Pizza's been consumed, along with appetizers. We watched Quigley Down Under, to keep up tradition, and are deep into In The Heart of the Sea. (Wow, what a movie -- amazing. Not well received -- but that wasn't its fault.)
A few hours of the old year are still left to ponder.
It came about differently than we'd planned: some for better, some for worse.
We went through some terrible times in 2014 and 2015 that affected 2016. (If you're curious about our 2014/2015 adventures, you can see Part I, Part II and Part III by clicking on the links here.)
SOME OF THE RESULTS FOR 2016:
*I lost and regained one certification with one of the appraising groups, and lost my president's position (but regained my membership) with another. Ironically, all the threats made by a person -- the one that cartwheeled all this into motion -- have never materialized. Not one, to this day. (Though that didn't stop others from believing her, and acting on that fear.)
Going to the annual conference in the spring for this second group was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. Group #1 was so secretive (and, I would guess, eventually ashamed of their actions), and members in group #2 were told not to contact me "because legal action was pending." That made for mass confusion as to why the President was no longer -- then just as suddenly in membership again, with no explanation. I had to attend the conference with people who weren't sure whether I was worth my weight as an appraiser -- or not.
Thankfully, I was believed. But I still carry the scars of what I went through in 2015, not to mention the financial and legal ramifications. Probably always will. But they are beginning to fade.
*I passed the initial testing for certification in another group -- a much larger one, devoted to general appraising, rather than one small area. I'm now a proud Candidate/Member (Senior Personal Property Appraiser) of ASA, or the American Society of Appraisers. This seemed only logical. For one thing, ASA focuses on the use of USPAP, the only appraisal language accepted by The Appraisal Foundation -- which in turn is the only appraisal group officially recognized by Congress. And soon, I suspect, USPAP will be the only language accepted by the IRS, courts, insurance companies and other venues. There is strong evidence that in a few years, this will indeed be the case.
(Sadly, the other group I hold certification in does not believe in or advocate USPAP's use. Eventually, I believe, that reluctance will seriously affect acceptance of appraisals with their stamp, if those appraisals are used for donation, insurance appraisals or in court.)
For another, I have been appraising in personal property for more than a decade -- including everything from clothes to furniture to furnishings to textiles in general, old and new. It only made sense to certify in ASA. I plan to complete certification this coming year. Not only will it help protect me more -- it should better protect my clients, as well.
*The Brick started his second year of being 'retired' -- but he worked plenty. He worked in elections in the spring, and started driving bus again in late summer and fall. He also put in time as Brickworks' IT guy, and helped others in computer work, as well.
*We began clearing away house stuff -- and bought a trailer! (More on this in Part II.)
*Family life is changing. Our cousins are getting older, and growing large families of their own, with grandbabies and now great-grandbabies. Our siblings on both sides are doing the same.
We lost more aunts and uncles. The Mama's health has struggled some. ( Her heart surgery in 2014 hasn't helped.)
Daughter #1 is busy with her life. Daughter #2 is engaged, and her Etsy business, Phenomenal Gems, is growing like crazy. (Yay!) Both daughters remain nearby, in Denver and Nederland. Which is wonderful for us. But...will we be here, as well?
*Work goes up -- and down. And up. It's been a strange one: this month crammed with jobs and commitments, that one nearly empty. The lighter months help you rest up for the busy ones, but still...
I have no intention of retiring. But I am definitely slowing down some. I am thinking I won't be accepting as many teaching gigs in the future, and limiting the conferences I teach, judge and appraise at.
It's 11:30 p.m. The old year is closing, but we have some new doors opening. And those, Dear Readers, are the subject of Part II.
(Part II's up now -- see it here.)