Faithful readers, your Christmas letter and card will be late this year because of an envelope snafu: namely, I don’t have any. Be assured we are working hard to rectify this problem. In the meantime, please enjoy the letter in blog-post form, complete with bonus pictures!
December 25, 2015
Dear Friends and Family,
Season’s greetings from Cape Cod! The Christmas of 2015 finds us basking in the sultry glow of our Christmas Story leg lamp and binge-watching American Ninja Warriors while nursing varied strains of intestinal and respiratory viruses. As the Elf on the Shelf tracks every sneeze and digestive gurgle with her beady and accusatory eyes, we wallow in the eye-watering holiday scents of holly, Peptol Bismol, and Vick’s Menthol Rub. Merry, merry Christmas.
Despite our current viral load, we are overjoyed to be celebrating (or recuperating) back on Cape Cod after battling road rage in our Nation’s Capitol for two years. Our beautiful new house features a winding, uphill, half mile long driveway, perfect for winter sledding and discouraging pesky trick-or-treaters. Although we love the privacy, winter poses a unique challenge: removing the snow from our “Corridor of Death” (inaccurately described in the MLS listing as merely a “Corridor of Grievous Bodily Harm”). Filled with stark terror at the prospect of spending four months trapped in the house with his cranky and sick family, Eric spent a year of Jake’s college tuition on a Husqvarna ST330 professional grade snow blower, thus ensuring a particularly mild winter across New England. Seventy degrees on Christmas Day? You’re welcome, neighbors.
Speaking of our teenager, and his now urgent quest for scholarship money… Jake capped off his Arlington, Virginia experience with a groovy concert at the School of Rock, where he wowed the crowd with his Motown drumbeats. After a Cape Cod summer of sailing camp and X-box parties, he started his freshman year with many of his old friends at Sandwich High School. When he’s not engrossed in Latin declensions or photoshopping pictures of Bingo for Digital Literacy class, he can be found playing drums with the High School Jazz Band or working out with his buddies at Compass Athletics. In his down time, he sequesters himself in his basement man-cave with nerf guns and South Park DVDs. The pungent smell down there after a long weekend is more bracing than an actual cavern.
Speaking of pungent smells, Danny’s all-fruit diet came to a screeching halt last week, when he was fitted with braces and the dreaded palate expander. He has taken this in stride with his usual good humor, switching to an all-applesauce diet, making the most of his new Daffy Duck lisp (“thufferin’ thuccotash!”) and continuing with his usual palette of sports (basketball, hockey, lacrosse, etc.). Although Danny was sad to leave Arlington, where he played first base for the undefeated Red Sox (Babe Ruth Champions) and right wing for the Ice Dogs (Capitol Corridor Champions) he has enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones here in Sandwich. Before graduating from Tuckahoe Elementary School, he took part in a school trip to Aachen, Germany to visit the wonderful Steubner family, our guests from last Fall. Although it rained a lot (and hailed, and snowed, and sleeted…) Kristi and Danny still managed to tour three countries and visit the Throne of Charlamagne, European Parliament, various Beirhauses, and a museum devoted entirely to chocolate. For his part, Danny mastered the Rubik’s cube, went Discoschwimmin’ at a Dutch waterpark, and lost five pounds on an all oranges and bread diet (not a fan of wienershnitzel.)
With Jake on drums and Danny on guitar, the boys played a heavily-edited-but-still-rockin’ rendition of “Walk This Way” at a local church recital. (Google the lyrics. I bet Steven Tyler couldn’t even spit them out in front of a minister.) In any case, with Anna’s newfound love of the piano and Kristi’s vocal stylings, we are close to realizing Kristi’s dream of forming a post-punk, Von Trapp-style band. We only need to uncover Eric’s (very) deeply hidden musical talent.
For better or worse, Anna absolutely embraced her inner drama queen after starring as a unicorn wizard in the Tuckahoe Elementary school play in April. Although she misses her Arlington friends terribly, she has re-adjusted to life on the Cape and is excited to be reunited with her good friends here. She played pilgrim Dorothy Bradford in the 3rd grade play and was a cheerleader for the Pop Warner Bulldogs. On her soccer team, she employed a unique “3D” strategy that complemented the talents of her more skilled teammates: Dance, Distract, Defend. In a tight game, nobody covers the cute, chatty one doing the Tango at midfield. She has also earned $118 in “Piano Money” from her music teacher (cash value: approximately 35 cents). She continues to excel in school and enjoys playing town basketball and earning patches with her Brownie troop.
Kristi is thrilled to finally be unpacked and hopes one day to have pictures on the walls instead of sitting on the floor next to the walls. Leaving friends and family in Arlington was hard, but she was excited to reunite with her Sandwich friends and favorite beaches! When she is not driving kids around and madly keeping track of everyone’s activities on her color-coded calendar, she can be found substitute teaching or volunteering in the local schools. She and the rest of the family are overjoyed that Julie and Bob sold their house in Maryland and moved to the Cape, ostensibly to be closer to their grandchildren. But, we all know the true reason is easy access to Eric’s risotto dinners:).
Although he misses his co-workers on the Appropriations Committee, Eric is more than happy to be back at Air Station Cape Cod as Executive Officer. It turns out he prefers managing the Base-wide urinalysis program to Capitol Hill intrigue and riding the underground Senate trolley. The fact that he occasionally gets to fly again may also have something to do with his improved attitude.
We welcome all friends and family from Arlington and beyond to visit us at our secluded hilltop retreat in Sandwich. If you visit in winter, you might want to bring a shovel. Just in case. 🙂
Eric, Kristi, Jake, Danny, and Anna Bader (and Bingo)