Christmas, 2000
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Christmas, 2000

December, 2000


Dear Family and Friends,


And so it comes time, once again, to send out the annual Christmas letter. Jimmy, now 9 and in the third grade, is responsible for the increased holiday drinking in the Franklin household, as this is how he recently introduced his parents to his class and teacher: "This is my Mom. She told me she's almost a doctor. And this is my Dad who quit his job because he was bored." This was followed by the parent-teacher conferences:


What the Teacher said about Taylor:

"Taylor ie energetic, helpful and a community builder. Her enthusiasm is contagious. It has been exciting to observe Taylor's growth in reading. She frequently uses her free time to research sharks. I look forward to watching her continue to grow in all subject areas."


What Nancy and Joe heard:

"Taylor is plotting to overthrow the class president. She's like a disease that I hope will leave the classroom. She's researching spit wad trajectories. Professional courtesy. I'm keeping my eyes on her, you can count on it."


Jimmy's report card was equally revealing:


What the teacher said:

"Jimmy is an outgoing child with a good sense of humor. He has that spice of life. He gets excited about learning which I love to witness."


What Joe and Nancy heard:

"...and I wish he'd 'go out' of my classroom soon. Somewhat like a dose of pepper spray. And you can bet I will be a witness for the prosecution when the time comes."


 In this year of the Olympiad, Jimmy and Taylor (now 8 and in the second grade) continue to pursue athletic perfection. It, in turn, continues to elude them. Their athletic prowess can be summed up in two sentences: Taylor fractured her wrist while performing an inelegant dismount from the monkey bars. Jimmy had a perfect losing season in both basketball and soccer. So much for the athletic scholarships.


This year, Joe continued to push the envelope on vacations. Spring break was spent staring into, and walking around, the largest hole in the ground in the world, the Grand Canyon. Joe and Nancy narrowly averted federal prison by emptying their children's pockets of "protected rock" souvenirs prior to driving away.


Then there was Joe's idea of a family bike ride. His "Tour de Farce" started with a "short 7 miles, I promise" bike ride to a cozy hotel. With shouts of 'We love hills!' (Joe) and 'Stay with the children!' (Nancy) they were off. This is when Nancy learned that Joe has no concept of distance or length. Joe, like most men, is inclined to make things out to be LONGER than they actually are, not shorter. But we digress... 20 (not seven) MlLES LATER, in total darkness, Nancy, legs shaking with cramps, having lost Joe and the kids, two bike gears, and hotel directions and her trusty friend C.J. (sympathetically staying with Nancy and enjoying the vast number of rest stops that provided) limped into a combination gas station/liquor store. Realizing that flabby upper arms and wrinkled faces weren't acceptable currency there in "Deliverance County", Nancy slammed $40 onto the counter and yelled "Alright, listen up! $40 to the first guy with a truck who can take us to our hotel! And we'll buy your beer!". Boy, men haven't volunteered that quickly since Sports Illustrated put out a call for swimsuit judges. Joe has been instructed that the words "bike" and "ride" cannot be used in the same sentence for the rest of their marriage.


This year Nancy and Joe celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary. In what must have been one of those 'I dare you-I double dog dare you' scenarios, they decided to renew their marriage vows with neighbors, family, friends and children present. Several of those neighbors and friends got up to object to the 're-joining' but hastily withdrew those objections when it was pointed out that they would have to take Jimmy and Taylor. Then, a month later Nancy and Joe left the kids with a bowl of kibble, fresh water and their Aunt Lala and departed on their second honeymoon- a cruise with "Pirates of the Caribbean" cruise lines.


For those of you who've never been cruising, it's very simple: you surrender your wallet upon embarkation, go directly to your cabin and strap on a feedbag. In the true tradition of "plundering", disembarking involves the quaint custom of hanging each passenger from the yardarms and shaking them until every last penny is removed from their pockets. In the case of Nancy and Joe, all they got were bar receipts.


Which brings us to the present. With the winter fat securely anchored to her mid-section, Nancy now resembles Jabba-the-Hut, which strikes fear into both her family and co-workers. She continues her role as "Diva of Marketing" for Tenet HealthSystem and every now and then Joe and the kids have to put her picture on milk cartons. Joe, on the other hand, did, in fact, get bored watching the dot-com circle the drain and left to pursue more proven pastures. He has, however, landed another job which allows him to work out of the house and maintain his "Mr. Mom" role.


So let’s talk about Joe’s  REAL job this Christmas... "Exterior Designer-Lawn Ornamentalist". Last year, 7500 people were killed in accidents involving Christmas decorations. But, with a major pants-around-the-butt-crack attitude, and apparently no fear of repercussions from landscape architects and statisticians, Joe has transformed the Franklin front yard into a "Who-ville" with attention deficit disorder. Imagine a "Who-bilation" gone seriously wrong. It's a shame that with the current stage 3 power shortages in California no one will get to see it. Nancy is relieved as it means she won't have to be embarrassed going in and out of her own home after dark. She is, however, increasing Joe's insurance payout in anticipation of NEXT year, when Joe is threatening to take his creative "vision" to the roof.


And so, once again, we give thanks to our family and friends for not turning us in to the police, to the Department of Social Services for not taking away our kids and to God, for keeping us healthy and happy and able to look forward to another year. May you have peace, happiness and great joy this Christmas season!




Joe, Nancy, Jimmy and Taylor Franklin


2004 Nancy Franklin. All rights reserved