I’m often asked around this time of year, what with me being an atheist and all, just who it is I’m thankful to on Thanksgiving. My answer is simple:
I’m thankful to my wife who not only puts up with me and loves me when I’m at my best, but takes care of me and still loves me when I’m at my worst.
I’m thankful to my daughter for turning out to be a wonderful person despite having me as a father and the rather unconventional childhood she had to go through to reach adulthood.
I’m thankful to my mother for all the things she’s ever done for me which are too numerous to count.
I’m thankful to my brother and sister for their love and support over the years even when they didn’t always agree with my choices.
I’m thankful to my in-laws for so wholly accepting me into the family some 14 years ago.
I’m thankful to my friends for their friendship. Whether it’s someone I’ve known since I was in grade school or someone online I’ve never actually met, but have been hanging with virtually for years.
I am solidly middle aged at this point and there’s plenty of things I thought I would have done by now that will likely never happen. I’m not anywhere near where I thought I’d be in terms of owning a home or the amount of money I’d be earning and we often live paycheck to paycheck. However, I have a roof over my head and food in the fridge and gas in the car and two kitties who are spoiled. I may not have everything I want, but I have the things I really need and I am grateful for that.
I don’t believe there is an all-powerful deity providing me with anything. I do know there are people who have made it possible for me to provide these things for myself. So I don’t thank an imaginary friend for the things my real friends and family are due credit for.
So we’ve made it through another decade. Back in 2000 I started the year being retained at the General Motors Design Center in Warren after participating in their Y2K migration the year and a half before. I was living in Canton, MI and my daughter had moved in along with my fiancée. Then in 2001 I moved to Ford Motor Company for the next four years and got married on April 21st. December of that year was when I started the blog that would eventually become Stupid Evil Bastard. It’s also the year when I earned the most for the first and last time. That was a good year.
Things were going pretty well up until 2005 when I got laid off from Ford and was out of work for almost a year. The contract house I had been working for brought me in-house in a paid intern position just before Christmas of that year to help me out while I tried to find a new job. It wasn’t enough to allow us to keep our apartment in Canton, however, and we ended up moving in with my in-laws for a couple of years. During 2006 I got called to come back to Ford only to have the job last a mere 2.5 months before I was back to looking for work. A short stint at the local Meijers led to a position back at the General Motors Technical Center campus in 2007 which led to Big Dot Com (still can’t say what company it was due to the NDA) in Ann Arbor for two years which ended last April. Another stint of unemployment over the summer followed by underemployment doing PC refreshes for PNC bank finally wound up with me finding gainful employment at a company in Brighton that makes brakes and suspension systems just in time for Christmas 2010.
It’s been a wild decade with some major ups and downs and some of you have been there through the entire ride. Or at least the parts from when I started the blog. You have helped me out when I was in need on more than one occasion and you have been more than generous over the years. My best friend, William Owen, was tragically taken from us in 2003 by a glorified meter-maid with delusions of grandeur. My daughter moved out in 2009 to live with her mother and go to college in Grand Rapids. We went from a two car to a one car family at least twice over and are back at just one at this moment. We spent 8 years with a President who could barely string a coherent sentence together and who like to start wars for others to finish. We went from a stock market so high it was hard to believe to an economy in ruin from too much excess.
I start 2011 with a new job that pays decently considering what the job market in Michigan is like at the moment. My wife continues to do well at her job. We’re worse for wear after the last 10 years, but we’re still kicking and screaming with a roof over our heads and our bills mostly paid. Could be better off than we are, but we could be a lot worse too. Whatever the new year brings you’ll probably hear about it here so long as I still have fingers to type with.
Here’s hoping you’ll stick around to see what happens next.