November pretty much followed trend with the rest of the year: the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Is this what they meant by “the new normal?” If so, I’ll take the old normal for $500, Alex.
November was definitely our busiest month of the year travel-wise, as we spent 15 days of it away from home. And we used our passports for the first time in two years! December is going to be a lot quieter with no trips on the horizon, other than the one night we already spent in Atlanta. It’s a Christmas year at home for the kids—they alternate holidays in Charleston—and I can’t wait to spend Christmas Day with these crazies.
If you’re still shopping for the holidays, by the way, I have a guide of best gifts I’ve given in the past, many of which made it back under the tree for people I’m giving gifts to this year! And you know art is always a great idea, so if you’re still stumped, reach out to your favorite artists on Instagram and see if they have anything to sell you or are still open for commissions.
We went to Iceland. Against all odds, global pandemic, many flight cancellations, and my dad’s recent fall and subsequent recovery, we made it to Iceland for eight days. Though this was a vacation and not work, I’ll be blogging about every facet of it in the coming weeks (or let’s be more realistic, months). To start, I have a review on the Blue Lagoon that’s already live. This was the trip that SVV, Mom and I needed after a tough year. Forever grateful for Kari and Josh for holding down the fort here and allowing us to go on this epic adventure!
There’s a new mural in Tullahoma! Actually two, but you only get to hear about one for now. We teamed up with Tullahoma City Schools, the school system I attended for 13 years, to install a street art-themed mural in the cafe of their new Tullahoma Virtual Academy that our pal Folek designed and painted. You can read more about it in this newspaper article—we loved every minute of this project and how it transformed this student-used space.
We were also on the TVA podcast. Ever want to hear more about my mathlete days? All the odd jobs I did that led up to this point? How about SVV’s career path? Well, you’re in luck—you can listen to our episode of Two Mikes & a Guest from last week here. You can find it in any app where you get your podcasts.
We went to Memphis for Thanksgiving. While I was under the weather like whoa (more on that in Lows), it was so nice to be around my cousins Rebecca, John, Margaret, McKayla and Mason. Mom stayed home due to Dad being in a wheelchair, so it was just SVV, Katy and me, and we had a blast. And I did mask up when around everyone on Thanksgiving day. Luckily, no one else caught my plague!
We had a Christmas PJ weekend at my house. Katy also came down for a weekend at the Cedar House in which we drank a lot of bourbon, didn’t get out of our jams and decorated my house for the holidays with the help of Charlotte Rose. It was so much fun, and I’m grateful we’re all triple-vaxxed and can do these safe small gatherings this holiday season.
We wrote about home renovation. A lot. One of our favorite new clients this year is Angi (formerly Angi’s list), and we’re writing anywhere between three and seven home renovation guides or DIY stories per week that will be posting on the site very soon. You can follow my writer profile here.
I Did So. Many. Photo. Shoots. A huge thank you to all of you who booked a session with me these last couple months! I think I did something like 15 family, couples and headshot shoots in the month of November alone and have a few more scheduled for December. It truly has been a joy getting to photograph so many gorgeous families in a time filled with so many lows.
The sickness continues. After a brutal few months, I finally got ill, too, catching Mac’s RSV right around Thanksgiving and then a stomach bug on top of that. After the kids and I finally recovered, Josh caught the bug and then my dad did, as well. To top off a less-than-stellar month, my mom caught pneumonia (she’s much better now). So we spent a lot of the month quarantining from each other once more!
Veteran Affairs is a joke. I’ve touched on this in the past, but we’ve had the worst experience ever with the VA in terms of SVV’s healthcare (or lack there of). After battling a chronic illness for more than three months that hospitalized him at one point, we’re no closer to an answer than we were in September when this all began.
One lovely, kind reader wrote me with her health experience that sounds very familiar to his, and we he asked the VA to test him for that illness, they rolled their eyes and told him to stop listening to “Internet doctors.” Wow. The gaslighting is unreal.
But I’m hoping we’re about to turn the corner as he finally found a nurse who would prescribe him an experimental treatment and he spoke to one of the gaslighting doctor’s supervisors to get transferred to another primary care doctor who hopefully will handle this whole situation better. We all know all of healthcare is a boondoggle, but the VA is a special brand of ridiculous.
I’m not going to sugar-coat things, it’s been rough having a husband who is not only feeling miserable all the time, but my business partner in our day jobs and the nonprofit. He’s worked a couple hours here and there when he’s feeling up to it, but it’s a busy time of year and I’m feeling as if I’m barely treading water.
We’re a few days into December, and it’s already been a whammy of a month, too, but I’ll save that for next time…