2007 Christmas Letter

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As is my tradition, I will now grace you with my lovely Christmas letter.

Per usual, I brought in the new year in downtown Philadelphia at Everett’s party. If you don’t know who Everett is, then frankly, you’re just not cool or hip. Sorry, that’s just the way it is. Granted, I merely know him because he’s a friend of a friend of a friend, but hey – that’s better then YOU. HA. The penthouse party is always quite extravagant, and I try to make the most of it, social anxiety disorder notwithstanding.

January began a long, boring semester at school, studying the fascinating topics of Leadership & Change in Organizations and Strategic Staffing. I had taken the first 75% of the Leadership course and dropped it, so it was especially exciting having already learned most of it. Staffing and HR stuff are not my favorite, but were required for my double emphasis.

Perhaps more importantly, in January Kansas’ concealed carry law went into effect. As soon as I got back from Philly, I went to the DMV and got my permit. I immediately began trying to carry a full size Beretta, which was a bit like trying to stuff a Volkswagen down my pants. I quickly gave up and purchased a Glock 27 “mini” which was about half the size. However, even that, it turned out, was too big to conceal in my “business casual” attire, so I purchased a Kel-Tek P3AT, a microscopic .380 Auto single action. It’s smaller than my Blackberry, and easily slips into a pocket, a sock, or a waistband and just disappears. Beautiful. I guarantee, you’ll never be able to tell whether I’m carrying or not.

In February, I started out with a bang when my stupid Intrepid decided to stop working. $3,500.00 later, I was going again, but my bitterness about driving a lame sedan began to steadily increase as a result. For Valentine’s day, I went to school and took a test. Then that following weekend, I took Jenna to my favorite restaurant in KC, the Plaza III.

As usual, in March, nothing happened.

Strangely, nothing happened in April, either!

In May, I celebrated the final “pre-over-the-hill” birthday, and at the ripe old age of 29, I can honestly say I feel much older. I don’t mean maturity-wise, I mean, I literally feel old. I have aches and pains I never had before, I can’t eat spicy food without getting ill, and if I sit down on the floor, I need help getting back up. That explains why I had my midlife crisis at age 16, though…

May also brought a much anticipated financial “windfall.” Technically it wasn’t a windfall, because I worked 9 years to earn it, but it still felt nice to get a big check. After much debate with my financial advisor, I decided NOT to simply spend the check, in spite of my intention to fix my house and pay off debt. I realized that I’d end up paying almost $60,000 in taxes if I went the spend route. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty crappy. So instead, I rolled the money into my 401k, and then took a humongous loan from my 401k. Most people would say that’s the worst thing you could ever do. However, if I had spent the money, I would have had 0$ of the money in my 401k 5 years from now. As it is, I’ll have the entire balance of my “windfall” plus interest at the end of 5 years. You see, on a 401k loan, you pay the interest to yourself.

In July, I purchased a ring. Unfortunately, the first girl I asked to marry me said no, so I decided to save it and give it to Jenna instead. I had a new heat pump installed, had the house painted, and purchased 1400 square feet of flooring.

My brother married his long-time sweetheart, Heather, on 07/07/07. If you know them, you know that’s completely appropriate. I was the best man, both in title and in actuality. The bride’s brother was one of the groomsmen, so at the bachelor party I made sure to give my brother gifts that would mortify her brother. Their wedding went off very nicely, and they are now living happily ever after in Colorado.

In August, not a lot happened, except we had the Lucas family vacation at the lake. Mostly, I slept and watched CSpan. It was great. As is tradition, we got stuck in a massive traffic jam on our way home, which causes me to nearly come unglued. Note to self: STOP praying that God will make me calm in traffic. Don’t you know that all God does is give you ample opportunities to BE calm in traffic!?

In September, I once again started back to school, this time for the final time. I signed up for Total Rewards Management and Competitive Strategies. Had I known how difficult and time-consuming Competitive Strategies was going to be, I probably would have just quit school.

On a personal level, September, October, and most of November are just a big blur. Between work and school, I was tied up for about 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. Throw in my newfound church responsibilities (playing bass in the band), and you have the recipe for stress. I also decided in October to take up my old avocation – photography. I invested in some new equipment and started shooting. A lot. Then I set up my new website. But I really didn’t need that added stress, I’m not sure what I was thinking.

That’s ok, because in November, I added to the stress by throwing in home improvement projects and a trip to Philly. Supposedly it’s “really easy” to install wood floors…if by “really easy” you mean “really time consuming and back-breaking.” It took us 2 weeks of evenings and weekends to get it done. Oh yeah, the trip to Philly – that was to see Rachel get married. Marriage is cool.

In November, I also started an orgy of acquisition, and purchased a new computer, new Plasma screen, and a new bass amp.

In December, it was time to buckle down and finish school. In the midst of buckling down, the department chair asked if I’d be willing to teach at UMKC next semester. I agreed, and then came the excitement of choosing a book, writing a syllabus, and laughing hysterically at the lameness of the pay. It’s not a job you do for the money, that much I can tell you. I finished out my last two classes on the 11th, and graduation was on the 14th. My folks took me out afterwards for some great food, and then my various family members lavished extravagant gifts on me. Kids, go to school, even if just for the graduation gifts!

With the cash from graduation, I decided to be irresponsible. I bought a 40″ LCD HDTV for my bedroom and a 750GB hard drive for my new computer. And the scary thing is, I had money left over. Like I said, kids, go to school!

All-in-all, the year was a better one than 2006. I had much fewer health problems, in fact, basically had none come to think of it. A combination of healthier eating, less caffeinated beverages, and more stress management really helped a lot. 2006 was completely overshadowed by frightening health problems, and some days, I still worry that they will return. But as that gets further away, it’s becoming easier to accept that everything’s gonna be just fine.

So here’s to a 2008 that’s healthy, happy, and at least towards the end… married!

Merry Christmas!