My 2009 year-end-letter where I write about giving last rites to my water pump, visiting sunny California in a monsoon, staying with a three-year-old in France in a house with priceless antiques, and what I have in common with the president.
Dear Friends & Family,
Bad news. I’m suffering from water on the brain. The experts said there was no hope for either my water pump or pressure tank, so I pulled the plugs. It’s my grandmother’s fault for giving birth to my mother in December. Usually balmy and rainy Waldport had a week of subfreezing temperatures when I went down to southern California to celebrate mom’s 75th-birthday. This is the fourth time I’ve had plumbing freeze while visiting my folks. Why couldn’t my grandmother have held out until June to give birth? Meanwhile, it poured in Santa Barbara as it does every time I visit, and as he does every time it pours during one of my visits, my dad swears it never rains there. Do I need to worry about more than my carbon footprint when it comes to climate-change? Were there little publicized discussions on the “T- McCracken Effect” in Copenhagen? Like I said. I’ve got water on the brain. I almost didn’t bother sending out cards.
This was my second family get together this year. As you may or may not recall, PAandA, a.k.a. my brother, Peter, his wife, Anne, and their three-year-old son, Alex live in India. When they called me on my birthday I said that if they would go 1/3 of the way around the world I’d go 1/3 of the way, too, and we could meet. That’s how we all ended up in a humongous 400-year-old stone house in Burgundy, France. We spent the first hour there moving all the vases and other art to kid-proof-heights all the while asking either, “How much do you think this would fetch on eBay?” or “Alex, sweetie, could you please try to avoid driving into the antique furniture on the tricycle your slightly addled Grandma and Grandpa got you?” Fortunately, we made it through the visit with no accidents and this being a year-end-letter it goes without saying that the trip was glorious and my nephew is still superior to all other small boys.
The other little one in my life, my adopted “niece,” ten-year-old five-foot-plus neighbor Katie, is as delightful as ever. Fourth grade is proving to be a challenge for her but she’s a better artist than I was at her age, so, worst case scenario, she ends up as a cartoonist. And, naturally, she’s superior to all other 5-foot-plus ten-year-old girls.
Sammy, my 8-year-old “puppy” and Inky, my 14-year-old “kitten” give me an understanding of what Obama must feel like surrounded by the Secret Service. When I stir, one or the other of them sends out the alert, “The Goddess of the Can Opener is on the move. Swarm, swarm!” Of course, I don’t imagine Obama has to contend with an agent curled up under his desk, hogging his pillow or licking his toes.
I had jury duty in February. If my experience is the norm, there will never be a CSI Lincoln County, Oregon. You’re given a juror number (I think mine was 225) and told to call every day to see if it’s been picked. Everyday the message was almost always the same, “There are no trials scheduled for tomorrow.” In the entire month there were just two trials and they only got up to using jurors in the 50s.
That’s about it. I hope you and yours are well and you have a great year.