Christmas 2009   

Merry Christmas from Three Muses & a Scott,

In keeping with the economic downturn, we had an old-fashion Christmas this year. We were visited by three spirits who persuaded Jimmy Stewart to lend money to Charlie Brown for a better Christmas tree from the Island of Misfit Toys while I shot Ralphie's eye out with chestnuts and drove a bough of holly through Frosty the Snowman's heart (the only reliable way to put down a snow zombie) before dining on roast beast & rummy tum tums with Clark Griswold in a manger. We didn't have time to go a wassailing.

As has become my habit, I put a few Xmas lights on the house again this year, so many that KING 5 weatherman Jeff Renner came over and did a live weather report from our front yard for the 11 o'clock news. We chatted a bit on camera and he told me how he decides when to make it snow. This is the first year that anonymous decoration donations appeared on the porch, the way stickers sometimes appear on my truck. Fun fact about this year's display: If I took all the extension cords I used and plugged them in end-to-end, the fire marshal would never stop slapping me.

Jacqueline is a 7th-grader at SCDS. Her favorite part of school is going to dances. She even got asked on a date to a dance at Lakeside. I actually had to wait up for her (she's only 11!). The same boy came all the way from Mercer Island to deliver a Christmas present. He has a bad case of Jacqueline. She played on the SCDS volleyball team again and they actually won two games this year. She also ran on the SCDS cross-country team finishing non-last every time.

Veronica is now a kindergartner at SCDS, the same school Jackie goes to, which is wonderful news for me because I drive less. I usually leave a car there and bike home and I only got hit by a car once. Veronica has learned many new things this year, such as what foster care is and that her father could send her there any time he wants. Part of me says it is wrong to threaten a child, but another, louder, part of me says "Look--she finally picked up her junk off the floor." Veronica loves gymnastics, and became a better ice skater than me in about 15 minutes. She is also taking ski lessons at Mini Mountain and will hit the slopes with her sister this winter.

We added a member to our household this year: a flatulent black kitten named KiKi. The girls love her, of course, but our fat orange incumbent cat hates her and would kill her if he had any claws. The kitten ignores his hissing and growling and just wants to play. They are like live versions of Garfield and Nermal, if Nermal passed large amounts of malodorous gas. (Gotta get that kitten to a vet.)

Beth is still at Microsoft but also has a new job in our basement: cranking out stuffed toys with Jackie like a Chinese sweatshop. Get yours now at and enjoy the stop-motion video Jackie & her friend made.

Speaking of internety things, I was lured into facebook this year and while it can be a timesuck, it is also a potent weapon for inflicting photos of your children on others. I was also accidentally the high eBay bidder on another Buick Roadmaster station wagon (this one is green), so now I have three, which at first might seem like too many, but consider what could happen if Beth discovered I had a dozen mistresses; she would not know which car to attack with a golf club because I could be in any of them. I have also taken the precaution of having no golf clubs, no mistresses, and never leaving a voice mail to anyone ever.

And now it is time for Cute Things Veronica Said:

  • Me: "Do you know what a zombie is?" Veronica: "Yes. They are are unwrapped mummies."

I guess that's all. She's not as cute as she used to be. Might actually be time for that foster care.

Summer was most excellent. We joined the Lakeridge Swim Club just in time for Lake WA to be the warmest it has ever been; we went down to the lake most days during the hot spell. We also joined just in time for Veronica to refuse to take swimming lessons ever again. I made a 30' rope swing for the girls that we hung from a branch of a giant chestnut tree at the park that no one was using and that had no sign prohibiting rope swings. We let other kids use it, but made sure we used only our first names when speaking. The garage-top trampoline saw new life as Jackie had the genius idea to put a sprinkler under it.

Trips we took include the annual Maui winter break, Disneyland in spring, an eastern WA road trip with river-rafting plus Mt. Rainier in summer, and an overnighter in Grand Mound, home of Great Wolf Lodge water park where Jackie celebrated her 11th birthday.

House-wise, I filled the bumpout I made last year with a dining nook, and slapped a coat closet next to it. It's never going to be in Fine Woodworking, but if there were a magazine called Adequate Woodworking, or The Journal of Handyman Furniture, it would have a shot. I should have taken the pix as soon as I finished because they have been covered in junk every day since. (Where was the junk before? Clutter seems to be attracted to horizontal surfaces in our house like Tiger Woods to unfamiliar vaginas.) Here's a clutter-busting tip: is it two-dimensional? Then scan it and throw it away. This year, I filled a recycle bin with old photos and enough children's art to pull a refrigerator's door off its hinges, all guiltlessly because I scanned them first. Now, they are preserved on a hard drive (backed up, of course) that is attached to the fridge.

Man, that was a busy year. No wonder I'm tired. Time to rest up for 2010.

Bill, Beth, Jacqueline, & Veronica