Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My 2007 Holiday Letter

You know those annoying letters we get every year from people who think the minutiae of their everyday life is so important none of us can wait to read about it? Often written in third person, they include such necessary details as the name of Jimmy's third grade teacher or the lot number of the campsite where they spent their summer vacation, and are chock full of waaayy too many exclamation points. I'll admit to looking forward to these, purely for comedic value. I often wondered though, what would people think if they read a letter that contained actual real life stuff? Bad stuff happens. I say we talk about it. So I present to you, the only holiday letter I have ever written.

2007: Dead and Gone!

Wow! Another year has come and gone already. Here’s hoping this letter finds you better off than you were a few weeks back. I skipped the holidays, so forgive the lateness of these greetings, but with the close of the year, I have a complete picture of all that transpired.

2007 found many new experiences that we never thought we would have. Still, as with all things, there are good and bad. So too, was last year.

We rang in 2007 at our neighbors’ annual New Year’s Eve party. As usual, Howard and Moira went all out, with great food and drinks. Andrew the Alcoholic was the life of the party, staying up all night and finally passing out on the beach! Even the baby, (I can’t believe she just turned six!) stayed up past midnight, which she usually does anyway, which leads to a lot of screaming next door.

I started the year at Liberty Airlines. I’d gotten quite comfortable there and all was normal until one night while driving home, a tire blew out on I-95. I managed to avoid a NASCAR style wreck and had the spare on in just minutes. A new skill!

Luckily, I wouldn’t be driving on the freeway for long, as I soon got fired for attending a job fair at another company. Though the firing was in violation of the collective bargaining agreement, within days I’d been accused of lying to my superiors, thrown under the bus by the pilot’s union, and found myself working as a lowly charter pilot for a former employer who took pity.

Still, blessings continued as my mother-in-law treated us in February to a rare visit. The girls enjoyed shopping and dining out and got into a huge fight over the use of the F-word.

We did, however, get to travel to Michigan when my grandmother passed away the day before Mother’s Day. What timing! We had a wonderful family reunion. Grandma would have liked it, for as funerals go, it was a great party. Grandma must have been smiling on us too, as the day of her funeral, Liberty Airlines, after several months of negotiations and fearing a lawsuit, offered me the chance to resign with a clean record. Please disregard anything you might have read about my being fired. I have a legal contract stating that didn’t happen.

Work continued. I went on a few job interviews and the rejections flowed. Finally, in June, we were thrilled to see our old friends the Bowers, visiting from Ohio. And what luck! On the first day of their visit, I fell off the wing of my charter airplane, spraining my ankle. I had the whole week off—without pay—to spend with our good friends.

With summer arrived the tropical heat, and the summer concert series. In July we traveled to Dolphin Stadium to see the Police, who it seems were brutally honest about not liking to rehearse. Sure, the seats were bad and the sound horrible. But for $200 plus $30 to park, I got to show off my new skills in the 95° heat when we got a flat tire in the parking lot!

Our yard continued to flourish in the tropical sun. Pineapples sprouted, we planted an orange tree and, after five years, our banana tree finally produced fruit. I soon learned, through extensive research, there are over one thousand varieties of banana, and most aren’t edible.

As the summer charter season slowed to a crawl, I made the difficult decision to take a job with my charter company’s competition. My old boss was sorry to see me go, just not enough to match the offer. So I left them without a charter pilot. And what a challenge this new company turned out to be. I learned from a former Lowe’s store manager named Keith, that I was focusing on too many safety related issues during what we in the pilot world refer to as ‘critical phases of flight’, such as take-off and landing, when instead I should have been turning off lights, learning how to talk on the radio and not pushing buttons so hard. Keith also taught me that it isn’t necessary to declare an emergency if an engine fails in flight, because that’s not really an emergency situation. But what did I know, since I, like most airline pilots, don’t really know how to fly? I soon returned to my old employer with a substantial raise and the offer to become chief pilot.

Soon dark clouds appeared on the horizon of my charter career, as shortly after returning to my old job, an engine blew up forty miles out over the Atlantic Ocean. Keith, it seemed was right about me, for I forgot all he had told me and actually declared an emergency and landed safely.

Once again, things took an unexpected turn as job offers started pouring in. During one week in October, I received three offers and gladly accepted a position with a legitimate airline. I couldn’t wait to resume my airline career; flying with other incompetent professionals who never had the privilege of managing a home building retail store into their fifties.

Thanksgiving was to be the last thrill of the year because my training started the following Monday, I couldn’t wait to eat my mom’s apple pie. But just days before the holiday, my mother informed me if she’d known it was just going to be us for dinner, she would have made plans to go to Michigan as well. Fortunately, Moira got us invited to her friend Ginger’s house. What a great cook. I’m still stuffed!

Sixty-hour weeks became the norm as the year wound down and the Christmas holidays were consumed by my training. We decided to skip the usual traditions. No tree, no gifts, and no sending out Christmas cards. I did get one early present, however, with the news that Liberty Airlines was slapped with an $80 million dollar fine for violating a confidentiality agreement in a lawsuit filed by a rival airline.

It seems we’ve come full circle. As my training came to a close, so did the year. Once again we partied the year away at the neighbor’s and once again, Andrew the Alcoholic left his mark. Here’s looking forward to the New Year and hoping you all have a great 08. Cause 07 sucked ass!

Happy New Year


EDIT: Remember what you read a minute ago about Liberty Airlines? Well forget it was called Liberty Airlines. That was the fictional name of the real airline that didn't fire me. I had planned on calling it Liberty Airlines in the novelized version I plan to write one day. Thinking I ought to be just a little careful about this, lest there is an actual Liberty Airlines, I googled it. Here's where it gets weird. Liberty Airlines was an actual airline whose name was changed after it was purchased by the actual airline I actually later worked for.  Who knew?  Anyway, go ahead and re-read it, replacing Liberty with the name of your choice.  I'm too tired to think of a phony airline name.


KLM said...

I would fly with you any time. Super funny blog. Keep up the good work. Cheers, Kristen

Lost Wanderer said...

no one I know does holiday letters, which is probably a good thing. Though some of them I expect can be interesting.

K.M. said...

Well, you've inspired me to write one now.

LM Preston said...

Okay, you got me here. I used to send one out every year. LOL! Then I got bored with it myself. Although usually mine is filled with lots of drama, suspense, laughter and pain. Maybe that's why I stopped writing it, because some things are better forgotten so you can face the New Year with hope. Thanks for sharing.

Erica said...

I love the use of exclamation points in this! Bummer- sounds like '07 was a rough one. BTW I loathe those letters, I don't need all that- just let me know you're all alive and kicking and that's good enough.

Mine for '08 would have been a doozy!

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