Monday, November 24, 2008


It's vacation time again for the Hammer Family. This week we are packing up and taking the girls on their first real vacation since they are both what I would consider "grown up", at least to some degree. And by that I mean at least that they will remember this trip for more than a few weeks after we return home. I mean, we took a trip to the Southwest a couple of years ago -- I actually remember watching the very end of the Mookie at night from our living room -- but my little one was just a mere babe, sleeping in the crib in the bathroom as I recall while we tiptoed around desperately trying to avoid waking her up. This week, we're going tropical on their asses, heading to the Caribbean for a week to get away from it all, relax and show the girls a good time in the islands as it has gotten effing cold in a hurry here in New York.

"Getting away from it all" has really taken on new meaning this year. I've written quite a bit about this over the past several months, but from a stress perspective and just generally considering all the things I have had to worry about in 2008, this is easily the worst year I've had since, well, since I don't know. High school maybe? The year I was born was tough too, come to think of it. I mean, I couldn't walk, I couldn't talk, I didn't even know where I was or who I was. 0 was definitely a rough year. But 2008 is right up there with the worst of 'em. I am definitely one of the lucky ones who has a solid family situation with a great family and a bunch of A+ friends who have been there for me all through this year. And lord knows it could have been much worse, with me narrowly escaping the Lehman Brothers situation just weeks before the bankruptcy declaration, and I probably could have easily lost my job a couple of times over the past several months if things didn't go the right way. But between having it out with my boss to start off calendar year 2008, interviewing and getting job offers from two companies whose stocks have absolutey gone into the toilet this year thanks to the hammering of the financial services sector, before turning them both down for a big promotion at Lehman, and then having to sit and watch the slow-motion taking apart of that firm over the following several months from the inside, it was quite a first half of the year already.

And little did I know, things hadn't even started to really go downhill yet.

Throughout the summer, Lehman's stock tumbmled to fresh low after fresh low. There were many days when the stock price was so all anyone was looking at that we couldn't even consider doing any actual work. Sadly, there were so many of those days that it almost lost its effect, inuring us to that feeling of fear, of panic really, of total hopelessness. Eventually I gave up and started looking for another job again, which brought with it even more stress to go along with dealing with the day-to-day grind at Lehman. Then Hammer Wife and I decided it was time to move the family out of the city, adding yet another huge layer of difficulty to what was already a real pressure-cooker of a life I had going on.

In the end it all worked out, as we managed to get a great house just four days before the school year started, also four days before I started at my new job, which turned out to be fortuitous as it was exactly six days into my new job when Lehman Brothers went under, sparing off this sick plunge for stock prices that is still yet to reach its bottom. That said, a new job and a new house and all of course have brought with them their own new stresses that most of you out there are more than familiar with. And now the massive economic slowdown, I feel like I'm fighting for my job all over again. It has just been one thing after another after another for me almost since the minute that 2008 began.

And again, don't get me wrong -- I am well aware of how many people out there are grappling with things far worse than I. Millions of Americans are flat-out unemployed. People are sick, or worse yet, their families. Family problems, personal and emotional problems. Shit, just from a job perspective, guys like mutual fund managers and hedge fund managers have had it far worse than me this year, I freely understand that. But it's not a competition, and I'm not trying to say I have it worse or better than anyone else. All I'm saying is, I've been feeling for a long time like I need to just get the fawk away, from everything. Hopefully this week will bring me the quantum of solace I am looking for.

So as usual when I'm away, I don't know for sure just how much I'll be blogging while I'm gone. It looks like I will be bringing my laptop on our trip, and I learned this weekend that our hotel does in fact have high-speed internet in every room. So I may be totally off the grid for a few days, or I may be totally blogging every day like usual. Or it could be something in the middle, which I've done before, where I just link up some old posts or some posts in a certain category that I'm thinking about this week. We'll just have to wait and see. But either way, this is a week about relaxing and winding down for me, about adding to the huge list of awesome memories with my family, and giving my incredible girls a whole bunch of experiences they've never come close to taking in before. And no matter what happens with the blog this week, I will be back and better than ever next week with more of the same blogdonkery you've been getting here day in, day out for nearly four years.

Have a great week everyone, and an awesome Thanksgiving if I'm not around.

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Blogger BWoP said...

Have a great vacation!

9:11 PM  
Blogger Riggstad said...

Enjoy the escape. Outside of our usual two weeks in the outer banks every summer, I couldn't imagine hauling 4 of them off to the caribbean.

Enjoy the escape!

(hopefully you were too busy packing to notice the Eagles debacle yesterday. My vote: REID must go)

9:34 PM  
Blogger Bayne_S said...

Have a good vacation.

I will have to rely on Riggs and Ck for insight into McNabb and Iggles

11:59 PM  
Blogger Iak said...

Have a good one brotha, I think you definitely deserve it.

Will be taking a few days myself, as my ongoing saga continues to spiral uncharted territories of weirdthink.

8:00 AM  
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4:45 AM  

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