All Drizzle, No Sizzle

Normally when the clock strikes midnight and we usher in a new year, things don’t feel all that different. Most years, there is little change. Tomorrow will look like yesterday. Next Christmas will look like this past Christmas. And so forth, and so on.

2018 is going to be the exception.

Because the moment the ball dropped in Times Square and the television was plastered with images of swirling confetti and Mariah Carey beaming triumphantly – hey, she didn’t screw up this year! – I kissed Tara, wished her a happy 2018, and said, “Holy shit. Our whole lives are changing  this year!” And then I remarked that Mariah Carey must be awfully cold in that skimpy outfit of hers, but by then I’d made my point.

When the ball drops in Times Square in another 364 days, everything will be different for us.

This impending move has always felt far off and distant. Unreal, almost. Like it was something that involved two other people, characters in a novel perhaps, packing up stakes and heading to the midwest for an adventurous new start. A plunge off an abyss into the great unknown. But this morning, boy does it suddenly feel real. Very “in your face.” We can no longer say this is happening next year. It’s this year, baby. My countdown timer tells me it’s 180 days away. More so than ever before, the turning of the calendar page coincides with the feeling that we have turned a corner. I know it’s all psychological, of course. Today we are physically only one day closer to leaving than we were yesterday. But it sure feels a lot nearer all of a sudden.

Shit just got real, yo.

But bring it on! I am ready. This morning my uncle Tom commented on Facebook, “It’s -6 in Rapid City this morning.” My reply? “I know! Nice and brisk!” I mean, what else can I say? The cold doesn’t scare me. Half the country is mired in a deep freeze anyway. Besides, the days are already growing longer now. Spring is coming, and once that season is over and done with, so are we.

That ticking clock grows louder with each passing second.


We spent the final day of 2017 hiking in Silver Falls State Park, about a 90-minute drive to the south. It was a chilly, foggy day, with lots of mist and drizzle, but that didn’t stop us from hiking 4.5 miles and seeing half a dozen waterfalls. It’s a beautiful park and was on our farewell tour list, so that’s one more item to cross off.

Then we caught the most gorgeous sunset just as we were leaving; it lit up the whole sky in vibrant shades of pink, orange, red, and gold. If that was 2017’s last hurrah, it was a doozy.

We detoured into Portland to pick up Chinese food on our way home, but the restaurant was packed and they didn’t put any sizzling rice in our sizzling rice soup, a fact we did not discover until we got home. To her credit, Tara did not say “I told you so,” even though she asked me to check our order when they handed me the paper to-go bag and I confidently said, “Feels like it’s all there, babe!” As if rice has any heft to it whatsoever.

Reminds me of an incident in high school where I ordered a hamburger from the cafeteria and discovered, upon setting my tray down, that the lunch lady had given me a bun but no meat. I was a bit shy back then, so rather than letting her know my burger was burger-less, I simply squirted a little extra ketchup onto the bun and pretended I was vegetarian for one hour. True story.

But I digress.

The rest of the evening was spent listening to records and playing cards. We didn’t get nearly as wild as I thought we would, and Tara kept nodding off, exhausted after our hike. We managed to make it to the aforementioned ball drop and then called it a night.

The remainder of the holiday weekend is sort of a blur. We went out to brunch, hit a couple of record stores and added some great albums to our collection, went to Shanahan’s. Not all on the same day. Oh, we packed up all the Christmas decorations and put them back in the garage. It was a little strange, driving through Silverton, Oregon yesterday and seeing all these houses with lights on and Christmas trees still displayed in the windows. I told Tara when we have a house of our own, I might be more inclined to keep the decorations up longer.

That house, by the way? It’s possible we could be sitting inside it one year from now. You never know.

May all your wishes come true in 2018.

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Categories: Daily Life

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12 replies

  1. Okay, I am caught up. Your decision to move was lost in the era of my new job, then I became incredibly ill and contemplated death briefly (kidding/not kidding). I have got the gist of you moving but I missed the why. I think there is some sort of internal pull that leads us to change. I remember you blogging about your road trip back in the day and I could hear the wistful sounds of the place. I am not surprised you are making the leap. I am excited for you. I am a prairie girl and I can tell you the bitterly cold winters will get old, but the endless sunshine and terrifying storms won’t. Portland doesn’t have the corner market on weird, every town is weird. Here in Edmonton, the first sign of spring is when Shirtless Guitar guy puts on his roller skates and plays music as he speeds down the streets of Edmonton. Weird is everywhere. Saving money affords trips to weirder places. Amazon can get you anything you miss. I think I missed if Audrey is coming with you, but either way, Adventure is out there and it will be great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The why is basically because the cost of living has gotten astronomically high here, and it’s too big and crowded for Tara’s liking. I am completely on board; in fact, Rapid City was my idea. It’s always had a pull on me, ever since we left way back in 1986. Audrey is welcome to join us, but has no interest in going. Once she graduates in June, she’s probably headed to California. Kids these days!

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  2. Mark, it’s funny because I too tuned in and watched the ball drop in Times Square and had a similar experience. Actually, I got very emotional. Part of that was because I was watching it take place in the city that I love with all my heart. And another part was because I realized that YES, I will finally be moving there at the end of August! I got very teary-eyed because it almost felt like a spiritual experience that was saying to me….”You’re going back HOME.” I got a very strong feeling that everything will work out as it should because it’s simply my destiny to be there.

    I am so happy and excited for you and Tara as well, because I know this year will be a big moving change for you as well!

    Isn’t it faaaaaaaaabulous?

    For the past three months, I’ve actually been preparing to move by clearing out things in my apartment that I no longer want, and will not have to move in August. I don’t want to wait for the last minute and have to do everything a few weeks before. I want to be well prepared and move minimalistically.

    You photographs are GORGEOUS! Love the misty fog in the first two photos. And that sunset is STUNNING!

    Wishing you and Tara all the very best in 2018!

    I am sooooooo happy for you!

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    • Thanks, Ron! This will be an exciting year for us both. Do you think you’ll actually be part of the crowd in Times Square for the ball drop next year? How cool would that be? Hopefully it’ll be a little warmer, though!

      We too are beginning the task of downsizing, and bringing home lots of boxes from work. Like you, we have a lot of work to do between now and then and want to be as prepared as possible in advance.

      Cheers and happy 2018!

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  3. Silver Falls is always worth a visit. We made a short trip there a few weeks ago, but between getting there a bit late and icy trails we didn’t cover much ground. We had our balloon drop at the Schnitz, after watching a show with Pink Martini, the Oregon Symphony, and a choir for Beethoven’s Ninth.

    Looks like you’re picking the right time of year to move to SoDak – I wouldn’t want to be doing it now…

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  4. Been collecting 33 1/3 albums find in thrift shops Sinatra, Dean Martin, Perry Como – Italians singers 50’s-70’s not for the records but for album covers to frame. Best wishes 2018

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  5. Gorgeous pics. I hope you’ll have great hiking trails not far from your new home. Here’s to your adventurous big changes in 2018!

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  6. Your burger story reminds me of someone I know who recently went to the new WahlBurger’s downtown and his burger arrived sans the meat! The story cracks me up!

    Cheers to your big new year!

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