You can see a lot of what we did in 2006 just by looking at my Flickr photos sets, but here are the highlights.
1. Stephanie and I bought a house and moved into it together.
Considering that we were just talking about moving in together at the beginning of last year, and we hadn’t decided to take the plunge, the whole thing happened really quickly. Heck, in January, I was painting my old kitchen, not realizing at all that we’d soon be painting a new place. By March, we found the house we wanted, and we finally got it at the end of May, when we immediately started painting it.
Wow. I’m still amazed at everything we got done. We both cleaned out loads of old junk, both literally and figuratively, managed to merge two already well-established households together, and have ended up, finally, with a pretty keen place.
2. We took a road trip to Kansas in April.
We went for my cousin Sarah’s wedding, and did a lot of fun site-seeing along the way, including visiting the arch in St. Louis. Considering that this was in the middle of the house negotiations and moving planning, that was pretty amazing.
3. Stephanie skated in the Chicago Gay Games and won 2 Gold Medals
That was an exciting and interesting experience, and I’m hugely proud of what she was able to accomplish. We spent a week at her Dad’s in Valpo and traveled into the city every day for her competitions. Making it into the city every day was tough, but it was totally worth it for the experience and enjoyment of it.
Watching Stephanie compete is always fun, and seeing her improve constantly as an athlete is amazing and inspirational to me. I’m always impressed by her dedication to skating – she gets up early to practice and has a routine that keeps her healthy and strong and always learning something new.
I learned a lot about figure skating, and being immersed in a culture of athletics for an extended period was really educational and inspiring. One of the goals of the Gay Games is to inspire everyone, no matter who they are, to find their inner athlete, and to encourage people to explore sports that in many circumstances they aren’t encouraged to engage in. That’s a very positive, healthy message, and it had resonance for me.
4. I did a ton of gardening at our new house, mostly in the front flower beds.
Most of what I’ve done in the past at my old house was very trial and error — this time I did a bit of reading and did some good foundation work on the soil so the stuff we’ve already planted and will plant will grow well. I did a lot of cleaning up and organizing. There’s still lots to do, especially on the lawn, but that’s for this year.
5. Stephanie and her Dad got her old house ready to rent.
They worked hard on getting the house in great shape for her new tenants, and Stephanie spent a lot of time interviewing people before she found the right couple to move into the little house she loves.
6. We explored our new neighborhood, The Old Northside.
We did some volunteering for neighborhood clean up, I roamed around taking pictures of the historic architecture, and Stephanie was elected treasurer of the neighborhood association.
7. We had fun with friends.
We attended Doug’s Fortieth Birthday, went on a Scavenger Hunt for Charity, went to Talk Like a Pirate Day and the Fisher’s Rennaissance Fair (where Stephanie found her wedding dress!), and went Duckpin Bowling, as well as attending friends parties and weddings, and other events.
8. We went to Iowa for Thanksgiving to see my family.
9. Stephanie asked me to marry her. Yay!
In all, we had a very blessed and successful year.