Friday, December 16, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Claytors 2011

Once again, here we are!  Time for the annual narcissistic self-aggrandizing, look in the mirror cause it’s all about us, us, us Claytor Christmas Letter!  If you give me just few moments, I might almost feel bad about the three and a half minutes you’re about to burn.  Let me know how it goes (not that I’ll listen…whiner...)

The Boy is capping off his last year of elementary school as a fifth grader.  Like his sister before him he is a Peer Mediator (kind of a recess/hall monitor) and has started playing the trumpet.  Actually he’s nothing like his sister in that regard…he actually PRACTICES.  He’s still playing soccer, has started to dabble in Lacrosse, and spent a week away from home for summer camp in Wisconsin.  He helped Dad with some cool carpentry projects around the house and performed awesomely kayaking in the Sea of Cortez with us, snorkeling and checking out the wildlife.  Another first was his solo flight to visit his grandparents in Arizona.  He landed safely and exited the plane with a drink in one hand and a stewardess in the other.  Just like his Dad.  In Dad’s dreams.  That one time when…wait, what were we talking about?

Will somebody help me find Caitlin?  I have this vague memory of a sweet innocent, charming, talented daughter.  Everyone else gets time with her, between the driver’s ed, marching band, show choir, Madrigal Singers, X-centricity singers, King’s Players theater group, high school band/orchestra, Shakespeare performance (…fairies away!!!) and general all around social butterflyerificness I think somebody owes me some dang child support!  We didn’t see any whales while kayaking the Sea of Cortez, but in her “spare” time she spent the week of her 16th birthday in the Florida Keys studying dolphins at a summer camp for budding Marine Biologists.  Seriously I’ve abandoned trying to keep track of it all.  Just drive the car, write the check, wear clean socks, applaud, sleep, repeat as necessary…

Sherpa and Otter have had it ruff (rimshot.)  Early in spring, Otter pulled a back muscle and became strangely addicted to his painkillers.  Not to be the underdog (‘nother rimshot), Sherpa went all out with a broken toe, sprayed by skunk, epileptic seizure, and torn foot pad all in the same week.  It really is a sad tail (still more rimshot).  Seriously, it’snout funny at all (again with the rimshot).  But we’ll all pull through.  Kelly still loves them, and I’ll always be their paw (last rimshot…I promise…fur real)
Kelly was once again all over the place this year, like hosting an Easter Island Head themed snowman building day, joining Chris for Arizona climbing adventures, Easter in Upstate New York with Farmer Carrie and German Mike, taking Chris to Boston for his birthday/anniversary to buy some Renaissance Recorders, and a couple local climbing trips tossed in.  An Art Welding Class yielded some pretty nifty items for the house and yard.  Landscaping and gardening included a new fire pit and carving a downspout catch basin into a hunk of sandstone.  She oversaw some major remodeling in the house and continues to throw out super girl-powered climbing routes at Vertical Endeavors.  And SOMEWHERE in there she manages to eat, sleep and work.  How?  No clue, but I’m starting the think some high powered pharmaceuticals must be involved…

Kelly also managed to keep Chris on the right side of sanity.  Sure you can call him Chicken Little but in his defense…the sky really DID fall this year.  Shall we start with a new garage door?  Ease into it with an epic blizzard?  Sprinkle in a tornado while building sets for Caitlin’s summer musical?  Shell it out for a remodeled living/dining room?  After popping in a new laundry room let’s just season it with a flooded basement during record-breaking rains requiring a new floor and family room rehab.  Not enough?  Please!  Caitlin’s driving now so time for a new axle on the truck!  No they’re not related but this has nothing to do with logic!  Then his dog decides to just “break” and oh yeah…how about we finish off the year with a new furnace?  In a year devoted to lessons in stress management, why the heck not?  You should see him now…NOTHING shakes him.  Cool, calm and collected, baby!  Oh, wait…the Christmas Tree’s on fire.  Eh, it’ll sort itself out…

Well that’s about all I can muster for you this year – trust me, if you dig any deeper we’ll both be on a couch paying some dude to take notes and mutter “hmm…interesting…tell me about your mother again…” It’s been exciting and awesome.  Would I repeat it?  Will I anyway?  Probably!  What else would I have to write about next year?  I know…be careful what I wish for…

In a world where pizza is a vegetable, we love you too.  Try not to think about it, just let it happen…

Merry Christmas!  Love, 
Chris, Kelly, Caitlin, The Boy, Sherpa, Otter…and apparently, Helga the Skunk.

The Year in Review

Ya know, I just don’t have time for you people!  Blog posts, schmlog posts…So here it is, the whole year, all in one fell swoop.  Sure, it would have been nice if I’d kept you up to speed as time went on.  But hey, if wishes were ponies there would have been a stampede and we’d have been mushed a long time ago. What?

Thanksgiving cousins

Had a delightful Thanksgiving with family and COUSINS!!! Yes, I know, cousins are family too, but having them out for a visit was great.  Now all you other cousins, next year, I expect you to be present.  Actually…us three cousins that started the first inaugural cousin "Thanksgiving Get Together" have decided that we’d like to initiate a biannual Cousin Thanksgiving at some mutually agreed upon vacation destination…who’s in?
The family resemblance is striking...we could practically be triplets.

Sherpa...Danger Mutt

Our fun loving mutt Sherpa decided to go big and fall apart, all in the span of about a week.  She started off the shenanigans by breaking her toe.  Not just any ol’ little break – a full on “holy crap that’s a bad break” kinda break.  Best guess is that during her hourly patrols of the house, fending off the criminals, the insane, the postal service, she got a foot caught in the reed rug (who ever heard of a reed RUG?) and fought to free herself.  The splint and wrap stayed on all of about a day, cone of shame be damned. She then proceeded to get sprayed in the face by Helga, the resident skunk.  The house was then nothing but Helga stench – that stuff imbeds itself EVERYWHERE.  We all went to our respective work/school the following day with our own little skunk cloud emanating from our very being.  It was fantastic.  Well much scrubbing/washing/bathing later, eau de Helga is mostly abated.  Of course we then awoke to Sherpa, palsy dog, having a seizure one morning.  This is not terribly out of the ordinary, but ya gotta feel bad for the poor mutt, right?  We are now taking bets on what’s next:  spontaneous combustion or alien abduction?

The Destructive Arts

I must be going through my “destructive phase” as I’ve taken up rock carving and welding this year (with grand plans on starting wood carving next!).  There’s something rather cathartic about chisels and molten metal, wouldn’t you agree?  The rock is meant to be a water catchment for a rain chain (which we don’t have) instead of a downspout from a gutter (which we don’t have) that will then overflow into the little false creek bed (which we DO have!).  So this way, when it’s raining, and we’re not outside, it’ll be pretty and we’ll never see it.  Smart, huh?

I kept seeing nifty welded metal yard art that was ridiculously overpriced, and I always had the thought that it would be something that I could do, if only I knew how to weld.  Well, my wishes were answered when the local community college offered a 6 week welding class.  With the limitations of the project directly correlated to the size of one’s vehicle (heck, that’s what U-Haul is for, right?), we were given free rein of the metal shop.  While my projects were not nearly the large scope I had originally planned (a washer bowl, a fire pit, and 15 metal yarden flowers), I must say, it was an awful lot of fun.  Each class was three hours, but went by in a blink.  And there was only one minor welding mishap on my part…the welder fell out of the holder onto my leg and instantaneously burned a hole in my pants, which totally bummed me out…but not as much as realizing that a bit of my leg was introduced to the sensation of molten metal.  Scars bring fond memories, right?