RETROSPECTICUS: a looking back with fond whimsy at the year 2015

Gather round, my Hillians. Cup a cup of cocoa in both of your hands. No, both of them. Like I said. Make sure the marshmallows float lazily. Poke them if they don’t. Sit near a window. If there’s snow outside, gaze at in comfortable superiority. Get toasty. Get homey in the most First-World, Midwestern way possible. Because I’m about to squeeze out one of those annual holiday letters that recounts the year we just endured, replete with the past family tediums that no one asked to read about. Yeah, you know them–those narcissistic letters that are impossible to read because your eyes keep rolling. Those ones. They’re always written in the 3rd person even though you know exactly who wrote them. The one crazed person who desperately wants to project THE PERFECT LIFE, reflecting on the year in fraudulently positive ways as their personal demons close in and the wine glass empties.  These letters usually accompany a professionally shot family photo that would have been just fine all on its own. Jill never lets me send out these letters. GODDAMN I hate these letters. So here’s ours.

2015 was filled with challenges and triumphs, awards not won and trips not taken, new enemies made and old friends neglected.

Here are some highlights!

No babies dropped from Jill’s body because Jeff got a vasectomy in February! After a lot of griping and whining and procrastinating that he called “planning,” Jeff finally went in and paid someone to cut his man parts good. Sorry, grandmas, no more unschooled grandkids. Jeff is completely impotent! His semen contains no sperm!

In April, Jeff decided to grow a beard. We think he looks so different!

In June, Jeff went to BlogU. The kids were terribly sad to see him go and they cried as he left for the airport. They even clawed at his unmanly legs. But WOW, what an experience! It was a conference full of bloggers and friends and Jeff was nervous at first because he has persistent anxiety issues, but he soon came around and had a fun time connecting and chatting and using his drink tickets. #RefreshYourFunny Jeff! During the numerous sessions, he learned that he should care about things like reach and tribe and writing quality content that people will actually want to fucking read. SEO, people! Julie went with him and she learned a lot about Pinterest and being a virtual assistant. VAJ: that stands for Virtual Assistant Julie. We’ll get those cards printed someday, VAJ! Jeff submitted four posts to be considered for Term Paper of the Year in four different categories. Unfortunately, none of his posts were any good. AWWW. That’s OK, Jeff! You’ll get them next year, tiger baby muffin ! Woo hoo!

In August, Jeff went to see Motley Crue in concert. How retro and quaint!

In November, we all went to North Carolina for a family trip to visit the one sister who moved away years ago. About two decades ago. They built a house there without ever looking back. It was great reconnecting and watching the cousins play. They found a wheel bug! If a wheel bug bites you, it can hurt for over a month! YOWZERS! Unfortunately, hurricane Joaquim was also in town. So we couldn’t do all the outside stuff we had planned, but we still had artisan coffee!

Jill discovered her inner projectionist this year and decided to buy every projector that Amazon sells. But don’t worry, she sent back all the reasonably-priced ones. So now the kids can watch all their favorite YouTubers on the wall in the dining room as we dine on take-out! Sushi Thaime anyone? We even showed a holiday movie once. Right up there on the wall! Whatever was on Netflix. I don’t remember!

Speaking of Netflix, Jill found John Mulaney on there one night. Oh, how her eyes lit up when John Mulaney appeared! John Mulaney is a fresh-faced young comedian whose every word elicits good feelings. Jeff thought he was just okay. To say that Jill merely watched his two standup specials back-to-back is a gross understatement. She consumed them, her eyes never leaving the screen, her lips never dropping a grin, even as she took the occasional sip from her wine glass and exclaimed, “He is soooooo good! And funny!” Of course, she texted Julie immediately, while John was filling her screen, telling Julie all about him. And Julie texted back something about The Flash on Netflix. Seems like Netflix has a lot to offer lately! Look out, Jeff, you got some competition for Jill’s funny bone!

More recently, Jill took the kids to see Star Wars the Force Awakens. Later, she said her favorite parts were the ones she got to watch.

Anyway, that was our year! The laughs were plenty because we absolutely needed them! We really really did. In fact, we could use some more! Holy shit, do you have any? Seriously, if you have any laughs just send them along. Put them in a box or padded envelope and send them to “Jeff and Jill Need Some Laughs” and tie that parcel to a carrier pigeon and slap that pigeon’s ass and send that pigeon flying. I’m sure it’ll get here. Hopefully, it’ll get here in time!

Hope is a four-letter word that begins with H!

We can’t wait to see what shenanigans await in 2016.

Happy New Year!

Make it a sweet ’16!



  1. Excellent use of exclamation points. It’s obvious that Jill wrote this, which is really cool since we don’t get to hear from her very often. How come only Jeff is in the professional family photo, with nary a sign of fond whimsy in his expression?

    I’m glad you all had such an awesome year and look forward to connecting even more in 2016!

    • jeffandjill

      12/31/2015 at 12:17 pm

      HA! Yes, this was the time to exclaim. And I shouldn’t reveal the writer of this post. So I won’t. Once a post is published, it no longer belongs to the author. It belongs to the reader. Find whatever fun is there for you and take whatever lessons you can.

      As a reader, my favorite line in here is “Hope is a four-letter word that begins with H!”

      Have a NEW YEAR.
      (and make it a great one!)

      • Oooooh! I’ve never owned a post before, just comments. Thank you!

        What is the Term Paper of the Year? I’ve never heard of it, but I still don’t get why your submissions weren’t accepted. But you’re right—it *is* OK and you will get ’em next year, tiger baby muffin! If the people reviewing submissions have any taste and/or the right sense of humor, that is.

        • jeffandjill

          01/04/2016 at 10:09 am

          The Term Paper of the Year was a contest at BlogU. They had four categories. Something like: humorous, creative, profound, and whatever. And bloggers were invited to share one piece for each of those categories as long as the piece had been published within the last year. The winners all got to read theirs aloud at a pep rally and they received cash prizes and Huffing Post ran their posts, giving each blogger tremendous exposure. The ones that were selected were amazing. So I can’t begrudge them those selections.

  2. You always look so wistful in your pictures.

    My mom actually sends out those damn letters. In this year’s my mom announced that I got divorced. Of course I actually got divorced two years ago (after a multi-year separation). When I tried to point that out, my mom said “yes, but I haven’t told anyone yet”. Thanks mom.

    Of course that may be better than my brother, who got two lines “Alan continues with his handy-man gig (hes a contractor and he’s 55. Little more than a gig) and will come visit Da for his birthday in March. My brother wasn’t aware he was visiting them in March.

    So there’s that.

    • jeffandjill

      12/31/2015 at 4:14 pm

      I’ve heard about passive aggressive parenting but I’ve never experienced it. My mom just wanted me to be happy. My dad just wanted me to not blow up the house. I was able to accomplish one of those things. But I’m not dead yet, so I could still fail.

      It sounds horrible to be confronted with that. Sorry!

      And I think I look more clueless than wistful.

      • Fortunately, my dad always wanted me to be happy (and still does). That kept me going through a lot. And I became a psychologist to figure out how to deal with my mother. So there’s that.

        Definitely wistful.

      • I didn’t know you blew up your house. What was that like?

        • jeffandjill

          02/04/2016 at 2:26 pm

          SO FAR I’ve haven’t blown up my house. SO FAR.

          I was saying that my mom wanted me to be happy and my dad wanted me to not blow up the house. So far, I’ve accomplished one of those things: namely, not blowing up the house.

          I failed at being happy.

          But there’s still time. I could blow up the house and therefore be a complete failure.

  3. Haha!!! Your mom sounds like a good Holiday Letter writer. Those things gripe me so hard!!

  4. I have always believed we are born with a set number of exclamation points and when we use them up, it’s curtains. I’m hopeful that my reading a single document with so many exclamation points doesn’t take a similar toll. If so, it was a fun enough way to use them up.

    Christmas will find other ways to kill me, I’m sure.

    I send out a holiday letter. It usually includes pictures of crap my kids have smashed. This year that was a 1999 Pontiac Sunfire. Good times.


    • jeffandjill

      12/31/2015 at 4:20 pm

      I needed to drink a few beers after all that exclaiming and I’m still not back to normal. My normal.

      Jill never lets me send out one to just the family. I wrote one once that would have pissed off her side of the family tremendously. Because I like to watch the world burn apparently.

      And who hasn’t wanted to smash a Sunfire. I’m always resisting the urge to knock them off the side of the road.

      Seriously, I hope everyone’s ok.


  5. Beautifully written. You go boy!

    • jeffandjill

      01/04/2016 at 9:55 am

      Thank you. Don’t know if I’d use the phrase “Beautifully written” to describe this particular post, though. I realize it’s subjective and you’re completely entitled to your opinion and I will accept any and all compliments, BUT I think a more fitting description would be “ham-fisted.” What with all the exclamation points and what-not.

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