Christmas Letter

21 Dec

I have a mixed history with Christmas cards and letters. I stopped doing cards in 1987 but started again after Harry had his stroke. He had send out Christmas cards for decades but was no longer able to write the addresses. We went through his address book and mine to make the list that I computerized and printed the labels. Together we put on the labels and selected the right card for each friend or family member. I created a Christmas letter that explained his stroke and our move to Wenatchee.  We actually made two letters that first year – one for fun that cast the changes in a glowing expanded light. The second was real and actually got sent.

In the years that have followed we worked together to write our letter summarizing what we have done through out the year.  I have come to enjoy looking back knowing that all in all it had been a pretty good year.  We also had fun coming up with things that didn’t happen that would make the year even more fun. Because all things change, this year I’ll be coming up with the items for our letter by myself. Although Harry is making progress with his speech therapist, he still can’t say what he wants for his Harryism quips nor will he be able to read the completed letter which frustrates him to no end.  He wants to believe that he will magically have all of those skills back but it doesn’t work like that.

So on the positive side. We made serious progress with the house remodel this year. The kitchen is done except for the bar into the family room. I haven’t committed myself to a raised bar or a counter top height. I think the raised will win out but I’m still not sure it is what I want. The new 2nd bath still needs some ceiling trim but functions just fine which is good because the master bath is in rebuild stage. Stripping 9 layers of paint from the inside of the bath door and door frame has been more labor intensive that I had hoped. The array of colors says a lot about the former residents. The family room TV is finally hung on the wall shared with the new bath. The wall still needs some more drywall compound and paint but it will be painted with the family room.  That will hold until we do the bump out for the utility room in the spring.

The guest room has a new fan light and paint. It is usually clean and ready for guests. The master bedroom also has its new ceiling fan light and only needs some ceiling trim and wardrobes. That is on my to do list for right after the 1st of the year. We bought a new canopy bed to take advantage of the 10 foot ceilings.  I no longer remember what color I wanted to paint the dining room but it will probably be a neutral color matching the one I haven’t selected for the living room. They were not in bad condition so they both moved down on the to do list.

Our 3rd major project was the front porch. The 4 posts are now wood wrapped, the floor is all painted and the new porch swing is hung on one side with the 2 rocking chairs and the wicker set is on the other end. We had enjoyed our morning coffee out there after Harry covered himself with mosquito repellant.

We also managed to complete a couple of trips. In April we went to New Orleans for a short break. We took the ferry across the river to the courthouse where we got married. The courthouse looks the same although the judge who married us has retired. The street in front had changed with the new high dike that surrounds the area. We went to the French Quarter to have brunch at the Clover Grill but it was closed for painting. That had been the main reason for our trip! Oh well, getting soaked in the never ending rain as we got on and off the street car was memorable as was Harry’s small stroke. The best was the B&B at the Madewood Plantation. The dinner and breakfast were fabulous and the plantation house was every bit of what you would expect. It is fun to pretend that you could afford to live in a house like that.

In June Harry stayed home with the animals while I drove the van to Washington in time to see my former students graduate. It was a fast trip but enjoyable. It was so good to see my friends there. I miss them but Skype helps a lot. Once I got back we worked hard to get the swimming pool set up. We enjoyed it almost every day all summer. Next year it will go up in May for a longer season.

Our plans for the transatlantic cruise from London to Ft Lauderdale were cancelled when Harry had a serious stroke 10 days before we were to depart. It was disappointing but we made a trip to Florida and the Keys the 1st week of December stopping in New Orleans for that delayed brunch at the Clover Grill. The food was every bit as good as we remembered. It was nice to take a break from the everyday and we were able to take Fred the dog with us. He and Harry are both happiest when he can go. Iggy the cat stayed home with Dulcie the  neighbor taking care of him. I think he likes the one on one attention although he was lost without Segia for a couple of weeks.

The new year will find us in Corpus Christi in a condo that we will have for a week. We will stop in San Antonio on our way home to see the Alamo and to visit friends. In late February we will have another week in a condo in Arkansas so we will see different parts of this area. At the end of March we are booked on another 14 day Transatlantic cruise from Ft Lauderdale to Rome. We will spend 5 days in Rome before flying home. In between trips we might even get the master bath done!

So this year has been interesting but we are still here and planning for the future. What more can anyone ask?

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