New Year’s Eve and the IRS

In 1997, I ushered in New Years in Washington, DC.  I remember it well.  I have a photo of Lisa, me and the two other friends who joined us on that trip.

Lisa was pregnant with DJ but rallied for a long night that concluded with a 2 AM Metro ride Metro back to our hotel.  On our walk to our stop, my bladder was about to burst.  I had few options walking down Pennsylvania Avenue in the wee hours of the night but noticed a couple of trees ahead of me in front of a large white limestone building.   As I pondered my choices, I took full advantage.   As I walked up to the elm, I noticed the words cut into the cornerstone of the French Renaissance facade: Internal Revenue Service.

Yes, at 2 in the morning on January 1, 1997, I tinkled on the IRS.

I got no issues with our government or paying my fair share of taxes, but I will have to say there was something very rewarding about that act.

In December, my high school senior, DJ Tanner, asked if she could go to DC for New Year’s Eve with a friend.   I wasn’t excited about the two of them driving up there alone, but they were staying with the other girl’s extended family.  And frankly, I would much rather her be up there happy, than with the rest of the family miserable.

I gave her the dad speech:

  • Be responsible
  • Be aware and safe
  • Don’t spend too much money
  • Don’t pee on any governmental facilities

-all the normal things a parent worries about.

With some prying, I got a decent summary of the trip when she returned home on New Year’s afternoon.  DJ, who has a knack for knocking out some pretty neat videos, took the photos from their adventure and tossed together his short film:

I love social media when used to give me a glimpse into my kids’ lives.  I also love that there are no photos of the IRS building in this montage.


Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?


Should old acquaintance be forgot?

That sounds like a dumb question to me.  I’d think for the most part, old acquaintance should not be forgot – but should be remembered as long as the neurons can charge correctly.

And, I do recall some fairly fun ring-ins of the new year.

There was the time we went to the Peach Bowl to see NC State play – that was a very long time ago.  After the game we went to Underground Atlanta.  About 2 AM, a couple of friends and I were headed back to our hotel room.  As we were walking down the street, a squirrelly looking dude ran up to one of the women in our group and stuck his tongue in her ear.

“Happy New Year baby…”

I don’t remember what happened next because I lay on the ground guffawing.

Licking someone you’ve never met in their inner ear is, in my opinion, an unusual way to express one’s excitement for the prospects of the new year.  For the most part, I prefer to keep strangers tongues out of my ears (there may be a few exceptions).  I think my friend did too.

In 1996, the year Lisa was pregnant with DJ, we went with two friends to DC.  At 11:30, Lisa was about to pass out she was so hungry.  We headed to the front of the line at the Hardrock Café.

“My wife is pregnant and hungry,” I explained to the bouncer at the door.  “I’ve been watching her over the past few months.  You really don’t want to get between her and food.  It could get ugly.”

She was wearing an oversized blouse and had to hold it close to her stomach for him to believe us.  Once he saw her pouch, he escorted her in as if she was going to have the baby on the sidewalk at that very moment.  A pregnant woman can move folks to action; wish I had one with me all the time.

Nah. No I don’t.

One girlfriend tripped on New Year’s Eve and fell into an automobile with the loudest alarm you’ve ever heard in your life.  We ran for fear we’d get arrested.

Another time a homeless man approached our car and began washing our windshield.  When I didn’t tip him, he flipped me off.

There are other adventures I should probably not share, but I do enjoy the memories.

I used to think that New Year’s Eve had to be accompanied by loudness.  And I wouldn’t trade anything for the memories of those fun, wild nights.  But now I’m fairly content to spend the evening with my kids or a small group of family or friends at home – clear of the excesses of my younger days.

This year we celebrate at the beach with one other family.  Quiet.  Talking and sharing of old acquaintances we have no question we want not to forget.

Sunday Post 105: Happy New Year

We went to the NC State/Vanderbilt bowl game in Nashville for the New Year’s weekend.  Take the outcome of the game out of the picture, and it was a really nice jaunt.

I’ve never really loved New Year’s Eve.  I think in middle and high school I usually spent the night with my parents and other family friends who had kids my age.  In college we spent multiple years following the Wolfpack around to bowl games in the southeast.  Once we were in Atlanta and a girl friend and I were walking down the street.  A homeless looking guy walked up to her and shoved his tongue in her ear.  I’ll never forget the look on her face.  It was one of the highlights of my life.

Although Lisa and I enjoyed having plans on New Year’s Eve, it wasnt that important to us.  We could grab dinner somewhere at 8 and be home snuggled in bed at 10 watching Dick Clark.  Now they’re both gone.

Like Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve screams in the face of those who don’t have a mate, or at a minimum a date.  Mother’s and Father’s Day is like that for those who don’t have kids.  That’s whats supposed to happen:  at 25 you get married, at 28 you have a kid.  And then they grow up and produce your grandchildren and you live until you’re 94 and don’t know your daughter from the nurse technician who changes your diaper and gives you a bath.

But that’s often not how it works.  It’s more likely that you’ll divorce, or you kid will struggle with alcohol or drugs or that you can’t have kids of your own.  And it’s likely, at some point in your lifer, that you’ll find yourself alone – or at least at a place you never dreamed you’d be.  It’s my turn now.  I’ll take one for the team.

Don’t get me wrong, my New Year’s Eve wasn’t bad.  I was with my kids and two other great families when Ryan Secrest ushered it in.  It was when I got back home – that’s when it felt a bit hollow.  The kids went upstairs, we needed some space after a nine hour car drive.  I glanced at our drooping Christmas tree.  It looked like it felt about like I did that night – tired and a bit lifeless.

Happy (Chinese) New Year!


I like thinking about which of Lisa’s traits will show up in which of her three daughters. Stephanie has her sense of do-good and the ability to be instantly hypnotized by a television. Michelle loves to laugh and make other people laugh.

And DJ, I am almost certain, will be a slave to tradition, just like her mother. She will one day host the whole family for Christmas Eve dinner, and she will spend the entire afternoon cursing the Christmas cookies. It is her destiny.

I know this because she already favors the customary, especially in this, her 8th grade and final year at St. Timothy’s. The most excited she got during Cross Country season was making sure the team dyed their hair and painted their faces for the final race, as had become the tradition. She takes great delight in participating (and being active in) annual events like the Homecoming pep rally, game, and dance. If her high school classmates are wise (or happen to know anything about her mother) they will go ahead and put her in charge of reunions for life when they’re all in 9th grade together next year.

She even has habitual things she likes to say when we’re driving around parts of Raleigh (often times it is a repeat of her first misperception of whatever the locale is). She’ll even declare that she has started a new tradition: “I used to think that building was a McDonald’s. I think I’m going to say ‘I thought that was a McDonald’s as a kid’ every time we drive by there from now on.”

And she has.

It was really no surprise to hear that after last Friday night’s dance she and Kimmy Gibbler were going by Red Dragon (our local chinese place) for dinner–it’s one of DJ’s favorite restaurants. But she seemed so adamant about going there, and making it before the restaurant closed, that I was curious as to why it was such a big deal.

I should have known: DJ and Kimmy had started a tradition of hanging out on New Year’s Eve a few years back. This year the Tanner family enjoyed some beach time with some of DJ’s other friends’ families for the New Year weekend. They had a good time, of course, but she was sad to break her tradition of hanging out with Kimmy.

The solution? The post-dance trip to Red Dragon was really a celebration of the Chinese New Year (which began officially, I read, on Thursday), and the pair had a sleepover that night. Tradition saved. Clever kids.

Oh, and FYI I discovered that, as suspected, Michelle and I are cosmically destined to be similar. We are both Horses under the Chinese zodiac. I also discovered that Horses were very compatible with Dogs, which is what Lisa was. I don’t know if she liked being a “Dog” but the description was pretty fitting: “In their career and love, they are faithful, courageous, dexterous, smart and warm-hearted.”

Snow Day!

Posted by Uncle Jesse

Not only did we get a snow ice day from school yesterday, it came in the best way (for kids): going to sleep thinking school was still on but with a delay, and waking up to discover there’s NO SCHOOL!

For parents? Not exactly a day off, especially if you e-commute and were planning on getting ahead on some writing that’s due Wednesday when you know you’re going to have the girls all by yourself. But what are you going to do? Website editors are more understanding than bored kids, and, secretly (ok, OPENLY) I love the Michael Jackson Wii game. After today I plan on practicing my moves when the kids are at school and dogging them next time we play. What can I say? I play to win. After all, “no one wants to be defeated”

Here’s how the Tanner family spent the Ice Day:

Everybody piled into Dad’s bed

Beds: not just for sleeping


Beach Trip: Welcome to 2011

Posted by Danny

Happy New Year from DJ and the Kimmy Gibbler Experience

At the beach for New Year’s Eve with four other families, 17 in all.  Are these new things for family vacations or have I just been oblivious for the past 16 years?

  1. Four people in my family, 16 towels used in three days.
  2. A 13 year old’s bra in the toilet.
  3. Sunny Delight bottles EVERYWHERE!  Seriously, everywhere.
  4. My kid is on Facebook at 1 am???
  5. Sand – from the beach to my boxer shorts – how did that happen?  Seriously, who has been wiping their dirty feet in my suitcase?
  6. Not one moment when a child is not hungry.
  7. A dishwasher immediately adjacent to the sink – and yet no one under the age of 45 seems to know how to put anything in it.
  8. Not one moment when a child is not thirsty. 
  9. Teenagers not speaking to their parents when other teenagers are in sight.

10. Reproducing clothing?  We didn’t purchase anything, why won’t it fit back in the suitcase?

Hungry or thirsty--which one are you?

Happy New Year! Party time.

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