1977: Born in Lansing, MI, to a 23-year old nursing student and a 25-year old state police cadet.
1978: Dad finishes with police training. We have a black lab named Moses and move to South Haven, a small resort beach town on Lake Michigan.
1979: We go camping on the dunes of Lake Michigan. There's a photo of Moses and I.
1980: Sister born on Halloween. We're living in a rental home on Hubbard Street in South Haven.
1981: Start pre-school at Tiny Tots Nursery School. Diagnosed with Leg Perthes disease, am on crutches and in traction at night.
1982: Get in trouble for running with my crutches at catholic school.
1983: Grandpa builds me a really cool bookcase, which still sits in my office today.
1984: The Tigers win the World Series. I have vague memories of Darrell Evans rushing out onto the field while I sit on the floor of the living room, cheering. In school, I have my name written on the board for the first time ever, a crushing experience.
1985: I diarrhea in my pants at school. The teacher, who was a nun, sends me to the office rather than spanking me.
1986: We move to the metro Detroit area, as my dad is transferred. Spend a lot of time with paternal grandparents.
1987: Become addicted to the Detroit Free Press being delivered every morning at 5am. Become a lifelong Tigers fan, as a result of that great 1987 team (Matt Nokes hit 32 home runs as a rookie, Mike Henneman went 9-3, and Trammell should have been MVP). They broke my heart for the first time that year, when they lost to the still-hated Twins in the playoffs. But, oh, that stretch run against the Blue Jays taught me that the baseball playoff run is the best thing in sports.
1988: The Tigers break my heart again, by losing the division by one game to the Yankees. I become a huge Pistons fan, as this was right around their back-to-back championships and the "Bad Boys" era.
1989: Move back to South Haven, which I was somehow thrilled about. The Tigers lose 103, but I can still name 20 players off that team off the top of my head. I become a bit of a loner in middle school, highlighted by the recommendation by my Home Economics teacher that I take "Skills for Teens" a second time. The first time I took it, I set a record by reading 47 independent books, when we only had to read five. I meet Danielle, my oldest friend - we're both cop kids in a small town.
1990: 8th grade. I still have few friends. I play little league baseball. I'm pretty good. My next door neighbors are two brothers - one a year older, one a year younger - who are two of the most popular kids in school, but I doubt they even know my name. I spend hours making up baseball stats in my head, and even get featured in Baseball Weekly magazine. I still have a copy; Dwight Gooden is on the cover. Grandpa dies this year. It's horrible.
1991: High school starts. I join the school newspaper, which meets before school at 7am three days a week. I get some friends, just a few, and none I still keep in touch with. I love 9th grade English with Ms. Feldt.
1992: Tenth grade. I don't remember much specifically. A couple of good teachers. Getting my first B after straight A's in middle school and the 9th grade. I hated the guy so much that I switched out of his class (he didn't give any A's to anyone in the class, and it was the "Canterbury Tales" semester), and loved the guy so much that two years later I became his student aide. I'm cut on the baseball team, a soul-crushing moment, even though the coach came back to get me the next week in a bizarre let's-embarrass-the-star-player-by-giving-this-guy-I-cut-last-week his jersey situation. I'm on the bench most of the time, but have one memorable pinch-hit double. Later that summer, I'm one of the best players in the JAA league (and also one of the oldest... it was my last year playing and I just missed the age cutoff). In the summer, I get my first real job, as the cleanup guy at a mom-and-pop butcher shop and slaughter house.
1993: Eleventh grade. I'm named Editor in Chief of the student newspaper, along with this girl who I probably should have been dating but who had an older boyfriend. Had some great teachers, including one who has a Facebook group some of his former students started that I joined the other day. I do well at the Science Olympics. I watch Picket Fences every Friday night and don't have much of a life. I work every day after school from about 4-6:30 and the aforementioned butcher shop. I'd always hated the smell of raw meat, and cleaning out the hamburger grinders made it worse, so I stopped eating beef and pork because it grossed me out.
1994: Senior year. I'm getting rounder and rounder, partly from the Pizza Hut all-you-can-eat pizza lunch buffets that we have for lunch every day in between our regular classes and the community college classes our school paid for since they didn't offer AP. I get accepted into Michigan State, University of Michigan, and Hope College, but only ever wanted to go to MSU, so I go along that track. I score a 28 on the ACT, and never take it again (although one more point would have got me into the Honors College), and never take the SAT. I get my first car, and still have never had a traffic ticket.
1995: I graduate #3 in my class of 144, beat out for the salutatorian slot by a chick who transferred right before her senior year. I graduate with a 4.07 GPA, with two B's and straight A's otherwise, with three advanced classes counting as 5-point classes. I volunteer at the hospital, because I'm thinking of being a doctor. I start out at a Science school housed at Michigan State, with a major of Biology and a minor in Chemistry.
1996: I change my major from Biology to Chemistry, because I liked the classes better. My grade are just medicore - 2.9 in the first semester, 3.0 in the second semester. I'm a poor student, having never really learned to study in high school, and sail by on guile. Over the summer, I still work at the butcher shop, but add the produce section of the local grocery store to it - my first time in my life working 90 hours a week. It sucks and I'm unsure why I did it. It's also a year of plenty of firsts - first time tasting alcohol, first time getting drunk, first time having sex. All related.
1997: I stop eating chicken and become a full-fledged vegetarian. Organic Chemistry kicks my ass, so I switch majors to English, which had been my minor. My heart isn't in the sciences anymore, and try to keep it up as a minor, but can't even pass Zoology with more than a 2.0. I'm such a terrible student by that point - skipping all the time, spending a lot of time working all night as a night receptionist - that it's better to only do things I was interested in.
1998: I make it into the College of Education, somehow, and start taking Education courses. Love them. Love my English classes. Start a Political Science minor, which I love. Have an incredible time as an RA. Residence Life gives me perspective on people and the world that I never had before. I start a music venue in the basement of my dorm, and book lots of famous musicians. I love all the attention.
1999: My weight has ballooned to 300 pounds, and I'm really depressed at times. Get really sick and take incompletes in two classes. One professor really saved me (thank you, Janet Swenson) by understanding my combination of illness/depression/car accident. I'm working at a coffeeshop, and working way too much.
2000: I join Gold's Gym and get happier. I start this blog in April. Graduation comes around the bend and I'm back on my feet that spring. I do well, pulling my highest GPA ever in college (3.47, a hair from the Dean's List). Graduation is a very happy day. I become a student teacher, and it really agrees with me. I work out every day before going in, and lost 40 pounds that year. I'm also the Assistant Director of a dorm, and that goes well. I get drunk when George W. Bush wins the election.
2001: It took a while, but my placement in a rough urban school for student teaching inspired me to made me realize that this is where I belong. The job market is bad in Michigan, though, and I'm ready for a change anyway. Charlotte offered me a job, but I didn't like the city. Baltimore offered me a job, too, and fell in love with the city. I move without knowing anyone. In Baltimore, I find a house with two roommates. In November, I get an 18-month old dog from the ASPCA, a collie sheperd mix, who I name Holden.
2002: I'm a terrible first year teacher in Baltimore City Public Schools, but get much better as the year goes on. I work out every day before school, and lose another 40 pounds during the '01-'02 school year, then another twenty or so in the summer. By the fall, I'm down to 192 lbs. I get laid a lot. I fall in love that winter, for perhaps the first real time ever. She's going to move down to Baltimore with me. She looked into jobs. She was one of my best friends ever. I also get a cat, Tobey.
2003: Crash and burn. My heart was broke, badly. Spring sucks. I take up a friend on an offer to go to Italy for the first two weeks of the summer and stay at his family's house with him. It's incredible, something I'll never forget, but it nearly bankrupts me. The Repo guy calls me, I tell him I can't pay, and he asked me my address so he can send someone to get my car. It's scary. I get a second job waiting tables, which I enjoy. That fall, though, I suddenly realize I can't see very well out of my right eye. I think I just need new contacts, and the (shitty) doctor seemed unconcerned, and by the time I went to an opthamologist, my right eye had a completely detached retina and I was having emergency surgery the next morning. I lose some significant permanent vision in the right eye, and the surgery and recovery are pretty painful, but at least I didn't go blind. The left eye has to be done almost immediately after I got the eyepatch off, because that one is tearing. I have double retinal detachments and miss only about four days of school, coming in and teaching in eyepatches and sunglasses. And, to top it off, I was sued by a lying garbage man for $10,000 for an alleged dog bite that was false.
2004: I represent myself in the lawsuit against the lying garbage man, and win. However, otherwise, spring 2004 often sucks, because I spend every day worrying that I'll be laid off because of the BCPSS budget crunch. But, I get named varsity baseball coach! A dream come true. And, my English department seems to be working on all cylinders, and I really feel like we're changing the world.
2005: Lots of uncertainty and turmoil at school, but our department remains mostly intact. Still working two jobs, still doing house concerts. Have a somewhat mediocre year teaching.
2006: Some turmoil, some uncertainty, some successes. I teach a new course and do an alright job with it, considering I'm given two classes of 36 students. The Tigers make it to the World Series. Grandma passes away. Sister graduates from college.
2007: Baseball team goes to the 3rd round of playoffs, farthest in a long time, but season is stressful. Year of teaching goes alright, nothing spectacular. I move out of the house I'd lived in for six years, in with a friend in the ghetto. Holden gets lost, but he comes back. I'm getting unhealthier and unhealthier during the school year, with my weight getting back up to 245 or so. Softball is really fun that summer, as we make it to the playoffs for the first time.
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