Christmas 2012

Dear Family and Friends -

Indeed, it is that time again.  For those of you new to this letter, please see  For Robb’s benefit, letters from 1999 to present are being offered… But the premise is this: Robb hates happy letters in which great times are highlighted. This is our anti-happy and to borrow from Tommy, there have been many burnages this year!


[A burnage, as in a burn, as in “oooooh, burnage” is when someone burns you with a witty comeback or something just goes wrong, was coined by Tommy!]


Here goes: Got a new car and 10 days later was hit by an uninsured, illegal.  An owl ate our cat. Tommy has some kind of unidentified rash on his leg and Kerri has now been diagnosed with asthma. Katie’s eyes are crossing again and we’re back to more CAT scans. And for reasons we do not understand, Tommy’s hair grows up. He wears a Panda hat to flatten his hair but it’s not working. He’s totally missed the point of when to put deodorant on and has an obsession with his pocket knife. Ex: Robb to Tommy: “Buddy, I don’t think we need a knife to throw the football!”


The publishing house that discovered/first printed Fifty Shades of Grey is now my publishing house. I got invited to a really cool book convention but it was for romance/erotica writers and I was put on a panel, “Save the horse, Ride the cowboy.”  What? Um, hello.  My name is Alex. I write about funny ladies and air quality. Oh, and speaking of .. the feds finally came in and determined that maybe looking at air quality data provided BY the cement plants isn’t such a great idea. Ya think? This just in: Our air appears to be bad.


Tommy talks in code: JK. LOL. IDK. But the thing is, he doesn’t even own a cell phone so why is he abbreviating everything? He says because he’s the only 8th grader in the ENTIRE WORLD who doesn’t have a cell phone, he needs to keep up with the times. Katie’s cell phone is dead and we’ve decided not to replace it right away because … she actually looks at us now.  Kerri made the huge mistake of backing up in front of Robb.  When she went off the driveway, Robb was aghast. He’s so good at driving in reverse, he says, he once got a ticket for speeding – backwards. The police didn’t even know how to issue the ticket so they wrote him up for accelerated exhibitionism.  Kerri isn’t much better forward on a bike and flipped over her handlebars at A&M at a busy intersection. Embarrassed, she played dead, facedown and spread eagle when she heard someone snicker until the light turned green and traffic moved on.  Move along! Move along!


After two years of dating, Kyle is still referred to (by Robb) as “Kerri’s friend.” This is a certain step up from being called Lyle.  Katie almost died in the donut shop. Not because of the chocolate sprinkle donut she choked on but by the “Heimlich help” she received by a group of high school boys who “rescued” her. We have requested the security video tape for a good laugh! She is in a cooking feature in a magazine, the same person who only recently discovered the light in the fridge goes out when the door is shut, following an article in Girl’s Life magazine for a dog-jogging business she and friend, Macy, started. But let’s be honest. After running with just two dogs for ¼ mile in the heat and the business was over!


At the dentist, when Robb was having a crown replaced (he called this major surgery), the hygienist commented on Robb’s red beard. When I went to check on his “surgery,” Robb was heavily denying his reddish tints. On the upside, he haggled a price for his tooth. Who haggles with a dentist? This was after a great production of what going-to-the-dentist shirt he should wear.


We were watching the show, “What Would You Do?” on racism that took place in a deli. Suddenly, Robb stopped the show and scrolled it back.  “Waiiiiit a minute,” he said. I was so proud of him.  I, too, caught the subtle nuances of another man’s body posture.  The drama unfolding was very intense.  Robb paused the show at two men coming at each other.  Behind them was the deli’s menu.  He pointed! “Do you see the prices on that roast beef sandwich?” 


Robb: Oh. What’s that? I see you want to Walgreens. Glad to see we’re the Rockefellers.

Me: Um, yes, for medicine.    Robb: Oh, I see it had to be prescription, couldn’t just have over the counter.    Me: It’s steroids!  It has to be prescribed.    Robb: Oh, glad to see you can afford all those co-pays for a doctor visit.    Me: I have pneumonia.   Robb:  Oh, well, aren’t you fancy.


He went hunting up in the mountains with his cousin, Duane and they honestly think being in a tent at 13,000 ft in 9 degree F weather is fun. Even the elk headed back down the mountain. He carries his knife into church, peels off fingernails and places them upon us. It’s escalated to the point where he’ll show us his nails and “let us” decide which nail will be put upon us.


In the beginning of the year, he watched the show, “Gold Rush” and walked around mumbling like the old codger, Jack. Now, his new fav show is “Duck Dynasty” which highlights the lives of millionaire hillbillies and Robb has chosen to emulate Si. If you know the show … well, I need not explain my pain. When he got home from his mighty hunter trip, he came in and dropped all his crap all over the kitchen floor.  Two days later, when I asked about the status of said crap, he said, “I’m the hunter, you’re the gatherer.  You need to gather all this up.” It was suggested that he could start hunting for a hotel.


Robb thinks speed limit signs are just suggestions.


At the romance/erotica convention, there were all these women with the romantic notion of what it must be like to live with a cowboy, a mountain man, some rugged, hunter who is not big on words or heavy thought.  I was looking at these women and thinking, ‘Wow, you people have not thought this through!  Trust me. It ain’t romantic! It’s annoying!” 


Someone wrote me a sweet note, saying how much she enjoyed watching our family and what a quiet and calm influence Robb is on our family.  Wait.  What?


He’s calm like the flu. I just signed a new contract with The Writer’s Coffee Shop, the Allie Lindell series (woohoo!) but am very challenged because I share workspace with a giant child. Robb constantly makes up false news headlines. Also, we play, “Am I Chinese, Korean or Japanese,” where Robb reads all kinds of names, butchers them and I have to guess nationalities. I must watch all sports highlights. I must also watch movies I have seen before but when I point this out, he denies it as he has NO MEMORY of anything.  We’ve seen this before.  No, we haven’t!  Yes, we have.  That guy dies in the end. What? How do you know this?  Because we’ve ALREADY SEEN IT!


A friend suggested that Robb be tested for low thyroid as it is linked to poor memory but Robb says he doesn’t have thyroids. “Only women have thyroids.” 


Katie loaned her car to some kid and we got to play “What did that kid run into” when it was returned damaged and without explanation. Very classy. It’s also fun when you receive a text picture from your violin playing/artist daughter (who needs her hands!), muddy and wearing a mouth guard with the caption: Playing Women’s Rugby at A&M.


Tommy called me at work, breathlessly asked for Mimi’s cell phone number. I asked why and he says, “Nothing. I can handle it.” Click. Tommy was a guest on CNN’s The Clark Howard Show and was tagged as a “future millionaire.”  The next day, he found pretty blue flag all up and down our street (that the electric company had carefully measured out the day before).

Knock. Knock: Have you seen our flags?  Ummmm.  And how many times must I wash tootsie rolls or Leggos? Speaking of washing machines, my new publishers made a YouTube of me doing laundry. It’s in production but involves a lot of screaming. By Christmas, try looking up Damaged Washer on YouTube – the idea being to have a series of “damaged” spooks.   Okay, sure… I destroyed my own washer after a mud run competition but Robb’s view is why buy a new one when that one works perfectly fine.  Please see video! Besides, all the running got me, Michelle and some really great friends featured in Real Simple magazine (July 2012), profiling our running club.  Then Katie got a job at a donut shop so Michelle and I jog 4 miles to the donut shop, stuff ourselves and then jog home.  It’s a win/win except for when people ask, “Didn’t I see you in Real Simple?”  Move along, move along!


The show Jersey Couture finally aired and the producers labeled me the “Dress Virgin.”  Really?? I got a chance to go to London and testify before the International Olympic Committee and Tommy decided to have an emergency appendectomy.  Turns out he’s highly sensitive to anesthesia.  Following surgery, he stood up on the gurney and tried to fight a nurse. They called it “not unusual.”  We call it too much Call of Duty. He also decided to have pneumonia right before his Boy Scout camping trip. When we traveled to California, because Katie was going to appear on a talk show that shall remain nameless (but let’s just say that it’s a comeback for a person who says she wants to be classy this time [hint: she was on Dancing with the Stars] but when we got on stage the producer said, “Okay, Katie, you’re like, ‘Mom, I want to be a reality tv star no matter what,’ and Mom, you’re like, ‘Oh, no, you’re going to college’ and Katie, you’re like, ‘Mom, it’s my life.’ The producer walked off and Katie and I were in shock. When we sat on the couch, the host mugged the camera: “Coming up next – meet the teenager who says she wants to be the next Snookie!” What?! We went there on the premise of getting into acting with values!!), we stopped to go hiking in St. George, Utah – a balmy 105 degrees F. When we asked what shoes to wear, Robb said, “Think stubbed toes, water and lots of rocks.”  He was NOT kidding. For 3 hours we were submerged in water, fighting rocks and sometimes scary current. A family from Denmark passed us and Kerri suddenly felt a warm spot in the freezing water.  This would mark her second consecutive year of someone urinating on her. Robb came up with our new family motto and he’s super proud of it.  It really does say everything about EVERY family trip we have EVER taken.  It goes like this: We’re the Allreds!  We do things the hard way!  On the same trip, he drove us crazy clearing his throat so I put an allergy pill in his drink, thinking it would dissolve. He took a swig, spewed it all over our rental car, now refers to this as the time I “tried to poison” him and, to show me, refuses to take allergy medicine.


This year has marked 20 years with Robb and I may have kidney damage.  We play this stupid who-calls-the-holiday-first game.  “Happy Fourth of July,” “Happy Memorial Day,” and “Merry Christmas.” He is so unbelievably competitive that clocks get turned back, people hide in closets or just disappear.  It’s so stupid! I lie in bed, writhing in agony because I have to go to the bathroom but it’s after midnight and the holiday – whatever it is – has arrived.  Is he asleep? Is he just faking? As the hours creep by, I am in pain. Did you know if you hold it too long, fluid can back into the kidneys! I roll quietly out of the bed and… argh!  “Yeah, yeah, happy freaking Valentine’s Day!  Jerk!”


I got conjunctivitis, flew to D.C., was searched b/c they thought I was high. Also, please visit my new facebook page: How to Board an Airplane. I paid for my freaking seat … I should have a place to put my luggage!! WHO’S WITH ME????? (Please LIKE the page and add to it!)


Kerri came home from college and I was telling her to do something.  She looked at me, “Momma!  Why are you repeating everything five times?”   “I have to becau….wait!  Did you just hear me? You were listening?” Wow!  She learned!  One of them made it out! No one else listens. All Katie likes to do now is get in trouble and Tommy wants to be a bodyguard. And let’s be clear:  A knife-wielding bodyguard. A knife-wielding bodyguard who likes to take his purple unicorn camping. My 70+ year old parents decided to get a Labor-Dane (yes, Great Dane) mix who has no social skills, pulls on the lead, doesn’t understand personal space and may have worms. I think Kerri is lactose intolerant. The cats like to hack up hairballs on my new car.


Katie told Robb that he’s not allowed to use the word “swag.” Robb wondered why and was told he’s not cool enough. Who, then, he wondered was cool enough to use the word “swag” and when Katie named a person at her school, Robb asked, “Well, what makes him so cool.”  She thought.  “Well, for one thing, he was arrested once.”  In a super mature parental move, Robb replied, “Well, if that’s the case, I’m the coolest S.O.B. you’ve ever met.”


Later, when I yelled at him about this, he denied it.  He denies everything. Much later, we read something about a celebrity who was denying something. I explained to Robb  the premise of press releases. This leaves the option to later deny whatever truths are needed.  “That’s why they have their people.” He pondered this. “I’m gonna start doing that. I’m going to start denying things.”  You’re going to start … denying things.  But he was still going… “Will you be my person who says stuff and then I can later deny it?”  Will I be your person who says stuff you deny …The more he got to thinking about it, the more he liked it.  He said, “I need a scribe.  I need someone to walk around behind me and write down all the amazing things I come up with.”  What the heck do you think these Christmas letters have been about??  


Robb can’t stand letting anyone sleep in, he has to hold the remote or a knife (yeah, him, too) while watching TV and he can never go to the store alone.  But no one wants to go with him.  He’s like a 95-year-old man with a walker, on a tight budget and total memory loss.  Why would you want to shop with this? But one day while Robb was torturing Katie -- his feet on her favorite pillow – and I said I was going to the store, Katie sat up. “Don’t let her go shopping alone, Daddy.  She can’t be trusted with the unit prices.  She’s an over-spender.”  I hear this. “That is low, Katie. I can’t believe you threw me under the bus like that.” She says she’s sorry but it’s about survival. “Daddy, how many times are we going to let her break the bank at the store.”  Ooooh, burnage.


In response: Did you know that Katie, when she was supposed to take a cake from the donut shop to the dumpster, sat down next to the dumpster and ate it?  Oooooooooooooooh, burnage!


We’re the Allreds and we do things the hard way!  No reason.  We just do.  We’re idiots.


P.S. Please read Damaged Goods and if you love it … offer a review on and put us one step closer to the NYTimes Best Seller list.  Dare to dream. Also, please note that your purchase will help me buy a new washer …


  1. Were we possibly separated at birth? Because some of these dynamics sound very familiar...


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