Thursday, January 12, 2006

Sappy Holidays 2005

Original and creative thought takes a little effort, for sure. For example, when you meet someone who has a pet, and you learn that they’ve defaulted to using descriptions in the naming process (e.g. “Midnight” for a black cat, “Chocolate” for a brown dog, “Snowball” for a white bunny, etc.), you wish there was some type of incentive out there that would force them to put a little more thought into the naming chore – perhaps they face the prospect of being spayed or neutered if they don’t. With that specter in mind, it is our sincere hope that you enjoy the “effort” we’ve undergone for this year’s letter.

Sam turned five this past February, thus reaching the magical age when he’s able to do all the things he’s been forced to watch from the sidelines. He began 2005 on the soccer field – however, one would be hard pressed to say he actually “played” soccer; his actions on the field would be better classified as chasing imaginary squirrels. The spring brought tee-ball, which could have been a continuation of squirrel chasing but for the prospect of swinging a large metal bat with virtual impunity: a five-year-old’s dream. And this fall (actually, it was late July), Sam started kindergarten. I swear I witnessed the birth of this child, so I can attest to the fact he’s our son, but body snatchers must have pulled a switcharoo sometime between birth and kindergarten because on the first day of class his teacher reported that Sam was asking for homework. That’s just not right!

For those who are keeping track, Jack turned eight in January. This means he’s still ten years away from his federally sanctioned right to vote – much to his chagrin – but upon turning eight he had the chance to be baptized. Although we were unable to play “Which Vegetable Would You Rather Be?” for the after-party (time constraints), it was a great experience. As Jack began third grade this year, his new teacher gave his class a writing assignment. Jack decided to write about being on the Magic School Bus and traveling through the digestive system of a boy’s body and ending the journey in the toilet. Although she didn’t want to encourage potty humor by giving Jack a good grade on his essay, she reported to us that she was constrained to commend him on his proper usage of the term “digestive system”.

Erin’s latest project has been to roam the neighborhood in search of dogs that look like celebrities. So far, she’s found a St. Bernard that looks uncannily like Brad Garrett from Everybody Loves Raymond, a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog that bears a strong resemblance to James Carville, an Italian Greyhound that could be Sting’s twin, and a Corgi that looks like Kevin Bacon. She thought she found a Chihuahua that looked like Paris Hilton, but it turned out to be Paris without her makeup. Well, when Erin’s not engaged in her hunt for the hounds, she’s busy working at Jack and Sam’s new school, presiding over the women’s service organization at church, and keeping order at home.

This past year has given me the chance to confirm a long-held belief: people are nuts! Dozing on a flight to Reno recently, I was wrenched from the ethereal mists between unconscious stupor and wide-awake alertness when I heard the woman behind me tell her seatmate, “So I had the rest of the afternoon to argue with the cat.” Oh, I was awake. I swear. Walking through the Costco parking lot a few months back, I found myself beside two men when one said, “I saw that movie Sahara on the plane the other day.” Not yet having seen the movie I was mildly interested in hearing more, but my curiosity was not to be satisfied – the movie-watcher’s friend made sure of that as he asked, “Is that the one in the desert?” Are these the same people who program the gas pumps to tell you to “replace nozzle when finished”? I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t drive around with a spare nozzle in my car for these events – I’ve always operated under the assumption that these items were capable of being used numerous times.

It’s been a great year for us! We hope this finds you warm and well. For your own personal amusement, ask your children, nieces, nephews, or random children while walking through the mall to name Santa’s reindeer. We did this recently and learned that Santa’s made some changes. Not only has he whittled the team down to four, there’s been quite a shakeup: he’s riding now with Rudolph, Tootoff, Shotoff, and Dixon. There’s bound to be a new claymation TV show on this by next year – I’m guessing the title will be something like Santa’s Posse. Until then, we wish you a very Merry Christmas, a wonderfully Happy New Year, and a fair to moderately exciting Ground Hog Day!

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