Just after I celebrated my 17th AA anniversary, my realtor called me and told me she had found the perfect house for me. I wasn't even looking for a house! She asked me to just come and look at it. I walked in, fell in love, and although I thought the house was too expensive for me, I decided to just try to buy it.
Absolutely everything fell into place. I was able to get the financing. I was able to sell my little townhouse and my closing was set for September 27, 2001. In the meantime, September 11 happened.
I had gone to the opening Broncos game at the new Invesco Field at Mile High the night before. The Broncos beat the Giants, but my Eddie McCaffery broke his leg! On September 11, I got up late for work and walked downstairs to check the news on Eddie's leg. I turned on the TV just in time to see the second airplane hit the World Trade Center. I stood at my television set for a long time trying to make sense of what I had seen - just like the rest of the world. My daughter called me because I have an uncanny ability to make the worst situations seem better. She was expecting me to do that. Instead, we were on the phone when the first tower fell - and I cried and said "the whole world just changed." I knew it would be the end of peace for us, and I was right. My daughter cried and said I was making her feel worse, not better!
After that, my packing and preparing to move just came to a halt. All I was doing was going to AA meetings and cooking and knitting. I canned peaches and pears, I made mass quantities of peach jam, pear chutney, dill pickles, salsa... standing in the kitchen staring at the television and crying. While I should have been packing.
I got moved just the same. It was the worst move I have ever had - because I was not prepared. But I still got moved.
I had less than 3 months of school left to go. I sat in my new family room and spread out my papers and books and finished writing my thesis. It was pretty wonderful.
My 50th birthday was the day before my graduation. I threw a huge party. I am not a party thrower, but I thought the new house, the big birthday and the big graduation were all cause for celebration. It was a wonderful event, even though there was a big snowstorm that night, people still came to the party.
I had invited a number of people from AA, including a man from my old homegroup. He was unable to attend, but since he had an invitation to my party, he had an excuse to call me - and ask me out on a date! Our first date was just before Christmas 2001. We were definitely smitten with each other. We had such fun!
Here I was, just getting over so many years of my life being serious as a heart attack, and here came this big tall cowboy (handsome as can be), with his big tall cowboy hat, his crooked smile, and his wacky sense of humor. He was like medicine for my weary soul. We went to concerts, we went camping, we went on weekends in the mountains with a bunch of other crazy sober people and had paint ball wars! We went to County Fairs, the National Western Stock Show, movies, and more country concerts. We would pick up on a Saturday afternoon and just grab our pans and go to the mountains to pan gold!
My family loved him - which is no small feat. His family loved me - which was also no small feat. We loved each other. It was a wonderful time.
People would say "What happened to you?" because I had gone from super serious - almost grim - to this frivolous fun loving woman. I went from listening to classical music to listening to Merle Haggard (my favorite) and George Strait. Oh, it probably looked wacky, but it was so much fun.
I failed to mention that I got another promotion at work. I got the job I always dreamed of having. I have it still. I still really do love it. It was such a huge leap for me, and I think having all this happiness in my personal life really helped me to handle it.
One of our friends would draw on styrofoam cups during meetings. I still have a cup where he drew my fellow and me. It was a pic of him and me, captioned with "Calm Ken and Crazy Mary attend the Wednesday night meeting." The caption above Ken says "Simmer down there Mary, simmer down." It was cute. It really was a lot like our relationship. He calmed me down so much and he never got angry with me.
On my 18th birthday I lived in a house I loved. I had the job I always wanted. I loved and was loved by a good man. AND I had now been sober as long as I drank! Life was good. We celebrated by going to a concert at Cheyenne Frontier Days... I have a photo of my journal for that day along with my little souvenir ticket.
This was a shining year for me.