Carrie Maldonado – Writer

Freelance writer, wordsmith, and novelist

Every New Year’s Eve, Dreamy and I reflect on the highlights and lowlights of the year, how we progressed with our previous year’s goals and set goals for upcoming year. Once upon a time, this involved us sitting quietly together, sipping our sparkling grape juice and ringing in the New Year at midnight. Things have changed a bit since those halcyon days…we now watch the ball drop in New York time so we can be sound asleep by 9:15 pm, and usually scramble to throw together highlights right before the ‘evening’, a loose term referring to the 35 minutes we MAY get alone when everyone except us is asleep.

“They” are not kidding when they say that relationships require a lot more work after the kids (in this case a headstrong daughter and twin boys) come along! Dreamy and I have to scratch and claw for every moment alone we can get and then work even harder at NOT talking about our kids or our businesses during that time. I felt kind of bad at the end of 2014 and 2015 because I really didn’t really give the year review a fair effort, so to hold myself accountable I am going to take a head start here:

Awesome things that happened in 2016 (all these things deserve 2-3 exclamation points, but that gets old, so just imagine they are there):

  • Pat came to our lives and saved our children and my sanity from chaos
  • I got a publishing contract
  • We got a forever home for our gym, (Limitless Fitness)
  • Our granddaughter Melina was born
  • We got rid of one sweet but literally crazy au pair
  • We got rid of another evil, malicious, destructive and figuratively crazy au pair
  • We went camping at Mount Baker and didn’t fall into the river of death
  • Bisky and I went on a road trip to Penticton, and nobody died either with us or without us
  • We all survived a trip to Campbell River, and nobody got stuck in the doggy door (although it was close)
  • I found out we can all move back to Canada relatively easily if we want/need to in the event that Clinton or Trump wins the election, and then figured we’d wait it out after all…how bad could it be?
  • We got rid of the baby gates i.e. trip hazards of death
  • We got rid of the cribs..i.e. chew toys
  • Nobody died on bunk beds, thanks to Dreamy cleverly neglecting to vet with me the importance of safety rails and ladders, ensuring the beds will not ever be ‘bunked’
  • Dreamy ran a marathon and didn’t even come close to dying
  • I got a publishing contract (did I mention that?)
  • I learned how to do cool stuff on Google for marketing, and didn’t die
  • I let go of some major resentments I had against people whom I felt acted against my best interests despite their assurances that I was a friend, or at least positively regarded, which was a significant relief, as my psychic animosity only did me harm – for obvious reasons
  • Ginga the Betta fish finally died (and not at my hands, unless wishing someone dead can actually kill them, which experience has taught me repeatedly is not the case…

There were of course also some bad experiences, which I choose to think of as life lessons. Here are some of the big and small lessons I learned in 2016:

  • One good experience with an au pair does not mean this is a good solution in general, and ‘unless you have a degree in adolescent pyschology, you shouldn’t even consider it’ (this was a quote from the Director at the au pair agency and I am NOT making that up)
  • Do not trust people who repeatedly TELL you that they can be trusted.
  • If someone is repeatedly concerned about all the terrible things they’ve done in the past, it’s safe to assume they have done terrible things and it’s a reasonable assumption that statistically speaking you are not likely to be the one to help them overcome it.
  • Do NOT commit traffic infractions in the city of Lynnwood, as they will catch you and fine you repeatedly.
  • Do NOT do work you don’t enjoy, with people you don’t enjoy, who don’t pay you on time. Just don’t.
  • Do NOT blog ‘at’ people before you release your resentments, because you just look petty and they are not likely to respond well, and then you have to remove the post from public existence even though it had excellent points if not taken personally. Just let it go. Over and over if necessary.
  • If you are lucky enough to have a husband who does the laundry without being asked because he thinks it’s only fair since you’re so busy, do NOT (I repeat do NOT) offer ‘helpful suggestions’ about all the ways it was done incorrectly.
  • I’ve mentioned this before but it bears repeating. Do not EVER let any child into your bedroom for any reason whatsoever. Don’t even let them know you have a bedroom. Let them think you sleep on the couch, or in the car, or anything. Hide the doorknob. Entry into the bedroom should be forbidden under every possible circumstance.
  • If your child says they think they might throw up, but one minute later says they are fine, they are NOT fine. Get the puke bowl in place or risk certain peril. If they happen to be in your bed, you are an idiot, who doesn’t follow instructions (see above) and probably deserve to sleep in vomit.
  • Don’t allow legos, goldfish (the crackers, not the animal), or paint in your house, unless you are a masochist who enjoys excruciating foot pain, salt blotation and non-stop cleaning.
  • Do not vacuum a rubber dishwashing glove with your new vacuum cleaner – either accidentally or on purpose.

So all in all a year that was well spent and well put to rest. I’m looking forward to a nice, peaceful and uneventful 2017 – although given our track record of getting more eventful each year, this is not a reasonable expectation by any means. So here’s to a year that will make for fun stories, at least! See you in 2017!

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