2020 Wasn’t So Bad

Still bitching about 2020?

One little pandemic and everyone hates 2020. Sure it sucked and a good chunk of 2021 will be very similar: social distancing, masks, lockdowns, etc. As far as triathlon goes almost all big races were canceled and the one that made a lot of news was Challenge Daytona.

How many times have we read about an athlete on the verge of losing motivation because they didn’t have any races to cap off their training? How many times did we hear an athlete complain about IRONMAN’s lack of communication regarding race schedules? And how many rhetorical questions does it take to get across my point that 2020 has been a rough year?

On the bright side, some of the jokes about 2020 have been kind of funny.

Let me share my perspective. 2018 and 2019 were difficult years.

2018

In February of 2018, our dear friend Carol died. Out of the blue. Completely unexpected. You think you know someone for 30 years then they up and die on you. That’s a punch in the heart.

My father-in-law couldn’t attend that funeral, because he was fighting prostate cancer. But not any more, because about a month after Carol died, Don left us. That day we found out Mark, the father of our godson, had just died in a motorcycle accident. And those two deaths happened two days before my wife’s birthday. We spent Lori’s birthday making funeral arrangements for two and custody arrangements for one.

Not much later, Channing died of liver cancer. He was one of the people who made going to work a pleasure. The following video features Channing and Ricky as my would-be coaches.



Then Joan, my mom’s oldest and closest friend, died of some horrible cancer that I won’t try to pronounce.

Everyone dies sooner or later, but I’m way too young to know this many dead people, especially friends.

Just when you think life is going to get back to normal, another storm hits you. This time it was a real storm. I was in London for business in September of 2018 when reports of Hurricane Florence were predicting land fall in the Carolinas near my home. Flights were being canceled but I was able to cut my business short and get one of the last flights into Raleigh where I rented a car and drove the two hours home. I was just in time to help prepare for the impending storm.

The storm itself did very little if any direct damage to my property, but it dumped over 30 inches of rain in three days. Why worry? We didn’t live in a flood zone.

The highest flood on record before Florence was caused by Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and I’m told the water never came near our property. The water gauge at the river back then read 22 feet. Three days after Florence blew out, the river gauge read 26 feet and my house, which is four feet off the ground, had almost a foot of water sitting in it for a week. We were evacuated by helicopter to Wilmington.

Thanks to the kindness of Delores, our daughter’s boyfriend’s mother and our friend, we had a place to stay for two months while we waited for government assistance.

Traumatic? Yes. But the struggle went on.

The first bit of assistance we received came from the county engineer or fire marshal or someone like that. He posted a note on our door informing us that the house was uninhabitable.

We finally did receive two government camping trailers to live in while we rebuilt the house. They were small, cold and came with monthly inspections from the agency that provided them, but they were a godsend. We lived in them for a year.

2019

The road called 2019 looked like the path to a better life. Ultimately it did take us to the place we had hoped: living back in our house. However, there were some bumps and potholes in that road that made life a challenge for us.

I had registered for several races in 2019: Lake Havasu and New York City among others. Lori’s favorite cat, Ivory, started showing signs of a serious illness, so we spent an entire day at a specialty animal hospital instead of traveling to California for the Havasu race. I missed that race, but that’s just how important Ivory was.

With Ivory’s health in decline and a busy work schedule, I made the difficult decision to defer my entry to the New York City Triathlon. It eventually was canceled due to the predicted heat index for race day.

Ivory would get better, then get worse, then get better in a sine wave cycle that lasted five months or so. It was an emotional roller coaster that I don’t care to repeat. She passed away in August. She is missed.

Then came Hurricane Dorien in September. Because we were living in little trailers, we were told to evacuate. Evacuation isn’t easy when you have horses, cats and dogs, but it had to be done. We got in touch with a friend of a friend of a friend who let us keep the animals in her barn while we stayed at a motel somewhere in South Carolina far away from the coast. Imagine having to leave your partially rebuilt house not knowing if it will be completely destroyed when you get home.

We were lucky. The house and trailers didn’t suffer any damage. There were some trees and limbs that had to be cleaned up, but no major damage.

2020

You already know about the viral pandemic of 2020. That’s why I’m writing this post.

Yes. 2020 has been a difficult year and the struggles will not end simply because the calendar changes to 2021. But I am so thankful to have a job as many have lost theirs. I am thankful to have a house, because many are on the verge of eviction. I am also thankful to live where I can swim, bike and run in my own space.

I’ve been getting used to a new “normal” for the past three years. Join me. It’s not as bad as it could be.

Until next time…