For old time’s sake, I returned to the frigid laundry closet today to scratch out my very own “happy birthday” message to my dearly beloved office transformation. Frigid because the outside air temp is above 75 degrees, so the monster of an A/C is creating ice cycles in my afternoon coffee, and I’m buttoned to the neck in an L.L.Bean fleece.  New A/C by the way, since the old furnace took the dirt nap the week between Christmas and New Year. (Read: a not-so-nice hit to the checking account post-Xmas in a pandemic.) Who hasn’t fallen for the “buy both at the same time” routine???

So one year ago today, GBQ’s marketing department figured it was time to rejuvenate the GBQueue blog, serving as proof that accountants can be funny too; some of Bob Stillman’s finest work.  The only problem was that we didn’t have a blogger, a medium, or even any content.  With more to say than most people would care to listen to, I raised my hand and took the reins with potentially the best piece of advice I’ve ever received at GBQ courtesy of Rich Lundy, “if you can’t make fun of yourself, then we don’t want you around these parts.”

I’m paraphrasing, clearly, and for those of you that know better, the original quote likely included something more colorful than that.  Furthermore, the context at the time was surrounding the skits that our Annual Firm Meeting Fun Committee stirs up coming out of busy season in which we attack the usual punching bags – accountants, nerds, Tim Schlotterer’s sock line, etc.  You know, the usual suspected easy targets…also another chapter of Bobby Stills’ finer moments in sketch comedy.  If you remember the pseudo-CPA firm Force Powers & Payne, please give me a shoutout!

And yes, I’ve been in the office, and wow is it a blessing.  In fact, just this week, all vaccinated individuals removed their masks in our office space.  That in itself was interesting since Jeffrey Brown is rocking a pretty grey goatee, and Mike Kozlowski is actually getting better looking with age!  Although, certainly no smarter since he makes it a point to tell me North Carolina’s greatest basketball coach just retired this spring.  While I do genuinely appreciate Roy as a coach, recruiter and father figure to many of his players, Koz knows how I feel about Old Man River’s in-game decisions. Koz also knows deep down that Dean Smith will forever be the greatest college basketball coach of all time.

Anyway, the office isn’t back in full swing yet, whether that’s because the weather is amazing, some people are still choosing to play it safe, or because 90% of the tax folks are taking their first hours of PTO coming out of 18 months of pure bliss.  It will get there soon though… crowds are coming back and restaurants in the Arena District just today were poppin’.  If we only had something locally to root for in May it would make a world of difference.  I can’t take any more people losing sleep over the Crew vs. SC fiasco that apparently crippled Columbus for four days last week.  If the Haslems could get the Browns D to be just as effective at disrupting life, I’d believe the hype this time around and root for a deep playoff run seven months from now.

So, where do we go from here?  Well, tonight after another 8U baseball game, I’m likely lighting the SoloStove and procuring a few post-games snacks, but this time with a birthday candle, maybe stuffed inside a large Donatos pizza.  Yes, please expect the usual off-topic chatter to continue, potentially a worthwhile topic sprinkled in, and since I promised something legit and related to my everyday job, I’ll eventually vet those opportunities out as well.

Here’s to you, laundry closet!  We don’t see each other as much as we used to, at least intentionally, but you did your job, and even when I can’t feel my toes, the fond memories will always persist, particularly the row of hockey jerseys hanging from hooks on the wall behind me that always served as fantastic icebreakers on any Zoom meeting.

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