Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas to you and yours from me and mine

Can you believe this is the 25th year of the K. Christmas letter? Yes, 25 years of oversharing. How did you get so lucky? As the last of the kids flies the nest, this may be the end of an era in many ways since we old folks aren’t nearly entertaining enough to sustain an entire letter. It’ll be like your very own Christmas mystery: will there still be a letter next year? Who knows? What there likely will still be, annual letter or not, is cracked kitchen tiles. Yes, two years in and there’s still cracked tile. Cracked tiles? Perpetual. Annual letter? Still here this year at least, so for your reading pleasure maybe one last time, the K. 2019 year in review:

January: We really stink at the fostering animals game. Ozzie, the craziest, zoomiest of cats arrived in our house to be fostered. Three days later when the rescue coordinator called to say there had been an application for him, we voted to deny that person and keep him ourselves. The vote was unanimous amongst humans, the lone dissenter being Gatsby.

February: Unlike in previous years, where “indoor” track resulted in a lot of freezing cold polar bear meets, T. actually got to go to the indoor meets this year. He even qualified for states and didn’t finish last. We were happy to be warm and he was happy to be one of the top 18 boys pole vaulters in the state.

March: K. got the worst birthday present ever this year. Cancer. A small, raised mole turned out to be melanoma. Brooding and eating her feelings ensued for the rest of the month.

April: K. took T. on several college visits during spring break this month. It was a complete success (if by success you mean figuring out where he didn’t want to go to school). After they got home, K. had surgery to remove more skin and check to see if the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. They got clean margins and the lymph nodes were negative so barring stepping off a curb and being hit by a bus, she should be around for a long time to irritate the whole family. This month, T. won The Dick. Yes, this is what the boys call the all-boys Dick Williams Track Invitational. God bless seventeen year old boys! Prom was also this month and K. had the genius idea to host T.’s friends for a post-prom breakfast and sleepover so she’d know they were all safe (and so she could eavesdrop on them). D. slept soundly through the whole thing.

May: W. graduated from college this month and started his job search. As we all already knew, being a bona fide grown up isn’t nearly as liberating as he thought. Also this month, we took in another foster cat named Snow. Did I mention that we’re bad at fostering? She’s now a K. too (although she lives with W. in Greensboro as she’s happier being an only cat).

June: Just like last year, on the way up north, K. and D. stopped off in Wooster for his 25th college reunion. D. was far better behaved at the reunion than he ever was in college. Does that make him (us) mature or just old? W. and his girlfriend T. joined us in Wooster and then followed K. up to Michigan while D. flew off to San Francisco again. Mean things you can do to a southern girl up north? Why, convince her to jump in the freezing cold water, of course. Despite the fact that she probably thinks we were trying to drown her (google “cold water gasp reflex”), we actually do like her a lot and she was a good sport once she warmed back up. W. got a job with Ruger this month although his start date wasn’t until September.

July: R. had an internship in Tampa this summer so she got to experience life in K.’s sister’s family and confirm the genetic basis of the craziness. For much of this month, her boss went on vacation, so R. did too. Her boss went to Spain; Reid did not. It was wonderful that all three kids got to be up north again together one last time.

August: T. crewed on an ensign sailboat again throughout the summer. He’s almost 60 years younger than the captain and the rest of the crew. He had a blast with his (old) guys and the combination of youth and experience came in 1st for the season and 2nd in the Regatta. Not too bad for three septuagenarians and a teenager. We had to head home this month as both R. (college) and T. (high school) started their respective senior years.

September: W. and Snow moved to Greensboro so he could start his job this month. K. and D. drove a U-Haul with his bedroom furniture up to him. W. was less concerned with the fact that this was the only furniture he owned than he was by the stress of dealing with getting internet. R. turned 21 this month. That’s two kids who are offered the beer and wine menu at restaurants now. (Well, three given T.’s beard, but two that could actually order from it legally.)

October: K. took T. to Wisconsin on a college visit this month. She might have enjoyed seeing old friends and visiting the Farmer’s Market for fresh cheese curds more than T. liked the school though. Just an FYI: even in Wisconsin, TSA makes you unpack your carry-on to show them the cheese curds aren’t dangerous. D. then took T. to Ohio for college visits and we think we now know where T. will be next year as long as the school(s) agree. While they were gone, K. went to Winston-Salem to be on a panel about books and book clubs. Given how she feels about public speaking, it’s a pretty good bet she went only because the bookstore gave her a special visitor discount for the day. D. was traveling a lot, even before the college visits, and he managed to pick up the flu somewhere and bring it home. Luckily neither T. nor K. got sick but it reminded K. that bedroom furniture in W.’s former room would not be a bad idea so she doesn’t get coughed or breathed on when D. has the plague.

November: This is the month that T. hit apply on the college applications. K. headed to New Orleans to speak on another panel. Yes, it was about books. Yes, half her suitcase was full of books when she headed home. Yes, these panels seem to be surprisingly expensive. ::shrug:: Thanksgiving morning we woke up to a yard full of flamingos again. That’s three times in four years and a flock that now numbers more than 30 flamingos, if you’re keeping score. We have no idea who keeps flocking us but it’s quickly becoming a tradition. We’re considering wrapping scarves around their necks or putting Santa hats on them and calling them Christmas decorations. Maybe next year the flocker who keeps doing this could make this happen?

As 2019 comes to a close, as always, we hope that you are surrounded by family, peace, love, and happiness now and throughout the coming year.

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