like a bullet leaves a gun,

she leaves Shitstorm 2007.

Who am i kidding? I loved 2007. Maybe it’s the bottle of sweet Riesling talking, but I would be a completely different gal if it hadn’t been for the pitfalls in every juicy month of Shitstorm 2007. And by ‘completely different,’ i mean ‘not totally crazy,’ of course.

Anyway, 2007 made a name for itself. It’s not every year that earn its own blog tag.


January was mild, in every sense of the word. Coming off the high of 2006, I entered the month aimlessly, blogging about current events, unaware of the hell that awaited.

icon1.jpgBelieve it or not, CM Media still included all-star names like Brittiny Dunlap and Holly Fenner. Remember Angie Schmitt and the Estrogen Circle? Those were the days. Up-and-coming CM Media shooting star Pdawg  was born, threatening to trump my readership after one day of existence, but fortunately, no one ever heard from him again.

As an Upper Arlington reporter, I cursed the man who introduced the toughest sexual predator regulations in the nation.

I noted early in the month that ‘there was only one thing I wanted to remember a year from now,’ so I will honor my then-wishes: Weighing in just over 12 pounds, Baby Owen is a dynamite snuggler.


The month began with Baby’s First TOP article. Second-hand positive feedback from Dan Williamson made me ‘pee a little.’ After that, February took a turn for the worse for almost everyone involved.

Angie left for Youngstown. Pdawg resigned. Brittiny went to the dark side. Richard Dreyfus sprained his back and cancelled our interview. Our piggy went to market. Our damn hedgehog went … somewhere. I forget. Blog details are too cryptic to understand now, but in the third and final part of my ongoing series, Slaughtering a Pig: The least of my transgressions, it seems that I, playing the part of a ’12-year-old Leukemia patient,’ may have made a fool of myself at a bar in Clintonville.

For Lent, in the back of Angie’s car, I read a few passages of scripture in Silent No More and made fun of Rod Parsley. I decided then that for 40 days, I would give up Jesus. Seven days later, and about twenty minutes into my mother’s 47th birthday dinner, my sister’s brain started to bleed.


There are doctors with fancy watches who move in and out of the hospital room. We shave her legs and hide her stool softener pills in our coat pockets. It is evening, and I walk into a dark room and she is all alone, sitting up in her hospital bed. Through a curtain, I can see the shadow of a nurse, who works with an 80-year-old stroke victim in the next room. My little sister is listening in on the lesson, practicing her exercises. I watch as she concentrates to move her left arm. We get to the ”raise your left hand” part, and she sees me watching her. She tells me to “shhh” as the nurse speaks. She is not yet satisfied with the accuracy of her left-pointer-finger-to-the-nose trick.

To this day, I’m not sure Amanda knows how much she is loved. Or how lucky she is to be alive, walking, breathing, talking. Did you forget? The Johnsons are a simultaneously cold and an incredibly protective breed. “We’ll get her some bright green tennis balls to shove on the back and she’ll be set,” my father says upon her release from the hospital, ‘Robo-walker’ in hand.



It is the coldest April on record. The heating ducts are not in their proper place. To get to the second floor of our home, we must climb a ladder and launch ourselves over a dangerous chasm. Maybel is skeptical. Water backs up into the basement.

As we work to fix these problems, we learn that we didn’t pay enough taxes, and Uncle Sam needs $2,100.  Seth and I decide we really wouldn’t get along again until autumn. A trip to Cincinnati with the girls provides relief — and at least one accidental band photo.

 Grandpa passes out in the yard and is life-flighted to Riverside. At 12:24 a.m. on a Tuesday, Katie, Khalilia and I are watching Scrubs at work.  After a 17-hour day, I had yet to turn in my freelance work that had technically been due on Friday, so I gave up and slept in john hulkenberg’s office.

 The Gerish claims he can eat six crackers in one minute, and we get a memo with something about ‘Community Newspapers of the United States of America.’

Everyone tunes in to find out what happens next:


* Winner: Shittiest month of Shitstorm 2007, Winner: Month with highest number of natural and non-military disasters



There was a brief eye in Shitstorm 2007 when a man named joe meyer took a chance on a little girl from Washington Court House, promoting me to commentary editor when billy ‘the kid’ melville decided it was best to jump the sinking ship and head to NashVegas.

Four hours after taking the reigns, they decided to axe my position. The following day, again thanks to joe ‘why did i spend all my chips on this girl?’ meyer, the position was re-instated. In the next 48 hours or so, I would be re-demoted and re-promoted. The tech guy had to change my phone line four times. (See:Brown Friday, July 2007 to see how that worked out for me.) The whole thing was terribly hilarious.

We spent a relaxing weekend with the in-laws in Hocking Hills. Jacob almost touched a baby deer.

At home, Seth broke his toe, or rather, the lumber monkey at Lowe’s smashed it, and he decided to drill a hole in the nail to relieve the pressure. But it was worth it. We made floors and stairs!



Things had began to even out here until grandpa died.

We planted a huge garden. I ran a 10K. Amanda and I made an exciting trip to the airport to retrieve the Hyundai. I published my 500th blog, and celebrated, appropriately, alone in the dark on the kitchen floor with a half-jug of cheap sangria.

My new job meant no night meetings, so Seth and I began talking to each other again. Lots of really good fights ensued, including one that left me crying in Mongolian BBQ. I realize that marriage, at times, requires work. Then a guy yelled at me for throwing an onion out my car window, and gramps took a turn for the worse.

At the end of the month, after putting in 88 hard years on the planet, we lost The Maker of Bull Piss. His funeral was really hard, but was perfect for a patriarch. At this point, everyone was exhausted. I called for a ban on human emotion. I don’t believe in ghosts, but I don’t doubt that Grandpa is somehow responsible for a spirit of peace that finished out the summer.


In the car, among many topics discussed, I attempted to bury the tragedies of 2007 with a big sigh of relief and said something along the lines of:
l-jo: It’s been a rough six months and I’m really worn out but I have this weird feeling things might be looking up.
steter: you crazy woman and your emotions
l-jo: ?
steter: let’s get a horse and buggy so we can ride it into the farmer’s market.
l-jo: did you just call me crazy for saying i was sad about my dead grandpa and then suggest we purchase a horse and buggy to ride around Mount Vernon?
steter: that sounds like something you’d put up about me on your blog.

icon1.jpgA few days later, on a Thursday (Black Thursday, to be precise), the new company fired every single person one who sat around me. There were many tears and unfortunate casualties. The following day, my new editor friends and I were huddled into a room and half-demoted. Motivational Rapes were instituted by the new ownership. We struggled identifying our new titles over beers at Winking Lizard. Repeditors. Ediporters. Mambo Kings. Nothing seemed to fit. They also locked the supply closet. Hilarious.

We adopted the mantra “Enjoy today, because you have no idea how shitty things are about to become tomorrow.”

Bucking the trend of suckiness, Baby Melia entered the world under the wire. Contrary to myth and legend, we learn that Teter boys DO make girl sperms.

In a move I still sort of regret, becomes the new Several readers have yet to change their bookmarks. 

** Winner: Month with maybe the only good thing to come out of Shitstorm 2007 (It’s my first niece, Melia, stupid.)



Happy Third Wedding Anniversary! (You Have Rabies!)


It wasn’t that kind of bat attack.

After cutting a hole in the roof, our sleep was interrupted several nights by familiar winged creatures. The trend would continue in the House of Nightmares, as I turned 25 years old, and everybody came out to Bangs to celebrate/let off some steam. It was the second best day of my life. Seth took me to Cedar Point. It was the first best day of my life. 

Jessm had a clambake, where I saw Loya the Destroyer, and Name Without a Face got at FACE!

There was a pivotal moment in my marriage, which I will forever hold in my heart, because it’s too sacred to share on the blog. To this day, Seth and I remain close friends. 

Noblit left for ThisWeek. WTF?

***Winner: Most Awesome Month Ever, Winner: Only month with its own YouTube broadcast.



We tore out some more floors and rebuilt them. We tore out some more electricity and rewired everything. We discovered that a huge, important beam had long ago been destroyed by wood-boring insects. We fixed every problem with little additional cost and several hours of manual labor. We canned vegetables we grew. We prepared lots of delicious dinners and pies from scratch. There was lots of armpit chaffing as I prepared for a half marathon. Tom Waits played through it all.

The launch of our newspaper’s new Web site left many of us suffering from Giant Head and/or Senior Pirate syndrome. I made animal rights activists very angry.

Blog readerships suffers because my life on the farm becomes uninteresting, and will remain uninteresting for several years.


 Talya and I win the Chicago Marathon. Father and I win the Dead Celebrity 5K. Kate, Patricia and I win the Columbus Half Marathon.

Colleen and I spend several glorious weekends together, but we haven’t spoken since.

 Seth turns 26 and cuts off part of his thumb on the table saw. He was making cradles for blind premature infant orphans with cancer — not shims. That would be too boring.

I struggle with my job and end up crying in a grown man’s office.

November Quotables

“Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god!”

-Angie Schmitt, upon discovering the huge, unidentifiable Bug of War on Brittney’s back at the Olive Garden

“I cannot believe he just left,”

-theteet to Jaydubs, the night our boss got us drunk, stole our records and abandoned us at a seedy bar in Columbus.

“There is no place else I’d rather be than right here listening to this conversation,” 

-Eric Lyttle, upon witnessing me come clean to Dan Williamson

“I’m just looking for a notebook,”

- The Gerish, when asked by our group publisher and/or president and CEO why he was rummaging through his office.

“It’s so I can hear her thoughts,”

-Seth explaining why he and Maybel were wearing matching foil hats.

“You’re lucky you don’t have it as bad as I did during election season,”

-Bill Melville, moments before his untimely death at the hands of theteet. 

“I love Bill Melville,”

-theteet, when she received her free guest column later that month.

icon1.jpg“You are, no doubt, the biggest pain in the butt per pound in the office,”

-my boss at some point.

“One million dollars per day,”

-Nikki Bornhorst, describing her weekly salary at her new job.

“Do you need heeeeeeelp?,”

-Lindsey Todd, in the World’s Worst Old Lady Taunt.


-drunken gal sitting behind us as the Browns game during defensive drives.


-drunken gal sitting behind us at the Browns game during offensive drives


is still shaking itself out, but early estimates indicate I spent the entire month being angry about Ben Marrison.

It seems that a home construction project went awry, and there was some drama and at least one mass exodus of employees at work, I threatened to stab my eyes out in one post … the usual. 

A holiday party with light sexual harassment. Hope for new beginnings. Vacation. Christmas. Torture. College friends. Worms. Carharts. aaaaaaannnnd, we’re back. Wow. I can’t believe all 13 of you are still with me. Your $5 is in the mail.

Throughout the year, fortune cookies mocked me, taunting me with messages like,”If you want it, take it,” and “You will be run over by a train,” and “Don’t Panic.” Today, I was told “It’s time to get moving. Your spirits will lift accordingly.” I couldn’t agree more. Please stick around for 2008. I’ll do my best to deliver.

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  • Bill Melville

    How can our near-death experience at the hands of Jim Toms go unmentioned? We did a 360 in the middle of 71 South, and all our driver wanted to do was complain about the roads not being plowed.

  • Angie

    Two things:

    1. I feel like a star.

    2. I’m a little jealous because I can’t remember a damn thing that happened to me in October, or April or May for that matter. In fact, I’m pretty sure I could sum up my year in two sentences. I guess that’s why you have the good blog. Or maybe it’s the other way around.

  • Rogue Agent

    One of the reasons all of us survived Shitstorm 2007 is because we could read your blog during Shitstorm 2007. Many thanks! Your family deserves a better year…

  • Dennis

    Sweet, now I don’t have to do a year in review.

    For those curious about my YIR, just re-read this one, only anything having to do with anything outside of work, replace with, “This month, we pretty much just sat around and watched reality TV.”

  • billiondollarboho

    You’ve inspired me. No one could have summed up Shitstorm 2007 better. I’m glad you didn’t leave out the motivational rapes. Hello 2008.

  • Jaydubs

    I’m a little disappointed that you missed the part about revealing my engagement to The Internets before I had a chance to. It’s one of the top Google results under my name, damn you.

  • Pdawg

    Um. Okay! Sure!

  • theteet

    bill melville and jaydubs have confirmed my worst fear: if i don’t blog about it, it hasn’t happened.

    it’s like when marty mcfly notices that his hand is starting to disappear right in the middle of that Enchantment Under the Sea concert.

    as a side note, all classic moments mentioned here in the comments section will move to my brain for permanent storage, but you better act quickly. thanks friends.

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