Happy Holidays 2010

2010
12.31

Each year as I sit down to write this Blessed Christmas letter I can never think of what to write.  Mostly it’s because I really don’t remember what we did during the last twelve months.  I understand how older folks get confused about what happens each year; time just runs together, doesn’t it?  I see how this aging thing is going to end up for me, so please just be patient as I travel down Memory Lane 2010.

If I check the calendar I see that we found time to attend multiple family weddings; we went to oodles of Abby’s soccer games; we hosted a large Fourth of July party and a gi-hugic Christmas party a week ago.  Abby got her braces on; Emily had hernia surgery and visited New York City, but not both at the same time.  Mike found out that he needs a new left hip, which sounds like he did something excitingly juicy and salacious but the real story is that his bones are just getting elderly.  Well, actually only his left hip-bone is getting elderly.  The other one is probably just immature.

My parents lived in our basement from June 1st to September 1st (they are boomerang parents- you raise them right, they will come back to you).  Will worked at Rockwell Collins as an intern and he started his second year at the University of Iowa this fall.  As a result of all their comings and goings we’ve installed revolving doors in the house.  This will be easier for those boomerang family members and also for Mike when he has hip rehab.  He does not find this funny so I better not write more.  For my part I have developed, “Trigger Finger”.  This doesn’t mean that I have a problem with guns and that the NRA is involved, it just means that if I try to point at you I sometimes sorta misfire and point back at myself.  We all have crosses to bear, don’t we?

Unfortunately in April we lost two dear friends: our friend DuWayne, and our neighbor, my partner in crime Lisa Huntington.  Lisa lost her four-year fight with breast cancer but she promised me before she passed that she would do everything in her power… to come back to haunt me.  How lucky is that??  

Lisa constantly tormented me by jumping into the car with me as it warmed up in our dark garage; she delighted in scratching screens at night as I sat by the open dining room window working on my computer and she basically terrorized me every way that she possibly could.  If anyone could talk God into coming back to do some good ol’ haunting it would be Lisa.  I’m not convinced that she won’t try yet.

Indeed, every time the house makes a creaking sound there are some jumpy people around here; well, okay, it’s mostly me who is jumpy!  Seriously, I will forever be touched by her life, but I also have become mentally touched by the thought of her haunting me.  Someone call in a holiday exorcism for this house…by the way, does anyone know if Methodists do that?

Many of the happiest times this year were spent traveling: we visited St. Louis, Chicago, and Omaha on various different trips.  We spent a few days in July at a Minnesota resort with friends where the girls enjoyed swimming in the lake and tubing with their friends.  In June Mike, the girls and I drove out to Los Angeles following the route that we took on our honeymoon, which also was known as our move out to California in 1987.  We did all the touristy L.A. things, but we also explored Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks where we saw bears and plenty of other wild creatures, human and animal.

Mike has been traveling more this year so when he had business in Germany and France in September I traveled with him.  He had to spend four days in Germany and I spent those days shopping, walking and attempting to speak German laced with French for good measure.  We over-ate there and drank as much good German beer as was legally and humanly possible.  You know the whole, “When in Rome” thing.  Only this wasn’t Rome, it was Heidelberg.

After a brief work stop in Toulouse, France, we flew to Brittany in western France. Mike was there for two days, but I stayed for a week in the family with whom I lived in 1984. I go there as often as I can for a grammar/vocabulary builder-upper camp.  It’s not working.  This year they gave me a notebook and told me to take notes.  It’s so nice to spend time with a French family who will tell you exactly what they think of you and then make you take notes about it.

I started writing a Blog this year, you can find it at www.korkygries.com I haven’t written in it lately because I have been too busy living my life instead of writing about it.  I plan to get back to it after Will and my parents revolve back in/out of the house during the Christmas break.  Please check it out if you get some time; the Archives contain what I wrote about this year.

Let’s see, what else? Our kids are busy, happy and more-or-less normal.  Anyway, if they weren’t do you think that I would tell you about it in my Christmas letter?  Who has perfect kids anyway?  None of our three are juvenile delinquents or reprobates so I am taking that as a sign that we seem to be on the right track in our parenting. Perhaps keeping your standards low is the way to go, I don’t know.

Anyway, as a 2010 hurdle I am counting my lucky stars that our final child has just passed through her time in Family Consumer Sciences (FCS)- back in my day they called it Home Ec.  There is a unit in FCS where your child “gets” to bring home Baby Think it Over, a computerized doll that wails when it needs to be fed and diapered. The doll records the level of care given it, if the student chooses to shake the baby, Shaken Baby Syndrome is recorded and someone from the school is going to hunt you down to turn you in to the Department of Human Services, Doll Division.

The doll can be set to cry often if the student is thought to be at high risk for behaviors that could lead to a teenage pregnancy.  I’m pretty sure that a mistake was made for Abby because I believe that the teacher set it to Crack Baby Mode.  

During his time in the class, Will chose not to take the doll home; it turns out that this indicates that he was the most intelligent of our children.  When it was Emily’s turn to take the doll home she woke up in the night convinced and panicked that the doll had stealthily crawled out of its baby carrier; she adamantly refused to let “It” sleep in her room for the rest of the night because she thought “It” was possessed.  I don’t know where she gets her imagination.

Emily commanded Abby not to bring the EVIL thing home.  Abby did not appreciate this because she knew that she could handle the rigors of parenting a piece of molded plastic.  You Holiday Readers might be interested to know that Abby’s time with Baby Think It Over didn’t go as planned.

Abby was quite delighted with the prospect of bringing the baby home; she fairly danced out of here that morning.  However, I noticed as she came from the bus that afternoon that she had a little drag in her step.  It turns out that she didn’t feel well but she had stayed at school just so she could get the baby; she had her priorities and proving to Will and Emily that they were wrong was one of them.  Hauling the baby home when you feel a little funky was not the best decision because by early evening she had developed the flu.  Then who do you think got to care for both the sick middle school-er and the Baby?

I had an epiphany as I sat rocking in the recliner, soothing Crack Baby Think It Over.  I guess you could call it a, “Korky Thought It Over” moment.  I decided that if you find yourself changing a fake diaper on a screeching, faux baby at 3:10 a.m. you need to ask yourself whether or not you have slipped a cog.  Given the fact that I have talked to you about a haunted neighbor and a possessed hunk of rubber in my Christmas letter you probably have your own answer.

How do you end a kooky holiday letter like this?  I guess it’s best to just say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!!

One Response to “Happy Holidays 2010”

  1. Deb Washburn says:

    As always a most interesting and entertaining Christmas letter – I am so happy to have the priviledge of knowing you and getting to be a part of your extended family! Love ya lots – Deb

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