Christmas, 1999
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Christmas, 1999

Dear Family & Friends,


It's been a fabulous year! Joe bet it all on a "dot-com" IPO and the Franklin's became millionaires. Nancy retired and wrote a novel currently being looked at by Oprah and both kids were discovered to be geniuses and are now assured full scholarships to Harvard. The end. Merry Christmas! KIDDING!


Okay, well it has been a pretty good year for the Franklins. Jimmy is now 8 and in the second grade. Taylor is 7 and in the first grade. Both continue their meteoric rise to academic mediocrity, having apparently decided to pre-major in parental aggravation. Joe and Nancy failed to report for the mandatory parent/teacher conferences this fall, no doubt out of fear. Now they're being hunted down like rabid dogs by the teachers


Nancy has put on several more pounds this year and is hurtling out of control towards the emotional abyss of menopause. She is now "Empress of Marketing" for Tenet's Western Division. Besides the obvious benefits of dealing with truculent CEOs and ever-shrinking budgets, there's travel to exotic ports-of-call like Redding and Omaha. Not to mention one particularly memorable night sleeping on the floor, next to a departure gate at the Denver airport.


Joe continues to amaze his family with the ever-changing cacophony of sounds produced by the aging human body. This year Joe also joined the list of political activists, organizing and leading a protest march of 100 in favor of more stop signs and slower traffic. This was followed with intense interest by the Los Angeles media and Joe gave a stirring speech entitled"We-shall-walk-four-blocks-then-have-cookies-and-juice". Although there were no National Guard or stun grenades, a couple of toddlers threw their pacifiers and the dads grumbled about the lack of cold beer. Joe is now targeted by Manhattan Beach Police and may be seeking political asylum soon.


Hey! Joe got a new job! Surprise! (NOT!) THIS year, it's a ready-to-go-public dot-com in San Diego to which he relocates himself three days a week. The kids are rejoicing in their new-found control of the TV remote and Nancy only has to share her bed four nights a week with a snoring spud.


Which brings us to the "Year of the Getaway". This year has been marked by efforts to get away from it all. Striving for a bit of nostalgia (and while, apparently, off his medication...) Joe decided the family needed an 8-hour "road trip" to Phoenix. Why it wasn't 30 minutes into the trip when the first little voice piped up from the backseat of the overloaded van "How much longer 'til we get there?" Nancy has a new-found respect for the early settlers as they struggled westward across the vast, uncharted wilderness.  "Ma, how much longer 'til we get there?" "Three more months! Now shut up and eat that beef jerky!"


Spring break found the Franklins once again trying to get away, this time to Utah for some skiing. Now, you wouldn't think there would be much snow in April, but it snowed for three straight days. There was more "white powder" on that little patch of Heaven than in the bunkers of any 10 Colombian drug lords. And it was still snowing as Joe loaded his precious family cargo into the paper mache Kia “Sprint” for the perilous drive down the mountain back to civilization.


And did we mention Nancy's head cold? Nancy would like you to know that some pretty interesting organic bodily changes can occur with a head cold at 12,000+ feet. Fortunately for you, none of them will be discussed here.


After much nagging, Joe finally got to buy his spa (hot tub), which takes up most of what's left of the Franklin's back yard. The neighbors have all been notified that there's a good chance if they look outside at night they might catch a glimpse of a "full moon" more than once a month.


The Franklins hosted Xani, Joe's niece and a theatre major, this summer while she did an internship at a movie studio. Having Xani around was like living with a Mary Poppins/Ethel Merman hybrid. Fortunately, no other Franklins showed up with an accordion. The Franklins miss Xani tremendously.


Over the summer Joe organized two camping trips and bought a 3-room, 10-man tent. Nancy refers to it as the "foreclosure house" which will be handy when the neighbors run them out of the 'hood. Joe also organized the annual sojourn to the Seattle area. This year he decided it would be fun to camp in the rain forest of Washington State. Nancy pretty much informed Joe that the ENTIRE state of Washington is a rain forest and that this was rather redundant. But the Franklins went anyway.


The Franklins also did a weekend in Mexico with Nancy's mom, sister and her sister's two kids. They tried to trade the kids and Mom for a couple of margaritas and some chicken tacos, but no one would take them so they had to bring them back.


Nancy would like to report that sometime in October a BIG box arrived from "Ed's Lawn Ornaments" in New Jersey. Yes, Joe "Chevy Chase Griswald" Franklin had ordered a large waving Santa to add to his burgeoning grotesque assortment of Christmas lawn ornaments currently adorning the front yard. You can adjust the waving Santa motion and as Joe and all the neighbors stood in the street admiring it, the comment was made that if you speed up the "waving" motion, Santa looks like he's doing something really...well...obscene.


As this is being typed, Nancy is looking forward to another of Joe's adventures. He decided it would be fun to spend a couple of days in Tucson. Unfortunately, he told just about everyone in Manhattan Beach...and they all decided to come, too! Nancy was heard muttering "If I'd wanted to spend the Christmas break with my neighbors, I would have just stayed home!"


And so, once again, we give thanks for surviving another year and look forward to the next millennium (and Joe would like to remind you that the millennium starts NEXT year!). Thanks to you, our family and friends, for your wonderful support and love. May you prosper and have much happiness in the year 2000!




The Franklins (Joe, Nancy, Jimmy & Taylor)


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