Another year begins

2021 was an interesting year, to say the least. The biggest “event” of the year, for my household, was our move from Glasgow to Dublin. When we first moved to Glasgow, we intended to find a way to stay in Scotland, but the pandemic basically robbed us of a year’s worth of job hunting, and we ended up having to leave the UK. For various reasons, Dublin ended up being the best option for us, so after half a year in Scotland and a year in Pandemicland, we had to relocate again.

I don’t know if there’s such a thing as a non-stressful move, but this one was horrible in its own unique way. Tegan contracted COVID, so we postponed our move by a month (while paying rent on both apartments). Despite the delay, her test came back positive three weeks after recovery, which meant that we had to split up. Tegan found a cheap hotel for a couple weeks, and I made the journey with cat, dog, and suitcase by myself.

We live in a society that forces us to pay to live. That’s annoying by itself, but I’m used to it. That said, there’s a special rage that comes from going into debt to pay for things – like a moving service or a functional apartment – only to not even get what you’ve paid for. The movers decided that our book boxes, being full of books, were too heavy for them to carry up the stairs, so I had to move a large portion of our stuff myself (with the help of a new neighbor who has sadly moved since then). Having to do part of the movers’ job for them was annoying, but it paled in comparison to the condition of the apartment when I arrived.

We got this flat because it was our only option. We spent months reaching out to Dublin landlords for apartments more in our range, and this was literally the only place that responded. As a consequence, we’re in Rich People Country, and paying for the “privilege”. For the price I was expecting an apartment that worked better than our last couple of flats. Instead, the fridge was broken. I was in strict quarantine from the moment I arrived, so we’d arranged for a friend here to bring me groceries. I put my leftovers in the fridge, where they were kept nice and warm, and went bad in short order.

I had to spend the better part of a month hounding the management company before they scheduled a fridge replacement. I also had to wrestle with them to remove a some pieces of furniture we’d asked to be dealt with a couple months before.

Keep in mind, this flat was vacant for at least three months before I arrived, and we paid full rent for two months before arriving. Needless to say, I’m not happy with how much money we’ve had to pay for an apartment with more problems than any of the much cheaper ones I’ve rented in the past. That’s not the end of the crap we’ve had to deal with because of the move, but I think that’s a decent summary how of much of this past year felt.

That said, there were good things too.

The neighborhood is very pretty, grocery stores are within walking distance, and the pets both seem to like our new digs. Tegan’s research team continues to be Good People, and thanks to a little quirk of Irish immigration law, I’ve had little choice but to work on my writing. Tegan is working on her PhD, and so I’m allowed to live here as a “spousal dependent”, which means I’m prohibited from seeking any kind of conventional wage labor. I never really intended to rely on writing to make ends meet, but now it’s basically the only option I’ve got. It’s not a corner I wanted to be backed into, but now that I’m here, I might as well make the best of it, and that’s going to be my primary focus in this coming year.

As it stands, I’m making less than minimum wage through Patreon, and I think the best way for me to improve that situation is to do more, better. Specifically, to increase the frequency with which I post, in the hopes of increasing readership. The focus of my efforts won’t change a whole lot, but the overall feel of the blog may change a bit, as I’ll have a wide variety of stuff posted between my more involved bits of writing.

Overall, 2022 is already starting out better than 2021. We’re not moving this year, we’re not stuck in a flat that came with a roach infestation, and we’re both vaccinated and boosted (the soreness in my left shoulder should be gone tomorrow). It feels like every year, planning for the future becomes more pointless, but for the short term, I have the space to work on things that are important to me, which makes me very lucky. I’m still struggling with the difficulties of untreated ADHD, but while I’d love for that to change, it helps that I have time to deal with the bullshit my brain throws at me.

I have no idea if this will be a “good” year, but there are a lot of indications that – for me and Tegan – it will be better than last year.

I hope the same is true for all of you, and I hope that we’re all pleasantly surprised by life going forward.

Happy New Year!