My Year in Review (Part One)

December 14, 2007, 10:00 am; posted by
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After spending 10 days in picturesque Sackets Harbor, celebrating Christmas with my family and watching my son get married, we packed up our stuff and left for Alabama on New Year’s Eve, so…

January 1st of 2007 found us in Winchester, Virginia, groggy and road weary, threatening a Burger King drive-thru speaker with Klingon curses in an attempt to get some breakfast for the road. After a 15-minute wait behind a dozen cars, and 5 minutes with no response to our hails, we eventually gave up and drove off in frustration. Rounding the corner of the building, we found a hand-lettered sign announcing they would not be open on New Year’s Day. Looking back at the dozen cars that had lined up behind us, we considered trying to tell them, but then laughed an evil laugh and got back on the highway.

In order to get my family up and on the road early, I had started singing about “The Platypus” (our massive luggage carrier). I learned this trick when my kids were younger — sing a silly song about what you have to do, and it gets them laughing and keeps them from falling back asleep. It works even better when they’re adults; we continued all the way home, eventually writing a rock opera, based on Bohemian Rhapsody, centered around the Platypi (as he came to be known):

I’m just a Platypi looking for a family!
He’s just a Platypi looking for a family!

We arrived home, reintegrated ourselves into society, and spent the rest of the month digging out from Christmas debt. I ended “The Great Rodent Wars,” vanquishing the last two diabetic rats who had terrorized our house by attacking the water lines, then turned 46 (outliving my father by 7 years and counting). We were named Associate Pastors of the church we were attending, then watched the Pastor and his wife get ambushed at a board meeting a week later, forced to resign. We were also no longer welcome and thus began our next search for a new church.

February came and Peyton Manning won his first Super Bowl, against the mighty Chicago Bears, led by Rex “One-Year Wonder” Grossman. It was not a close game, and afterward Peyton thanked everyone, especially Rex, for making such a wonderful year possible. The Philadelphia Flyers continued their worst year in recent memory, driving hard to finish dead last in the NHL — no easy task.

I personally spent the month battling The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer in an attempt to accomplish the almost-impossible feat of having my daily newspaper delivered daily. In an exchange of emails, they blamed me for living in a bad neighborhood where people apparently stole newspapers; then the director of circulation accidentally forwarded me an email from the local carrier: “You should see his newspaper box! It’s right on the street, practically screaming, ‘STEAL MY PAPER!’ ”

I emailed them back, pointing out that I could move the newspaper box off the street, but then I would be the only house without a newspaper tube on the mailbox post — plus she would have to get out of her car to deliver my newspaper on foot. I also mentioned that the thief must be quite prolific because, being OCD, when my paper doesn’t show up, I methodically drive to every coin box and convenience store in my neighborhood looking for a replacement — and every time, not one box, not one store in my entire neighborhood had any papers! That seemed to turn the tide, and my carrier stopped skipping my neighborhood on busy days.

March made my wife and I fondly remember a trip we had taken the year before, to Pine Mountain, Georgia. We stayed on a mountaintop where we (or at least I) could watch the sunrise over the mountain every morning from our balcony. It was such a wonderful trip that, even though money was still tight, we planned a return trip for March ’07. Everything was fine until we actually went on the trip. My wife did not want the nice hotel on the mountaintop this time; she wanted a rustic lodge she had spotted the year before, which advertised cabins with jacuzzis. But the cabins were $200/night, so we took a lodge room.

We drove up Friday night, but my wife had forgotten her dramamine, and the winding roads left her quite ill. We went to bed early and later discovered “rustic lodge” means “no insulation in the walls.” We were awakened by people in the next room at 10 p.m., arriving for what appeared to be some type of party/screaming contest. The next day we shelled out the $200 so we could spend the entire day and night stretched out on luxurious couches in a beautiful cabin, suffering from stomach viruses and watching lame movies on the Hallmark Channel.

The Flyers finished dead last in the NHL; Syracuse got snubbed by the NCAA Tournament, even though they won 24 games (10-6 in the Big East); and a close friend died of cancer after a 2-year battle that brought him back to the Lord.

But on March 30th an email arrived that rewarded a lifetime of hard work — and negotiations began with media mogul Steve Maxon regarding a position opening up at Bweinh!

Maybe my life was working out…


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