Sunday, April 10, 2005

Sappy Holidays

Christmas 2004

You can view this letter as a brief, informative update on the comings and goings of the Greenes, or you can view it as one of those obnoxious cell phone calls you "overhear" because the person standing in the middle of a crowded room with a small one-piece headphone stuck in his ear (and thus looks like he’s talking to himself) decides to speak at the decibel level of a Boeing 737 and announce how happy he is that the doctor has declared him rash-free for ten days now. If you choose the former, we hope it accomplishes that task; the latter, therapy might be in order – along with some Calamine lotion. At any rate, happy holidays!

Sam started pre-school this year over at the local elementary. It’s a district-sponsored program, and come to find out the prerequisite was that one or both parents had to show some type of mental deficit. Although I’m not threatening to join MENSA in the near future, we were still wondering how we qualified for the program. I asked the coordinator if perhaps there was a mistake, and she asked me if I was, in fact, the same Grant Greene who moved his family from bucolic Northern California to the inner circle of the sun. Bemused by the odd, if not accurate, statement of fact rolled into her question, I nodded in the affirmative. But I quickly gathered my senses and asked why that mattered. Her reply was that the school board assumed I must have had a lobotomy at some point to make such a move. Be that as it may, Sam’s loving pre-school and all the new things he’s learning: reading, writing, Morse code, dentistry with small, blunt objects, knitting a sweater out of cat hair, etc. Place your orders now to make sure you get a sweater in the color you want. Calico is going fast.

Our new home is located in what some would classify as a "rural" area. We do have running water, indoor plumbing, and our neighbors have all their teeth, not to worry. However, soon after our move to Hooterville, we were driving past one of the farms when Erin noticed Jack was looking at the animals very intently. At first we couldn’t tell if Jack was bracing for a possible ambush from a highly trained group of attack chickens lurking in the shadows or whether he was trying to determine which horse looked the most like Eleanor Roosevelt. Before we could ask him what was the focus of his attention, he turned to us and said, "I’ve noticed something: cows aren’t very social. They mostly just stand around eating grass and minding their own business." Don’t you wish some of your co-workers were more like these cows? At any rate, Jack is enjoying second grade and working on his new book chronicling the evolution of the can opener. Fascinating!

Erin, we’re sorry to report, has had to seek some pretty serious medical attention as of late. The complete diagnosis is still pending, but we believe she has imbedded somewhere inside her a giant magnet that attracts "party" invitations ad infinitum (that’s Latin for "a boatload") to come and buy every candle, cold cream, jelly jar, beaver trap, and faux-19th-century bidet someone has decided is a must-have item for the home or as a personal accessory. If the diagnosis is correct, they’ll have to perform a "crapola-ectomy". We’re hoping the insurance company won’t balk at the cost. Despite the extensive testing and doctors’ visits, Erin finds enough time to volunteer at school for both Jack’s and Sam’s classes, work at church, and catch and shave neighborhood cats to help Sam in his burgeoning knitting business. She keeps quite busy – and she’s scratch-free.

With the move to Arizona came an increase in geography to cover, so I fly almost every other week. And in my travels, I’ve learned that overhead bins in airplanes, for some reason I have yet to discover, are like funhouse mirrors: they make people think that their larger-than-a-Suburban "carry on" bag is the size of a woman’s clutch purse. So, once when a fellow passenger of mine was trying to lift and cram her bag in the overhead bin (with a line of 75 people behind her, mind you), I told her it might be easier if she climbed up into the overhead bin and pulled it up. She looked at me like the nut job that I am and said, "I won’t fit up there." I looked at her, then at her bag, and then back at her, and said, "But the golf bag will?"

As I close this Christmas card from the edge of reason, I’m reminded of the words of a famous poet: "I am not Chinese." Not that there’s anything wrong with that; I just wouldn’t want to give anyone the wrong impression. And remember, if you don’t use your vowels every day, you could get severely consonated.

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