Our Family Annual Report 2008/ The Cheap Christmas Card


OUR YEAR OF 2008 AS COMPARED TO THE XXIX OLYMPIAD

This year was a series of trials, sort of like the Olympics, but with less Chinese food and more Southern accents.
We had our technical challenges, beginning with Linda choosing to defect from Samsung to the BlackBerry team. There was a moment when she was wooed by a competitor, but even with its snazzy looking stylus she still couldn’t cope with the Microsoftness of it. She battled the internet to create a website for her new venture, scratch and maintain her own site.
More techical hi-jinx took center ring on the day C’s Guitar Hero 3 dongle died, reducing Slash shredders to the PS2 version and a 32 inch screen instead of the PS3 and 130 inch screen- all of which will only make sense to 64.8% of newsletter recipients.

The Olympic Torch fiasco of 1879 was re-visited on Lochwood Trail when the last of the Alabama Fireworks misfired causing severe injuries to the butt and lower leg of the lady of the house who happened to be comfortably ensconced, beer in hand, in her beach chair in the driveway. The dance display she put on when hit with the fiery balls was worthy of a gold in the Special Olympics. The resulting scars will be her medal of honor.

In Wrestling:
When Vishnu and David tear out your bathtub, it’s a whole new Olympic event, falling somewhere between Greco-Roman wrestling and judo. With underhooks, crossfaces and cutbacks, we broke through skill, language and tile barriers to pull off a victory in the heavyweight division.
C was taken to the mat by cellular phone roaming fees and ring tone downloads, while P used a whizzer attack in her attempts to break/lose her free mobile so that she might join the team of US Texters.
Coming up with the silver, M’s back door offense ruled over the Russians when he dropped his second or third walkie-talkie phone and may have even managed to run it over in a Cajun parking lot.
But Linda took the gold with the one step back and circle defense when her flanked Macbook crashed and she lost everything, leaving her with nothing but a mysterious flashing question mark- not only on her blackened screen but also floating above the heads of the Apple Genius Staff at the mall.

In Taekwondo:
Linda wanted to do a little martial arts on those guys, but didn’t want to end up banned for life from the sport. Instead she pulled a Matos and spat on the floor and was escorted out. Apple countered that the match was fixed and accused her of offering them money.
She took her high flying moves to the local bars and restaurants of her fair town where she only managed to get thrown out of two of them all year, definitely deserving of a medal.
On the other side of the stadium…

In Gymnastics:
There were some rhythmic gymnastics happening in the meat packing district when Linda went to NYC for the AWP which sounds like a lot of FUN. It was.
Meanwhile on the balance beam, M managed to keep one foot in front of the other performing trick after trick, despite landing on a rickety economic base. C showed off his talents on the bar, as a new high schooler. All that spinning and flipping was good until the flipping was aimed at the bus driver, then the spinning resulted in a disqualification by the principal.

In The Steeplechase:
We had our share of interactions with horses and horses’ asses, from our nonjumping horseback riding on the beach in Cape San Blas, to a government-issued obstacle course in which we’ve been leaping fences, creeks and secret hedges chased by our new friend Mr. Tax Auditor, whose favorite phrase is “I’m almost done.”

In Basketball:
“Any time you get beat it’s embarrassing and that’s enough,” Bosh said. “And we can really use that as a tool … no matter how you’re shooting the ball you’re going to be in the game.”
M took his game to the golf course. From weekend outings with friends to weekdays with clients, he chased the little white ball all over Georgia, even scoring tickets to a PGA event where he and Linda followed Phil Mickelson and Camilo Villegas and ducked when Anthony Kim’s errant shot on the ninth hole whacked a spectator in the head. Kim might be arrogant little man, but he was kind enough to autograph the ball after someone cleaned off the blood.

In Swimming:
No Michael Phelps stylish strokes here. Our events were held in the Florida Panhandle on a deserted Cape and in the Georgia mountains where we rode tubes down shallow rivers and fell into off-road gullies cushioned with poison ivy. Though there was a Phelps-like amount of pizza consumed.

In The High Dive:
P competed once again in the Odyssey of the Mind competition. All the practice in the world could not have prepared any of the kids or their ever patient, loving parents for the hurricane that ripped through the small Georgia town on the day of the meet up. Lucky to not be selected as the team who would wait out the storm in the boys locker room, Linda snuck her group out the door past security and all the way down the road to the Mexican restaurant, where she felt they would be best protected by cheese dip and Margaritas.

In The Pentathalon:
The animals in the house had their own pentathalon, though none of them are named Andrejus or Edvinas, they managed to shoot, fence, swim, ride and run us around, from dying hamsters to adoptable-via-Craig’s-List-you-know-you-want-one Guinea Pigs to hand-fed baby doves and aging dogs with pirate eye conditions that make them look like the homeless guy on the corner who says he’ll work for samwitches.
Linda’s annual birthday celebration had at least five events: dinners, lunches, drinks, a party that began on a tavern rooftop and ended at a comedy club. Instead of a gold medal, she received her first pearl necklace- in a box- from the store.
A few months later she competed in the pentathalon-like planning of the anniversary day. Highlights: tequila tasters, an hour of blindness (Dialog in the Dark), an hour of incredible sights (Biplane ride).

In Synchronized Swimming :
P’s love for the dance took a nosedive as her love for the grades won out in late Fall. The family’s love for the non-generic cheese thanks her. Ditto C’s guitar lessons AKA that-weekly-source-of-money-flinging. It had something to do with video games, web surfing and girls- and maybe a little to do with five hours of daily high school homework.
We finally managed to synchronize some extended family time starting with a surprise New Year visit by Mom, Dad and Alex, followed by summer in Baldwinsville where the cousins got to play, though synchronized would probably be the last word the grandparents would choose to describe those weeks.
It was a good idea until C came down with a 24 hour bug the night before departure- which meant 24 hours of puke gag puke, which is especially lovely when you’re stuck on the tarmac for over 3 hours.
Linda battled the same bug while making a synchronized exit to Southampton where she’d won a scholarship to write with the pros. There was lots of reading and writing and listening, moderated by totally non-equal amounts of drinking, dancing and exploring.

In Fencing:
Though some would argue that there should have been, there was no wearing of straitjacket-like fencing outfits here. Instead we
drove straight to crazy with a trip to the sandy Florida Panhandle with a hairy dog, and spent days eating hundreds of Apalachicola oysters, an Olympic feat in itself.
In a counter parry, we returned home to more work for M and more writing events for Linda- a few that included sports cars when she was hired by both Porsche and GM. Touché.
She takes a few more awards and publication credits, and the gold after a year old blog post about a huge mean Cichlid garnered her more hate mail and free press than she could have imagined. En garde! Fish Keepers!
C had his own personal jab and parry when he pierced his own ears- at least a few times.

In Canoeing:
Unlike the Olympic canoers who overexerted themselves and fainted, we stayed relatively upright on a luxury houseboat for Cinco de Mayo. Being up a creek without a paddle is just fine with us, especially when you’re floating along with a captain, a bartender and lots of high end Tequila. (Partida!)
There are many different ways to traverse a watery plain, including the old slalom course approach which the kids nailed during a week at Church Camp. They managed to avoid any Eskimo rolls and returned a bit holier in hearts and clothes.
P did some fancy paddling when she hosted her birthday party at a kid’s beauty salon. Embarrassment, wild hair and nail polish reined in the river of youth.

In Track:
M’s increased muscle size made competitors wonder if there was something extra in his kool-aid, but his slow pace in the 400 and ability to crash on any couch removed any doubt that the man is all natural. C’s race approach was more hamster wheel than track and field, while P and her friend competed in javelin, hammer and discus in an outdoor meet at the fort in the woods, or was that saw, hammer, box of nails?
Linda sprinted from event to event, from literary venues to girl getaways, even joining the DragonCon team, where she competed in the Irish Car Bomb category, taking the bronze, while the gold was awarded to one very large Storm Trooper.
There was pole vaulting and high jumping and the throwing of a few discuses when the house became a 1920’s speakeasy for the annual murder mystery party, moonshine and tommy gun vodka included.

In the Triathalon:
Georgia gave us a triathalon from lake drainage to water shortage to gas shortage.
House repairs and maintenance continued to challenge in all three events of carpet, paint and remodel. The events may have been steroid enhanced by tours of re-fabbed Sears and Roebuck mail order houses in exclusive neighborhoods, or the million dollar estate homes with indoor basketball courts, arcades and private beauty salons.
We swam to the new Georgia Aquarium, biked to the World of Coke where we downed a few Beverlys, then ran to the finish with seats at So You Think You Can Dance and Neil Diamond.

All in all, it was a good year, breaking 43 world records, 132 Olympic records and earning multiple medals for endurance. We still have our hurdles to overcome and continue training for success.

Life is a marathon. Lace up your shoes and warm up your muscles, the race is on.

note: most of these events were written up in detail on this site and can be found in the tabs.. I’m just too lazy to insert the links

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