So the year that was 2008 is almost over, and I now present Part 1 of the Review of the Year here at WhyNotSmile (Part 2 will be published at the actual end of the year, leaving open the possibility that something interesting will happen between now and then; it will also contain a review of the New Year's Resolutions, which can be viewed here for those who wish to prepare in advance by refreshing their memories - and trust me, the review of the resolutions will be laughable).
As I've said before, at this time of year I get lots of Christmas cards which include a letter listing details of what the sender has been up to for the past 12 months, including photos of new arrivals, weddings etc. Yet again, I have cunningly avoided doing anything of any real interest, but that's not to say there's nothing to report, for in all manner of ways 2008 has been a fairly eventful year.
The year began, as these things tend to, in January, with a 3 week flurry of activity and hard work which came to an abrupt end following a discussion with the boss on the importance of me working 25 hours a day in order to prevent armageddon. This led to 5 weeks off work, and armageddon did not, as far as I can tell, happen, but far be it from me to say 'I told you so'. Anyway, the immediate aftermath of The Discussion was punctuated with my dad installing my shower door, and this was probably the more significant event, not simply because of all the new, interesting words I learned, but also because of the discovery that essentially all DIY projects can be made right with a big tube of squeezy stuff to fill the gaps.
And so into February, which was characterised by not having to go to work, and thereby discovering that a lot more fun was to be had on a week off than I had previously realised. This was when I got invited along to Parent & Toddlers, and discovered that it was an excellent way to spend a Tuesday morning; so much so that I also signed up to help at the Thursday morning creche.
By the time it came to March, I was having so much fun that I didn't really want to go back to work, but of course bills were to be paid, and I returned, building up from 1 hour twice a week to a full 4 days by the end of the month. I did cause slight consternation by choosing to still take the 10 days I'd booked for Easter, despite having already been off, by that stage, for the guts of 7 weeks, but I enjoyed my holiday and didn't feel bad about it at all.
In April I had almost managed to get back to work full-time when my employers decided that they could no longer afford my appearance fee, and I decided I would therefore no longer grace them with my presence. Of course, this also meant the end of free cups of tea, unrestricted internet access, a steady income and (most importantly) the Morning Sing with Alex, but on balance it has worked out not too badly.
May passed in a flurry of vaguely pretending I was going to look for a new job (before I gave up quite openly in June); word got around, of course, that I was free, and so it ended up being quite busy.
June was a significant month, and indeed may well be awarded 'Month of the Year 2008'; all the significant events happened in the week in the middle of the month, when I turned 30, my mum turned 60, and my favourite minister got deported* to Cullybackey. After all this, I decided I needed a rest, and did nothing for about 2 months, apart from growing some carrots.
* Not really.
Nothing much happened until the end of August, when I decided I needed a holiday; being skint and agoraphobic, the destination was quickly decided on, and WhyNotSmile got a Metro Day Ticket and hit the heady sights of Belfast. Photos were taken, postcards were sent, interesting places were visited, and it is fair to say that the loyal readers enjoyed the holiday almost as much as I did.
In September we bought broadband, got slightly nervous about the Large Hadron Collider, and enjoyed the delights of Garden Gourmet, but all in all it was a quiet month, and peaceful. It was also the month in which I began to find gainful employment designing websites, which at least makes me look vaguely employed and stops people asking awkward questions about how the job-search is going.
I don't remember much about October, but given that I seemed to post a lot of blog stuff then, we can assume it wasn't overly productive in any other useful way, although it did present an excellent opportunity to roll our eyes at Richard Dawkins and his Bus Campaign. It was also the month in which we launched the financially-astute Largest Bar of Soap in the World, and if you're not a regular reader, you'll just have to look through the archives or get CrookedShore to explain it to you.
By November the world was crunching around us, but WhyNotSmile was rather smug as she flies below all financial radars and has no assets whch could drop in value. I did get sucked into several pointless internet debates, but declared myself the winner in all of them, which was a timely ego-boost. This was also when Dozavtra moved out, which was sad, but which opened the door for me to buy anything I want from the Kleeneze catalogue without interruption from any sort of voice of reason.
December's peace has been shatterd by the ongoing Seige by kids from the estate, but I'm hopeful that my mother will catch them soon, and then they'll regret it all. It has also seen a range of carol services, in which, thankfully, 'Away In A Manger' has only featured once.
Last year we paid tribute to a number of people who had graced this blog with their antics: Richard Dawkins, the builders and HM Revenue & Customs, to name but three of our favourites; this year, frankly, it's been all about me (although Richard Dawkins has popped in from time to time and will be mentioned again in Part 2); I would, however, like to make mention of those who have left sympathetic comments and generally offered all manner of help as it has been needed.
And thus we look back on the year which suggests that 'Things Can Only Get Better', and we are grateful for the fun that has been extracted from it.