Monday, December 21, 2009

Here we go again. I'm asking you to use your imagination.

This was the Christmas letter for the year 2006.
The first year that I tried an interactive annual report. complete with hyperlinks to websites, photos, blog posts, and some naughty little sites in Amsterdam.
Nah.
I think it was Abu Dhabi.


It went something like this. You'll have to use your imagination for the links as those were lost in translation.

THE 2006 ANNUAL REPORT: DIGGING IN


We had a goal when we moved to Lawrenceville, Georgia. We wanted to stay put for five years. And we did. This Christmas we’ll celebrate the glory of not moving. This is the longest we’ve ever been in one house, or one town, and as a family, in one state--not that we’ve been making hash marks on the wall of the shed or chiseling out a tunnel under the Kenmore HE4.
We love it here.
There are lots of things you get to do when you stay in the same house. You get to decorate, repair, upgrade and then redecorate- because heck, you aren’t moving and the walls are beginning to bore you.

You catch yourself saying things you never would have caught yourself saying-- things like: I could stay here forever. Or, Wow, have you seen the way the house values are going up and the mortgage balance going down? And: Yes, I love your idea to put a pool and tiki bar over there by the mossy putting green behind the weedy garden.

You stop thinking in terms of resale value and the next buyer. Instead you decide that slate and bamboo and cork, sheet metal, brick and concrete are all fantastic ways to remodel, that black is the new white and if a huge beach mural on Girl P’s wall makes her happy- forget what anyone else thinks.

Friends have actually moved away from us. Now we drive to see them, and because they’re such good friends they come back to see us—no doubt wondering why they ever left such awesome company in such a desired subdivision for their Mcmansions and lake homes and wooded acreage in the quiet, quiet country.

When we set our goal five years ago we had no idea that 2006 would start with a car crash and end with a bunch of bad acting in the living room. We also had no idea that our lives would be so full, that we would be so blessed.

There was time this year to explore the lowcountry, get wet at Niagara Falls and be right there when Terri put her hands in Mom and Dad’s 50th Anniversary Cake. Patti and Louie put us up- crabs and all- and though the rain tried to stop them, lots of people came to the tent in Susie and Eric’s backyard. Mom gave away cars and adventurous trips and people dressed up funny afterward.
For the first time in twelve years, Mr. S. and Linda were able to get away by

For Mr. S, fun was finding time in his busy schedule to do something he’s talked about for years, something people constantly tell him he’d be great at, something that comes naturally to him- Not sure what you were thinking- but, no. It was a voice over class, taught by a professional, um, voice guy. One of the students was a big black dude who thought he was the next Barry White. He’d say, “You know that’s right,” and, “I know that that to be true,” to anything that was asked or said during the whole class. Mr. S. had to read a piece about a baby elephant in the Serengeti. Yeah, brings back all those Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom Sunday evenings when you sat wedged on the couch eating mint chocolate chip ice cream, doesn’t it? You know that’s right.


Linda remains dug into her writing, determined to batter down a few doorways, giving a whole new meaning to the term unsolicited submissions. She won another lit award for her modern Chaucer story, went to signings and festivals, sold two more shorts, placed an essay on NPR and met loads of author and writer friends from Decatur to New York City, where with Marca’s help, she got into Elaine’s and just about died when Mamma herself sat right next to her.


Books were read and critiqued at book club, blogs were posted, websites updated, novels written then ripped apart and written again, because the Waving Girl deserves the best. Sleep will come later.


Perhaps inspired by his visit to the The Bell South Classic and Dad’s birthday antics,

Mr. S. put together an Ackerman Golf Tournament for charity, then made his Atlanta stage debut in this play when extras were pulled from the audience to lend a little flavor to the already spicy dialogue. He was rewarded for his spelling with a pin and a juice box. Wow.


Things continue to go swell at work as greedy folks continue to steal and stupid folks continue to rob and Atlanta continues to grow bringing in more companies to employ the greedy and stupid. Paranoia and terrorism is also good for business.

You know that's right.


There were memorable parties as in any year, Halloween ranking high with three events, loads of chocolate and crazy people like this guy. Isn’t it great to be someone else even only for a few hours, especially if that someone else has a really loud whistle or a crop.


Most parties are remembered for the good times and big, tall laughter, like Linda’s birthday on the lake with lots of friends taking the champagne cruise followed by a six- course dinner with wine at every turn. Times like these, one is most thankful for the magic of digital photography filling in the fuzzier moments of your life.


Boy C had his first and last slumber party for his 12th birthday. The most memorable moment? Cracking open the magic shop bag marked “stink bomb” in the middle of the jam packed restaurant of the game place. Woo hoo. Ok kids. Take your game cards and go play. Mom needs to hide in- I mean- visit the bathroom. Waiter? More beer, please.


Girl P’s 8th birthday was supposed to be all music and karaoke singing and dancing, but it turned out to be more about embarrassed kids, barking dogs and running in the backyard.


Our little girl was just three when we moved here. Now she’s in third grade, going on 22. Amazing how they grow. She just figured out that a girl’s size 3 shoe is the same as a women’s size 5 and there are more choices in the women’s section. Linda found out there are a lot of hookers with small feet. You know that’s right.


Still dancing and playing soccer, Girl P thinks she’ll try something new in the Spring- which she’s bound to decide on in the next few weeks, then change her mind about at least twice, like getting dressed in the morning- every morning. Summer for her was a series of play dates, sleepovers, mini safaris, and art and drama camps, rounded out with some drought time Chattahoochee river tubing where there was more walking than floating.


Boy C has a new guitar teacher this year and is learning a lot more than just bum bum bah bum bum babum. When not playing guitar or video games, he’s inline skating- aggressive inline that is, where wipe-outs gouge off more skin than regular skating mishaps. Still, we have stars in our eyes when we think of his future, stars in the shape of Ivy League scholarships floating over a Milky Way of tuition dollar signs.

Undecided on what that future will bring, Boy C tried two new summer camps--a sleep-away with churchfriends in Florida and a mucky week of herpetology in the park pond. If his future is based on camp choices and not his GPA, he’ll be evangelizing turtles at a young age.


Linda had her girl getaways. Yes, they became plural. She swapped out Boston for Manhattan, where cousins meet you in red bars and taxi drivers pick you up at the airport in Hummer limos. She took a road trip to a cabin with these crazy women and took her game on the road with the Bunko Broads spending one night in a cool house in the north Georgia mountains and another on a luxury houseboat. These girls are serious about their getaways. Just don’t play poker with them, as they’ll eat your winnings. They also tend to get kicked out of places, like karaoke bars and fancy restaurants. Suburban Moms, geesh.


After the rock concert killer lawn seats, the longest ever reggae revival and a bunch of dead bodies, (the long story), Linda tried to outdo Mr. S.’s anniversary hang gliding date by booking a spa day that began with picking up a Porsche Cayman S from an exotic car dealer. Leaving her Durango behind with many hints of—you can feel free to replace it with anything that starts with a ‘P’ and ends with an ‘che,’ they sped off to Barnsley Gardens with Mr. S. remarking, “Man, this is like driving a cheetah.”


Say it with me now: You know that’s right.


We were coaxed and bribed all year for details of the 3rd annual Murder Mystery Party. For some silly reason, Mr. S. and Linda decided on a theme that did not yet exist in the prepared script world of the easily downloaded murder mystery business. For some sillier reason, Linda thought she could write the script, make the set, buy the props, food and booze, prepare the house, send the invites... you see where this is going, don’t you? So, she did. You know that to be true.

It was Win Lose Or Die, a Haywood Jablome Production. A game show murder mystery combining Jeopardy, Family Feud and the Newlywed Game with famous movie quotes for dialogue.

You really want to be my neighbor, don’t you?

We’re already thinking about next year. I want horror movies and vampires and ghouls and monsters and blood, but Mr. S. is thinking 18th century masquerade ball—maybe we combine masquerade and ghouls and because we’re in the south we’ll call it Evil Mardi Gras Murder Mystery, where vampires yell, “Show us your Teeth!” Or, maybe I’ll just sell that one to the dental convention.

Whatever you did this year, wherever you’re dug in, we want to hear about it, so keep in

touch. Merry Christmas and very Happy New Year.

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