Saturday, December 17, 2011

X-mas Letter 2011

December, 2011

Boy, what a year! Where did it go?

Most of Heather’s year was spent either working or watching the long slow decline of her father, managing his changing needs, blowing off steam on her blog, and finally seeing to his funeral and burial at Fort Snelling in November. Seeing/hearing the full military burial honors experience (WWII First Sergeant, Europe) is quite impressive. Getting to tell the stories of his life at his funeral was a great way to say, “Good-bye.”

Once Steve picked a date for moving in, there was a whole lot of work dedicated to rearranging half the house to accommodate him and his belongings. The date he picked turned out to be just after John’s funeral, so there wound up being room after all, at least for most stuff, but we would have made it work anyway. Steve started his year busy enjoying retirement out in Dassel, and as soon as the lakes opened up, fishing with one of his sons who also lived in the area. After the son moved away with his family, Steve sacrificed the rest of his fishing season to get his third knee replacement - and no, he’s not a three-legged man!

Speaking of our collective offspring, both of us wound up this year having a son working and traveling with a carnival. Orrin stayed mostly in Minnesota. While Rich spent spent the summer here, he also worked off-season locations in Miami and Dallas. Maria is taking time off from working on her degree at St. Kate's to deal with health issues, but plans to return and graduate. When Lance moved his family last summer, they wound up in a situation with such severe electrical problems that between lack of heat and hot spots in the walls, they evacuated under emergency conditions - but luckily safely, and are now sharing space with relatives while seeking safer, more comfortable quarters. He’s looking forward to learning welding in an educational setting that has a great record with job placement. Paul and Josh are pretty much same-old, same-old, although this year Paul finally instituted a regular spraying regimen on the apple trees and suddenly we were finding a whole new cluster of friends to donate bagfuls of them to. Stephanie is starting to think about finding another company to work for, disliking the increasingly corporatized atmosphere where she’s been for 9 years now that they’ve been bought out by a larger company. I have a granddaughter (Jordan) old enough to graduate high school last summer. Steve’s grand kids are younger, enough that two, Angelique and Ethan, will serve as flower girl and ring bearer in February.

Steve and I remain busy, settling in and making future plans. Even a small wedding on Valentine’s Day requires a lot of work and expense, though we’re keeping that down as much as possible. Topping that off we plan a three-week driving honeymoon down to Arizona. We’re hoping to make it work without a lot of advance reservations, not knowing how much distance we’ll make each day with the sightseeing we want to take in along the way, and especially not knowing what Mother Nature’s got scheduled on her blizzard calendar. Once there, we hope to find a way to begin making snowbirding possible on our budget.

So while it’s been something of a sad, hard year, we’re looking forward to our future together, and extend our wishes to all of you for a brighter year next year as well!

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