2009 Christmas Letter

Hello, and welcome to my 2009 Christmas Letter. For anyone reading this in the future (from when I wrote this), I’ll provide some historical context to help fully appreciate this letter. For anyone reading this while I’m writing this, please stop spying on me. I know how the industry works– radio transmitters in dental cavities, spy satellites tracking my movements from overhead in real time, and, of course, who can forget all the supposedly “free” rectal exams that are only a cover for placing global positioning devices. However, if you are still going to spy on me– even after I very kindly and clearly asked you not to– please feel free to correct any grammatical errors as I’m writing.

Now where was I? Oh, yeah, historical context. It being 2009, the hit movie of this Christmas season is the CGI filled mega-disaster “2012.” The reasoning behind this is obviously is that if the world does end in 2012 as the ancient Mayans predicted, the ticket sales for the film would really be in the crapper along with the rest of humanity if the film were to be released in 2012. The only way to prevent a grisley death would be to follow John Cusack around, since he seems to be the only one with the ability to escape the upcoming doom.

In television news, the most hyped show is the remake of the 1980’s sci-fi show “V.” The original show centered around alien “Visitors” who came to the planet with unclear motives. In a creative writing masterpiece, this time around the Visitors have acquired DNA from our 43rd President and created an army of clones to destroy our civilization. Stay tuned in early 2010 for the exciting first season finale of “W.”

OK, so back to my world. This year has been one of the most eventful times in my life. Katherine and I decided we were both ready to get married and start a family. It turns out that one of those two items requires a lot less effort than the other. (But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself for those who prefer the traditional “chronological” order of storytelling.)

After reviewing our wedding location options, we decided to get married on June 20, 2009. Most of the preparations were quite straight foward. Katherine ordered a dress and I found a nice three piece suit. I’m not sure if I ever documented this, but one of my informal “goals” in my life was to never own a suit. I made it 34 years, but I decided that I would rather buy a suit than rent another tuxedo. And who knows, maybe someday I’ll be a bigwig at UPS and need something other than company issued apperal to go to work each day. Stranger things have happened.

Next on the wedding list was to get rings. I kept my father’s wedding ring in a safety deposit box for the past ten years, and I decided to have the diamond put into a new setting for Katherine. She really likes sparkly things. That, and she found it all romantic and shit. I had my dad’s gold band resized to fit my ring finger.

We had a bunch of flowers at the wedding, but I don’t have any recollection of consulting a florist. Either the experience was so incredibly horrible that I’ve completely repressed the memories in the deepest recesses of my brain or Katherine took care of it all without me.

The best pre-wedding planning experience by far was choosing a wedding cake. In fact, I would recommend to anyone who likes cake to go to a bakery that specializes in wedding cakes and pretend you are getting married. They bring you samples of all their different cakes for you to try. Just eat all the samples and tell them you will be making your decision shortly. Just remember not to go back to the same bakery more than once every few months unless you are committed to creating elaborate disguises and fake personal histories.

Before I knew it, the big moment was upon us. And by that I mean Katherine handed me a home pregnancy test that came back positive. (See, I told you I would get back to this.) These devices have come a long way in recent years– instead of a simple plus or minus, a small computer inside the handle proclaimed, using the man’s voice from AOL mail, “You’ve got a baby-mama.”

The wedding itself went off without any major problems. One of my favorite parts of the evening was the unusual table number scheme we used. It caused a lot of confusion, which is exactly what we wanted. The other highlight was getting to use the microphone during the reception. My friend Brian wanted to hear a song, so I sung the first tune that came to my mind– the “free credit report” pirate song. It went over quite well with everyone that night– my only regret was not getting it on video.

We spent one weekend in November attending a birthing class. In retrospect, I think I didn’t go into the class with the best attitude. I told Katherine that my role in the birthing process was analogous to a father crawling inside the lower cabinets on his back to fix a leaking kitchen sink when the young son comes by and asks the father how he can help. The father looks around and hands the boy a wrench to hold while the dad finishes the job. When the baby gets here my job is to stay out of the way of all the hospital employees and hold any random object that are handed to me. That, and not pass out.

December rolled around and our baby preparations kicked into high gear. Originally Katherine was due December 5th, but after the second ultrasound that date was pushed back to December 15th. Isabel Lutfey finally arrived the night of December 23 after she was forced out of her mama-Jacuzzi by the modern marvel known as a C-section. The delivery took place at the Medical Center of the Rockies, and the experience was made as pleasant as possible considering what had to be done. The staff in the delivery wing catered to our every need, and they even play “Brahms’s Lullaby” over the public address system when a baby is born. When someone dies, they play an entire CD of William Shatner’s spoken poetry. That was, at least, until it caused an unfortunate cascade effect of wildly premature deaths throughout the building.

We spent Christmas in the hospital and finally came home on December 26. The dog went crazy when we first arrived with our latest addition to the family, but after a few minutes he calmed down after realizing that Isabel isn’t food or toys. I suspect he plans on hovering around her innocently until she is old enough to start dropping food on to the floor. So all in all it has been quite a busy year. I suspect that this latest addition will keep my quite busy, but I am excited to learn how to be a dad.

I thought I would end this year’s letter with a quote from the best 80’s B-movie I watched this year, “Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death.”

Jim (played by a young and, oddly enough, funny Bill Mahr): Bunny, don’t worry! You’ll save me!