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New Year

I awoke New Year’s Eve day to Chef jumping out of bed after only about four hours of sleep.  (I’d had a blissful nine.)  Daylight filtered through the curtains as he said, “I’m going to the shop.  See you later.”

He’s been at the shop more than he’s been at home for the last week.  A lot of New Year’s Eve orders — many of them coming in at the last minute — plus a broken CNC machine and a broken lift (his two most important pieces of equipment) kept him busier than I’ve seen him in over a year.  He said he’d actually lost count of how many sculptures were going out.  He never loses count.

I’m thankful for the money the work will bring in, but I can’t help but worry when Chef gets less than five hours of sleep every night for over a week.

So while Chef went off to finish up carving and scheduling deliveries and training six helpers who’ve never delivered ice sculptures before, I made it my task to enjoy a day off.

The weather was unseasonably warm, and a month’s worth of snow had disappeared in less than two days, except for the now-gray pile that had been plowed off the parking lot next to our house.  I went out to throw a milk carton in the recycling bin and put our Netflix envelope in the mailbox, and the warm breeze and intermittent sunshine made me feel it was a perfect day to take the dogs for a walk.

Since I’m still on crutches, I had to miss my chance.

With a disappointed sigh, I returned inside where, now that I’m able to put more weight on my left foot and can even walk short distances without crutches, I managed to make the bed, vacuum the rugs and the stairs, and sweep up the worst of the dog hair from the corners and the wood chips around the fireplace.

I was worn out after that (it takes a lot of energy to hobble on a sore foot), and I reclined on the couch, foot elevated, and thought about how thankful I am right now, for so many things.  I don’t like my job, but I am grateful to have it, and especially thankful that the partners have been generous with bonuses this year.  Chef lost some business this fall, but because of what we’ve learned about budgeting and money management, it’s not as big a blow as it would have been two years ago.  Having two surgeries in less than four months hasn’t been enjoyable, but I’m thankful we’re in a place where we could afford to have it done, and exceedingly grateful for my physician who has been kind, patient, and cheerful every time I’ve seen him — not to mention highly competent.  Chef and I had a few rough months of hosting an at-risk teenager in our home, but although dealing with her was difficult, I feel like the experience united the two of us more firmly.  This year I wrote a book, I lost ten pounds, and I learned the joy of eating produce from our own garden.

I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions.  But if I have one desire as an umbrella over all my smaller personal goals, it is this: for 2011 to hold as much joy and accomplishment as 2010 did.  I end this year happy and grateful, and I can’t ask for much more than that.

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About Karen Koch

I like the old-fashioned lifestyle. All this new-fangled stuff baffles me sometimes. I cherish living out in the country, raising chickens and rabbits, planting fruit trees, and enjoying a slow life filled with beautiful words and ideas. I don't always achieve a slow life. I teach middle school English and manage a little burgeoning farm with my husband, and somewhere in the midst of that, I try to find time for writing, running, knitting, reading, and playing the ukulele. And sometimes, I actually succeed.

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