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Season's Greetings from the Obamas

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk with their daughters, Malia and Sasha, from the White House to St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. (Aug. 19, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

Hello there, friends.

I'm going to be honest with you: This year has not been great. In fact, it has been a steaming lump of coal.

Still, there were a couple of bright spots.

My plan to get everyone to the doctor for annual check-ups worked out just fine - much better than last year! - even though we had to keep moving our appointments back until about mid-April.

Sasha got a summer job! Oddly, she gave me no credit for the fact that her employer was willing to hire. But if my experience with Congress has taught me anything, it's that it can be hard to reason with an irate teen.

I've been trying to keep busy with projects at home.

I thought I had finally cleaned out the White House garage. My predecessor George W. Bush does great work with those paintings of his, but the man did not know how to keep out of messes. The way he left the garage was disgusting. I thought I'd finally withdrawn all the files, shut the garage door and everything. That felt good, getting something clean and organized - one less mess for the next guy or gal.

But then I kept hearing a weird thumping noise coming from inside. For a while I ignored it, even though Hillary, who had some experience with these things, told me that was a bad idea. Finally, after several journalists went into the garage and did not return, I had to open it up. The whole place was being terrorized by a very angry opossum and looked almost worse than it had when Bush left. I still have not subdued that opossum, but I've sent 3,000 troops in.

Now people are acting like it's my mess, because I made such a big deal about cleaning it up the last time. Look, I'm not my predecessor. Dick Cheney set out all these creepy-looking mousetraps and rectal feeders, but I'm not comfortable doing that, even though he keeps calling me to insist that this is the best and only way.

Meanwhile, Malia turned 16 and is learning to drive. She asked what to do if she ever got pulled over by a cop, and I reassured her that the American system of justice is fair and that she would be safe in the hands of law enforcement. I'm not sure that she really bought it. Or that anyone else did, for that matter.

Malia has had to deal with some disappointments of her own. She ran for class president this year, but her campaign really struggled because she was affiliated with me. She tried to distance herself, even going so far as to say "Nah" when I tried to introduce her to a turkey, but it wasn't enough. She lost, all her friends also lost, and we are going to spend the next two years dealing with a hostile student government full of meanies and weirdos. In bow ties.

Other things Malia and Sasha have done well this year (besides standing respectfully behind me in appropriate attire while I pardoned a turkey): They haven't written memoirs, and they have not called American voters "stupid." I'm trying to think of other good things. Oh, I know! Thanks to how vigilant the Secret Service was about letting strange people get into the White House, Bo and Sunny were able to make some new friends.

No, never mind, that wasn't good.

Bo hasn't been on his best behavior lately. We were trying to reset our relationship, and I thought he understood boundaries. Then one afternoon I came home and he was on the couch, chewing his way through the cushions and leaving devastation in his wake. That was no way to behave, I told him. He refused to move. I rolled up a newspaper and made a loud noise with it, but he still didn't move. He clearly thinks that the couch is his territory now. I've tried yelling, crossing my arms and squirting him with a spray bottle, but nothing has worked. Now I'm inflating his favorite squeeze toy until it's worthless - that should get his attention! Michelle is still great. She has also not written a memoir.

And now, it is almost 2015, which means that January 2017 is just under 750 days away and we will finally get a break from all this. Not a second too soon, in my opinion. I can imagine a nice vacation, somewhere sunny - maybe to an island just south of Florida.

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