Christmas 2004

Merry Christmas from three Muses and a Scott.

I just love saying "Merry Christmas". It feels so decadent, like smoking in public, especially here in PC-attle where everybody is all "Season's Greetings" and "Happy Holidays". Really? Which holiday is that? Ramadan? I didn't think so. I already can't buy fireworks on the Fourth of July, religious whackos claim Halloween is Satan worship, PETA makes a stink about Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day is quickly becoming Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Day, and Columbus Day is now just a day without mail. So I'm saying "Merry Christmas" before the ACLU finally outlaws Santa. They can have my Christmas tree when they pry it from my cold dead hands.  

OK, then. If forced to sum up our 2004 in a single word, I would choose "boring". But boring is good; drama is fine in the movies but overrated in real life. None of us got fired, arrested, sued, had a breast pop out during a halftime show, etc. Things went according to plan. I wish only that I knew what that plan was.  

Beth switched jobs within Microsoft this year; she is now the Sustained Engineering Manager for Exchange. (That's Microsoft's email server product.) She also continues to sew the kids's Satan worsh-- I mean, Halloween, costumes (Beth, Jackie, Veronica) and Christmas dresses.

I did not switch jobs, but I did get a new boss: a one-year-old girl who controls me without speaking a word of English, unless "GAAAAH!" counts as a word. This Christmas marks 4.5 years since I became a housewife, and Hillary was right; it really does take a village to raise a child, so where the hell is everybody? I'm trying to watch TV over here but the kid wants food, again, plus there's the dishes and the laundry. Little help? A woman's work is never done, and as Beth has so disappointingly found out, that's never more true than when a man is supposed to be doing it. She accuses me of doing a half-assed job around the house, but I think by any objective measure my work is 7/8-assed. Occasionally, I'll do ass-and-a-quarter.  

But despite a fresh toddler toddling about, this is a low-stress Christmas at our house, because the children have been made to understand that a bearded undocumented alien flying through US airspace with uninspected packages is simply unthinkable in today's America. I even heard Jacqueline mocking the neighbor boy's hopes for a visit from Santa, calling him a "poo-poo head" because of his "naive September tenth mindset." Mission accomplished indeed.  

Jacqueline is doing very well in second grade at Cougar Mountain Academy. I would show you her latest report card, but you would think it a forgery. Suffice to say, if Harvard took third graders, she'd be in. She is also learning to play piano, ski, express impatience with her father's constant shutterbuggery, and milk the Tooth Fairy.  

Little RonnieCakes started walking at 10 months and hasn't stopped except for sleep and meals. She's one of those climbing babies, a pudgy pink 4x4, great off-road. She also talks a lot, but we don't know which language, so like the American she is, she says everything very loudly, that we might understand her.  

Would you like a ridiculous number of photographs of the girls? Hope you have broadband. Speaking of photos, I got my driver's license renewed this year, and I think the reason driver's license photos are so bad is they want you to look the way you're gonna look when you get pulled over. Speaking of which, I set a personal best this year with only 1 traffic stop, no tickets.

Now, if you had told me 25 years ago that in my 40s, I would routinely sleep with three females in my bed, and their average age would be under 17, I would have totally believed you, because I would have been high. As it turns out, it would also have been true, but in an ironic Twilight Zone way. And believe you me [elbow to your ribs], nobody does much sleeping [wink]. I really must get a lock on the bedroom door.  

No medical news from our family this year, excepting my vasectomy. It was an amazingly fast procedure, all done with lasers. The doctor walked in, there was an alarmingly large puff of smoke--like they had elected a new pope in my scrotum--and then they handed me a Tootsie Pop and sent me home. If I hadn't looked up from my magazine, I'd have missed it. I've waited longer for baristas to prepare a beverage than I did to close my account at the sperm bank.

Oh. My. God. Please tell me my son did not just say "scrotum" in his Christmas newsletter.

Mom? What are you doing interrupting my Christmas newsletter?

What are you doing talking about your hackey sack in a Christmas newsletter?

Touché. As I mentioned, it has been a slow year. By the by, since the snipping, I've noticed that my boys hang even lower in warm weather, but still reliably retract when it's chilly, so I got a degree scale tattooed on the inside of my thigh. It's upside down so I can read it. I call it the ThighMometer and I've trademarked that name, so forget about ripping me off.

Speaking of losing things, I am now Vista Cruiser free, having sold the last one last month. No, it did not require a 12-step program ("Hi, my name is Bill, and I have five Oldsmobile station wagons"), merely eBay, the new home of old-car addicts. The time was right, given that the Wall Street Journal--that oracle of classic car values--recommended the Vista Cruiser as a buy, so I sold into the rally, as it were. And I set a new modern record by buying only two cars this year: a '94 Buick Roadmaster, which is yet another station wagon with faux wood grain and a roof window, but it leaks much less than the others, and I dumped my '67 Chevy dump truck and '64 GMC pickup truck for a '95 Ford F-150 with a dump bed, so you can still borrow my dump truck when you need one, you know, like for weddings and stuff.  

We did manage a vacation this year, to Disney World in April. We had a great time even though the place was overrun with giant friendly  mice and tourists. Beth and Jackie also went to Boston to visit a friend and see some sights. They came back with outlandish tales of sticking feathers in their caps and calling them macaroni, and of the Red Sox winning the World Series with eight straight wins.

Oh, I almost forgot the perennial question: Is the house finished?

Shut up. And a Merry Scrotum to you.


Bill, Beth, Jacqueline, & Veronica