Monday, January 16, 2012

December 14, 2011 The 2001 Christmas Letter

2001…Once again I must recap our last 365 days in a somewhat humorous fashion. This is obviously a tough task this year. Yes, I know I complain about writing this stupid newsletter every year… well… perspective is one of many lessons I’ve learned this year. After Sept. 11, I learned a few other things about our country…America has some flaws but it’s wide variety of citizens can put aside their differences when absolutely necessary for the good of our country. We looked at everyone as an American…no other descriptive word…not black or white…not Republican or Democrat…not rich or poor…just AMERICAN. People were nicer to each other. They showed respect to strangers that a week earlier they would not have reached out a helping hand. The country stood together and accomplished things with one goal in mind…taking care of those families most directly affected by the attacks. The weeks following the attack were when I was most proud to be an American. Did it last?…NO! Was there misguided anger?…YES! Will I continue to hope that someday Americans will live as one?…YES!!! Earlier in the year, Chrissy & I lost a big part of our lives. On March 16, we put Thunder to sleep. If he was in any pain, he hid it from us. He was getting old and it was obvious he was sick from his weight loss. That morning I had to carry him up the stairs. I took him for a final walk around the block. I swear if he could talk he would have told us it was time. I truly believe he was communicating it to me with his very distinct facial expressions. While we waited at the vet clinic, he seemed to comfort us as we tried to comfort him. I think of him to this day and get a tear in my eye…I’ll be right back….He was such a good dog; it took 2 dogs to replace him. I seem to lose the Christmas spirit a little more each year. This year’s events haven’t helped with my lack of holiday cheer. It’s very hard to be funny. There just wasn’t much I found amusing this year. SORRY to disappoint everyone, I just think the horror we witnessed on Sept 11 overshadows the comedy Christy & I refer to as our life. BUT…WAIT A MINUTE…. WE VISITED MY PARENTS THIS SUMMER…OF COURSE I HAVE AMUSING STORIES. Now, sit back, relax and read in total disbelief about the shit that happens to us in the course of a year.
January  I know my mom hates every aspect of winter. The snow, the cold, the wind chill. I can truly say I was more shocked by my mother flying to Chicago in January than some assholes flying planes into the Twin Towers in September. When she announced her plan to visit, I told Chrissy, “This is a bad sign. She absolutely hates winter. She must be coming to say she is sick and only has a few weeks to live.” Otherwise, she’d wait until summer to make the trip. The good news is she just missed her #1 SON. (Only son according to me) She is apparently is very healthy for a 54-year-old nurse that smokes constantly. Even the frigid temperatures could not diminish her craving for nicotine, and yes…we did make her smoke outside. I seemed to recall something about ‘living under my roof, my rules’ when I was a child. Revenge is sweet, even after all these years.
February  We went on a tour along the Mississippi River to find nesting bald eagles. Sure the bus was filled with the usual tree hugging screwballs, but we kept to ourselves and saw a bunch of eagles. I DJ’d Bernie & Susie’s Wedding. The highlight of the night was Bernie removing Susie’s garter, and not because it was way up high on her thigh, but because someone told me to play “Staying Alive” at the last minute. Bernie’s dance across the floor toward Susie was classic. If you missed it, get the video from them.
March  Sure we joked about Thunder. We were calling him Dead Dog Walking for the past 6 months as he ambled across the room. And I knew when the time came; there would be tears of sadness, sudden uncontrollable crying, voices trembling when talking about him and finally the overwhelming feeling of emptiness and loss. I just hoped Christy would get over it quickly. Well it’s a good thing she did, because I was a complete mess for a month. And quit laughing at me, some of you admitted crying when you heard we put him down and that really touched me deeply…and made me cry like a baby once again. Chrissy got in touch with the Great Pyrenees Rescue, We were told about a Pyr at the Animal Welfare League near us. I went to AWL to check on the dog. As soon as they brought him into the visiting room, he peed on my foot. “Son of a bitch!”, we took him anyway. We renamed him Glacier. Once we got him home, I sat him down in our yard & told him the only reason he now had a home was because Thunder was such a great dog. He yawned & peed on my foot. “Son of a bitch!”… He said, “Yes, I am.”
April   Hey, not every month can have a story. While proofreading this Chrissy remembered that Kimmie had a baby girl named Kristian. Stop laughing, I knew she had a baby; I just wasn’t sure which month.
May   Well after 8 longs years of Christy bitching about remodeling the upstairs, a hockey-playing friend of mine, Eric, started the job. When finished the attic will have been transformed in a master bedroom done in a rustic log cabin look. Doesn’t every authentic log cabin have a hot tub and air conditioning? The reason for the log cabin is simple. It is where we will be vacationing until we pay for the remodeling.
June   It always sounds like a good idea. I’ll say, “Chris, let’s go to California to visit my parents.” WHY GOD, WHY DOES SHE ALWAYS SAY OK. We went sightseeing around Long Beach with the Delgado’s, who we saw for the first time since they moved to Cali. We also went on a wild harbor cruise with Geo’s friend, Frank, which included dinner & lots of alcohol at Dennis Rodman’s restaurant. Mrs. D was the only one of us to talk to the owner. We spent a night at my Aunt Pat & Uncle Ed’s house. My cousins & their families all stopped by for dinner. It was great to see everyone and made up in a small way for being across the country on the usual family holidays. We kept my aunt & uncle up until the middle of the night talking about everything, especially family. This night was the highlight of our trip. Then it happened, NIAGARA FALLS, STEP BY STEP, INCH BY INCH, we returned to my parent’s house. My dad was home from work before Ma. Bad sign, a mental patient needs his drugs and his is my mom. That was a good reason to hide at the pool until I had to leave for a concert w/ Geo. Dad warned us not to walk on his wood floor with wet feet because it attracts termites. WHAT?!!! OK, WHATEVER! After splashing around for a few minutes, I had to get ready to go out. Christy stayed at the pool. As I walked in the mailman came by, I mentioned that the mail comes kind of late. The rest is a blur that will take years of therapy to forget…next thing I know my dad is flying off the handle about his job either mailing his paycheck home or using direct deposit. I’m rationally trying to explain the advantage of direct deposit. He is screaming that he wants it handed to him every Friday. I’m standing in the doorway on the tile so my wet feet don’t attract termites. He starts dropping the two longest swear words known to everyone that just happen to rhyme. He is dropping these bombs left & right along with something about not believing I could be his son. At this point, I was believing the same thing and attempting to find psychiatric listings in the phone book. Chrissy was still sunbathing at the pool when the lady next to her said, “do you hear those two arguing”. Chris said, “Yes, that is my husband & his father”. The lady laughed & said, “I would not have admitted to that”. Then Chrissy is at the door yelling for us to shut up the whole complex can hear us. I quickly escape to the shower. As soon as I get out of the shower, he starts right up again. By now Georgie is there and he has his arm extended telling dad, “I’M NOT LISTENING… TALK TO THE HAND”. He called Marcy and had her rescue Chris. Gee, I can’t imagine what those two talked about over dinner.
July  We offered to help the Great Pyrenees Rescue by fostering a dog that was abandoned by her owners. Her name is Fluffy and she is about three years old. The St. John Animal Control thinks she was on the streets for about 3 months. They contacted the owners who said they didn’t want her back. Should it really be a crime to beat the crap out of people who abandon animals on the side of the road? Anyway, Glacier met Fluffy and they got along just fine. We now have two 100 lbs dogs…at least until Fluffy gets adopted.
August  Since Chrissy hates human beings, she offered to be the midnight relief keeper, in order to spend time with the animals without all those people to bother her. She wishes the public wasn’t allowed to come to the zoo. I’m still trying to convince her that the zoo has no reason to exist without the public…she just doesn’t get the concept. I, on the other hand, love the public. Especially in bikinis, which is all I get when DJ’ing at the Deep River WaterPark on Tubing Tuesday Nights. Sure, I feel a bit like a pervert taking requests from 16 year olds in bikinis. But I’m like a doctor, THIS IS A ONLY A JOB TO ME. But occasionally a hot mom will make a request for her shy three year old, unfortunately, she is only 23 and has no interest in a fat, married 36 year old. Of course the minivan driving, one piece swimsuit with a skirt wearing moms all think I’m cute. GREAT. The only way for me to get close to a hot girl at the water park is to drown in a pool and hope a female lifeguard gets to me first.
September  Like everyone else, I called my parents the night of Sept. 11th. Unfortunately, my dad was the only one home. I simply asked, “Dad, can you fucking believe this?”  Still to this day, I cannot believe his response. “You know the government is going to take away our rights. Next thing you know I won’t be able to smoke at the beach next summer.” I was completely dumbstruck for the second time in a day. How the hell could this be a sane person’s first thought after an attack on our country? I figured I must have called a disgruntled dad that lived in a shack in the mountains of Montana, so I just hung up. Fluffy finally got us. A family came to see her but decided not to adopt her because of her crooked teeth. Since her & Glacier get along so well, we decided to keep her. We even kept the name Fluffy, even though we hate it. Besides the name really fits her, she is fluffy.
October  My mom doesn’t take shit from anyone, especially some chicken shit terrorists hiding in caves, so off to Ireland as planned with her sister, Pat and their husbands. I guaranteed Christy two things would happen on this trip. First, my parents couldn’t last 10 hours on a plane without a cigarette. I was sure they would be locked in the bathroom smoking while B-52 fighter jets escorted the plane down somewhere around Pittsburgh. Second, my dad would be bounced on his ass out of an Irish pub onto a cobblestone street for bitching about the taste of Sheppard’s pie. Amazingly, neither happened. When the Irish heard their American accents, they gave their sympathy for the attacks on our country. Some people of the world actually like America.
November  I DJ on Saturday nights at Joltin Joe’s which is owned by my friends, Nick & Joe Pezzuto. I really enjoy it most nights. A bunch of drunk women begging me to play their favorite song…you know the one…by that guy…the one about my heart… it goes do dee dum dum …etc. Anyway, Nick says girls always ask about the cute DJ. Then they ask him my age. I’m flattered they think I’m that young but deflated when they find out my real age and lose all interest. I gotta get Nick to start lying for me.
December  Besides the obvious, I guess it’s been a pretty good year. HMMM…that statement reminds me of the old joke….“Besides that Mrs. Kennedy, it was a pretty good parade”. Everyone who has met Glacier knows this, those yet to visit be forewarned. Glacier likes to greet people with his nose, which is perfect height for most crotches. He really works his snout into you and he is thorough; a full body cavity search is less invasive than the once over by Glacier. He & Fluffy get along great. We love watching them play fight in the yard. When Glacier is chasing cars down the alley, she bites down on his tail and is pulled along the fence line until she plants her paws and stops Glacier. He turns to get her off his tail, but she clamps down again as soon as he turns forward. They both are really good dogs, except for the peeing in the house. Once again, “besides that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” Speaking of live theater, we saw The Full Monty, Guys & Dolls, South Pacific, Cinderella, The Producers, Saturday Night Fever, Wilco, Steve Earle, The BoDeans, GBV, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Semisonic, and the Warped Tour this year. I’ll end this with a story about getting old. I was having dinner at Baker’s Square with the flower girl from our wedding, the now 20-year-old Cindy Lou. She was dropping a few F-bombs while telling me a story. I asked her to tone it down a bit because there was a family with children next to us. THINK ABOUT THIS FOR A MOMENT. I feel old enough because our flower girl is now a young woman. BUT I’M TELLING HER NOT TO CURSE. PLEASE KILL ME NOW…GROWING OLD SUCKS MORE THAN I ORIGINALLY THOUGHT!!! And on that note, we just want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years!     Love, Gregg & Christy

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