Have you ever received one of those Christmas cards containing an
ominously folded piece of typing paper? You know, the one where you
reluctantly open it, and you are suddenly afflicted with an insufferable
multi-paragraph essay detailing the past year's activities of a distant
relative or forgettable acquaintance.
Hopefully you're a glutton for punishment because you are about to
read another one-only this time, most of you only know me as that
nut who writes about how his three daughters spend all of his cash,
his wife laughs at him a lot, and his pets take turns ruining his
lawn and carpet.
First, I'm pleased to say that our family is currently feeding, housing,
medicating and dodging the droppings of one less semi-domesticated
creature-and I don't mean one of my daughters. 2019 saw the untimely
demise of Nibbles-the hamster to end all hamsters, at least for us.
Nibbles was one in a series of small rodents who have lived with us
over the years-including a family of birdseed-glutted roof rats who
once set up housekeeping in the walls of our laundry room (and didn't
even have the common courtesy to do an occasional load of whites.)
My youngest daughter did have a hard time grappling with the harsh
reality of Nibbles' death-for about three minutes. But she was soon
comforted by the nurturing balm of watching other people play video
games on YouTube while I reverently laid Nibbles to rest in a toilet
paper tube under the trampoline. In case you're wondering, we still
have two dogs, a cat, two hedgehogs, a horse, and a veterinarian who
has a framed photo of me on his desk.
Our middle daughter has spent much of her spare time this year at
church youth activities-when she's not hanging out with her boyfriend,
whom, incidentally, she met at church-which I'm sure God thinks is
hilarious. But despite my distaste for the thought of her sharing
a pew with another male figure other than the Holy Spirit Himself,
I can't really blame her-considering that I met my wife in Sunday
school. I'm pretty sure the lesson that day was on whether or not
Adam had a belly button, but all I could think about was how psyched
I was that he gave up that rib.
On a less spiritual note, my eldest and most expensive daughter earned
her driver's license in 2019 and has been enjoying not running any
useful errands for my wife and me. This is because she is constantly
driving to various extracurricular practices or lessons that usually
require a costly detour to Target and/or Starbucks. Speaking of costly
detours, as a first-year driver, she is still learning to keep her
bumpers to herself and has had a couple of fender-benders, to which
I reacted by calmly assuring her that her safety is all that matters
(and that I offer very reasonable interest rates on insurance deductibles
and premium surcharges to be collected over the remainder of her natural
My wife spent 2019 in her usual kind and tolerant way-by not running
away to Tonga or having me involuntarily committed. She remains the
dignified, mature, even-tempered, and prudent bedrock of our family-and
she's a heck of a lot better-looking than bedrock. In addition to
maintaining her impeccable character, she allowed the girls and me
to accompany her on several business trips she took to fun locations
this year-and she even brought us back home with her. I really don't
know what we would do without her-other than live in a Maytag box
and slowly starve to death.
Overall, 2019 has been a great year for our family, and I can only
hope that you, too, can look back on this past year as one with a
limited number of pet burials and insurance claims.
Until next time-happy Christmas to all, and to all a reasonable vet