Christmas 2006

Well, I had already invited Michael Richards to my hip-hop Kwanzaa party before his meltdown. I just hope he understands not to come now, because you can’t really uninvite a person. Awkward. Maybe he’ll be too busy writing his book If I Said It.

I had a good year, though. I'm still staying home with the girls. I drive them around a lot, but there's still time for naps. I became an Ebay Super Seller this year. I don’t know what that means, but at least I have something to fill the six-year gap on my resume. While auctioning off personal possessions, I also multitasked by playing poker on a site based in Gibraltar that—like much of the world—thumbs its nose at the United States, which this year made poker—a game America invented—illegal to play online. I continue to play despite the new law, however, because I consider myself the Rosa Parks of internet wagering, and not just because people love it when rich white guys compare themselves to her. My dedication paid off in December when I won a poker tournament at the Flamingo in Las Vegas. No wonder I was Time magazine's Person of the Year.

Jacqueline, almost 9, is loving 4th grade at Seattle Country Day School. Her favorite subject is science, and the school has a way-cool science lab. (For 4th graders! I know!) If only their report cards had grades instead of smiley vs. frowny face. Jackie (as she prefers) ran on the school cross-country team again this year and ran an entire mile without stopping. She took up skiing last winter and went to Crystal every Friday in January and February as part of her school’s “Winterim” program.

This summer, Jacqueline and I took an open-cockpit biplane ride over Seattle; it was a reward for her memorizing the multiplication table through 12. We brought water balloons, but the pilot said no. Jacqueline also started a little business selling monkey-themed items. As further proof she's not so little anymore, her Halloween costume this year was dead rock star.

Jacqueline’s firebelly toad, Coolio (2005-2006), passed on this year. He ate crickets, which are adept at leaping from Death Row at meal times. The escapees find their way to the basement, where they hide and chirp the night away. They’re actually kind of peaceful; it’s like you’re camping. Some people might not like having their house infested with crickets, but I imagined them in top hats and spats, advising the cat on matters of conscience.

Veronica turned 3 this year and got her first haircut. She also started preschool. It’s a Co-op preschool, which at first I thought meant the kids would be kept in pens like chickens, but then I saw the hyphen. She loves it. She is a gregarious child, yet she will sit and do something by herself for twenty minutes or more, which is a lifetime—or a significant fraction thereof—for a 3-year-old. The co-op part means every parent works a couple days a month at the school and also has some other job. My job is putting out the monthly school newsletter and contributing one article each month. They never said the articles had to be informative or helpful, and that’s where they made their mistake.

Cute things Ronnie said this year:

Veronica enjoyed her first snow this year, and sometimes wished her dad would drive more smoothly.

We got a new dishwasher and the girls filled the box it came in with pillows and blankets. Veronica sleeps in there now, with the opening on top, like she’s fallen into a cardboard well. She looks like the world’s smallest, cutest hobo. Also—and this is huge news—she is done with diapers. She has been toilet trained for over a year, but she loved the convenience of relieving herself anywhere, anytime. Then one day, she quit cold turkey.

Beth had a great year at Microsoft; she took over her boss’s job in a bloody coup, or maybe it was a re-org (I try not to listen too much). The China trips are down to four per year, but they have been augmented with domestic trips, so I still have time for my secret other family. Beth has declared war on the ten pounds that are plaguing her and has been hitting the treadmill morning and night. I use it too because it’s right in front of the TV, which I hacked into to install a headphone jack. It works fine unless you touch the treadmill’s cardio-sensor pads while wearing the headphones, then you get shocked in the ears. Always gets my heart rate up.

Car wise, I sold the Cadillac and bought a ’95 Roadmaster wagon to replace the ’94 Roadmaster wagon, which will be for sale when I’m done swapping out the good parts. I’m a little nervous because this will leave me with only three cars. What if one morning one of them doesn’t start, and another one has been stolen while the third one has been in an accident? What would I do then? Take a bus? I have news for you: when you “take” a bus, you don’t actually get to take it; someone else is driving and they go wherever the hell they want to no matter what you say. (You can, however, still flip off other motorists. In fact, both hands are free to do so.) Also, the girls and I covered my truck with stickers this year; it all started with a few Hello Kitty stickers and then just got out of hand. Now people leave stickers under the wipers and hand me stickers at stoplights.

Trip wise, I think we went to Maui at Spring break, or maybe that was last year, or with my secret other family. (That reminds me: I still have another newsletter to do.) I think we’ll go again this year, depending on how ridiculous the TSA requirements are. Coming back from Las Vegas, they took my 2-ounce ketchup bottle from me. The guy said I could take it on board if I put it in a Ziploc bag. Is it terror they are fighting, or stains? Did they have any spare Ziploc bags for people to use? Ha ha! Good one. Just for asking that, empty your carry-on and take off your pants. Slowly. “Hey Frank. Frank! Check out this guy’s All In boxer shorts!” Fortunately, I always put my dignity in my checked luggage.

Maybe we’ll just stay home next year.

Merry Christmas & Happy 2007
Bill, Beth, Jacqueline, & Veronica