Monday, January 9, 2006

Goodbye 2005

2005 was a roller coaster year of extremes. I have to admit it was one of the worst years I’ve ever lived through, but it was also one of the best. I’m going to reflect over the past 12 months with the help of my blog here and try to put everything into perspective.

January started out with a bang! We partied at the in-laws house, got very drunk and did lots of crazy things. I just remember not remembering a lot of it, because I was so wasted.

The year started right away with a long talk from the wife about her future. She was slowly dieing at work and wanted to make some changes. She was looking around at schools and noticed that VCU has an amazing arts/fashion design program. I also being sick of Lynchburg, encouraged her to check that out. That would be the first step on a very long and painful journey that has us where we are today.

The year also started out with a thud when I came down with I think one of the worst colds I have ever had in my life. The entire week I lay out without even moving. It was horrible. I felt like a leper.

Our first concert of the year featured Richmond bands A Lost Order, Downward Halo, Sicks Deep, and St. Diablo. It was, I believe, the first Wrecking Crew event. It was also our first taste of Saint Diablo for 2005, and certainly not the last.

February was a busy month in its own way. The month started with a tour of VCU with Kat’s parents, The Super Bowl, Kat’s Birthday, and Valentine’s Day. Kat still talks about the chocolates I got her, too. The great thing is the store where I purchased them from is just upstairs of where she works now.

Shawn and I purchased tickets to see Mudvayne on their Gorilla Tour 2005. We skipped out on work that afternoon and bolted straight to Jaxx. Once there, we were about the 5th in line. We were stoked. We were going to get a great view of Mudvayne! We stayed in that line for well over an hour. We had a blast making fun of the Event Staff and everyone else in line. I can still hear those shouts for Strayhan! The fun ended, however, when management came out and advised us that Chad was very ill and the concert was cancelled. A three hour drive. For nothing. I did have a good time and I am glad that I got to get more acquainted with Shawn.

If March was anything, it was a month chock full of metal! Within a one week time frame I had gone to see Art of Destruction, Bleed, 3 Inches of Blood, The Agony Scene, Still Remains, Trivium, All That Remains, Shadows Fall, Lamb of God, and Slipknot. That was insane! Allen got his first taste of a metal show and was hooked and Jessi got to see (as much as she could, she’s a shortly) her first big stadium metal show! I was just happy and excited I could hang out with my friends and enjoy the music with them. There will be a lot of happy memories from that month, but it seems so distant in the past.

Kat also got accepted to VCU at the end of the month. That to me was the easy part, the months of planning and preparing to move for August was staring us both right in the face. I knew what lied ahead. I just was hoping to make things as smooth as possible. I tried.

April started out with more metal acts, this time in Lynchburg. I never thought I’d see anything like that at all. To this day I am disappointed with Lynchburg for now showing up to support the metal scene that we were trying to start there. I just get very mad if I hear someone bitch and complain about there not being anything to do. Damnit, we tried, you losers just didn’t want to get off your asses, and you’d rather bellyache. Two middle fingers for Lynchburg. You suck!

The rest of the month was fairly uneventful. The pope died and was replaced rather quickly. I sat on my lazy ass and played the new Splinter Cell game. I was so addicted to that junk that I played it through at least 3 times and finished the game with a perfect score. I spent the last of the month in quiet retrospect trying to figure out who I really was and embracing both the bad and the good qualities, quirks, and quandaries.

May I found myself in quite the routine. Pretty much every night Jessi, Allen, Shawn, and Megan would hang out with the occasional visit from Ben or Gene. Of course the Clarks would drop by constantly. To this day they are convinced we just had some big orgy going on in our apartment every night. Mondays we would watch a movie, Tuesdays we would watch House, Wednesday’s more movies, Thursdays CSI, and the weekends were up for grabs. We would either go visit the in laws at Natural Bridge, go to their bar, or just chill out at the apartment and smoke mass quantities of cigarettes. Jessi turned 26 so that left Kat and Megan as the only young folks in our group.

June was a lot more of the same. The Wrecking Crew was in full effect, the weather was warming, we were terrorizing restaurants, and any retail stores that we could find. There was nothing overly eventful. I worked on my blog a lot, we all stayed with our routines, life was comfortable…just the way I like it.

July was more of an exciting month. We were all busy the last part of June putting fliers around town for the Saint Diablo show. We were all so hyped and excited that word was getting out that there was a metal show in town and at Cattle Annie’s of all places. The night of the show we were dealt yet another disappointment as there was almost no one in attendance. Delete the Day had their friends over but that was basically it. It was the same crowd as last time. Kat and I gave up at that point. There was no need to waste any more of Gary’s money at that club if no one was willing to go see a really good show.

My faith was restored just a couple days later, though. We got up before the sun on the 25th, packed up the cars and drove towards DC for Ozzfest. I was so excited about this year’s lineup. All my favorite bands that have made it big were playing. Bands like Mudvayne, In Flames, Rob Zombie, Shadows Fall, Iron Maiden, Killswitch Engage, and Mastodon. I was frothing at the entire line up. I wasn’t too excited about Wicked Wisdom but I was blown away when Will Smith got up at the end of Bury your Dead’s set and started shouting Bury your fucking dead! Nifty.

I have to say one of the happiest moments in my long life came during the Iron Maiden set. The crowd was so excited. The kids were moshing and cheering and screaming. My friends were all standing there blown away by this band. I thought back to my younger years and I remembered how my cousin Ronald turned me onto metal by listening to Iron Maiden. I remember loving those t shirts and I went out to buy several. They got me in so much trouble at school. I loved it. I was finally a rebel and I was doing my own thing. But there I was standing with my closest friends that I’ve ever had and my wife and I lost it. I started to cry. Happy tears. I just couldn’t believe I could feel that good at one point in my life. It was an insane rush of happiness.

The ride back I stayed up to keep Jessi company. After her puppy showing during Mudvayne I realized that my student, my pretty lil’ learner padawan assistant partner in crime was now a Master. I realized she had amassed so much of my metal knowledge about bands and tours, I realized how good she was with computers, I realized that she isn’t the same shy shell of a girl I met so many years ago. I knew then that I was no longer friends with poor tiny little Jessi, but a strong and powerful woman. I’m so proud of her. Words can’t even describe it! I will never have a friend as close to me as I’ve let this poor girl get.

I remember Allen on the trip to Ozzfest just having a blast riding with me, egging Shawn to throw water bottles from the back of the Jeep, pissing every 20 minutes, constantly saying how excited he was to see this kind of metal show. I was also proud at that moment. Though my work with one was ending I saw potentially my work with another beginning.

I remember Kat the chiseled veteran of Ozzfest and her utter excitement to see Mudvayne. I knew she was hooked on the Chad right then and there. I was happy just to have her there with me. The group is not complete without the coolest Kat on the block that’s for sure. There is a constant peace and completion I feel just by being in her presence. A lot of people feel that too which is why she’s so contagious. I’m so freaking lucky!

Shawn and Megan were a welcome treat at this year at Ozzfest. I’m really glad they decided to join us last year and I hope to see ‘em again this year at Ozzfest. I really hope Gene can join us again this year. Recently he and Kristy called it quits and I’d hate to lose that friendship. Gene hooked me up with so much music and turned me on to so many things that I could never begin to fairly thank him.

August started on an ominous note with Kat and I having all kinds of problems securing an apartment for our move to Richmond. It seemed that every door slammed in our face which normally is enough for me to stop and think that we might not be doing the best thing. I kept plugging along and by the end of the month we had secured a space on the Southside. I was just a little anxious but the apartment manager seemed so nice. What could go wrong?

The last part of August and the first week of September, Kat was gone to Richmond to begin classes. She enjoyed the classes, but I could tell the city was already starting to strain her. She woke up one morning and the car was even towed because she didn’t park in one of the unavailable guest parking spaces
The move finally came Labor Day weekend. Everyone got together and we loaded up the UHaul and we moved to Richmond. We through out so many reminders of our past 5 years and said goodbye to all of the close friendships we had established over the years.

The real shock came when we got to our apartment complex. The place was a beat up, torn down ghetto community. I wasn’t too surprised but I was hoping we’d have decent neighbors at least. Wrong! I had to live on loud music thug lane while some of the complex looked quiet and comfortable. Kat didn’t know which apartment we were, so she pried us into the first floor apartment. The place was gutted out. We all had mini strokes as we saw the stripped hardwood floor covered in paint and the holes in the drywall in the guestrooms. I took the key and tried upstairs and I made it work, but there wasn’t too much improvement outside of a coat of paint and carpeting. The sinks didn’t work right, ceiling fans were missing blades, there were roaches waiting for us to move in, it was horrible. Kat’s parents rightfully flipped out but at this point I was determined to make this work.

Things really didn’t work out all that well, however. I was all but promised work by transferring from my old job into a job that someone created for me in Richmond. All I had to do, I was told, was show up for the interviews. Piece of cake, right? No. I never got a call back from the bastards. In fact the guy that gave me the interview went into the hospital which left me at the mercy of human resources. They didn’t like me because I didn’t show up to work when I was sick like I guess I was supposed to. So there I was scrambling to find work. I was calling every business in the phone book until I got an interview at the agency I work for now.

That still took another full month to start, so from September through November 1, I did not have employment. I felt like the biggest pile of useless shit on the planet. I don’t know how anyone can just sit on their ass and not work. It drove me insane. A big part of me died those two months. I couldn’t catch a break at all. We were trying to find ways to get out of our lease, separate, live at other people’s apartments and put our furniture in storage I was so depressed because I couldn’t provide for my wife. I still have the shakes when I think about those two months. It was the lowest time of my life.

From November through December I stayed on my job. I love my job actually. I’m getting paid a lot more than the last place would ever pay me and I deal with genuine people not drones and robots.

We were very fortunate that our friends would come visit us every once in a while. Shawn came down once and Jessi makes it a point to come down once a month to spend the weekend and hang out. Eventually I’ll have the money and resources to make things fun for everyone to come over, but I guess until that day comes, it’s just us three amigos.

We made our rounds to Lynchburg too. Thanksgiving we were fortunate enough to spend time with everyone sans Jessi and have a good time and hang out. Christmas and New Years we all got together as much as we could during that busy time and spent time together. It’s good to see my friends again and to see them moving on and facing their own struggles. I just hope they realize and not forget us here in Richmond. It’s going to be a long struggle for us, and we‘re going to need their support as much as we can.

It was indeed a year of transition. Allen left his wife, Jessi left her husband, Nick and Jessica broke up (I jest). It’s just so amazing how time changes so many things and so many people and so many attitudes. That is the real test of friendship and loyalty.

Last year was very much a year of highs and lows. But I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I’ve never had so many extreme best times of my life highs followed by so many worst days of my life lows. I hope this next year can live up to its promise of a clean slate. We can all do our part to have a great year and deal with the hands that fate deals us. We only have each other. And that’s all I think we’ll ever need. 2005 was the year of the friend. I’m hoping 2006 will be the year of unending friendship.

I sit here typing this in a city parking lot at the mall, waiting for my wife to get off of work and I realize that there is a lot of potential for happiness out there. And I’m determined as is my wife to find it. Thank you Kat, thank you Jessi, thank you Doodie and Sandra, thank you Shawn and Megan, thank you Allen, Gene, Kristy, Dave, Barbie, Kaleb, Brandon, Mom and Dad for being a part of our lives. And thank you for believing in….us.