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Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 in Review

Hey everyone,

As the final days of 2010 are upon us, I am upholding my tradition of electronically sending out my review of the year we've just had. As always, I hope that all of you are safe and sound and have had a great year.


Tamara and I rang in the new year with my family at the church’s New Year’s Eve bash. Thankfully, we all had each other to commiserate with at just how terrible the DJ was. Maybe it’s just me, but when the guy pleads for 5 minutes with the crowd to take the dance floor before he’ll start playing any music, and when he finally DOES start the music, it’s the Macarena… I tend to lose faith in the guy. The party ended with a homemade quote montage that put us 2 minutes past midnight before he started the 10 second countdown. Thanks, dude, you already ruined 2010.

The next week, though, 2010 was un-ruined when I received an email from a Mrs. Mellissa Lewis, who told me that she was dying of cancer and wished to will me $14,258,000 American dollars, if I would only contact her lawyer. I declined the money but did write back to correct her spelling and grammar, figuring she was entitled to that before she kicked the bucket.

Later that month, a marathon WII session proved, without a doubt, that I truly am THE Guitar Hero. Next goal: to prove that I am also THE Accordion Hero.


The tough decision was made to sell my house. It was an awesome house, but it was just too far away from Tamara’s work. And since teleporters have yet to be invented (COME ON!!), we knew Mesquite could not be our permanent living place. So the long, arduous process of painting began, and that started a serious love-hate relationship with Home Depot latex-based paint.

Midway through the month, a couple of amazing things happened. Number 1, the Dallas area received over a foot of snow in one day. Number 2, DISD actually declared a day off because of the snow. Mind you, these two things did not actually happen on the same day. School was fully in session on the day that all the snowing occurred. My school lost power for about an hour and a half that morning, and the principal wouldn’t let anybody go outside to play in the snow. School was officially cancelled the NEXT day. That’s my DISD.

On February 28th, I sadly had to say goodbye to my loyal helper monkey, Meego. He had been by my side for an incredible 10 years, but his language and actions had grown increasingly erratic and inappropriate. Even by monkey standards. Rather than having him put to sleep, I just gave him to my 3-year old nephew. Now there can be TWO poo-flingers in that household.


Seeing the success of other independent authors on Facebook, I decided to start my own fan page for Learn Me Good. Many of my friends immediately “liked” it, and others added on later. It is currently up to just over 400 fans. Only 2,435,201 more to go to catch up to the stupid cat playing the piano!

Tamara and I got some culture by going to see The Phantom of the Opera early in March. I thought that their “progressive” approach was a bit odd, as everyone had on clown makeup, and the Phantom was wearing a T-shirt that said, “I’m with stupid.”

Bored one day, I tried my hand at culinary invention and came up with a snack food that is combination potato chip, ice cream, peanut butter, and calamari. I am considering marketing it under the brand name “I-squips” in medium, large, and ginourmous.


Duke wins the title again!! In a thrilling Monday night final, Duke squeaked past the Butler Bulldogs, who were basically playing a home game in Indianapolis. I watched the game with a friend at a local bar where I was the only one in the building rooting for the Blue Devils. The crowd of bandwagon Butler fans kept trying to taunt/impress me with their clever bon mots such as, “FU%# Duke!!” and “Yeah! FU%# Duke!!”

Having completed the painting and repairs on my house, I put it on the market a day after Easter. That very day, someone came to look at it, and the next day, they made an offer. I’ve never had 3 magic beans before, so I quickly accepted their offer.

Towards the end of the month, I had a minor career crisis when I saw a headline on Yahoo that said Male Nurses were earning $77,000 per year. I figured, I already had the “Male” part under my belt, so to speak, and I’ve been taking care of kids’ crap for years. But then I thought I’d have to legally change my name to John Pearson: Male Nurse, and that’s just not worth it.


I rented a storage unit and put nearly all of my earthly possessions into it so that I could move into Tamara’s tiny condo. Some people said we were living in sin, but we were actually still living in Dallas.

We also started registering for wedding gifts. Tamara was content to take care of things online, but I was happiest when we went to a store and used the Magic Price Gun. I may have been a bit trigger happy, though, as we got all 147 Chia Pets that we apparently registered for.

This was also the month that DISD asked me and 41 others at my school to pay back bonus monies that they had been depositing in our accounts over the prior 9 months. Bonus money that DISD had previously insisted belonged to us and that we should “spend in good health.” Fortunately, my paranoid streak kept telling me that they would come asking for it back, so it was a mild inconvenience for me, but for others, who HAD spent it, it was a major nightmare. That’s my DISD.


As always, one of the most joyous events of the year – the last day of school – came and went, and there was much rejoicing. I had to get rather creative in the end-of-year awards ceremony, giving one kid an award for “Most consistent conversion of oxygen to carbon dioxide.”

Later in the month, Tamara and I cemented our commitment to each other by joining a “Family Phone Plan” and trading in our old phones for iphones! I was immediately addicted to something called Angry Birds, while Tamara still hasn’t shaken her Words with Friends habit.

It was also the end of an era, as I decided to look snazzy for the wedding with a nice new analog watch. The digital calculator watch (with Wavecepter for atomic clock precision) was permanently put out to pasture. It had served its purpose, after all, netting me a wife, and I figured I shouldn’t take the risk of continuing to attract hot babes with my wrist wear.


On the 2nd day of the month, I tied the knot! Then, after having my knotted necktie securely in place, I got married! It was a beautiful ceremony that included no line dancing or country music whatsoever. My suggestion of reciting my vows in “Whataburger Guy” voice was promptly shot down.

Our official honeymoon was in Turks and Caicos, at a lovely resort where my new wife and I enjoyed some alone time, some incredible scenery, and more rum than a pirates convention. After we got back to the states, the unofficial honeymoon began, as the family took a 2-week long trip to Disney World, the happiest place on Earth. Our matrimony was put to the test, as Minnie threw herself at me, and Goofy tried to muscle in on Tamara, but a singing Candelabra got us all back on track.

While we were in Orlando, the news broke internationally that Sumo wrestling matches in Japan were being rigged. Disillusioned, I immediately called my bookie and put a hold on all bets. I also sold all my stock in giant adult diapers.


Finally, after 2 years in limbo, Whatta Ya Think, the game show that I was a contestant on was finally aired on Veria TV. As a result, I was able to obtain a DVD copy of my episode. Apparently, the camera really DOES add 10 pounds; I looked like Chris Farley sitting behind my podium. My life-long dream to be on Jeopardy remains intact.

Before the summer ended, I tried my hand as a modern-day Stan Lee, inventing and drawing my own superhero. My creation: Carrotman, who can see really well in the dark. He wages a never-ending battle against his arch-enemy, Admiral Asparagus, whose pee smells foul. I am still waiting to hear back from Marvel, DC, AND Dark Horse Comics…

Towards the end of the month, the new school year began, and I got to meet my newest batch of moldable minds. On my annual teacher self-assessment, I wrote that I am tired of the old standards of progress. Forget Academically Acceptable, Recognized, and Exemplary. This year, I am shooting for Effing Outrageous!


This year, I set a new personal record by making it 5 full weeks into the school year before getting sick. This beat last year by 4 weeks and 2 days. I hit every Walgreens in the DFW area up for a dose of Armadillo-Flu vaccine, but nobody was amused. They also didn’t like the trail of slime I left behind.

Mid-month, Tamara and I met up with my brother and sister-in-law for our newest annual tradition, the Grapevine Grapefest, where we each sampled about 100 different kinds of wine. It’s a thankless job, but somebody’s gotta do it. Lesson learned this year: the vendors do NOT get flattered when you ask them to just give you the whole bottle.

Over a long weekend, I made some modifications to the washing machine in our condo. Now it does half the work in twice the time. I am hanging up my toolbelt for a while.


At the beginning of the month, we bought a new house! I would finally be able to stop living out of ¼ of a closet! Even though we weren’t fully mode in yet, we decided to be there on Halloween night to pass out candy to trick-or-treaters. Tamara and I dressed up as Penny and Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. I tried to get my brother and sister-in-law in on the act, but they had other plans. A shame, because my brother is the spitting image of Raj.

Midway through the month, I did an overhaul on the cover of Learn Me Good, replacing the old amateurish graphic with a much more professional looking cover. I was hoping to use a photo of myself bashing my head against the wall to set the tone of the novel, but instead wound up using an arm that looks very much like my own, writing funny things on a chalk board. Sales immediately skyrocketed, from 20 to 22.

Always looking to further my personal knowledge, I made a move to learn Klingon. As with all languages, you learn the curse words first. Boy, were my neighbors shocked to hear me pepper them with chants of , “hab sosli’ Quch!” and, “DenIb Qatlh!”


We finally had the big move from the condo to the new house and officially moved in. My possessions were rescued from storage and restored to full time usage status. On our first night there, we had the pleasure of hearing one of our neighbors screaming obscenities at her boyfriend on the phone at 1in the morning.

On Thanksgiving day, Tamara and I ran in the inaugural Arlington Turkey Tro 5K. And by “ran,” I mean, “strolled at a near-geriatric pace.” I am fairly confident that I finished first in my age group. My VERY specific, to the half-second, age group.

A few days after Thanksgiving, high on tryptophan, I wrote out the script to Spinal Tap in Binary Code. My favorite line – “This one goes to 1101.”


With some time off from school, and a condo in need of selling, I buckled down and started to prep it for sale. Behr Ultra Premium Cotton Whisper latex-based paint, my old nemesis, we meet again. This time, I’m pretty sure I got more paint on the walls than on myself.

A few days before Christmas, there was a big hubbub about a lunar eclipse. Realizing that nobody in our neighborhood had any interest in staying up until 3 in the morning to witness it, I quickly improvised. Standing behind the living room window, I turned around and dropped trou, while Tamara slowly obscured my moon with a table cloth. I think the neighbors were appreciative. The arresting officers certainly found it hilarious.

For our first Christmas together as a married couple, Tamara and I split Christmas with our families. We did the annual movie marathon and Christmas Eve with my family in Arlington and then drove down to Blanco to have Christmas dinner with Tamara’s folks. We spent a few days in Blanco, and the highlight was meeting Sendhil Ramamurthy (Mohinder Suresh) from Heroes in San Antonio. I briefly considered asking him to give me Hayden Panettiere’s number, but I decided against. I DID want to make it through the first year of marriage, after all.

And that was 2010! Here's hoping everyone has a very happy New Year, and we all have a very exciting 2011! You can't touch ME, Mayans!!

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