Yes, you waited for it. Yes, you have been reading since 1997. Wait. You haven’t? Shame on you .
and really, I’d almost forgotten about this one.
Hey. let’s not dwell in the past. Let’s be thankful for today and move things forward in joy and hope. But first, let’s wrap up 2015 at my house.
2015: The Annual Report, Detective Style
Family, minus Boy, prepares for a trip to the niece’s wedding in St. Thomas. Much disagreement overheard in household regarding packing and available space for shoes.
Minimal internet time in preparation— notice a few searches for: What to do when your parents are driving you nuts and you’re on an island with them? and Will my mom know if I come home and drink her booze when she’s away? Observation: Grandmothers should not attempt to fly connections out of NM or you will be stranded, then sent home.
The kid with the new Jeep crashes. No casualties, no injuries, except to bumper and pride. Much discussion from father about insurance cost and access to cellular device. Six days later, rock from cement truck cracks windshield of same Jeep. Kid is heard to cry, “It wasn’t my fault. I swear!” (Repeated several times at increasingly high pitch.) Father goes to work.
Kindle Scout launches Linda’s book 3 Women Walk into a Bar. Incredible amount of internet time is spent begging for votes, swapping reviews, researching the competition and offline, negotiating deals with God/dead saints/angels we have heard on high.
Neighborhood GNO continues with Linda at the helm. One night away from household does not appear to satisfy, as the women institute “Downton Abbey Night.” Sounds from outside the hosting home suggest there is more to this gathering than simple television programming. Father goes to bed early so that he can go to work.
Out with the Bad, In with the Good themed Bunco event results in many tearful women in the house Smudging ceremony and postcards for friend battling cancer conclude the night. Observation: Red wine soothes the soul. These broads can drink a lot of red wine.
02-2015 Father and the neighborhood men set up a monthly poker game. Nicknames are given to hide identities. All agree to tell wives that they, “Broke even.”
Linda flies to Ft. Lauderdale on a whim. Observation: New Jersey girls can party. Hard. Father goes to work, not so hard.
Girl has her wisdom teeth removed. She finally admits to being a vampire. Family acts as if this is nothing new. I may have been spotted. I drove past the house, saw driver Boy and passenger Linda exiting Ford Escape. Girl stood in the driveway waving, calling me “Her fan.” Will need to change my disguise.
Car in driveway with NY plates, debris on car suggests recent trip through Alabama. Sand in treads solidifies suspicion vehicle has been to the beach. Greetings confirm this is a family visit. Later, there is a gathering of teenagers in gowns and tuxedos accompanied by parents with cameras. Prom night. Observation: Boy interviews the boys in the group more thoroughly than the father or mother.
University of TN visit. Observation: Mother is more excited about the campus and area than Girl. Father unimpressed from afar. Girl still buys a student T-shirt. Father goes to work.
Georgia girls attend their first NASCAR race. Many photos are taken of camo. Linda loses binoculars in porta-potty. There is another Linda Birthday Party. Drivers arrive to take half-drunk party-goers to something called an Urban Escape. Confused, as they never leave the city. Evidence of Fireball Jello shots found at the scene, lose them in the crowd at concert.
Easter and Spring break fall at same time. Carloads of females head to Blue Mountain Beach, Florida. Father stays behind to supervise landscaping of rear yard and feed the dog. Also, according to his frequent tirade, “Take her out at all hours of the day and night.” Before he goes to work.
Girl goes to Prom #2 in dress #2. Father cries, again. Mother’s camera breaks and she is off the hook. Stops for a beer on the way home. Boy does not come home for his 21st birthday. His actions will not make this log, or any other police report. Though his roommate is more than happy to discuss the sounds he heard from 2am- 6am coming from the vicinity of the kitchen sink. Meanwhile good things are coming from the vicinity of Father’s job. Can now afford many kitchen sinks.
UGA is over for Boy and SFHS is out for Girl. Their Junior years are behind them and so far, no one has been expelled. Spring outings begin. Doobie Brothers Concert, Oakland Cemetery Tour, Behind the scenes with an elephant at The Zoo. Father goes to work.
Linda starts golf lessons. Finds out after lesson two that her left elbow has been dislocated. Less bottles of ibuprofen in the trash after chiropractic visit. More trips to the freezer for ice. Father is heard to say, “I told you so,” before he goes to work.
Boy flies solo to Colorado after much parental coaching for a few weeks at the University of Colorado School of Medicine Emergency & Wilderness Medicine Pre-Med Program. (The coaching was about navigating the airport and hotel. Parents appear to know nothing about emergency medicine except How to Dial 9-1-1.)
Linda’s book, 3 WOMEN WALK INTO A BAR debuts with two publishers. She does not spend the advance on shoes. There is a flight to LAX. Girl stays in Orange County with “Auntie” (note: may be code name). Linda drives new Mustang to San Diego, races man in white BMW. Wins. Guy salutes. No guns are drawn. Girl is treated to much sight-seeing while Linda drinks her way through San Diego, with too short pit stops with the best people in the world. Texts intercepted between Linda and sisters 2 and 4 regarding LA meet and greet. Linda gets porched in Huntington Beach.
A week later at the Hooters Convention in Las Vegas, Father wins big after years of losing and meets “the best people in the world” who all happen to be working their way through college. New Mexico sidetrip allows Mom (codename Rojosand) to explain that may not be why they were asking him for money.
Linda goes backpacking with a virgin overnighter who strings purple solar lights on her hammock, then bribes the family into a mountain retreat weekend at an upscale cabin so she can convince Father to buy land with a view, and a fishing hole. He says he’ll think about it, then goes to work.
Girl turns 17 going on 30.
The Sands fly to Europe for hella adventure. The fancy shmancy travel broad gets a D- for shitty seats on the first leg, but an A+++ for The Augustine in Prague. She continues to gain favor all through Croatia with the private drivers and the personalized tours— most of which become known as “sweaty, hot, smelly old building tours,” by the ungrateful youth, until the Game of Thrones locales are introduced, and Father lets everyone drink Plavac Mali.
Linda and the family travel to B’ville for a nice warm visit and another book signing in Syracuse at Coleman’s Irish Pub. Perfect venue for a book about a murder in an Irish pub. Seems pleased to see old friends. Is heard saying, “Go Bees!” Observation: this may be some sort of code for old people fun. Father can only stay one day as he has to… go to work.
Boy spends all his free time at the rec center at UGA. Packages arrive at his apartment from Bodybuilding.com. Senior photo shoot/s for Girl- and her Jeep. Folk School millenary class for Linda. Father buys a book. Packages arrive from wine.com.
Kids go back to school. Neither one of them seem to have many classes. An extreme case of Senioritis sets in early- for them. Not the fifty-something year olds. Father won’t even carry his AARP card. Girl joins the Swim Club killing her Friday night social activity. Linda’s Girls Night Out group takes their monthly escape to Blue Ridge. Observation: What happens in Blue Ridge stays in Blue Ridge.
Outings over Labor Day include Decatur Book Festival and Dragon*Con. No one was arrested. At the Oktoberfest in Helen, Father’s lederhosen were a big hit—with the men. Linda attends Music Midtown weekend with the ladies. This year’s artists KILLED IT, including Sir Elton. Linda book, Simple Intent is re-released with a new cover. Exhausted keeping up with Boy and the girls he’s “just talking to.”
Girl adopts a kitten. Father goes from hate to love in 0.5 days. Colt is still on the fence. The dog doesn’t appear to give a shit. Family hosts some special folks from California. Shannon’s having a baby! Father and Linda are going to be Grand Uncle and Grand Aunt. Overheard conversation: “It’s exciting, right?” “Yeah. But I feel old. Do you?” “No. But I feel like I should act old, well, older.”
Out of town on “business,” it’s Bouchercon and Killer Nashville at Halloween for Linda. No one breaks a wrist in NashVegas this year. Whew. Netherworld haunted houses tour with the gals hits year 14! Linda puts a bug in Father’s ear- not a real bug that would be gross- about buying another place at the beach. Observation: Task complete by month’s end. Florida gulf coast vacations planned.
Horrible news arrives from NJ with the passing of Uncle Andy. Glasses of wine are raised in a tearful send off. Linda signs up for Nanowrimo. Father Googles it and stays far away from her office for a month. Linda does Miami with her bestie. Overheard: “Art Basel is quite eye opening. Pie, anyone?” The big family Thanksgiving at the beach falls through, but the four Sands make the best of it with much food and drink and beach days and doing the Black Friday thing a day early with less lines and the same deals. Father is unduly excited about his bargains at the Gold Toe sock store. Intervention may be necessary.
P-Ornament Exchange party requires much gluing of tiny penises which results in much ornament stealing. Observation: Holiday for this house is parties and wrapping paper and gifts and clutter and strings of lights and more parties and booze and clutter and wine and parties and Manhattans and Auntie! And Christmas and parties and clutter and clean-up and fun with neighbors ringing in THE NEW YEAR. Father has not been to work in so long, Linda is overheard asking, “Do you still have a job?”
Happy New Year to all of you. May 2016 bring you peace, love and all the riches you deserve.