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Christmas 2013
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Christmas, 2013

 

Dear Family and Friends,

¯It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… in the Franklin’s yard!¯Yes, it’s that time of year again when the Franklin yard looks like it should come with a multiple-tattooed, scrawny guy with missing teeth taking tickets for the carnival rides. Joe’s “theme” for this year is “Homage du Jimmy.” There’s a helicopter with whirling blades since he is a helicopter avionic electronics technician, a Marine flag, large snowman and lighted pink flamingos. Nancy refers to the mess as “Fromage du Jimmy” because the whole thing is a bit cheesy.

Speaking of Jimmy, having finished his training in North Carolina earlier this year, he is now stationed permanently at Miramar near San Diego working on the CH53 Echo helicopters (see helicopter lawn ornament above.) Now 22 chronologically, he continues to live as if he has the lifespan of a fruit fly, making every bad decision he can in the span of a few, short months. Normally when the first born son and last remaining male heir to the family name  announces his engagement to a girl he met a few weeks earlier at a waffle house, the town crier announces it, there’s a notice in the local paper, church bells ring….Oh, wait! Bells DID ring! In fact, it was Nancy’s phone that rang at almost midnight with the town crier (Taylor) screaming on the other end of the line “Jimmy got engaged! He posted it on Facebook!” Facebook, of course, being the classy way through which all of life’s major milestones are announced these days. Nancy and Joe found themselves in the unfamiliar position of having to keep their mouths shut while the whole thing blew over like a fart in a cold wind; which, as most other things in a fruit fly’s life, it did a few weeks later. Jimmy then started learning about the laws of finance and physics-- like depreciation on engagement rings and the ever popular “for-every-action-there’s-an-equal-and-opposite-reaction” to your bank account. Nancy and Joe are looking at each other, finger-pointing, wondering from which tree this particular apple fell.

Taylor, having reached the magical age of 21 and legal age, has decided to make bar stool sitting her official college major with a minor in beer pong. Nancy and Joe are betting that there ARE actually majors like this at Arizona State. And this is great news because when you’re paying $35,000 in out-of-state tuition and the job market for college graduates is so limited, you want your daughter to have skills so that she can join the WNBPA (Women’s National Beer Pong Association) or get a job as a sommelier at some snooty restaurant. Or waitress at a Hooter’s.

Taylor managed to land a part time job at Kate Spade’s this year to augment her “education.” She’s using the store as her personal closet. At least now people might think better of her when they see a higher, more impressive class of clothing strewn all over her apartment floor.

And, finally, tired of seeing “selfies” of their daughter looking like a puffer fish and getting calls at 2am from the Tempe Medical Center emergency room, Taylor will be having her tonsils removed over the Christmas holiday. Recovery for Taylor will be about two weeks and even longer for Taylor’s personal nurse, Nancy. Nancy would like to remind you that you can drop off gift baskets of Valium, Prozac, Percocet, Vicodin, Oxycontin or any other questionable substance any time over the holidays since Nancy will have already consumed most of Taylor’s meds in the first two days after Taylor’s surgery.

And then, there’s Joe, the salesman. Having sold everything except fruit by the side of a freeway off-ramp, he decided he wanted to try commercial real estate, a major life decision made while playing tennis with a bunch of aging frat boys. But, he got his license and has been quite successful. It’s only a matter of time before he sells the house out from under Nancy and she finds herself living in a multi-unit complex next to a swap meet in East L.A., slapping corn tortillas on a George Forman grill outside her front door.

Nancy turned 60 this year and is about as “well preserved” as Tutankhamen, although Joe thinks that a little more of that cotton batting wrapped around her mouth would be helpful. Given that her kids have been out to kill her, Nancy is surprised she’s made it this long. This year was the last year of karate for Nancy, who retired as a brown belt. When your joints scream louder than the opponent you’re punching, and your Sensei starts demanding the kind of devotion reserved for religious services, it’s time to skedaddle before someone starts passing out the Kool-Aid. And why pay to have someone continually beat you up when Nancy gets that, daily, working for Providence Health & Services?

In fact, it was after a particularly grueling summer that Nancy and Joe decided a trip to Turkey, Egypt and Greece would be fun.   Apparently, they thought the Middle East would be less stressful than their day jobs and confused “Arab Spring” with a horticultural garden club event. First stop, Istanbul as Turkish troops were massing along the Syrian border. Nancy amassed her credit cards and hit the Grand Bazaar. Did you know that Istanbul forms the bridge between Asia and Europe? You could see Russia from Nancy and Joe’s hotel balcony! And Joe sounded just as smart as Sarah Palin when he said that.

The Turkish people are lovely and friendly and they’ve all seen Disney’s “Aladdin”-- Magic lanterns and flying carpets are on sale everywhere. Not being able to afford the quality of carpet you can roll your husband in and dump along the Jersey turnpike, Nancy settled for a couple of embroidered pillow covers. Then it was on to Munich and Vienna because, by this time, gas masks were being distributed in Israel and the festivities in the main square in Egypt didn’t look all that “festive.” It just seemed like having a beer in Germany during Oktoberfest was a better idea. Although Nancy had to drink a lot of beers to rid her of the searing retinal pain of imagining Joe in lederhosen. Then on to Greece, where the cultured Greeks schedule their political protests so they don’t get in the way of the cruise ships, unemployment leisure time or the consumption of Ouzo. Joe had reserved the only hotel room on Santorini that required a Sherpa and oxygen to get to and climb out of each day. While Joe enjoyed the spectacular views of the cliffs at sunset Nancy enjoyed the view of the tanned, muscular, Adonis who carried breakfast, cocktails and luggage past their room several times a day. Oh, yeah, and the Acropolis was awesome, too.

Unfortunately this year, congestive heart failure and kidney disease finally caught up with Traveler, “Travis”, the cat.  He is missed. After a couple of months, the Franklins detected a noticeable uptick in the mouse population and so Nancy and the kids decided it was time to get another cat.  “Otis”, a 7 month old short-haired orange tabby is now firmly ensconced in their home and hearts. As is Bella, the Old English sheepdog who was officially “adopted” into the Franklin family, as well, and continues to teach Joe how to herd sheep every week.

And so as 2013 comes to a close, we give thanks for family and friends, good health and good neighbors, and the time to enjoy it all. May you all have many blessings in 2014!

Love,

Joe, Nancy, Jimmy and Taylor

To view this and past Christmas Newsletters online visit Nancy’s website www.mirthquakes.com

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