When it came time to write the Introduction to our book, What I Learned About Life When My Husband Got Fired!, Red, unsurprisingly, went on (and on and on …) for pages with her usual blah-blah-blah. Black, on the other hand, cut to the chase and provided the book designer with a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Little did we know that comparison chart would take on a life of its own after the book was launched. Not only does it capture our extreme differences in a visual and highly efficient way, but the chart has been the source of lively conversation by readers, many of whom started describing themselves (and even family and friends) as being more Red-like or Black-like.

But perhaps nothing surprised us more than the day Red's oldest daughter came home from high school with an "inventory update" about our book. (The story of how our book became a textbook can be found here.) She had been helping out in the front office and was asked to do an inventory of textbooks, and was less-than-thrilled when led to a storage room full of books. However, her mood improved when she saw stacks of our book, and she was amused as she started reviewing the condition of each book. Not that she was condoning how the students treated the books, but she discovered that many of the cartoons at the beginning of each chapter had been torn out as "keepsakes" by students, as well as the comparison chart!

Table as of April 2004What I Learned About Life When My Husband Got Fired!

We had barely introduced ourselves when the newspaper editor held up our book, gesturing to our "two-faced" logo on the front cover and said something along the lines of …

Ok, off the record, admit it, you embellished the characters in the book to be more entertaining.

When we finished laughing, we explained …

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Certain days are etched in your memory. All earning a place based on the significance of the event – some good, others bad. I will never forget 9/11. I was out of town on a business trip and when I called my crew chief that morning to talk about the transport of my race car, he asked if I had been watching the news. Obviously, I had not. And, as I turned on the television, I saw the plane crash into the second tower.

I am not one to be glued to the television – nor am I one to be overwhelmed by emotions. But I could not help watching the news, almost non-stop. Looking back, I think it was because I was trying to make sense out of what I was seeing. Watching with horror and heavy heart as the day unfolded, looking for an explanation.

There are many images that still stand out in my memory. Interestingly, the most vivid ones are the ones that reflect how we, as Americas, stood together as a people. The first-responders rushing in while people covered in dust and debris wandered shell-shocked. Poignant pictures of President Bush at Ground Zero. Firefighters and EMTs from around the country working together.

The American people stepped up to help in whatever way they could. Whether it was donating blood or raising money for the victims and rescue workers. Or, simply prayer. People attended impromptu candlelight vigils and participated in moments of silence. We demonstrated our patriotism and belief in the ideals of our country. Of Democracy. People flew the American flag at their homes and even on their car antennas, while others pinned it to their clothing. Not to mention all the t-shirts.

People gathered together. Sometimes to pay tribute to the dead. Sometimes to honor all the first responders. Sometimes to share their grief with others. And, sometimes because they just did not want to be alone. I was stranded out of town as all flights were grounded but did not feel alone. And, although all of us felt differently in what specifically to do in response to the attacks, we seemed to agree that standing together – a sense of unity – provided hope in this horrible time.

Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io

New Year's Eve seems like the perfect time to stroll down memory lane, although I'm guessing your memories are much more interesting than mine.

Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

"Interesting" is a subjective word. Regardless, are you talking about memories in general? Or, New Year's Eve celebrations?

Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io

Actually, it was just a passing comment. But since you've always seemed to make a bigger deal out of New Year's Eve than I have, are there any years that really stand out?

Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

Truth is the most memorable ones are the ones spent with celebrating with closest friends versus crowds. In fact, I think I have spent more than half of my New Year's Eves with John and Diana. Although, I will never forget bringing in 2000.
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