Year Eight: 2007This was a big year, and it turned out to be our last without kids.
In January I found out my application for graduation had been denied. I failed the CPC exam and was still missing a credit for a class my advisor had told me I didn’t need to take. I had been in college in one way or another since the fall of 2000 and somehow the horse just wouldn’t die, no matter how hard I kicked it. This presented a slight problem, because my boss was under the impression I had a degree in Construction Management, and they only offered the class I was missing during the week at 4:00pm. I couldn’t very easily ask my boss to leave early twice a week to go to class to finish the degree that, according to my resume, I already had. So I just faked it. Why not? I already had the job the degree was supposed to get me, and besides, I gotta put that food on the table, son. I shelved the idea of finishing up until I could figure out a workable plan.
In the meantime Micaiah and I had been thinking about taking a big vacation in the summer but weren’t sure what we wanted to do first. Ben and Angie Shy had been planning a trip to Italy and they had invited us to come along. We couldn’t think of anything better than an Italy trip with some good friends, but it was significantly more than we could afford at the time. A week or so after they had invited us, we were talking a walk down the street and decided on a whim that life was too short to pass up the trip. We walked into Hillcrest Liquor, bought a cheap bottle of wine, and walked the three blocks to the Shy’s house to tell them we were in and celebrate. Before an hour had passed the plane tickets were bought.
The last week of June, and first week of July, we spent in Italy. The trip was amazing. Perfect, complete, transcendent, joyous, timeless, and hilarious. We had the time of our lives and all with some great friends. We drank bottles cases of wine and ate amazing food. Ben and I told our wives we would split one pack of smokes for the whole trip, which we did, but that’s not to say we didn’t refill the pack about eight times. We went to Rome, Tuscany, The Dolomites, The Cinque Terre, Sorrento, Pompeii, Positano, and quite possibly the moon. It felt like it anyway.
By late summer Matt and Chris had both left MDH for better jobs elsewhere, and I found myself completely alone at work. A couple months after Chris had started his new job, he called me to see if I was interested in making a move. If I was going to be in construction I wanted to be working alongside good friends and I told Chris I would do just about anything to get out of MDH. Before long I was sitting in the Bosses office at Bell-Corley Constriction talking to him and the two partners about how and where I could fit in over there. The interview went well and the next Monday they called to offer me a job for $45,000 a year. Hell yeah. I told them I would start in two weeks.
The next day I gave my boss my two week notice. He thanked me for my time and told me to go ahead and make that day my last, which was probably a good idea - I wouldn’t have gotten much done in those last two weeks anyway.
In August I was at my new job at BCC and Chris and I were having a great time working together again, but the fun didn’t last long. I was miserable with construction. My dreams of photography clouded my mind in all things. I had made a commitment to myself to save up enough money that year to buy my first decent camera and I wasn’t making much progress. The Italy trip had drained any “extra” money we had.
And then, before I knew it, the year was over.