Jake, 46, Burlington, VT., USA

Family and Friends,

It’s hard to find a non-cliché way to say this was the year of Covid. It sucked.

But on the upside, and something I’m truly thankful for, all my friends and family are healthy and haven’t suffered terribly from the effects of the pandemic.

Katie and I had a busy and unpredictable year. On January 1, 2020, I was scheduled to fly my last trip with the regional airline and would be starting with a major in just a few weeks. I left full-time military three years ago with the singular goal of earning employment with a major airline by the time I was 45 years old. (The age was a random, meaningless target that just helped me focus on the goal.) I was still in the traditional National Guard and made the decision to retire in September 2020 after 23 years of service. Katie and I were already seriously contemplating moving out of Vermont after my retirement to be closer to one of the airline’s bases.

I was about half-way through training in Denver when Covid started becoming a thing people were concerned about. Airline passenger loads started to drop dramatically. The airline put a freeze on hiring. It was clear that this was bad – at the time I thought just for the airline industry; I couldn’t even guess it would turn out so bad for the country and world.

Thanks to the CARES act my job was saved until October, but I didn’t want to risk a furlough. Sheepishly, I not only requested to rescind my military retirement request, I applied for a full-time military position again and took a long term leave of absence from the airline since May. (I did finish training, though, and qualified on a few Boeing 737 varieties, including the Max.) My new job is flying helicopters again, about an hour from where we used to live.

Used to live… because I think most people know we moved! Knowing moving for the airline might be years away and having been “over” our current house for a while, already, we moved from town out into the woods and absolutely love it. I’m pretty sure it’s our dream house and dream location. We even put in an offer on a not-quite-perfect house when Katie suddenly saw this one hit the market. Previous buyers had backed out and the place had exactly one showing, which we attended along with at least ten others that day. All of us put in offers and we got the house.

Katie has been extraordinarily busy all year. Aside from taking up my slack when I was off in Denver and being the lead house hunter, she’s primarily writing a new book. I say primarily because Katie just doesn’t do one thing. She’s routinely working on many things at once. 

Her primarily working from home with me working outside the house hasn’t been without issue, thanks to Covid. I’ve been quarantined in an office or the basement a few times now because of possible contact with people who might have it. And while that separation sucked, I think Katie might be getting jealous I get catered to when quarantined. She said the next time it happens, SHE’S going to the basement and I can bring HER meals.

This year has been so terrible for so many people that it feels weird to write about minor setbacks from an otherwise good year for us. We missed hosting Thanksgiving and we missed Christmas with the family, but otherwise I’m happy all of you are doing well.

Here’s to a better 2021!

Thank god 2020 is over!

We miss all of you and can’t wait to be able to see you in person, hopefully soon. Merry Christmas. And a Happy New Year.

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