So this was 2013 eh? They can keep it.
Two years ago I wrote that 2011 was the calm before the storm. Last year sure did its part in being a “storm” as I had perhaps the busiest year of my life. This year? This year was the year after the storm, where you’re picking up all the pieces that were left behind, but you’re also so exhausted from the mess it made. Does that make sense?
Twenty-13 was one of the more exhausting years that I can remember (I know 2008 was not fun, but that was more stress-induced than just exhaustion), and I’m talking physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
I’ve gone back and forth about doing my annual “Year in Review” entry, and I’ve decided that I’m not going to do it! It just makes me upset and really it’s time to move past this last year.
I’m not going to talk about how the year started with my dad calling me and telling me that we’re driving a few hours to help my buddy move into his new house. That, though confused as why he didn’t call me too (though he called my brother, Dad and our other close friend), I was glad that Lis and I helped him as he looked completely dejected. I’m also not going to tell you about how months later when I brought up my curiosity of why he didn’t ask me to help him move he simply said, “You’re lazy.”
I’m not going to tell you about how we ended the year with two cars battling car issues. Luckily my car was an easy fix, so the five of us have been sandwiched into my lil’ Tracker. Fun! Lis and I receive constant back massages courtesy of Levi and Lia’s feet, all while Lukas’s head is perched on our shoulders.
UPDATE: As I’m writing this there is a knock on the door. My dad has arrived like the courier in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation to wish us a belated “Merry Christmas” and tell us that the van is back in commission. As mentioned in prior blogs, it’s nice to have someone handy in your family. Dad is that dude. He may be looking at a belated Christmas bonus here soon. Thanks Dad!
I’m also not going to share my story about how I spent January explaining to AT&T that I really didn’t buy nine iPhone 4’s and that I really didn’t ship them to Syracuse and that I really didn’t accumulate a nearly $6,000 phone bill. Thanks to some help from “Get Jesse” AT&T finally believed my story and, though I was hit again with another three more cell phones, they finally cleared up the identity fraud issues and now the wannabe Kevin Johnson’s will need to know the five ladies on my laminated Celebrity Crush list. Want to see me on the news? Click here.
I don’t think I want to share about how I had to have a hole punched through my nose because of Basil Cell Carcinoma, a popular skin cancer that was eating away my right nostril. I also won’t tell you (or show any pictures) about the large cotton swab that sat on my face for two weeks, and the lump that resembled a piece of ABC (Already Been Chewed, for you newbies) gum that followed the cotton swab. Thank you “Get Jesse” for making sure that was shown to thousands of King5 viewers. It was later sliced off, and my nose looks normal again!
I’m not going to complain about how hard it is to start an insurance agency from scratch and to support a family of five, and a mortgage, on a straight commission check. To all my friends that think just because I’m not on a ladder, not digging ditches, and sitting in a semi-warm office all the time, that I have the easiest job in the world – try it! You’re networking 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You’re working 24 hours a day, seven days a week (seriously, you should see some of my dreams). Every person you are in contact with is a prospect. Every time they walk away without a business card, you lost a possible sale. This job isn’t easy. But it’s been nearly two years and I’m still alive, though there were numerous days this past year that I wondered how long I’d be living. It was exhausting, it was stressful, it was worrisome, it was frustrating, it was a lot of work. I’m so excited for 2014. I’m going with an all-in mentality. I need to get back to the basics. “I make insurance fun!” and “I fight for my clients!” are my mantras for 2014. More on that in my soon-to-be Goal entry.
I also don’t want to tell you about the near fall of Johnsonville. What a cluster-macallit! For the third time in four years a nasty email welcomed me in my inbox. One of my goals last year was to not speak up too soon. So I kept quiet, except that when I kept quiet I ended up being labeled judgmental or a backstabber. Things got so out-of-whack that Lis and I came this close from disconnecting from the family. Except something that came into question (psst…my faith) kicked in and I decided to have a sitdown with my brothers so we could talk about what issues we may have. It turned out to be a total blessing, or what I like to call a “God Thang”. We told each other what bothered us and our spouses. There was a lot of understanding, a lot of misunderstandings and in the end we decided we were going to make this work because, after all, we’re brothers and we stick together, the best we can.
I’m also not going to rant on about how social media is driving us all insane and to death. I was on multiple ends of the whole “Removed me from Facebook?!” drama. My buddy didn’t want me putting pictures of him at a charity event that I organized, so I deleted him from the site. “But don’t do that because then I can’t see what you’re up to.” Okay, so you want to be able to snoop on me, but I can’t snoop on you? “Exactly!” Thankfully my brothers and I decided to agree on not being friends with each other on Facebook. It was causing too much unneeded drama. Bleh! If you want to know what’s going on with my family you’ll have to pick up the phone (or even text) and come visit us.
I don’t want to tell you about I struggled mightily with myself this year. It seems like I spent the entire year trying to improve myself, physically, spiritually, mentally. I had a few bouts of GERD this year, before I eventually decided, “This is dumb. I’m tearing apart my insides for nothing. I need to start eating better!” So I went on a 3-week salad eating binge (interrupted thanks to Thanksgiving, how ironic!), stayed as faraway as possible from pop, and began to walk to work when it wasn’t pouring down rain. It was good and in the end I think I’m a better person, and I look forward to continuing to work hard to make myself a better person.
I won’t tell you about how, thanks to my faith (and the aforementioned work I put into it), Lis and I were willing to put all the drama aside and ask our family to join us on our waterslide / camping trip. It turned out to be a lot of fun, and the first time the entire family took a road trip together. (Pictured left: For at least one day in July, the light shined bright on Johnsonville.)
I won’t share about how this year’s American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life was a success. How we broke records for the amount of teams, participants, survivors, all numbers I’m very, very proud of. Nor will I share about how my co-chair and I entered with the 501st for Opening Ceremony (see below), accomplishing a lifelong dream! You can read about My Day as a Stormtrooper here.
Nor will I whine about my “passion bucket” running dry. About how, though the RFL was a complete success, I didn’t feel that I gave my 110-percent and that I needed a break from it. It wasn’t just RFL but I didn’t feel the passion I once had for Youth Group, holiday events, and even writing. I think worrying about supporting my family has sucked a lot of that out of me. This is on my list for 2014 … to find that passion and creativity I once had.
I won’t tell you how I was partly sad and partly relieved when our PopBlerd! founder told us that he was shutting down the site for a while. PopBlerd! was one of the highlights of my year. Writing nonsense for the site allowed me to sneak away from reality. It helped with that creativity that I was lacking. But I also felt the need to contribute regularly and with my job and other volunteer activities, I just couldn’t put in the work I wanted to. Here are some of the stories I contributed to PopBlerd! this year: Coming Home: Peyton Manning Makes His Indianapolis Return; a touching tribute to my princess Lia via the song “Cinderella”; my first book review comparing Matthew Berry’s “Fantasy Life” to my own fantasy sports life; The Dos and Don’ts of (Fantasy Football) Draft Season; a look back at Peyton and Eli’s best commercials; my life as a Backstreet Boy … fan! and how I don’t follow sports.
Good stuff? If I was going to do a Year in Review then I may tell you about how Lukas is playing basketball (and I’m coaching … c’mon Kevin, about that “too much on your plate stuff”), and really enjoys playing.
I may tell you about how I’ve received numerous compliments on his shot, which, for a 9-year-old, and in his first year playing the sport, makes his basketball-loving dad excited! I won’t tell you about how I’m thankful God wasn’t playing a dirty trick on me and that Lukas has become a lover of sports. That he can look at an offensive formation, and the amount of downs on the TV and explain what and why he thinks the next play will be a pass or run, or by quickly glancing at the score he can tell you that the Packers need to attempt that 2-point conversion, giving the Bears only a chance at a tie and not a win. And I may tell you about how well he does at school and blah blah. 😉
I’m not going to share with you about my Punky Brewster-like daughter, who continues to combine that deadly mix of cuteness with a wonderful, witty and hilarious sense of humor, that is either going to draw boys in or make them completely afraid of her (I’m praying for the latter). That, though she was rejected for early entry into Kindergarten, she continues to amaze me with her intelligence and utter-stubbornness. Seriously, you put any nearly-5-year-old into a room the size of a closet, with an older bloak with a thick British accent and ask her to do puzzles she’s more than likely going to fail. I had trouble understanding some of the questions he asked her. Barmy, it’s no wonder she was feeling fagged during the chin wag they were having. She was snookered before she got there.
I’m also not going to talk about our 2-year-old, who for the first two years was the most mellow kid I’ve met, but is also the first of our three to hit the Terrible Two’s right at two! Also unlike his siblings he’s destructive, which fits his “Bull in a China Store” physique. Yes, he looks and acts like a lineman. Like his sister, he has an amusing sense of humor, loves puzzles, loves to be read to, loves Ninja Turtles, Cars and is a complete mama’s boy. He gets up early and needs his food – seriously, the dude can chow down with anyone – but only his mom can pour the cereal. I think he does it to tick me off. Somebody tell him it’s working.
If I were to do a Year in Review I might explain how Lis and I spent our 10th anniversary. How we spent the night in Skykomish and then hiked miles up to a natural hot spring, and spent an hour in peace and quiet, soaking up both the view of the mountains and the hot water. I won’t talk about how my wife has become the only good decision I’ve ever made (we never decided to have kids … natural things happen). That though we have other issues (see above) she continues to stick by me, and with little to zero argument. We have similar beliefs in faith, family, and fantasy football (I’m allowed to play it). She’s been a blessing, and though I’ve taken her for granted numerous, upon numerous, times flying down to Brazil to court her 11 years ago was the best decision I’ve made.
I also might tell you about the Johnson 5’s first road trip, a jont to Spokane, and how despite getting lost in the middle of farm fields, the kids were awesome and Lukas only puked once! Actually, you can read about that trip here.
I’m sure there is so much more I could not tell you about, but I think that’s good enough for now. It’s a shame. I’ve always loved doing my Year in Reviews, as this blog has become a history book for my little family, but when you’ve had a rough year sometimes it’s best to overlook it.
Oh yah … and the best wide receiver in history commented on a Tweet I sent him. I felt special!
— Jerry Rice (@JerryRice) October 14, 2013