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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Holiday Stress

House troubles notwithstanding, I've been mentally exhausted lately trying to write this year's Christmas newsletter. Here are a few of the abandoned openings...


Salaam and good evening! We hope this 2011 edition of the Beers Family Christmas newsletter finds you well. I thought I'd change things up this year and do the haiku first. Everyone okay with that? Tough.

This Christmas I asked
for two pairs of earrings and
a ukelele.

True story.

After thinking about this for way too long, I've decided to skip the first nine months of the year (I can't really remember them anyway) and start the newsletter with October, when Matt and Betsy moved into their new home. This is their third, and hopefully final, house. It's a large English Tudor-style home on a half-acre wooded lot complete with a creek and lots of angry squirrels. Being an older home, the Beers' were fully aware that they would have a lot of work on their hands bringing the old girl up to speed. They were prepared to spend several years making necessary repairs and making sure each job was done right. What they weren't prepared for was doing all of those necessary repairs in the first six weeks.


 You know what? It IS the most wonderful time of the year. Merry Christmas, everyone!

2011 was a tremendously interesting year for the Beers family, but for the life of me I can't think of any events that don't relate to the unexpected adventures of home ownership, so let's talk about that.

In October Matt and Betsy purchased their third and, hopefully, final home. It's a 43 year-old English Tudor-style home with a large yard, lots of trees, and a creek. It's unbelievably comforting walking around the yard, collecting home-grown sticks for a fire to be built wherever the crap you want, listening to the rippling creek, and trying to ignore the angry chattering of squirrels. That feeling of comfort has a habit of fluttering away upon entering the actual house, unfortunately, because around every corner lurks the possibility of stumbling across a broken pipe or a faulty outlet or a family of Romanian gypsies, which, Matt tells me, are not all bad. You see, though the house has a rich and interesting history, none of it involves maintenance. Certainly, someone at some point in time said, "Honey, it's no big deal. I can fix it. See? I have tape." And that statement was never challenged, which is a real shame.


Matt and Betsy have asked me to extend their deepest regrets as I inform you all that there will be no 2011 Christmas Newsletter. In light of the excitement (and unexpected frustrations) of moving into a new house (which they did in October), they felt it was in the best interest of everyone involved if they just took this time to enjoy the holidays together. By way of apology, I offer this detailed and uncharacteristically accurate description of the past few months.

It was decided in Spring of this year that the Beers family had outgrown their home in Huntertown. They, as a family, fit nicely inside with all of their nick-knacks and do-dads and whatnot, but in order to continue operating the daycare they would need more room. So, they began searching and soon stumbled upon a home that they felt was just right for them. It had a large, open basement, a cozy family room, a big backyard, and a library for all of the books Matt got rid of last summer. It seemed rather perfect. But, alas, in order to purchase a home the selling of another is often necessary. While sellers were aplenty, buyers were scarce.

The seemingly perfect house slowly became less and less appealing as the weeks trickled by and Matt and Betsy discovered another house. This house, while not as charming as the first, had a much nicer basement and a fenced in yard (it also had dark beige carpet with flecks of lime green and peach, oddly reminiscent of sherbet, but I'm not supposed to mention that). This second house, although nice enough with it's shade trees and rippling creek just behind the back fence, was lacking something that Matt and Betsy had been searching for: personality.

Before I continue, it should be noted that houses, like people, can have any number of personalities. Often you'll discover that a house is jovial and welcoming, like a fat man with cookies to share. Other times you'll get the sense that a house has been built with wisdom in its beams, strong enough to keep out the wind, but kind enough to embrace you. And sometimes you'll discover that a house is like a grumpy toddler, completely unpredictable and, more often than not, wet on the bottom.

Guess which kind of house Matt and Betsy bought.


A wise man once said, "The truth is rarely as interesting as how we perceive the truth." That man was me. I had to go back and read that line aloud to make it true. Or maybe I didn't. Maybe I only perceived that I read it aloud. Nevertheless, I think it's time we moved on.

In the early months of 2011 some moderately interesting events took place which I cannot recall for the life of me. They have been utterly eclipsed by the fascinating events which took place in the later months of 2011. Among the events forgotten are, no doubt, ninja attacks, rocket trips to the moon, and, possibly, an encounter with a venomous, man-eating plant. Please, do your best to stifle the yawn tugging at your jaw. Those forgotten events, as I'm sure you will agree, are not the events that one would choose to include in a yearly update, not when presented with the colorful smorgasbord that purchasing a new home offers.


So (we're back to the blog part now), you see where the focus of this year's newsletter is. In the past my formula for newsletter gold has been this: Write one draft, purposefully unacceptable, to get out all of the cobwebs and get my brain into the appropriate rhythm. Then, the finished product just sort of falls from my finger tips. It's literally that simple.

Not this year. The house has me drained. And on top of that, Betsy is making ridiculous demands of me as the author of said newsletter and then undermining my confidence by offering to write it herself, as if she could.

So, I thought I'd whip out a quick blog post so that I can just have something to show for all of my hard work (by which I mean writing a few lines and then breaking for fifteen minutes to watch Juno and work on a jigsaw puzzle).

Anyway, thank you.
      Matt Beers

1 comment:

  1. I like Option #3.

    Having lived through nine years of a similarly curmudgeonly house, I feel for you guys. I can assure you that all the major projects that needed to be done when you moved in will one day be complete. I can also assure you that by that time, you will need to begin re-doing many of them.

    Besides, your house isn't actually grumpy. It's just committed to helping build your character.