January 2007 began with my brother-in-law dying of leukemia. In March I took my soul-brother off the ventilator and held his hand as his spirit flew off to see what happens next. As the year continued, two work colleagues left this earth, along with a dear man who mentored me early in my career.
Later that spring, my oldest cat began throwing up blood, a symptom of the lymphoma that was supposed to have killed her six years ago, and she had to be put down. In August my cairn terrier’s diabetes became too brittle to be controlled by insulin injections, and Skylar joined Arrow on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.
In October my surviving cat Willow developed uncontrolled vomiting, which resulted in exploratory surgery, followed by a month of keeping her alive at home by four-times-a-day forced nutrition through a feeding tube.
The first week in November, Willow went upstairs still connected to her feeding tube, and came back downstairs without it. She decided that enough was enough and used her time alone to pull it out. On the way home from the vet, a speeding car ran a red light and hit me broadside as I was making a left turn. By the time my sweet old ’93 Volvo wagon stopped spinning, headlight and tail light covers popped off and were strewn in the roadway, every piece of plastic on the inside of the car shattered, and the rear axle snapped in two. The legendary Volvo frame was so bent that once the fireman forced the rear hatch open, the entire car skewed so that neither side doors nor rear hatch could be closed again.
So 2007 ended with my car dying to save me and my cat – we both emerged shaken and bruised, but we walked away basically unharmed.
At the end of 2007, the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles decided that those of us who had old, three-digit license plates had to be issued new four-digit license plates. I’d had the same plate for at least 20 years, and I wasn’t looking forward to having to memorize a new tag number. But when I opened the package with the new tag, I knew that I’d have no problem remembering it. This is what the DMV decided I needed that crazy year:
Turns out there was big public outrage about plates being issued with that particular combination of letters. The DMV ended that tag run and offered to replace the existing tags of anyone who was offended. But I loved my new license plate. It completely and thoroughly summed up surviving 2007.
But now, 2007 feels well behind me. Now, in 2013, it’s time for a change. I’ve thought about a personalized license plate for the last couple of years, but when tag renewal time rolled around, I talked myself out of the extra expense. Thanks to refinancing the mortgage, last month I had a little extra cash in my checking account, and I decided to take the plunge. The new tag arrived yesterday evening, and I braved the latest horde of mosquitoes to install it.
Here’s what my car will be sporting for the next few years:
My old tag reminded me of everyone I lost that long year, and all that I survived. My new tag makes me giggle. I like the change.