Archive for December, 2008

Christmas 2008


I’d like to tell you that it has been smooth going this year between Mike and me, but I might as well confess right off that we are having some marital troubles.  The problems actually stem from a piece of technological equipment- our digital camera.  I would be happy with a $4 Kodak disposable camera, but Mike bought an expensive digital camera instead.  I can’t use it, download (or is it upload?) photos or understand the error messages the camera gives.  This is a source of constant stress and irritation for both of us, a blemish on an otherwise ‘picture’ perfect marriage.

From unfortunate experience I’ve learned that at the exact shining moment of a child’s performance, just as I am in a position to capture our offspring’s glory for posterity, I push the button for the initial focus and the battery light flashes.  DANGER!  IMMINENT BATTERY FAILURE, LOW LIFE!   I resent being called a Low Life by a camera.   Like a hot potato I immediately toss the camera to Mike, baring my fangs and hissing at him.  Sometimes when he has taken exceptionally clear photos he will say to me, “Why don’t you love this camera?  I spent like $843 on it….for you!”  I DIDN’T WANT THE DANG CAMERA, I WANTED A DISPOSABLE CAMERA!!   We are currently in counseling and we hope to have this under control before Will’s graduation, and subsequent pictures thereof, in May 2009.

We’ve traveled a lot this year!  We visited Arizona, California, Washington DC and once to India for Mike.  In June, while Will was working as an intern at Rockwell Collins, Mike, the girls and I experienced the freakishly hot states of Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri.  At a restaurant in Mississippi we were offered lima beans, purple hull peas, mustard greens and okra as side dishes. I would have never been dismissed from the table – would still be sitting there to this day – had those foods been on my plate as a child.  But what a great experience for my girls!  Ha!  We sampled delicious southern fare – cornbread, very sugary Sweet Tea, and wonderfully slow cooked barbequed pork.  I also learned that there is a drink called a Hurricane that will knock you on your hind end and will actually cause you to think that you are Scarlett O’Hara come home to Tara in 2008.  Who knew??

I studied French in college and that seemed like a foreign language to me.  What I didn’t anticipate was the fur-eign “English” I learned down south.  I did learn “all y’all” a few years ago when we visited Georgia, but did you know that “y’all” is singular”, “all y’all” is plural and “all y’all’s” is plural possessive?  It is striking and enriching the things that you learn when you travel; each year we try to provide new and educational experiences for our children.

Mike is great and enjoys reading about, collecting and consuming wine.  He has not started a twelve step program yet.   The kids are growing up so fast!  Will, 17, is a senior in high school and he will be heading to the University of Iowa next year where he plans to study political science.  He has been active this year in marching band and the Linn Mar Teenage Republicans. In April Will received his Eagle Scout award, the highest award in Boy Scouting; we were very happy to have several of our friends and family with us to celebrate his special day.  See the pictures in our photo collage that Mike took of the event.  Mike is not in the pictures for a reason, the battery was blinking LOW LIFE again and it hurt my feelings.  To heck with that camera!

Emily is 14 and she joined Yearbook this year.  Her favorite activity is reading.  Have you read the Twilight books or seen the movie?  Emily loved them!  She constantly has her nose in some book or another. Abby, 10.5 years old and in fifth grade, is busy with band, choir, Girl Scouts and sleepovers.  All the kids are great people and so we haven’t used Nebraska’s Safe Haven option – yet!

For my part, I have learned this year that I have a rare unknown form of Tourettes Syndrome. Just to be PC, I am not mocking those folks who actually have Tourettes Syndrome, I’m just letting you know that I diagnosed myself with a heretofore unknown type of it.  I call it my MSTS, otherwise known as Medical Specific Tourettes Syndrome.  I first experienced MSTS in February when I came down with Influenza. If you’ve been lucky enough to catch Influenza as an adult, you know how miserable it can be; it hit me like a ton of bricks during my sister’s surprise 40th birthday party.

To determine if you have Influenza the doctor takes a Fuller Brush bottle cleaning tool and flosses deep inside your nose, continuing deep into your skull.  This process is similar to what the Egyptians did when they removed a pharaoh’s brains, placed them in a fancy mayonnaise jar and sent him on his way to his after-life.  As the doctor swabbed my brain my MSTS kicked in and I began to spew a raft of expletives that I had never said before.  I snatched the doctor’s hand as he positioned the 12” long Q-tip to probe my medulla oblongata.  I said (and I’ll sanitize it using somewhat of the Christmas vernacular), “Mother ^#@*, Holy ^*@#, Son of ^$#@& and Blessed *^$*#!”    Perhaps that Q-tip stimulated the verbal portion of my brain and initiated the first episode of MSTS, I don’t know. It is so embarrassing to have a syndrome.

Of course the test results of the nasal brain swab showed that I did not have Influenza.  However, the doctor said that the test did not identify 20% of the cases and he was certain that I had it given my overwhelmingly obvious symptoms. Glad I paid $149.78 for a nasal/brain deep clean.  The bill brought on my uncontrollable MSTS and I again spewed forth in language that would cause a longshoreman to blush.  I pray that you don’t get this syndrome in 2009.

This summer my 25th class reunion was held in my hometown.  What follows is an actual conversation that I had with one of my classmates.  I have not added her name here to protect the ignorant, errrr……innocent.

Classmate:  Oh my gosh, Korky!!!!  It’s so good to see you (She gives me a huge hug).  How are you?????
Me:  Great to see you, too!
Classmate: (Pulls back and looks at me and says) You still have your same teeth!!!
Me:  Huh????
Classmate:  Oh, I know that sounded weird….it’s just that you always had such straight, shiny, white teeth.  And you still have them.  Oh.  That sounds weird again.  Of course you still have them.  It’s just so good to see them.  And you.  I mean, I always liked your teeth and now here they are!

At this point she was looking for the exit because while I knew her intent (good to see me, she always admired my teeth and now they were at the reunion) it came out so weird and that she had no way to “extract” herself from the conversation.  Mike said to me later it would have been priceless if I could have made a gagging noise and brought forward a full set of dentures.  I have NO idea how to upload/download pictures taken at the reunion.  Remember when you took your film to be developed at Fotomat and seven days later you would receive double prints?  Well, because of Mike I can no longer do that.  Blame him, all you Ankeny High School classmates.

In October I went with some girlfriends (we call ourselves the Professional Walkers) to Minneapolis for RRT (Recuperative Retail Therapy).  To get there we took the Menopause Express, you know- a vehicle that transports six women in their 40’s all of whom suffer in various degrees from hot flashes.  No one could agree on the temperature in the car; at one point I actually took my shirt off while the van was rolling and switched into a cooler top, only to have to put another shirt on because I got too cold.  My hot flashing was soon followed by the other girls’ up and down mood swings and indecision- should we stop and eat?  No, some of them claimed to be too fat and could only afford to eat one more whole grain wheat wafer or they’d be over their Weight Watchers Daily Point limit.  This is the next stage I am going into???

In spite of all my kidding, this year I learned from family and friends to be very thankful for excellent health, to enjoy life, to cherish each individual relationship, and to laugh about the ridiculous health concerns that most of us “suffer” through each year.  Life is just too short to whine!

We hope that y’all have a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!  Remember that all y’all are welcome to visit us in 2009 and we’re lookin’ forward to reading all y’all’s holiday letters!!