Saturday, January 2, 2010


The new decade is here!

I look back upon the 00s with a lot of pride. I graduated college in 2000, so the main focus of the decade was definitely about starting a life with Jess, getting a career going, picking a place to live, and then ultimately, the girls. My biggest trials came early in the decade, when, weeks after putting a contract on a town-home, the company I was working for shut down the Boulder Office. Also, Jess and I were engaged and planning a wedding at the time. It was very stressful. The job market was destroyed because of the popping of the internet bubble. Technically, it popped in '99. By the summer of 2001, there were no technical jobs available. And there I was, basically a rookie with 1year of professional experience. I had to do what I could, and that meant signing up for a temp agency and working data-entry. I was the guy that typed addresses into the computer. The addresses came as a stack of those little cards that fall out of magazines. It was a horrible job, with the fear that I would have to wait years before re-entering the industry I was trained in. During this time, Jess and I got married in Virginia. It was a beautiful wedding, and though Jess and I helped out, her mother and father saved the day and made it possible. Finally, I just quit my job, and looked for another. First, I got a job proofreading mortgage documents, but that was about a billionth of a step up from data-entry. I quit. Then I found a job working for a guy who had started his own software consulting company. I was his first employee. It was a start up, and he couldn't pay benefits, but I was making more money than my temp jobs so I stuck with it. During that time, I still filled out hundreds of applications for software jobs. I finally got a job at Map tek, and it was a godsend. On December 1st, despite our financial woes, we got a puppy. It was our dream to have a puppy together, we had the name picked out from our college days. We adopted Marzie from the Brighton Puppy rescue. A year and a half-later, we adopted Yazzi, and the summer after that, we adopted a cat named Neeka. Being homebodies, we basically spent all of our time at home playing with our furry family.

I worked at Map tek for a while, and Jess and I got back on our feet. Then, we decided that we wanted a bigger place than our townhome, and we hit the housing market. We found a great deal on a "fixer upper." Actually, it was a dump, but it was a lot of house for the money. I'm terrible with tools, and design, and pretty much every skill it takes to remodel a house, but Jess and her family are amazing. After giving myself a delusional pep-talk about how most people decide what they can/can't do too early, and I wasn't going to be that way, I signed up for the project of the century. We worked on the house nonstop. And by nonstop, I mean getting home from work at around 6 and working till at least 10pm, sometimes after midnight. On the weekends, we worked from 8am to 10pm or midnight. Every day. No exceptions. It was crazy and we did this for 6 months or so. Jess' grandmother, yes GRANDMOTHER, was the leader of the pack. Her energy level was amazing and she showed us how to do everything. She was inspirational and I am forever grateful for her help (this makes it sounds like she's passed away, but she's not, she's alive and well). Now, we have a house that I feel is an extension of me. I can't find a square foot of it that I didn't work on in some way, including ceilings and floors. We touched every inch of the house. Although there will always be projects to do, I basically consider the house project done. I also learned that it's possible to spend hundreds (maybe thousands) of hours on something and never improve. I truly have no talent for tools or fixit thinking. But at least I can do a few of the basics on my own (I installed a dimmer switch in the living room today, that's a really easy one.).

After the house project, we had a medical scare in the family. I don't know the technical term, but my dad (diabetic) got very sick and was taken to the ICU. His boss called me up at work and said that she talked to him and he wasn't making a lot of sense. I rushed to his house to find him panting and staggering around his bedroom. His blood sugar had skyrocketed for two reasons...1) He had strep throat and 2) he was out of sorts and was unable to refill his insulin pump on his own. His blood sugar was so high that the doctors said their instruments were unable to get detailed readings at his level. They said it was the highest they'd ever seen. He was in the ICU for 5 days or so. When he came out, he came to live with Jess and I. It was a terrifying and disastrous time. I was terrified every single day he lived here. I was always sneaking into his room to be sure he was ok, and I was constantly calling him and worrying if he showed up 5 minutes later from work than usual. Ultimately, he ended up moving in with my Aunt (his sister). Now, he is doing much better and is living on his own.

At the very end of his living at our house, we received the first bit of good news of the decade. Jess was pregnant! We found out she was pregnant in fall 2006, and Zoe was born on June 21, 2007. Zoe is an amazing and inspiring person. She's brought so much love and energy into our lives. In March 2009, Ava was born. Now, we have two little girls, and they are two little geniuses of spirit. They make every day a miracle.

On October 14, 2009, little Marzie passed away. She was our little baby girl and we will always miss her. By the end of her life, she probably had accumulated 30 or so nicknames, one of her major nicknames was Loomis (a variant of Mrs. Marzie-lou, Lou Lou, Mar-lou, and Lou Miss, and finally reverse, Lou-Miss, which just got shortened to Loomis). We will plant a small commemorative tree for her in our backyard in the spring of 2010. It will be called Bloomis.

We have now adopted another puppy. Her name is Annie. It's such a strange name for us, very simple and feminine and from the book, but it's right. We all love her very much.

I am so thankful for my life right now. I am thankful for the health of my family, a stable job (been with Maptek for almost 7 1/2 years now, knock on wood), and most of all, my ladies three. It's a great time to be a Rapp (knock on wood). It's easy to say "I take nothing for granted," but you always are always taking things for granted. So I'll just say that I take much less for granted than I used too. Every day on this earth is a miracle, and I'm so thankful to be part of it. I had a lot of ups and downs financially and psychologically, but now it's all coming together (cue Here Comes the Sun).

So the next decade, what does it have in store for us? Who knows. But I'll be ecstatic to be able to spend time with my family. That's all I want.


Rappster said...

I was half asleep when I wrote this.

Mark said...

Impressive retelling of a hero's journey through a pivotal decade. It's amazing how time flies . . .

Matthew Faccenda said...