The people, who know me, know me as quite the pessimistic, sarcastic type, who always seems to be down on his luck. I mean the grass is always greener, when you live where there isn’t any grass to begin with.
Well I’ll let you decide. Let me tell you about my 2009.My 2009 story starts with the end of 2008. Not only did my boss decide to not give me a much anticipated Christmas bonus, but my mother-in-law was visiting. Recently my MIL (not “MILF” - sickos) moved to Mexico. She got in her car and drove the 40+ hours to island paradise, all the while racking up over $15,000 on my wife’s credit card. So, while she was visiting at the end of 2008 a giant argument ensued about this money and the $350+ per month in payments and interest accruing at an astonishing 25%. Sure you may think “oh who cares? A stupid argument…” – True, a stupid argument, to the untrained eye.
See I was supposed to graduate college in the Spring of 2009. Green grass, flowers blooming, sun shining – ever shining emitting its’ ultraviolet and gamma radiation – beautiful in its’ way. But no, my stupid department head for the Industrial Design department wouldn’t work with me on a schedule. I explained to him that I was no longer eligible for financial aid and that only taking one class in the Fall 2009 semester would be very difficult, with student loans coming due. (You have to take at least 6 credit hours to defer the loans). He made it exceedingly clear that the college would not be setting any sort of precedent for me, seeing as I would be taking the class as an independent study. I pleaded with him explaining the recent credit card snafu and the fact that the last 3 jobs I have held were Industrial Design related and that I couldn’t quit my job at the time as is will be providing internship credit. Nope, would not budge. So, here I am taking my last class with the loans coming due next week, with no real job prospects – since I can’t work full-time – because I am taking this stupid class! And if that’s not bad enough, the class is so easy with no attendance policy. I am building a model flashlight and giving a brief presentation. I suppose that’s what you get when the school you are attending gives scholarships to students who think cars are made of wood and you must put molten steel in the freezer to solidify, and that aluminum will melt at 500F!!
So back to my 2009…. For 15 years I have played the drums. I was given formal lessons, played in the school band, marching band, jazz band, as well of my fair share of rock bands and punk bands. I owned a professional level drum set and was recently playing in a rock/pop group with people from my wife’s high school. We were pretty good. We gigged all over Denver and were set to record. Let me clarify – not just record, but record at one of the most famous recording studios in the business. The kind of studio where the Beach Boys and John Mayer recorded. You might ask: “how did you get that opportunity Matt?” well, let me tell you that a former friend, roommate and co-worker had struck it rich playing in a very successful band: OneRepublic.
This person decided to help produce a record. We were practicing easily 30 hours per week plus playing about 2 shows per month. That’s a lot of work and commitment for not getting paid a dime! We decided to have a sit down meeting about the recording schedule – since we had to fly/drive to Los Angeles and pay for our own room and board. At this meeting I was told that a session drummer would be playing my part - WHAT! Oh not just that, I was supposed to come along as a cheerleader. So let me get this straight, I am not recording, but just taking a vacation with 4 pothead kids who live with their parents and work at grocery stores. That seems worth the $1,000+ to me. (did I mention the credit card – oh yeah, I did) Assholes. Needless to say they wanted me to quit the band but were too pussy to actually let me know like adults. Oh well, with my luck we will see them on Saturday Night Live next week on “What Up With That?”.
I sold the drums, cymbals, stands, cases, sticks, everything for $2,000 (assuming $5,000+ brand new).
Which leads me to my next set of shenanigans from 2009.
As many of you already know I am re-restoring my 1972 VW Beetle standard. Due to a hasty novice restoration, hard driving and a Maaco paint job I had discovered too much rust on the heater channels and rear quarter panels to let go. I took the car up to Longmont in December 2007 to a “VW Specialist” in Longmont, CO. It was going to be a ‘spare time’, fill-in work for the shop and for the extended time schedule I would be getting the repairs for a discount. (I had gotten estimates for $7,500-$14,000 to restore a car that was $2,000 new from the dealer in 1972) I told the guy that I wanted a daily driver. I needed to mitigate all of the rust and repair a broken Bakelite heater piece that was near impossible to access without lifting the body off of the chassis. He told me that I showered too much love and sentimental value on the car and that I should just take it back to Maaco and drive the car. Asshole. Maaco is what got me into the rusty pickle in the first place. I picked the car up early 2009 (yeah the car was there over 13 months) and the repairs were awful! I think he was learning how to weld on my car. Body panels weren’t lined up properly and welds were not treated with etching primer and/or seam sealer. He took the liberty to remove a portion of my wiring harness and left important bolts loose or missing. He had to cut a new shock absorber off of the front spindle. (I was able to remove the stuck bushing with WD-40 and wiggling.) I saw his booth at a recent car show where he had patched a hole in a late model Beetle with liquid nails and self-drilling, zinc-plated sheet metal screws. I towed the car home and began fixing the new set of problems that he had installed on my beloved Phyllis. Now thanks to the douchebag band people, my car is at a reputable body shop that has gone above and beyond to help repair all of the cosmetic things that I am unable. With my luck, the body shop will burn down with my car inside.
Other winners of 2009:
-Getting 7 fillings in one day – 4 had to be repaired
-Horrible permanent joint pain from playing the drums – Like Van Gogh, I want to cut my hand off.
-Ongoing adult acne
-My parents thinking that I go to a community college and thinking that I will be a Mechanical Engineer…WTF?
-Un-sellable PT Cruiser due to 2 accidents
-Dropping my knoedel at Oktoberfest
-Dumb renters trashing the $2,500 wood floor that my wife and I laid by hand.
-My sister getting a 2nd college degree before I got my 1st college degree.
-Woody’s closing down
-Crazy dramatic neighbors who can’t control their kids.
-My wife getting laid-off 2 weeks after I quit my job.
-Getting in the middle of a riot at a rap show where DMX didn’t show up.
I figured out why the grass is always greener - because it is covered in toxic manure and chemicals. It looks better but when you get there, you are worse off than where you started.
So here we are at the end of November 2009. Sure a couple of good things have happened. I am finally graduating, which is pretty scary. My birthday was pretty fun, going indoor skydiving, gambling and winning, and going to the Bug-In. Getting a car for nearly free. After all this, will 2010 be better or worse?