2017: A Lifechanging Year

Guys, let’s pretend I didn’t disappear.

2017 took me from one adventure to the next and 2018 will likely astonish me in ways I haven’t even thought of yet. I have to do this month by month. Let’s begin.

January

This was probably the lowest point of my entire life. I was unemployed and I’d worked through all of the money I’d saved up from my previous employment. I was completely lost and had no idea what to do.

Things change so rapidly, though. About halfway through the month I got the one call I’d been waiting for. Travelers. I’d interviewed 12/23 and thought it went well. I had about a month before the start date.

February

Started at Travelers on February 9. It’s been amazing since day 1. But only a few days after starting my dog Charlie attacked one of my other dogs. I got rid of him the next day. I also cried like a baby. He didn’t even look back when they took him from me.

March

A relatively quiet month. I finished my new hire training on the last day of the month, which meant the following Monday I’d finally be on my own at work.

April

The long baseball season begins! The Astros seemed poised for a great year. I embark on my first solo trip to Boston. An unbelievable experience I simply can’t put into words. But the trip told me something about myself I hadn’t yet known. I wanted someone to share everything with. I was having such a great time on vacation until I realized about halfway through that I was still alone. I had no one to share the amazing experience with. While still in Boston I downloaded Bumble, OkCupid, and Coffee Meets Bagel. Dating apps. I had no idea what to expect. I also bought my first car all on my own!

May

Another relatively quiet month UNTIL IT WASN’T. Those dating apps I’d downloaded? I’d found someone. We talked on the app for awhile and then started texting. After another little while we met in person at HALF PRICE BOOKS. Because I’M STILL ME. We had lunch. We completed a puzzle with a bear on it. It was so great. I was immediately drawn to her wonderful laugh and smile. They’re still magnetic to me.

On May 25 we became a couple. Ol’ ordinary me and oh so amazing her.

June

Many of my coworkers were going on trips and I was just chugging along at work. But I had my worst month (performance-wise) of my time with Travelers. But the beauty of working for such a great company is my manager had my back. She didn’t ask me to do anything drastic because she believed in me.

July

I easily got back on track at work. There wasn’t too much going on.

August

I began to realize my relationship with my girlfriend was really in trouble, but remember how amazing I said she was? Yeah, still thought that in August. Couldn’t just give up.

Hurricane Harvey devastated the city of Houston. My city. My hometown. I didn’t flood, but I missed 10 straight days of work. JJ Watt showed what can happen when everyone gets behind something bigger than one person or one team or one city.

September

Immediately after Hurricane Harvey I was selected to help train a large class of new hires. Something only the top reps in the office are considered for. I finished the quarter ending in September as one of the top reps in the company. I signed my first apartment lease! I’d finally be on my own for the first time. 

October

My relationship ended, but my opinion of the girl hasn’t changed. She’s an amazing person. I dont know if she sees it, but I do. The new hire class ended their training at the end of the month. I moved into my first apartment on 10/21. I took 9 days off from work and realized how lonely I really was. I’d underestimated what it would be like to live alone after nearly 26 years of living with my family.

November

THE ASTROS WON THE WORLD SERIES! THEY DID IT! During game 6 of the World Series I went back home to be with my parents if the Astros won. They didn’t. In game 7 they took an early lead and held on to win the first title in team history. I watched with my parents and we all cried. It was incredible to see these guys we’d been supporting all season with HOUSTON in their name winning the final game of the greatest series I’ve ever seen. I attended my first championship parade.

December

Not much happened until the end of the month. My apartment complex told me that the garage I rent from them cannot handle the electricity needed to charge my car. I was/am furious. But I had no other option. The car I only just purchased in April was traded in for a new, gas powered vehicle. I spent my birthday (12/27) more angry than I’ve been in years.

I’m still really lonely. I know people are dealing with way worse things, but I still want someone who wants to share all of their experiences with me. Someone to travel with. Someone to grow with. Someone to wake up next to. Heck, maybe someone to fall in *love* with. 

I’m starting to think I’m Chandler from Friends. I have a good job no one pays attention to. I have money saved up I can’t even spend. I can’t dance at all. I laugh at my terrible jokes. And I’m sometimes overly awkward. I’m me. Just looking for my Monica. I think I know where she is. 🤔

I’m still angry about my car. But in 2017 I learned so much about myself. I’m proud of who I’ve become. I’m proud of where I am. And I’m excited for 2018. I invite you on that journey with me. Come along. Stick around. Pet the dog. Sit back and watch.

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This Can’t be Real Life

SPOILERS AHEAD

I’ve written twice this week about Thirteen Reasons Why. In that book Hannah Baker leaves behind 13 audio recordings chronicling things that led her to suicide.

In the Houston news this week a veterinarian accused of murder DID THE SAME THING. She left behind nearly two hours of recordings with one of the local stations here to tell her story.

Guys, this is crazy. She committed suicide a week ago and now everyone is talking about this recording she left behind. I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone. 😂

Have you ever read something and then noticed a strange sequence of events that followed in real life? 

Also, no video today because I volunteered to work OT.

The Top Super Bowl Commercials From Yesterday

The final numbers aren’t quite in yet, but Super Bowl 51 was the most watched TV program in the United States since last year’s big game. It featured a comeback the football world has never seen in the final game of the year.

But this is about the commercials. There were plenty of typical, mediocre commercials that no one remembers less than 24 hours after the game. And then there are these.

84 Lumber

The company paid $15 million to air 90 seconds of this ad. Fox forced them to alter it because they claimed it to be too controversial. The end result is the best super bowl ad I’ve ever seen. Few words are spoken, but the message could not be more clear.


Coca-Cola

We’ve grown to expect Coca-Cola to wow us just about every year with their super bowl commercials, but they did something I don’t think I’ve seen recently. They aired the same exact commercial they aired during last year’s game. Showing Americans of different faiths, races, and ethnicities. It couldn’t be more relevant.


Airbnb

A newcomer that made a real statement. The world is diverse, and we should all have a more inclusive mindset. The message of this ad.


Audi

I’m used to Audi’s ads showcasing their vehicles with sharp turns and flashy designs. I’m NOT used to the company using it’s minute of super bowl ad time to show its support for equal pay for equal work. Heck, I can’t remember an ad proclaiming such a statement that wasn’t for a political candidate. I love it.


This list is by no means exhaustive. There were several ads that aired last night I enjoyed, but these were the ones that stood out to me. People are so quick to say things are anti-this or pro-that, right? Because if you’re for something then you must be against something else. Since when are messages of diversity and inclusiveness anything but American?

Did you have any favorite ads from last night?

It’s Super Sunday

The eyes of the sports world shine on Houston today. No annual event can attract the number of eyeballs this game will, though with ratings declining this year could be a bit down.

I know many of you don’t care for sports but I also know this game isn’t really about sports fans. People watch even when they have no idea which teams are playing or who is favored.

I’ll take the Pats. Because I’ve learned that you simply don’t pick against them in this game when Eli isn’t on the other side. Who ya got?

Also, I’ve already seen several commercials I thoroughly enjoyed.

Something fun Today

I wrote recently about who I’d like to see write a book. My choice was Katie Nolan. I think people would call her a sports personality, but I said before that she isn’t afraid to express her opinion on a wide range of topics.

Turns out the week before the Super Bowl has some perks. Sure there’s music, the NFL Experience, and other festivities going on this week in Houston. But Fox is also broadcasting several of its shows live from Houston. 

I’M GOING TO SEE GARBAGE TIME WITH KATIE NOLAN LIVE IN THE AUDIENCE TODAY.

I’ve attended three concerts in my life and dozens of sporting events. This will be the first time I watch a taping of a show in the audience. And I’m excited!

Which show would you like to see from the audience if you could pick any one?

Houston Independent School District has Empty Libraries

One of the largest school districts in the nation is making the wrong kind of headlines. A number of its libraries have empty shelves, and it doesn’t look like it’ll be changing soon.

The district is strapped for money just like most public school districts around the country. But recently the district invested in classroom libraries to give students greater access to the books they need to be reading. But classroom libraries should not be taking items from regular libraries in middle and high schools. A classroom library is typically a bookshelf. That’s not a library of anything.

My problem with this is it sounds like the district aimed to do something without much of a plan. And now thousands of students are forced to enter libraries every single day that don’t even have the one resource most of us have come to associate with them: books.

To add insult to injury, the school district has a tax proposition on the ballot this year that would send more than $1 billion to the state from the district over the next few years.

Have you EVER walked into a library with bare, empty shelves? I haven’t. These Houston kids aren’t getting a fair educational experience at the moment. And now voters could potentially make it worse by not being aware of the impact of HISD Proposition 1. The whole thing is on the verge of spiraling out of control.

If you Could Build a Library

A little late today because I decided to sleep last night rather than write a post. And then this afternoon I wanted to talk to the girlfriend instead of write this. Eh.

But I was thinking about where I might build  library if I had the chance to do so. Not a Little Free Library, a free standing private library. What I’ve decided is pretty simple and straightforward. I’d look at the city of Houston and identify as many as 10 areas that lack a library altogether or have one in need of financial support. Then I’d research for a year to determine the specific location. I’d cater the events and inventory to the people in the surrounding community.

The library would have ultra high speed internet and typewriters for use. And the entire staff (as much as possible) would live within five miles of the branch. Why? Because they’d have a vested interest in helping as many people as possible. It wouldn’t just be an “easy” job for them.

Lastly, friends of the library sales wouldn’t be operated the same as other libraries. Paperbacks would be the standard $0.25 each and hardcovers would be $0.50, but only once a customer has already gotten 10 books free of charge. Because if the money is there to finance the day-to-day operations of the library, then there is no reason to charge everyone for books that have been read dozens of times.

I’d also name the library after someone who has a history of promoting literacy and reading. I wouldn’t name it after the city or after myself. The name would be one synonymous with books.

Where would you build your library if you could?