Christmas 2014

Dear Friends and Family –
By now, most of you know the routine. This is the anti-holiday letter so if you’re looking for excellent news and sweet family stories … move along. If you want to follow the ancestral lines of the Grinch family, well, you’re reading the right letter.

I’ll start by saying I think I have a stress fracture because of Tommy. If you’ve seen “The Pink Panther” in which Peter Sellers’ “houseboy” constantly attacks him to keep his martial arts skills sharp, please note that this kind of thinking is real. It’s stupid but it’s real. This is my fault as I signed him up for a street-fighting, grappling style of martial arts (his instructor is the real deal!) and Tommy likes to be authentic, thereby attacking me when the house is dark. Now we both creep through the house, neither speaking, both waiting to attack. Katie just likes to attack herself. She does this by passing out, face first on the ground. The first time was when she was standing in line in Austin to attend a music festival. Who passes out on an electrical box? But when she came to, she found her peers holding cell phones out to “snap chat” and “instagram” the moment of a leaf and dirt covered unconscious Katie. I tried SOOO hard to find one for the Christmas letter but, alas, nothing. As Katie answered the “how many fingers am I holding up” to a medical person, she could hear her peers helpfully call out, “Take her pulse!” Besides the realization that eating actual food is a good idea for someone with anemia, Katie had yet another startling revelation: “My generation is really stupid.”

The same day that Katie scratched the cornea on her eye after (or during) an awkward hug goodbye to a friend in college AND I had a skin biopsy done, leaving me with a band-aid across my nose, Tommy came walking out of school wearing only socks. When I asked where his shoes were, he merely shrugged. He had no idea. How do you have no idea where your shoes are? I redirect: “When did your shoes leave your person?” Answer: PE and since they were gone, he merely walked around for the rest of the day without shoes and did not think to tell anyone. Meantime, I got my second letter threat. Some of you might recall many years ago when I did a story on Santa Claus that went woefully wrong – turned out he was a pedophile stalker from another state, relocated here so that I could do a story on him just in time to discover what a nut bag he was so that he could then he could cyber bully me until the FBI got involved. This time, however, it was a “fan” who disagreed with an article and sent helpful “warnings” to me. Maybe that was why I didn’t think about the fact that no one asked why I had a huge band aid on my face. When I mentioned this to Katie, she said, “No offense but you’re kind of crazy so people probably just figure you got kicked in a face by a goat or something.” I think this was when I got the idea to sell a “Goat-A-Day” calendar. Be on the lookout for it soon! Back to the band aid: If you live the kind of life where people don’t think to ask why you have a band-aid on your nose because they just figure you got kicked in the face by a goat, it’s probably time to get a goat. It just makes sense, right?    
                                                                        NOEL    NOEL    NOEL   NOEL
For the first time ever, we took a family vacation without the girls. They both worked for the summer so it was just me, Robb and the boy headed to the mountains. Robb got mad at an orange because “it got juice on my hands,” he got mad at a guy because of the way the guy walked, and he got repeatedly mad at his phone. He became so agitated with the GPS app that, and I swear this is true, it actually talked back to him. We were in Craig, Colorado and he was yelling at the machine when she (voice) instructed us to turn left. She actually said, “Turn right then!” Swear! While looking for a cabin in Montana, he told a lodge owner that he needed one with a bathroom because he had a “female” with him. Really? A female, Tarzan? His intense hatred of all people who play golf, Microsoft’s BING, the Olive Garden, and overtly happy people continues. Also, he discovered that the Pittsburgh Steelers have a player named Merciless and now wants his last name to be Merciless but only if he can change his first name to Completely. Still, I love him because of the sweet things he does and says to me. Why, just last week he suggested that I “learned to whisper in a saw mill.” Do I speak loudly? His big thing now, however, is Great Clips. Yeah. The hair place. Apparently, they ask for your name AND phone number when you come in and this is very distressing to Robb. Why do they need my number? Why do they need my name?! They now know him as Ron Swanson. Ron has a Montana phone number. Speaking of hair - Katie decided that her real father is Barry Gibbs from the Bee Gees and has begun downloading pictures of him and his luscious locks. I feel like I would know if this were true.

Robb and I took a trip with just the two of us. First time ever. So we went to Berlin, landed without our luggage and then rushed right out to hire a former KGB agent as our tour guide, proving that we really don’t need the children to carry on the horrible vacation tradition. The only decent picture is the one of us on the airplane before landing. We had to run everywhere. The guide was most animated when she showed us the former KGB prison camp which is now a schoolyard playground. It’s where all the bad children like to unwind …. Ahhh! Children of the German Corn!

Katie wrecked her car again but at least she wasn’t trying to change her pants while talking on the phone in a school zone like last time. She did get a warrant out for Robb’s arrest (unpaid tickets under his name) but in about ten years from now we’re all going to just laugh and laugh and laugh at that.

My parents moved from Virginia to Texas and now only live a couple of miles away. In helping them move in, I then had to capture the stray mother cat and her kittens, all disease ridden (common when eating rats) and my car smelled like death for about a week. Our gym did a Spin-a-Thon to raise $$ for a Senior Food Pantry, then I came home to discover Robb made me a “meal for a champion.” Spam and 40 year old Tang. I wish I was kidding. Robb went to Saudi Arabia for work. He told me not to worry because he (tall, blonde, blue-eyed, whiter than a Polish Christmas) would “blend in.” Ah. Yes. And soon, he was communicating like a native as indicated in a recent email: “I called Jamil and said, “Mustafa told me that you will take our laundry somewhere.” But he doesn’t understand me very well and I don’t understand him very well. I gave him my clothes and he took off. I’m pretty sure I’ll never see them again.”

There was a recent buzz on Facebook. Perhaps you’ve seen it. My friend and co-worker, Dionne Zschiesche, posted: Just so everyone knows, the Unicorn is real!! I have been in doubt for the over 10 years that I have known her. She always says she has a husband named Robb, but no one ever sees him. But Alexandra Allred really does have a husband named Robb, and he is for real...I saw him, met him, and actually touched him today! And, he's quite a handsome fella!!! Lol I think I might have freaked him out...just a little!” This set off a flurry of comments because people who have known me over a decade still have not seen the unicorn. He is real but, of course, as Dionne was “charging him” (according to Robb), he was looking for the exit!
But the big news of this year, yes, even bigger than Kerri getting engaged and me threatening my new precious son-in-law-to-be bodily harm if I didn’t get to see footage of the proposal (it helps that he was a kickbox student of mine and understands I have rage issues – you know, being raised in a sawmill and all …) was that Kerri was hit by a bus. Not once, but twice. How many people get hit TWICE by a bus?
I’m almost jealous of this because, seriously, how cool would it be to say, “Wow, I feel like I got hit by a bus … oh, wait a minute, I have!” The first time she got hit, it was more of a bump. The second time, the bus driver reported that he was going about 25 MPH and Kerri flew. It completely wrecked her bike and threw her, causing her to land on her backpack which was so full it prevented her head from cracking the ground. One and possibly two ribs were fractured, massive bruising appeared around her face, shoulder, arm, torso down to her hipbone and thigh. Even her ankle was messed up. But here’s the greatness of it all, the gratitude, the silver lining, the beauty …
Unlike her two siblings and father, Kerri rarely drives me crazy and therefore, is not featured so prominently in the annual Christmas letters. But this year, as she lay on the ground, doing a quick body check to make sure her violin playing fingers were not mangled, as the driver ran around in circles, crying, “I hit a human! I hit a human!” Kerri was elated. As a crowd formed around her, she made a little pumping motion with her fist (though limited due to the extreme pain) and said, “YESSSS! This is totally going to make the Christmas letter!”

Robb, Alex, Kerri, Katie, and Tommy

Ho, ho, ho… boy! End of the year and you want a tax write-off!? Please check out this amazing non-profit that educates special needs young adults who aged out of the school system and want/need purpose! They want to work, workout, have friends & make a difference! Please help!  *We are working on a documentary about this super cool group. J

Missed a previous Christmas letter? Check out

                                            2015 is a new year for new books!



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