When it comes to being thankful my first thought every day is about having Helen in my life. She's my wife, my heart's desire, my collaborator, and especially my best friend.
But I have many other things I am grateful for starting with the day I was brought to Joyce and Gerard Krummenacker as a foster baby (the only one they ever kept), to this moment here before my computer. Perhaps someday I'll share more of those personal tales, but on this day I simply want to focus on the past year.
In October of 2016, I got the call for an interview with the County of Santa Cruz and a week later I was offered the job. I was still attending classes at CSU Monterey Bay at the time and had to sacrifice my GPA by going down in flames in two of them gradewise. I could have simply dropped those classes but at the time we were living in campus subsidized housing and I was under the impression that I still had to be a full-time student to keep that place so I bit the bullet. I later found out that our "Lease" would have still been honored all the way through to May of 2017, but no one had told us that. Still, things worked out. We found our current apartment in early January, and were offered to sign a lease the day we looked at it. This was after putting in application after application and hoping to hear something on a number of other units, only to receive silence in return. Not even a polite, "We've chosen other renters but thanks for applying."
I started my job on November 7th, 2016, got through my six months of probation and am solidly in with the county. We've been able to get by on our own these last 12 months and have health insurance, dental, and a slowly building checking account. Helen and I were finally feeling more stable for the first time in almost 10 years (another tale for another entry).
Then in the last month, after a succession of interviews and false starts, Helen landed her dream job as an Accounting Technician with the County of Santa Cruz. Suddenly, the future looks more bright and hopeful for us than ever before. We get to spend more time together since we work in the same building and take the long commute together every day. We're also learning ways to avoid the heavier evening traffic by sometimes bringing dinner or a picnic with us so we can eat in peace. By the time we hit the road an hour or so later, the majority of the uglier traffic is gone. We even do some shopping sometimes and come home with plenty of time to kick back and enjoy ourselves. Just last night, we stopped for pizza and then wandered down to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk area and walked along the pier. There we met nice people, listened to the waves, and watched sea lions splashing in the dark waters below. We used to do this a lot when we lived in Santa Cruz some five years ago. Now we're able to do it again and its wonderful.
So much has changed. We're actually looking to build a retirement - something we were never sure we'd ever be able to do down the road. Plus, we're thinking of looking into getting a place in Santa Cruz again, which would cut down our commute considerably. We'd thought about this before but just on my salary it would have been difficult. But now, with her income we stand a real chance.
With fingers crossed, and a firm determination, this time next year we'll have even more to be thankful for. In the meantime, we will finish getting our next book out on the 12th Night of Christmas (January 6th, 2018). We have high hopes of one or two more releases next year as well, but we'll see how things go.
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