Dear Friends, Loved Ones, and Random People Who Are Bored Enough To Read This,
It has been an eventful year in the Graves household. One major change is that we have all aged several months since last Christmas, and we have all grown in various directions. Susan and I continue to pretend to stay in shape by depriving ourselves of sleep several nights a week while riding a recumbent bike and wallowing around on an exercise mat in our bedroom-regrettably, not together. Our nightly futile exercise regime usually ends with both of us too exhausted to get up off the carpet and go to bed-and that’s after we put on our workout shoes.
Susan is thriving in her position as the CFO of a small telecommunications company amid my hopes that she will eventually earn a salary high enough for me to retire. Until that happens, I am enjoying my fourteenth year at Kilgore College, serving as the Language Development Department Chair and proving to my dad that my English degree wasn’t a complete waste of my time and his money.
Susan and I also are still serving as Sunday School teachers of my daughter Abbie’s third-grade class at our church. We have been teaching in the elementary department for several years now and had considered moving up to teach in the youth department with our other two daughters, but the church leadership decided that the elementary area was more suitable for my maturity level. I’m looking forward to next week’s Christmas lesson when we will debate whether Joseph was willing to help Mary with diaper changing, or if he was too busy begging the Little Drummer Boy not to leave the drum as a gift for Jesus for when he was old enough to bang on it in the house.
We have also contributed many thousands of dollars to the American economy this year through the Wal-Mart corporation, Petco, Chick-Fil-A, Cracker Barrel, Starbucks (gross), Sonic, and any number of interchangeable establishments that serve free chips and hot sauce (our version of saving). Another major expenditure has been the purchase of a pre-owned Ford Expedition-also known as mobile equipment storage unit for adolescent females. I really wanted an brand new vehicle, but Susan assured me that buying one would require her to sell one of my kidneys.
Perhaps our most consequential purchase this year has been a horse for our eldest (and most expensive) daughter, Ally. Yes, I bought a horse. Until this happened, I thought it was linguistically impossible to string those four words together in a sentence. However, since Ally was convinced that she couldn’t go on breathing (and spending my money in other ways) without one, we caved in to her dreams. The name that came with the horse is Dos Equis, and after first balking at the price the owner was asking, and the fact that the horse is named after a brand of Mexican beer, I felt better when she assured me that he is the “most interesting horse in the world.” Those good feelings were soon dashed, though, when Ally reminded me that the horse would actually require food, housing, and occasional veterinary care. Suddenly, the black market organ trade didn’t sound that far-fetched.
While I’m on the subject of pets, we also acquired a puppy for my daughter, Anna. (See previous blog post.) Despite all of my efforts, the puppy continues to eat and go to the bathroom. How is it that in this age of technological advances, we have Siri, but we don’t yet have a live dog without teeth, or a digestive, intestinal or urinary tract? I guess we’re actually pretty lucky. So far the puppy has only destroyed two electric blankets, the legs of five bar stools, and the cord on a $100 flattening iron.
Besides adding a puppy to her personal animal rescue center, our middle daughter, Anna, has decided to play on the basketball team at school. Unfortunately for her, she appears to have inherited all of my natural athletic skills. The benefit of having her play, though, is that we are learning together. For example, we have discovered that bouncing the ball while running down the court with the ball isn’t optional-“dribbling” they call it. How ridiculous and inconvenient!
Our youngest daughter, Abbie, has experienced a year of medical drama. Early in the summer, we noticed that her left eye was turning in. I assumed it was a condition caused by her constantly rolling her eyes at me when I try to be funny. But her doctor sent us to an ophthalmologist in Dallas who informed us that surgery would be required to correct it. Once the paramedics revived me, we scheduled the surgery. I’m happy to say that the procedure was successful, and after a couple of weeks of nurturing recovery, I’m doing fine.
Overall, 2016 has been great, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the new year holds for my family and bank account. For those of you who have hung in there and made it to this point in my annoyingly long “letter,” I wish you God’s greatest blessings for Christmas and a new year full of chips, hot sauce, and a complete set of vital organs.
Jase Graves (A Guy Who Was Bored Enough To Write This)