Recap of a Decade

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As 2020 is coming to its end, it is time to take a look at the past decade. The first full decade after my divorce from my kids’ dad, a decade that has seen more than any before in my life, a decade that has seen my kids grow up to be adults (well, almost; the youngest one still has three months to go until she turns 18, but she is more or less independent, living on her own already, so adult in ways too). So let’s see, at the beginning of…

2011 I had been divorced for a year, went through a nasty-ending rebound relationship, and was licking my wounds after a short-lived affair with a married guy. During the Christmas time of 2010 I had made my peace with myself, and was rapidly settling down for a life alone with two cats and my every-other-week-kids. Right then, when I least expected, this Man stepped into my life and swept me into a rollercoaster of emotions that has now lasted for, well, a few weeks shy of a decade, and still going.

Highlights of 2011 were most definitely our summer vacation on Tinos ❤ with a twist of Mykonos, and our short but sweet 23 hour trip to Paris in December. I did do quite a bit of traveling that year – in addition to Tinos and Paris, I spent 2 weeks visiting my mom at Gran Canaria with my kids, a weekend in Tallinn, a week in Anaheim, CA, at a SharePoint Conference, and we went on a cruise to Stockholm, all five of us (me, my new man, our three kids).

Lowlight would be giving our cats away in August, with the understanding that my life simply did not support the wellbeing of them. It was bitter and I still sometimes miss them, but I did what I thought best at the time. Even in retrospect, it was the right decicion.

2012 H and I had had our first New Year’s Eve together, all five of us, actually. We had settled into a rather serious relationship and were working hard to get our kids accept it. In late summer we decided to move in together, thinking it would be better before our kids hit the teen years, so we rented a big house in August and began our journey together as a household.

The year saw me in Amsterdam (oh the Anne Frank museum!) with H, Las Palmas with my kids, Tallinn with H, Tinos for two weeks all five of us, and a business trip to London with a colleague. It also saw us in great distress during the last quartal of the year, for reasons better left unwritten here.

2013 we were living a rather normal life of a new family, an “uusperhe”. Kids were every other week with us, every other week with their other parents. I had my first (and so far last) speaker experience in an international Conference when I gave a session about SharePoint branding in the European SharePoint Conference in Copenhagen in February. In early August we went on a roadtrip with all kids around the Turku archipelago.

In June my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer and I went to Las Palmas to visit her alone in July. Later in the autumn mom came to Finland to live with us and my sister’s family. Around the same time we got our first dog, when Meggie came from Spain and found her forever home with us.

2014 I was scheduled for acoustic neuroma surgery. My mom was starting her chemo at about the same time. She moved from our place to my sister’s a few days before my surgery, and due to, erhm, disagreements, she never came back to our house, but instead moved back to Las Palmas a month before she died in mid-May. A couple weeks later my sister and I flew down to take care of her stuffs there.

My surgery was a success, though the recuperation was not a small thing. I had to learn basically everything from the start – walking, spooning stuff into my mouth, driving the car, washing my hair, everything. It did come back quite fast and after 10 weeks I was back to working, having suffered two major losses: hearing from the left side and my naval piercing. Oh, and my balance will never be the same again.

At the end of July our pack grew with another spanish rescue dog, when Timmy joined our family. He had a bit of rough start with a broken paw and a bloody diarrhea episode, but has fared well since those. In November we moved to another house in Paloheinä, and in December I visited Barcelona for a weekend with our company.

2015 we were doing all sorts of renovations in our new home (which was, in fact, a 60 year old house): kitchen, electricity, some plumbing even. And it went on for most of the year too, later spreading to other stuffs like painting hallways etc. The kitchen we managed to finish in May. Both of my kids moved to live solely with us for different reasons. Son in Febuary, daughter in August.

In May my grandmother turned 90, and in August she ended up having emergency surgery and died a week later. The surgery went well, but her heart couldn’t handle it. Second major loss for me in little over a year. I myself turned 40 in June and we had a biggish party in July. My only trip outside of Finland was a company trip to Berlin in November. The year went down as the year my grandma died.

2016 H was going on business trips every few weeks for a few days at a time while I worked at home a lot. My step-daughter moved to live solely with her mother, only visiting us for a few days or so every month. On the other hand my kids stopped spending weekends at their dad’s, only seeing him occasionally. In March I went on a business trip to Brussels, getting out of there only a day or so before the explosion at the airport. I also went on a girls’ trip to Tallinn with a bunch of my friends.

In May my son finished his mandatory school and decided to burn his school books in the yard so that’s what we did: had a book bonfire going for math books and Swedish book, mostly. H and I drove to Lapland for a week on summer holiday. In the autumn I traveled to Austria a couple times: a long weekend in Seefeld in early October and a short week in Vienna for a SharePoint conference in November.

2017 saw us move again. This time to my grandparents’ old home after my dad had acquired it for himself (and emptied it). H got his Finnish citizenship in March and in July we got married. Just the simple civil service with my dad and his wife, and my sister and her husband, and our kids attending, and some champagne at home afterwards. A few days later we had a big barbeque party for friends to celebrate our nuptials. At the end of spring the middle-daughter finished her mandatory school.

Unfortunately we didn’t escape renovations in the new home either (to be certain, they’re still ongoing), starting with a full kitchen remodeling. H tore everything old out and we built a new one from scratch, renewing even the floor. In July we took ourselves and the dogs again to Vuotso for a week. I had been to Tallinn on a company trip in June, and in the autumn I traveled to magical Dublin for a conference yet again, and Prague for a company weekend. Before Christmas my son moved to Ypäjä to study.

2018 life was just plodding along. Son was at Ypäjä, but I took my kids for a weekend at the company villa in Tammela for some hot tubbing and chilling. In May, right at the time of the Eurovision Song Contest (definitely not by design, quite the opposite! that’s what you get for not being interested in these popular events) I took daughter to Lisboa for a long weekend. Apart from that I visited Tallinn with my friends in May and Amsterdam in December.

In the summer we got a new car and took it and the daughters and dogs for a roadtrip to the Turku archipelago, just one night in a cabin and back home. Vuotso met us again in July, this time with the addition of my daughter, two inflatable kayaks, a bb-gun, and a horsebow. At home our summer was mostly spent in the phase 1 of our yard remodeling, i.e. clearing out the jungle. In the autumn I spent a wonderful day scouring the Helsinki Book Fair just on my own.

2019 one of the first things I did was helped my son buy a car for himself. A 15yo Audi A4 it was, the dream car for the young man studying in the middle of nowhere. This freed me from chauffering him back and forth when he came home for a few days every few weeks. This came to an end already at the end of spring, though, for he graduated in May and moved back to Helsinki, and into his own apartment in the autumn. Youngest daughter ended her mandatory school. In the summer we built our wonderful terrace and got an inflatable hot tub for the yard.

In May I traveled to France – Lyon and Sète – with middle-daughter. That actually was my only trip outside of Finland that year, and so far my last one. Our traditional company trip was supposed to be a cruise to St. Petersburg but that got canceled so we spent a weekend in beautiful Lehmonkärki instead. We didn’t even go to Lapland for summer vacation, our own yard being so nice and all.

2020 I was thinking that I had another year as usual ahead of me. One with a whole lot of normal life and maybe some special ups and downs. Actually, looking back, that it mostly was, despite the coronageddon. Before the pandemic hit Finland life was nothing out of special. I went to Ypäjä Open Doors with son, and saw Bryan Adams in concert with H and didn’t even think too much about the Corona that still seemed somehow so far away. Then it did hit with us and for a while it caused a lot of fear.

For five months we were all huddled here at home, I barely saw my son and dad, let alone any others. Then again, all of that is nothing out of ordinary, except for the part of not going to the office and daughter’s school being remote school. At the beginning of September, daughter moved to her own home.

In May, however, we got a new member to our pack when little dude Ace joined our family as an eight week old meatball. In June I took daughter to Zippy for some zipline adventures. We spent a day in Hanko. Daughter spent a week at Vesanto working at their dairy farm and we drove up there to pick her up, and stayed for a couple nights in their cabin. We even visited some friends at their summerplace in August, and went to see 69 Eyes at Tavastia in October. I returned to partial office work after my summer vacation, went kayaking, downhill biking and to the theater with some colleagues. Our Christmas party was online in Teams, though.

And had my arm operated. One could understand that downhill biking is not very safe for a person with less than perfect balance. So I broke my arm and had to have surgery. By the end of the year I’m still going to physiotherapy with it, but it’s doing quite good.

2011-2020 in stats

  • Marriages: 1
  • Countries visited: 16 (Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, USA, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain mainland, Canary islands, France, Germany, Austria, Ireland, England, Czeck Republic, Portugal, Greece)
  • Concerts: 7
  • Piercings taken: 3 (navel, tragus, conch)
  • Piercings lost: 1 (navel)
  • Surgeries: 2 (acoustic neuroma and arm)
  • Family members died: 2 (mom, grandmother)
  • Books read: who the fuck knows? Didn’t start using Goodreads until sometime in 2016, but if the stats after that are any indication, I’d say a decade would be somewhere around 350-400 books
  • Number of devices used: 20 – 7 cellphones (2 HTC’s, 3 Lumias, 2 iPhones), 4 tablets (Galaxy Tab, iPad 2, Kindle Fire, iPad 5 mini), 2 smart watches (FitBit, Apple Watch 4), 7 laptops (1 mini, 2 home laptops, 2 HP work laptops, Surface Book Pro 2, Surface Book 3)
  • Home addresses: 4 (Pakkala, Torpparinmäki, Paloheinä, Munkkivuori)

I suppose that just about does it. Oh, there’s been a lot lot more, a whole lot of things I won’t go into. A whole lot of difficult stuffs, but all in all, I think I’m ending this decade and entering the next one on the plus side of things.

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