Christmas 2003

Seasons Greetings from the Muses and the Scott. This is our first and possibly last annual holiday newsletter. I have resisted writing one of these heretofore, but I succumbed this year because email and the internet make it possible for me to avoid postal unpleasantness, while spam filters and server failures make it possible for you to avoid ever having to read it. Joy to the world.

2003 was a smashing success for me as I remained unemployed for the entire year, despite the occasional offer of work from well-meaning friends and former co-workers. Sadly, these offers came via email and so my spitting on them while I cackled was not as satisfying as I had hoped.

I am, however, contributing to the family financially. I don’t want to say too much and jinx it, but I am involved in high-level talks with a desperate Nigerian businessman. I have heard little from him since faxing my bank account numbers and signature samples, but you know how busy Nigerians get during the holidays, what with dodging murderous insurgencies and whatnot.

Beth continues to be employed at that little software company whose name escapes me at the moment… Mike-something. Anyway, the good news is they continue to draw lawsuits from their “competitors”, so continued employment seems likely.

Jacqueline is doing very well in first grade at Cougar Mountain Academy and has proven herself the fruit of my loins by arguing with me over anything we happen to disagree on, be it the pronunciation of common English words, or whether angels are indeed “God’s slaves”. This holiday season, Jackie was very excited about Hanukah, insisting I purchase menorah-themed paper plates and dreidel napkins to celebrate. (I don't know a lot about Judaism, but apparently they like to picnic.) I haven’t told her she’s not Jewish because I figure she’ll have enough heartbreak when she learns about heredity.

Trips that we went on and you did not are a standard part of every Christmas newsletter. Therefore: We went to Maui in early spring, New York in late spring, Remlinger Farms in October, and Beth’s friend inherited a condo in Phoenix, so we squatted there for a few days in November. Say what you will about the seeming folly of airport security, but not a single one of our flights was terrorized. So go ahead, Mr. TSA screener, and continue searching my 5-year-old daughter's shoes while my wife inadvertently takes pepper spray on board in her purse (true).

We also added a potential al Qaida member to the family on 30 September. We didn't mean to wait so long between children, but our first-born made a mess of the place when she checked out--completely forfeiting her damage deposit--so we needed a little professional help. We’re calling her Veronica and I’m taking the fertility clinic’s word that she’s mine. She currently ranks in the 97th percentile for height, weight, and cuteness. Beth has been home since the birth, but returns to work in 2004. She tells me the baby usually only wakes up once each night. Beth has also started a new routine of hitting the gym when they open at 5 AM. I'd go with her, but the 9th and 10th hours of sleep are when I have my best dreams, usually about finishing projects.

Speaking of which, the three-year house remodeling project celebrated its 10th year with basement completion (where “completion” means 95% done). It sports a full bath, laundry room, guest room (our current guest is two dozen boxes of crap), sewing room, home theater, and a storeroom accessed through a bookcase door. Speaking of the house, Christmas is the time we drape it in so much festive holiday wattage that the furnace seldom kicks on. I put in a separate 70-amp sub-panel just for Christmas lights and I calculate I'm only pulling 50 amps so far, so next year should be even more kilowattastic. If you're ever in our neighborhood around the holidays, for God's sake lock your doors. Wait--I mean, feel free to drop in, after first donning protective eyewear.

On the car front, I sold the '70 Vista Cruiser and added a ’97 Cadillac Seville STS because I decided I should have at least one car that is not a project. Fun Fact: The Cadillac Seville is the fastest depreciating car in America over the last 5 years ($43K to $12K). Is it any wonder I love it? I also transplanted my monster motor into a '72 Vista Cruiser and have discovered the joy of effortlessly leaving Fast ‘n Furious wannabes on Rainier Avenue, their teen glands surging with impotent rage as their bespoilered Hondas with 4-inch exhaust tips fail to overtake the ancient fake-wood-paneled station wagon, its only visible accessory being two children’s car-seats. I am the balding cat with a quiet stock exhaust, and they are so many tattooed mice wondering if all those extra yards of sagging pant-leg denim are weighing on their brake pedals. Life does begin at 40.

Have a good 2004,

Bill, Beth, Jacqueline, & Veronica