work early, leave work late, sit on the couch for an hour watching The Wire on HBO and repeat the cycle.

In June we finally sold our home in Hartsville, but hadn’t found a home in Pittsburgh yet, so my family moved into the apartment with me. The place immediately became a mess and the housekeeper must of thought I was making up lost time. It was great having the family in the apartment with me, but it still felt like living out of a hotel room. To pass the time, the kids became acquainted with the museums, swim clubs, and the most wonderful candy/ice cream store called Sarris.

On a business trip to Louisville, KY I got into a bidding war over the house I intended to buy. It was a stressful night and got the news that we made the highest offer late on the night before an important business presentation. To celebrate, I went to the lobby of a Hilton Garden Inn and order a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, I still can’t decide if I liked it, but felt a tremendous relief to have that part of my life behind me.

We’re still settling into our new home, there were a couple surprises at first. The first surprise was that the washer and dryer were gone, the second surprise was the dishwasher stopped working, the third surprise was that the sewer line in our basement had disintegrated and needed to be fixed. The surprises have now all been replaced with a short list of wishful home improvements, but they can wait until our bank account is replenished. We put a fence in the back yard and Toby loves hanging out there, we feed a small herd of deer that travel through our back yard and often watch them eat the corn we leave for them. We’ve met a great family in the neighborhood and it is great to have new friends here in addition to the great people we know back in Bucks County (and beyond).

I lost my Grandmother this year. She really was amazing, there’s one last story that she told me that I wanted to capture on this blog. I will not do it justice, but it is worth writing nonetheless. She told me that during World War 2, the butcher’s son was recruited for the war effort and will be shipping off to the front lines (presumably Germany). He asked my Grandmother, when she was just a youngster herself, if she would mind if they corresponded by mail while he was away, he didn’t really know anyone else besides his parents that he could keep in touch with while he was away. Of course she agreed and they decided to write to each other. The boy died on his way across the Atlantic, a German U-Boat torpedoed the ship and killed everyone aboard. I think there are a lot of reasons she told me that story, but the main one, or the one that best speaks to her, is that it was important to her that her community, friends, and family felt her support and contribution.

So, you look back at 2014 and a part of me says it was a tough year and 2015 promises to be much easier, but another part of me enjoys all the positive aspects of this year and how much I experienced by taking on a new job, moving to a new city, and seeing all these new nieces and nephews popping up all around me. It reminds me of a post from October 2011:


Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

One thought on “2014 Looking Back

  1. What a year you’ve had! I don’t know if I’ll forgive you for moving my sister Pittsburgh, But your love and devotion to her helps make up for it. I loved hearing the story about your grandmother. She really was a special lady.


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