Dear Bill and Jill,
We received your cheerful Christmas letter a few days ago, and the wonderful card. I didn't know Armani made cards, much less out of gold leaf.
I was sorry to hear about your new Lexus getting scratched in the cruise ship parking lot. Life can be so cruel sometimes. Good thing you put the car in a garage during that six week Orient tour.
We've had a few car problems ourselves. The duct tape on the radiator hose gave out in traffic a while ago, and the engine seized before we could make it to an exit. We tried to take it back to the Yugo dealership, but it's now a video rental store. Ken has a manual and thinks he can fix it, if he can find an English-Yugoslavian dictionary.
Bill's job sounds very exciting, especially the part about opening the branch in Japan. My Ken is doing very well at both his jobs, although we were disappointed when some kid got promoted to manager at his night job. The kid doesn't even know how to fix the soft ice cream machine! Ken's day job is going pretty well, although his department had to take a 15% pay cut. The good news is that the company has promised to keep them on at least until February, and hopefully longer.
Jill, I was so interested to hear about your remodeling project. I didn't know you could buy mahogany yacht planking directly from Sumatra, and it was so clever of you to go there to oversee the shipment. Martha Stewart will be proud of you.
I have a new project of my own. I've got a little machine that makes place mats out of plastic or strips of bamboo. I got 300 pounds of each, and if I can produce a mat every 28 seconds I should be able to pay off the machine and turn a profit by March. The company is based in Florida, and they assure me that they'll be able to sell every mat that meets their quality control guidelines.
My daycare job is going well, although one of the parents complained about the snack program. She ended up pulling her kid out because we don't have bottled water. Thelma quit over the incident, so I moved up to Assistant Daycare Manager on October 1st. It's more of a title than a promotion, but I don't have to wash diapers any more.
Tell Hunter congratulations on his acceptance to Harvard. I'm sure it will be very handy to have another lawyer in the family.
Speaking of the law, our Randy had a scary thing happen to him last summer. The way he tells it, he and his buddies were having a quiet little party. About 2 am, a neighbor complained about the stereo. Randy decided to leave before the cops arrived, and borrowed another kid's car.
Well, it turns out there was a mistake, and the car really belonged to the neighbor. The good news is Randy was able to evade the cop cars, but the bad news is he swerved to avoid a puppy and wrapped the car around a tree. (He's doing well with the crutches.)
We were on television! The news said there were three tornados the night of July 11th, but only one hit our neighborhood.
We escaped with minor injuries (Ken broke his collarbone), but the entire west side of the house blew away. The kitchen is fine, although the gas company still hasn't fixed the pipe. Thanks to Ken's quick action, we managed to get enough plastic tarps before the store ran out.
Ken calls it "camping," but I'm getting a little tired of waiting for the insurance company to approve the repairs. We moved to the basement when it got cold, and because most of our stuff got blown away, we're not too crowded. For a while, Ken insisted on sleeping upstairs, but the looting has pretty much stopped, so he's downstairs with me now.
I hope I'm not being a Gloomy Gus. We had an OK year, and except for Krissie going off to that cult, we're all together for Christmas. We look forward to the New Year with our usual optimism.