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Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Year in Review

Year in Review 2012

Several friends joined us at the casa to ring in the New Year with games and merriment.  This included a very competitive round of Just Dance on the Wii.  Tamara did not participate, because of her condition, and none of the other girls participated, claiming sympathy pregnancy.  Welcome to 2012 – the year the guys take back the virtual dance floor.

2012 started off as the best year ever for Learn Me Good as well.  After a few days of free giveaways to generate interest, the book soared into the Amazon Top 100, staying there for several days and peaking at Number 65.  I received an email from Oprah and got totally excited, but it turned out to be from Oprah Gonzalez, no relation, praising the benefits of working from home.

Towards the end of the month, I took one of my brilliant innovations to the Shark Tank and made quite the impression.  I figure I’ve at least quadrupled the annoyance factor of smoke detectors with dying batteries.  Now instead of just beeping sporadically while you spend half an hour figuring out which room the noise is coming from, my version has the bad detector let out a quick, “PSSST!” while all of the other smoke detectors in the house giggle loudly.  Mark Cuban actually paid me $100 to leave and never contact him again.

This was the month that Tamara gave me the green light to sell off some of her thousands of purses.  I delved deep into the murky underworld of the ebay purse market, and I did not come out unchanged.  Giant caricatures of Kate Spade, Louis Vuitton, and Barry Burberry haunted my dreams every night.  By the end of the month, I had to give it up and take up something less stressful – juggling chainsaws.

A few days before my birthday, T and I went out to eat at one of our favorite Tex-Mex places.  As we walked in, I slowly realized that people were screaming at me.  A few moments later, I realized they were friends.  Tamara had thrown me a surprise birthday party, and it was a success!  I quickly changed my drawers and enjoyed the rest of the evening.

We were both asked to be Mystery Shoppers for the first time towards the end of the month.  We wanted to do this thing right, so we adopted new personas before heading into the store.  I became Montpelier Rutherford Eastington III, the washing machine magnate, while T was my mistress, Esmerelda Q.  By the time we left, we even had some of the store employees using Montpelier’s signature catchphrase – “Now THAT’LL make a monkey call for his pipe!”

Spring Break, as always, provided a welcome break from the classroom.  T graciously “let” me paint the nursery while she visited her parents down south.  I learned the hard way that paint colors often do not turn out the way they look in pictures, as my first attempt at gray – “Full Moon” – turned out to be white, and my second attempt – “Nautical Gray” – turned out to be Carolina Blue.

We spent most of the month shopping for a new car.  Thinking that Tamara’s 2-door coupe would probably be too small for porting a baby around, we had our sights set on an SUV.  So I researched, I emailed, I stalked, I queried, and finally, on the last day of the month, I bought.  Because we had done all of our work in advance and had already set up the buy, we were in and out of the dealership in only 5 hours!  

I let out my inner thespian by taking on the role of Spectator #23,415 in the upcoming film, The Puck Stops Here.  Though I’m one fan among many at the climactic hockey game, be sure to listen closely for the guy shouting, “THESE NACHOS ARE SOGGY!!”

One evening, T and I did it – we broke the bed.  Not doing anything fun, mind you – just trying to go to sleep.  Upon closer examination, it appeared as though the bed had been put together by blind, one-armed, 3-year-old monkeys who had just been lobotomized.  When the new bed was finally delivered, I watched closely and saw a couple of pieces used that weren’t even included the first time around.  So glad I paid for that quality incentive.

We both survived the Dallas tornados of April 2012, huddled down in our respective classrooms across town from each other, and thankfully, the scare did not induce early labor.  At that point, Tamara would have welcomed an early arrival, but I needed to sweat the rest of April to win the rather large birth pool bet I had placed with a bookie in Vegas.  Oh wait, I wasn’t supposed to ever mention that.  Nevermind.

I had been delaying my jury duty until after the yearly standardized tests (this year, STAARMAGGEDON), and I could delay it no further.  At the very end of the month, I sat on a panel and then stood before the judge to tell her that I couldn’t sit on a 4-6 week jury because I was about to be a father at any moment.  The judge (only somewhat jokingly) asked if I really needed to be present at the hospital when the baby was born.  I told her (only somewhat jokingly) that if she let me off, I would use “Wapner” as my son’s middle name.

Finally, after so much waiting, our little bundle of joy arrived!  A brand new computer, fully loaded, replacing the old one that was about to give up the ghost!  We thought we knew what fast processing speeds were before, but we had been living in darkness!

Then on May 7, ANOTHER bundle of joy was delivered, and this one was even better!  Andrew Warren Pearson XVIII decided he didn’t need those last two weeks inside his mommy, and he made his grand entrance to the world at 6:30 am after a long, sleepless night for his parents.  Though born on a Monday, Andrew escaped the name Solomon Grundy by the narrowest of margins, 1-396.

Having never changed a diaper in my entire life, I quickly adapted and learned, changing roughly 4,287 in the first week.  Tamara changed her first diaper about 9 days later, when all of her family (including me) had gone back home or back to work.  Drew himself has yet to do jack squat in the diaper changing department.

As the school year drew to a close, I learned that I was being moved to 4th grade, where I would have 3 sections of kids instead of 2, and none of them would be the kids I had taught this year.  I was also asked to learn Farsi and have 2 ribs removed.  We teach math at our school, NOT reasoning, logic, or sense!

With both of us off for summer, Tamara and I quickly settled into a routine that would let us get a decent amount of sleep.  Drew, in the meantime, quickly settled into a pattern of making really weird gremlin sounds that earned him the nickname “Gizmo.”

After Facebook’s wildly successful IPO in May, I decided to have my own in mid-June.  Shares of Pearson’s Potential Ponderings went for $10 a pop, and all five shares were bought by me.  WILDLY successful.  Shares are now estimated to be worth infinity a piece.

At the very beginning of the month, I asked all of my friends and supporters to help me try and convince Entertainment Weekly to run a blurb on Learn Me Good.  On the plus side, I was amazed by the outpouring of support and willingness by the people I asked to email the senior book editor at EW.  On the negative side, the senior book editor at EW viewed this as major spam.  I have a feeling that if you were to say “Learn Me Good” in her presence, she would STILL start convulsing and foaming at the mouth.

In mid-July, Tamara and her mom went down to Corpus Christi for their annual beach trip, and they took Drew with them.  While Drew lay out on the sand, built up his tan, and ogled the bikinis, I stayed home and got some things done.  This included painting the front door red.  We had considered green, but I didn’t want our neighbors to be constantly asking us what was going on behind the green door. 

While T started hosting a weekly girl’s night at the house, I got together with a few buddies on Tuesday nights to play team trivia.  Our team, the Synchronized Speedos, demonstrated a severe lack of knowledge on the subject of teen pop rock, but we placed in the top 3 most nights anyway.  Especially nights when there were only two teams playing.


On the first Sunday of the month, Drew was baptized at St. Vincent’s.  He was wonderfully behaved during the entire Mass and made us all very proud.  My only disappointment of the day was Drew’s hair being too short for me to fashion into a Mohawk once the holy oil was applied to his head.

Our air conditioning went out for a couple of days, something which would not be pleasant under ANY circumstances, but certainly not with a baby in the house.  Fortunately, our home warranty came through, and the problem was fixed after 2 days.  It was a long hard 2 days from the baby’s standpoint; Andrew, on the other hand, didn’t seem to mind.

Lays potato chips ran a contest where entrants could choose their own ingredients and name their own flavor.  The winner’s entry would be turned into a new product on the shelves.  I submitted hedgehog fur, soap bubbles, and unicorn tears under the name, “You’re Welcome, Biz-nitch!”  Winners have yet to be announced, but I’ve been practicing saying, “Betcha can’t eat just one!” in the mirror for when my acceptance speech comes around.

Due to high demand from the voices in my head, I released my 3rd book, this one a foray into the world of fantasy football.  I wrote the New Orleans Saints’ DrewBrees several times asking him to endorse I Coulda Caught That Pass! (a true story about fake football), but he never replied.  Therefore, I can state with certainty, DrewBrees absolutely does NOT dislike this book!

When Tamara, her mother, and Andrew went down to Corpus Christi for their second beach trip, I agreed to join them.  I had never been to the condo on the beach with them, and I figured now was as good a time as any.  In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best idea to leave school at 3:30 for an eight-hour drive on top of a grueling work day.  Factor in the monsoon-like deluge that confronted me in San Antonio (and left me soaked to the bone when I stopped for gas), and I don’t think I’ll be making that weekend trip again.

McDonald’s kicked off their Monopoly sweepstakes once again, forcing me into my yearly downward spiral of addiction to peel-off game pieces.  Once again, Pacific Avenue eluded me, Marvin Gardens mocked me, and Boardwalk pulled down its pants and mooned me.  Family and friends suggested an intervention.  They wanna make me go to rehab, but I said NO, NO, don’t pass GO.

T and her mom took Drew on his first road trip, a journey which included a stay in Savannah, Georgia.  Drew was a big sensation around town, and the gang even saw James Gandalfini at their hotel.  So at the ripe age of 5 months, Andrew became a “Made Man” by Tony Soprano himself!  Badda Bing!

For Halloween, mother and child dressed up as a chef and a lobster, respectively.  I was so proud of my son and the way he would turn to give me a “WTF?!?” look every time a teenager without costume came to our door.  We also took the time to have our first serious father-son talk, about the importance of staying away from those disgusting candy corns.

With Tamara “retiring” from teaching to take care of Andrew full time, I decided to try my hand at something that would make us a little extra money on the side – painting.  My first piece, Mustard Stain on Sofa Cushion No. 1, received this review from a local art critic – “Pearson’s work is to the Mona Lisa as a first grader’s clay ash tray is to the Great Pyramids of Egypt.”  You hear that?  My work is being compared to the PYRAMIDS, Motherf@%*ers!!!

Much to Tamara’s dismay, Drew started sleeping in his crib in the nursery this month.  For many nights afterward, while I slept like a log, T sat up in bed and watched Drew on the baby monitor.  Her insomnia came partly out of motherly concern and partly because the baby monitor uses night vision, so everything comes out looking like a scary episode of Ghost Hunters.

We spent Drew’s first Thanksgiving with my family in Arlington.  Good food, good company, good times.  In lieu of going downtown for the annual Turkey Trot, we instead opted to watch a Turkey Crawl around the living room floor.

We couldn’t help but notice that celebrity death hoaxes reached an absurd overload this month.  Throughout the year, Facebook statuses claimed the demise of Eddie Murphy, John Travolta, Morgan Freeman, Elmo, Betty Crocker, Scrooge McDuck, Perry the Platypus, both Hardy Boys, and Dora the Explorer.  All of these reports proved to be false.  I must confess that I myself am responsible for beginning and spreading one such hoax in November.  You will all be pleased to learn that Count Chocula did NOT in fact meet his demise at the hands of cereal rival Sugar Pops van Helsing.

T took Drew to see Santa Claus for the first time, and being no fool, Drew pulled off the imposter’s beard and spoke his first words with authority – “You’re not Santa!  You smell like beef and cheese!”  That’s my boy!

We continued our yearly holiday tradition of spending Christmas Eve with my family then driving down to Tamara’s folks on Christmas day.  It started snowing right as we were leaving my parents’ house, so Drew’s first Christmas was officially a white one.  Though he didn’t fully understand the true significance of the holiday just yet, he did absolutely love all of the boxes he received, upon which to pound mightily.

Finally, the alleged Mayan Doomsday came and went without a bang, except for it being the last day of school for the year.  It did make me wonder, though, what else so many people believe in yet are so wrong about.  Evolution?  String Theory?  Justin Beiber?


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Like me, please!

A fellow author mentioned that the more Likes you have on your Amazon Author page, the higher your books are placed in their algorithms for views. So everyone, please click on the link below then click on the Like button. Should take less than 10 seconds of your time.
Thank you!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

You might be...

With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy:

If you think it's a good idea to pull teachers out during instructional time to have them make an action plan for how to improve student performance...

you might be a principal.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Mr. Short Term Memory

I got a new kid a few weeks ago, and to put it mildly, he seems to live in a haze.  While he does (surprisingly) possess some math aptitude, he usually doesn't look like he knows what is going on.

Whenever it's time to switch classes, he is always the last one out of the room, no matter what order I call the kids in.  It just takes him that long to get his muscles firing and moving, I guess.

So while he and his class -- the class that has JUST left my room -- wait for their other teacher to pick them up, I stand in my doorway and greet my third class of the day.  As they come into the room, I stand with my fist out, to give them a fist bump and a "Good afternoon." (I used to do high fives, but switched to fist bumps in the hopes that it would cause less germ-passing.  HA.)

My new kid, standing at the end of the line that has just LEFT my room, will quite often see me standing there with my fist out -- and walk over with HIS fist out in an attempt to give me a fist bump and enter my room.  I have to gently remind him (more than once, on some days!) that he has already been to my class that day.

At least he remembers his name... most of the time.