It's been an exciting month. I finally got the formal graduation ceremony even though I finished my degree in August (glad Towson saved a buck, too bad they never passed the savings on to me). With graduation, came the incredible generosity of my family. Do to that generosity, Christmas presents, and an even more incredible amount of generousity from my wonderful wife (she gave me a good deal of her bonus as a graduation/birthday present) I was able to purchase my new favorite toy.

Now I'd been contemplating switching teams for some time, but it took me a while to decide to come out of the closet. I mean I grew up being taught certain values. We were a very conservative family when it came to these kinds of things. Heck I'd even done some bashing of those people who "thought different" myself. But as you get older, sometimes you open your mind to things you had never opened your mind to before. I mean it was becoming more accepted, you saw them on TV all the time, and so I experimented a bit. And then I decided I really liked it. Really really liked it. Then I made up my mind. I was going to switch teams. My wife was really cool with it, but how was I going to tell my family. I mean what would dad and my brothers think.

Well, like most big pieces of earth shattering news, I just told dad one night. He was surprisingly cool with it. Even admitted he'd experimented a bit himself even though he decided it wasn't his thing. Casey was cool as he always is with anything I decide. Andy was a little put off but he's dealing with it. Even supported it with his Christmas and graduation presents even though he said it tore out a piece of his heart.

So anyway, a week ago, it arrived and now, I'm... a Mac guy.

The change has been surprisingly easy and the picture is absolutely gorgeous. I'm on it pretty much nonstop from the time I get home until I go to sleep. The first night I was able to move all my iTunes music (about 18 gig) to my Mac and delete all Amy's crappy disco. (I keep trying to tell her it's bad for the speakers but she doesn't believe me). I was also able to tap into my encrypted wireless network, and share my printer that is hooked up to my PC. Not bad for a guy who's never had a Mac before. There's still a lot I have to learn but I'm so excited to have my new favorite toy.

The other big milestone happens in about a day and a half. I turn THIRTY!!! I really can't beleive it. I mean I think of myself as like 18. I think of my parents in their 30s. So, to protest the whole thing, I'm stealing my friend Dan's idea, and having a huge birthday weekend celebration.

Friday night is Poker night. Beer, chips, bustin each others balls, and taking all my friend's money. I can't think of a better way to start the festivities.

Saturday is paintball at noon. I'm hoping not to killed in an assassinate the birthday boy coupe. Otherwise, should be great times.

Then Saturday night we're heading to my favorite Irish Pub for Guinness and fish and chips. Looks like about 25 of my closest fiends should be attending if all goes well. And then we'll finish the night off where we always go after J. Patrick's. :P

So hopefully this weekend will provide plenty of material for my next blog.


2006: The Year in Review

In typical Erik style, I've procrastinated and my year in review is actually being created 2 days after the new years has begun. But anyway.... This year has been pretty OK. Not the best, not the worst, just interesting.

My birthday was pretty uneventful.

In the early spring DW and I took a mini vacation to the Bavarian in WV. Excellent food, excellent wine, incredible sex, and even some shopping. We couldn't have asked for a better weekend.

Casey got married in May. Fun Snyder batchelor party; paintball, dinner, strip club, and scavenger hunt. I spent hours planning, getting prices, sending e-mails, making spreadsheets, making plans, contacting Casey's friends, waiting for Casey's friends to get around to contacting Casey's friends, and even hiring a van and a DD. The party was planned to the T. Overall, I think everybody had a great time and I know Casey did. The wedding was nice as well but that's his story.

Summer began with the annual Tiki party. We had hoped this year would be the biggest ever but conflicting parties and vacation plans kept that from happening. We had the addition of beer pong which made for added fun. The highlight of the party was Casey's drunk ass driving the Power Wheels into the beer pong table and creating quite the accident scene with the table in shambles, the truck flipped on it's side, Casey sprawled out, and Lindsey rushing in to make sure he was OK. I don't know how he'll top it next year.

Over the summer I did an internship at the super secure Board of Education building. I found it quite interesting that it would be pretty easy for any random stranger to walk into any elementary school full of children in this county at any time. However, to get into the board of education building you must show ID, write your intentions, and be buzzed in to get past the front desk. I guess this is important because we've all heard about the recent increase in violence at the Board of Ed and the kidnapping of random content supervisors.

Aside from that, I actually learned a great deal and had an overall rewarding experience. The best part is that the experience earned me a Master's Degree in Instructional Technology. This means I'm now qualified to do the job I've been doing for the past three years. It didn't really feel like graduation though because Towson University, in their typical treat students as numbers and do what saves a buck fashion, doesn't have a summer graduation. Therefore, even though I finished my degree in August, I actually graduate this Sunday. I did get my raise in August though so I guess that's the important part.

We did the annual Snyder trip to the beach. Great times but not much to talk about. Casey, Andy, and Lindsey taught me how to play poker which is my new favorite pastime, more on that later but I do thank them for that. I also managed to slice my heel open pretty good by stepping on a saw horse while playing beer pong. Not a pop top but cutting my heel the day before I had to cruise on home, pretty cool nonetheless. The best part is I have a total psychological phobia of needles, blood, incisions, etc. I would have been passed out on the floor if I hadn't been so drunk that I didn't feel a damn thing, even when Casey poured alcohol right into the wound.

School started with little excitement in the library but excitement for the family. Marc went off to Kindergarten, well just down the hall a few feet, but still quite a big step. He's no longer a baby, not even a little kid really. The changes have been amazing. He's so smart. He's picking up reading and math like it's nothing. He cracks me up because everywhere we go, I hear him reading in the back seat. Sounding out words, trying to make sense of signs, it's so cute.

Lisey also took a big step heading off to Ms. MaryAnn's nursery school. She's so funny because she is the exact opposite of Marc. In nursery school, Marc was always trying to make friends and got frustrated if the other kids didn't want to play with him. Lisey wants nothing to do with the other kids and usually plays alone in the corner. Other kids try to play with her and she gets up and moves.

The biggest event of the year came in September. Amy and I had a great deal of discussion and both felt our family was complete. The obvious choice was for me to get the big V. Scroll back up to my feelings on needles and incisions and add in the fact that this one it to my junk. Now factor in the horror stories from my dad, Internet friends, and most people who've had the operation. It's like part of the bragging rights of having it done are getting to embellish your story to scare the shit out of the next guy. To make matters worse, I had planned the procedure for the month I had off between my internship and school. Unfortunately the doctor had to cancel the day I planned and couldn't reschedule till after school started. So I had myself all good and worked up.

Although I dreaded it, V day came, and I prepared for my doom. I shaved the appropriate areas, The Dr. had been nice enough to provide me with one valium. I went to work in the morning and did a pretty good job of being brave. At lunch time, DW was nice enough to drive me to the urology office. I took my pill, and all though I didn't feel much different, DW told me it was definitely working. I went in, said hi to the nurse, who thankfully wasn't at all young or hot, and dropped trawl. The needles went in with a slight sting but I hardly got light headed. A little tugging and noise and before I knew it was over. It was done sooo fast. Ten minutes later I was dressed and in the car riding home.

The next few days were a little sore but the painkillers did their job and my DW was wonderful about changing out my bags of frozen peas and getting me the things I needed. Honestly the fear and anticipation was ten times worse then the actual surgery. It was kind of like that ratchety chain sound on the roller coaster is actually much scarier than the drop. When all was done I had the tiniest incision with two little stitches that dissolved in a couple days. Eight weeks later I went back for the follow up, turned in my spunk in a cup, and now I'm sterile!

The rest of the year was pretty low key after that. I have acquired a terrible addiction to online poker. I play constantly, for fake money of course, but it still accumulates and I'm quite proud of the $3 million I've accumulated from the $1000 I started with. In addition I've been unable to stop thinking of everything in the world in poker terms. (If I clean the house, fold the laundry, and give my wife a backrub, what are the pot odds that I'll get sex tonight? If I bluff my students into thinking I would really call their parents, will they be quiet and do their work or will they call my bluff? It's really quite scary.)

DW got some nice bonuses at work, I did well on my year end observations and evaluation, and Christmas came and went very quickly. I spent most of that week putting together Legos and Kin'ex and playing online poker. For New Year's Eve we stayed home and played games with the kids. And that was the end...

My New Year's Resolutions are:
1. Take DW on more dates
2. Lose 10 lbs
3. Be more prepared for my lessons
4. Play more PlayStation (that one is a repeat from last year, I need to persevere!)
5. Spend more one on one time with the kids

Alright I've done it. My first blog post is complete with typical Erik Speelling and Grammar mistakes (how did I ever BS my way into a teaching job?) Stay tuned for more in another year or so.