Friday, December 11, 2009

The Third Day of Twelve Years of Christmas Letters. Are you confused yet?

The Annual Report for the Year 2000


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It is said:
The things that come to those who wait, may be the things left by those who got there first.
But, probably not in Schwenksville. Schwenksville, Skanksville, Schwenkytown, Land of Schwenk and Honey…oh yes, we have heard them all by now. People will find humor in just about anything. Especially around here. The folks are all so nice and friendly, and all, of course, from someplace else. So, we have lots of stories to share, and tales to pass along, as we sip our Yuengling, and mow our lawns. (That’s a local beer, by the way. Sounds kinda Chinese, but I think it’s just those crazy Germans again.)
January’s, Neighborhood New Year’s Eve 2000 Party, found us spilling drinks and lighting illegal NH smuggled fireworks in the middle of the street. Yahoo! We arrived in period costume, our version of a 1960’s New Jersey /Philly Mafia henchman , Joey Bagadonuts, …pinky rings, shiny suit, slick hair, and his old lady, Angelina , a bouffanted, gum snapping Brooklynite , fully outfitted from the local House of Goodwill. Man, I love that place. I think we set a precedent with our new friends, as they now expect us to arrive in costume at every event. Gee, I hope no one has a bris anytime soon.
For the first time in a long time, there was snow in Schwenksville. Real snow, according to the natives. That is, snow that stuck around for more than a few days at a time, and allowed all those toy crazed snowblower owners to say to their wives.. “See, I told you we would need one of these some day."
The rest of us bought bigger shovels and faster sleds.
Linda started a Monthly Mom’s Night Out for the snowbound neighborhood, and earned praises from the women, and dirty looks from the men. Oh well, you can’t please everyone. Mr. S. continued to paint every room in the house, appearing more often than not in multi-colored splattered jeans and ball cap, gaining him the short-lived nickname, Picasso.
In the early Spring, we were coerced into promoting local tourism by the D’Amores, who dragged us to the U. S. Mint. Where, we were dismayed to find out, they don’t give out free samples. And, the Liberty Bell, which, if anatomically correct, wouldn’t the crack be in the rear? And of course, there was the dead guy in the middle of the sidewalk that we pretended not to see, as we stepped over his plastic blanket. Don’tcha just love Philly? So much history and….. character.
Boy C turned six in April and celebrated with a wild Pokemon party and way too many little boys. By May, Linda hears a wonderfully intriguing real life story from a civil rights attorney, and decides to write a novel, gets the family international passports, shops for villas in the South of France, learns the art of Feng Shui, starts rockclimbing and engages in biweekly yoga sessions. Soon thereafter, she wakes up to reality in Schwenkytown and realizes the importance of listening a little bit harder when Mr. S. says, he, haha, might be, ahem, out of a job next week. Because he was, and there it was. Back in the resume again.
All thoughts of retirement bliss went out the window, when Mr. S. stayed home for two months and basically drove Linda nuts. The man really does need a hobby. But, within weeks the offers were rolling in. Though he accepted a job back in Northern California, and courted a position in Atlanta…we decided to hang around PA a little while longer….all for the greater good. Ahhh. And, for 48 hours it was okay, no, it was great. And then they told him…..”Uh, Mr. S., your division of the company is for sale.” Are you hearing what I’m hearing, that music from “Jaws”…dada-dada-dadadadada….yup. Well, so, what are you gonna do? Linda decided to throw a Chinese Murder Mystery Costumed Dinner Party, no expense spared. Hey, we all deal with grief in our own way.
Our little Girl P. turned two, and already shows a natural talent for exhibitionism, ( that is a talent, isn’t it?), and an affinity toward the theatrical. Stories told in the nude, beginning, “two weeks ago,” and involving an imaginary baby sister, (I stress the imaginary part of that friend.) P, soon to be known by symbol alone, has an ingenious way with words…like hambagubabugger, and the popular repetitive question, “What’s your favorite?” We are not sure what this means, but it sure beats her yelling out, “OH….. MY GOSH! “ , or calling everyone from Pastor Craig’s lovely wife to that nice young policeman with the radar gun, a “POOPYHEAD!”, at the top of her little, yet ever expansive lungs. Oh, boy.
By August, we needed a break, so… we went to North Carolina. And that was great. The beach. The sun. The sand. The beach. The sun. The sand…you get the picture.
Back home, Mr. S. worries the neighbors as he keeps odd hours, drives a nondescript sedan with no license plates, and is generally mum about his new job. They think we’re…. connected. Hey….Fuhgedabowtit!
We get our first taste of life with the Amish, when the family stays on an old farm in Lancaster. Linda was treated to her first, ouch, mammogram, and Boy C loudly announces to all the happy folks at McDonald’s, that he just “..GOT HIS FIRST WOODY!”… toy story doll, that is.

School started and life was swell. The bus came and whisked away the little testosterone ridden couch jumper, and kept my house in relative cleanliness and peace, for 7 hours and 26 minutes each and every day. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
In the fall, Tiger Cub C was busy doing all those first grade things, like reading and writing, collecting germs…and getting us to pay loads of money for non -funded group sports…like soccer.

We proudly stood on the sidelines every Saturday. We proudly smiled and waved to the other proud parents. And we proudly watched, as our son picked his nose, kicked huge dirt clods at his pals, and seemed more concerned with the “sticky something” in his pocket, than chasing the ball, making a goal, or listening to the coach. So, now… he’s taking horseback riding lessons. Which we all, thank you very much, seem to enjoy. And, I’ll let you know next year how the stinky sweaty boys little league wrestling team pans out. Yup, wrasslin’. At home, C has started up his own Sign Making Shop. You will never again wonder where to find a bathroom, or dogfood, or the Members Only No Girls Allowed 'Sept Mom Secret Clubhouse. Members needed, snacks provided.
Some good did come out of this millenium monster of multiple mix-ups. Granted, we still can’t figure out who’s the President, but our Halloween ensemble, The Nerd and Ms. Schwenksville, was a universal hit. We climbed the “Rocky” steps, humming under our breath, to introduce the kids to Van Gogh, and we adopted a family “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which seems to be working out just fine. Even if it wasn’t, I couldn’t tell you.
Thanks to the Philly Inquirer Mag, Linda finally got her name in print, but in now referred to as, “The Shoe Lady”. Hey, if the shoe fits... get another one just like it! But, most amazingly, Mr. S. finally admits after a 2 hour drive turns into a 5 1/2 hour fiasco, that he, uh, may not be so good at directions after all… and, James Carvel says something we can agree on, “Pennsylvania is like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, with Alabama in between.” Uh-huh.
So, in remembrance of the good times and the bad this year.. and in preparation for whatever the New Year holds, we urge you to let God in, breathe deep, center yourself, and keep cheerful company.
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