Happy New Year!  Peace out, 2020!  Hated to see you go, but I loved watching you leave.  At the very least, you came through with a white Christmas; I can’t begin to tell you how much my boys and I appreciated that.  For about 24 hours, I completely forgot what a disaster 2020 was and will always be…

Admittedly, heading into the holidays, I was a little reluctant and even a little nervous posting something before the New Year.  As much as I absolutely wanted to, I could not have done so without bringing up the locker room zingers coming from the NW corner of South Carolina ahead of the Sugar Bowl.  I knew, should that game go south for the Buckeyes, that several of my loyal followers would have had a lot to say about Buckeye Nation and our abbreviated schedule coming into play.  But, as the whole world witnessed, Justin Fields is a bad dude, and the two best teams in the country will play each other in next Monday’s National Championship game, and that’s the way it should be.  No Heisman invitation?  Let’s hope that adds a little more fuel to the flame next week as well.

While we’re talking college football, what in the world is going on with the whole state of Michigan?  Tom Herman gets fired before Jim Harbaugh?  Wow, please, someone help me here.  Pistons, so terrible they even cut one of the Ball brothers.  Tigers, I love when they’re terrible.  Sparty, ouch.  Red Wings have been irrelevant for years.  The best news in years…my man Chris Spielman is headed up there to hopefully right the ship at Ford Field.  You will not find anyone who cares more.  I absolutely hope he can help them get it figured out.  It sounds like Barry Sanders may have a hand in it as well.  Matt Stafford has been too good for too long to have nothing to show for it.

Ok, back to reality, I did my best to work as little as possible the last two weeks out of the year.  Many of you may have seen my customized Out of Office message.  I’m tired of the same old canned message many of you use:

”I’ll be returning to the office, blah blah blah, please contact someone else who is also out of the office”.

Come on, you can come up with something better!  Show a little personality for once.  I will say I’ve never not worked for that long in my life, but it felt great.  My wife and I wait all year for Christmas, and sure enough, as soon as it gets here, it’s gone in the blink of an eye.  However, kids headed back to the classroom this week; praise the Lord!

PPP round 2, grab the Tylenol.  For starters, fortunately, not my area of practice.  I can’t even tell you how many Ps there really are.  But my head does spin every time I try to catch up with where we on this nonsense.  Please, it’s 2021 now. Can something start making sense?  Job security for a lot of GBQ’ers tasked with keeping this straight.

A huge firm announcement last week.  Longtime Chief Everything Officer, Bonnie Nijssen has retired from the firm, very much deserved.  That may not be the title on her business card, but ask around, and you will hear zero objections.  They say corporate culture is defined by the work ethic of its leadership team, and you can be sure our culture is a little Darci and a little Bonnie.

So many good stories to tell about Bonnie and the entire firm can agree on that.  The firm made a great tribute video to surprise Bonnie before the end of the year, and just about everyone in the video had a story about the first time they met Bonnie.  I remember mine, frankly about as forgettable as it gets, but she made it memorable. That’s evidently the point, that’s the kind of person Bonnie is.

And while I tell everyone Wade Kozich is the one who essentially guilted me into Pelotonia, Bonnie is the one who motivated me to give the 100-mile route a shot in my second year on GBQ’s team (2011), knowing I was riding a 20-year-old bike without functioning gears.  Bonnie has a story about her first 100-mile ride that none of us can top.  Thanks to her, I think I’ve completed seven more 100-mile rides since then, with a new bike of course.  I also think I was technically the unofficial captain of our team for at least four years.

Lastly, I’ve told Bonnie several times since becoming a parent, that the absolute coolest thing our firm does every year is our very own Christmas visit from Santa (i.e. a role typically filled by Tom Powers, at least once by Chris Mast, and maybe even one or two other fill-ins thrown in there somewhere for various reasons).  Bonnie and her handful of helpers spend so much time and energy making this so much fun for the GBQ families with young children every year (except this year, of course), and those helpers know they have big shoes to fill in keeping that tradition alive.

Best of luck in retirement, Bonnie!  And Go Bucks!

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