There is no way that we could have known all of the hardships and joys that the true first year of the new millennium would hold for us; and there were quite a few of both.

The year started off in a normal fashion and we continued to go about our business as such. Starting at the end of January a 2 week business trip for me turned into a 5 month excursion. Spending the weeks from January to June I would fly home every weekend to spend time with my family in New Jersey. It was only broken by one side business trip to Mexico in May, all for the redesign of a corporate website. Tony managed to come down twice to visit with me and our families in Florida, but much of it was time apart.

Adding to the stress of Tony being home alone and largely taking care of all of our "brood" back home, we lost two members of our family. Fox, our wonderful bird and long-time companion, passed away while I was in Florida & Wilbur, our first and greatly loved chinchilla, passed away shortly after I was home for good and on my 30th birthday, June 11th.

We managed to finally close on the purchase of our home of almost 2 years, our loft in Jersey City…It was a long process due to city red tape and the building owner’s mistakes. But we did manage to close in July and completed our downstairs rooms (it was an unfinished basement) in September. This itself was not an easy task, as we had contractors that we had to fire before it was complete, for both not showing up and for stealing from us. Who would have known that we could complete the work ourselves, but we did and it came out great!!

In September, the worst happened, as we were eye-witnesses to the WTC collapse. We watched in horror from our neighbor’s balcony as the second plane hit and could not take our eyes away until the day and deeds were done. Still difficult times were to come dealing with it and all of the unrest that we are all going through because of it, but it changed our way of thinking on many issues and taught valuable lessons.

Also in September (30th) Tony also turned 34…sorry but it had to be said, Tony….

During the year there were other good things to happen, In July we added Niko to our family, our pal the ferret. We also got a new bird named Wally in October…he’s a black capped conure hybrid and generally a happy, chatty and sweet soul. A couple days before Thanksgiving some neighbors brought over a sweet stray calico, which we quickly accepted and named Wexler…She and Wiggum have a grand and wild time tearing the place apart. And finally, someone fropped a guinea pig off at the shelter, so his name is now Wicket!

We received visits from many family members and friends this year, including 2 visits from Tony’s Dad and girlfriend (Ronnie and Barbara), my mom and stepdad (Sandy and Terry), my Uncle, Aunt and their kids (Gary, Rhonda, BJ and Josh), friends (Tammy, Danielle), & of course and end of the year visit from our Best Florida Friend Meni (and here's more Meni pix).

Our Animal Relief Foundation Fund, Inc. had a few fun and worthwhile events including our First Annual Furry Scurry in Liberty State Park and our Holiday Party in December at our home. They helped raise money for our ongoing spay and neuter program. Meanwhile our lease was up on the petstore (Fetch-It Pet Supplies) so it closed at the end of November, however now Tony runs it as a delivery service to the area. He delivers once a month to many many customers and I think it’s going to work out great, even better as our online functionality can kick in. January will be the first real delivery system trial as December was more of getting things in order and setting people up.

We also got two cars this year-a 1996 Miata, which we then traded in on a 2002 Mercedes C240. We also got rid of the store car a ’81 Honda Accord.

The most special thing of the year was that as of November 11 we have spent 10 years together, a very long time (1/3 of my life at least...haha). We've both changed alot and grown together and I for one look forward to many years to come.

Now it’s just a couple days before Christmas and as things are settled back to as normal, we hope, we'd like express our thanks to our familes and friends that have constantly given their support and love, we appreciate it more than we let on. We’ll add an update to this when the year is over to keep in touch!

Greg

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