Saturday, February 4, 2012

December 20, 2011 The 2003 Christmas Letter

Unbelievable, this is the 10th version of this stupid newsletter. These letters would have stopped years ago, but some people’s lives are so pathetic that they look forward to a written version of the reality show “A Year in the Life of Gregg & Christy”. Some really twisted folks actually hope to get mentioned. This group doesn’t include my parents, who hope to not get mentioned each year, but somehow always do. At least it only comes once a year, kind of like Santa Claus & sex with a partner in this house. I guess this is a milestone, so WELCOME TO THE 10th ANNUAL RECAP OF A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF TWO LOST SOULS SEARCHING FOR THAT RIGHTEOUS PATH!!!

   Our year started off with a wild New Year’s Eve party…at home…just the two of us, I had two beers, put on my Depends, and fell asleep before midnight. My quality of life went downhill this year after that wonderful start. Even as I grow fatter and older and fatter, I did learn a few interesting things this year…Such as…. Debbie Drescher has nice boobs (this I was pretty sure of but had it confirmed this year)…I’m American… Americans in general are fat…genetics are an amazing thing (this can work for you and against you)…and finally…that family is the most important thing in my and in your life. If you want the details to these life changing revelations please read on…if not, Merry Christmas to you…hope you enjoyed the short version.

JANUARY: Chris & I took a day trip to Starved Rock State Park and we were treated to a beautiful winter day with freshly fallen snow. We went to see the Bald Eagles. There were a couple dozen eagles perched along the river. While hiking through the park we saw a fox and some friendly deer that did not seem to mind us at all. We even saw a buffalo at Buffalo State Park…strangely enough. Days like this make the winter bearable. Unfortunately, the other 89 days of winter were not like this one.

FEBRUARY: My mom decided to visit us. Since she loves going to the Polish smorgasbord at the Warsaw Inn, so we invited a bunch of people, including Jim & Deb Drescher with their boys. We had to sit at two separate tables due to our group size. At some point during dinner Chrissy is laughing uncontrollably, this usually means my good friend Jimmy has ridiculed me. But not this time, it turns out that Jimmy’s son Stevie, decided to grab a handful of his mother’s chest and say “Ma, you have nice boobs!” When I heard that I passed a whole potato pierogie through my nose. It’s true, kids are so damn cute & say the darndest things.

MARCH: Our dog Glacier appeared to be dying. He was lethargic and wouldn’t eat. It turns out he has Addison’s Disease, which can be controlled by pills that cost about $75 a month. Chris insisted on putting him down. She said it was much cheaper than the pills. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it, so I persuaded Chrissy to let me keep him by crying all day & night until she finally gave in. I had to agree to work even more hours to pay for the pills because she refused to do anything special for the dog.

APRIL: If something happened this month…we can’t fucking remember it.

MAY: The Delgados were back in town so off we went to eat & drink at Café Borgia. I interrupt this story with a quick side note to set it up. I’ll admit to being lucky about one thing in life, my moms.(this isn’t a hip hop reference to the lady who gave birth to me) Besides my real mother, I consider several other women my mom because they treat me like I’m their son. They are my Aunt MaryAnn, Mrs. Drescher and Mrs. Delgado. Back to Café Borgia, Mrs. Drescher and Cindy, our little flower girl now old enough to drink wine, are sitting at the table next to us. Mrs. Drescher went on & on about what a great kid I am, Mrs. Delgado did the same. After 10 minutes of this, I’m blushing telling them to stop, but obviously loving it and Chrissy has had enough. She projectile vomited her penne porcini across the restaurant and asked the waiter for another bottle of wine.

JUNE: Chrissy works with mostly women at the zoo. I nicknamed her group of friends the Pink Army. She now refers to them as the Pink Army, but only when she talks to me. Anyway, the Pink Army went horseback riding together. Chrissy was the only first timer and when I asked her how it went…she replied, “my butt is sore”. A week later all she said was “my butt is sore”. Months later, all she remembers is “my butt was sore”.

JULY: We went to London, then Oslo, then a cruise in the Arctic Circle. Simply put, the trip was amazing. We loved London…a lot like NYC except the cabbies spoke English…but we couldn’t understand them either…had fish & chips with a pint in a Notting Hill pub…Oslo was beautiful…21 hours of daylight…the subway works on the honor system, I think we were the only schmucks to pay for it…took the subway to the mountains then hiked back into the city…the cruise around Spitsbergen in the Arctic Circle was life altering…we saw polar bears, walrus, seals, glaciers and millions of birds…went hiking on remote islands, took zodiac boats right up to the glaciers……we stood a mere 15’ from a group of walruses…twice…24 hours of daylight… we drank until middle of night in ship’s bar talking with people from all over the world…learned everyone hates the French…had a BBQ & party on deck with the Russian crew…for my surreal moment of the year I danced (like nobody was watching) with Lorraine, an Australian woman currently living in Dubai, on the deck of a ship surrounded by pack ice and a glacier that was over 100 miles long while a Russian DJ played a euro dance version of the Beatles “I Want To Hold Your Hand” …we went as part of the Sierra Club and Carolyn, the trip leader, asked Chrissy to give a speech on polar bears since she hand raised one at the zoo…she did a great job and was complimented by everyone especially Inge, from Holland of course, who said to Chrissy “I could tell by looking into your eyes that you love what you do”… Chrissy & I were definitely the poorest and least traveled on this ship, one night at dinner, Olle, our Swedish guide, agreed with us but added “you probably appreciate this trip more than the others”. We definitely loved every minute of it. I discovered many things about America by leaving it. The most obvious was AMERICANS ARE FUCKING FAT! I was the fattest person in Oslo until a cruise ship docked & more Americans got off. Every fat person we saw was American. This means that Norway is full of skinny blonde women…which is why there are no Norwegian neighborhoods in American cities, why leave Norway!!! Before landing in London, we had to fill out a landing card which asked for my nationality, I’ve always answered this by saying Italian, Irish & German. WRONG!!! I’M AMERICAN…this just struck me as so amazing that I have never answered that question that way in my life…I felt like a proud immigrant saying it for the first time…I’M AMERICAN!!!

AUGUST: Georgie and Marcy came to Chicago…I took them around town…we were just walking around Chicago when we came to a huge street festival on North Halsted…we quickly realized it was a Gay Pride Festival…the giant rainbow flag should have been a clue…of course we went right in…Georgie claimed his ass was grabbed several times, apparently he was tripping the gay-dar of the locals who must have thought I was with Marcy since no one grabbed my ass. George you are over thirty, skinny, compulsive & not married, it’s time to have that talk with mom & dad.

SEPTEMBER: We took a very last minute trip to SoCal for Labor Day Weekend. The sole purpose of the trip was for me to ride waves at Huntington Beach…mission accomplished… when Chrissy called my mom to say we’d be in later that night, she advised my mom of the reason we were coming, my mom said “I already knew that”. “No really Ma, I came just to see you! Now, can we have the car to drive to the beach?” We threw a family party for Chrissy’s Aunt Marilyn. She was back home for her 40th Class Reunion. The genesis of the party started at a funeral. The families only get together at funerals…so sorrow & grief gives way to funny stories about family…which leads to loud laughter…which annoys people in the other rooms trying to grieve…so Chrissy had a Non Funeral Family Get Together…luckily no one died in the month between sending the invites and the party.

 OCTOBER: Like most couples, we argue over money. I make a lot, she doesn’t. So we decided to take trips according to our salary…my trip was to Norway…Chrissy’s trip was to Grand Rapids, Michigan…we hiked at several state parks and went to a hockey game & zoo in Grand Rapids. One night my 2 year old niece Kristian, was left with me for some reason and Chrissy was sleeping because she was working midnights…Kristian wanted to see her Aunt, so I took her upstairs quietly. Chrissy was sleeping on her stomach with her butt in the air…too bad I had the kid with me…I said “doesn’t Aunt Chrissy have a big bubble butt”. “yes”…Kristian then went home and yelled to her brothers “BOYS, BOYS, AUNTIE CHRISSY HAS A BIG BUBBLE BUTT”!!!!

NOVEMBER: I’m a Godfather. Sometimes being a Godfather means you have to do really awful things…like going to Chuck E. Cheese Pizza for your godson Stevie’s birthday. “I’ll do you this favor, but someday, and that day may never come, I might ask you to do a favor for me”. “Yes, Godfather.”

DECEMBER: My whole family went to NYC for my cousin Terri’s wedding. The wedding reception was easily the best day of my year. Being with family (I’m being sincere on this one) and being treated like royalty by the chefs and staff at Russo’s on the Bay. The food was unbelievable in quantity & quality. The after party with the McElleneys introduced us to more family members. The next day, all the Ott’s were at MaryAnn’s having cordials & desserts & more cordials. Grandpa was sitting with several of his grandchildren when he fired off the best one liner of the night. We were teasing him about being responsible for this whole screwy family and he says “I probably should have just gone to sleep those nights!” This family would make a great genetics research project…while standing at the bar I looked back at our table and saw my Italian mother & Georgie, the least Italian looking son, talking wildly with their hands…my cousin Karen, who should be nothing at all like an Ott, she was a little kid when her parents divorced, she grew up in Puerto Rico, far from the Ott side, she’s only been exposed to us 3 times in the past 25 years, she should be normal…yet there was no doubt she was an Ott…from her smart-ass comments, the joking around with everyone, watching her with Georgie, they looked & acted like brother and sister, it was like we all grew up together…which is exactly how family should be…the phrases “you are family” and “we’re family” were said a lot and it was damn good to hear.

   Well, that’s our year. We saw several plays, including Jesus Christ Superstar, Exonerated, Lion King & Urinetown, which was just fantastic, a perfect combination of humor & cutting edge social commentary. Also went to see Bruce Springsteen, Lyle Lovett & Chris Rock in concert. And don’t complain about this being longer & longer every year. I could have squeezed this onto 2 pages, but the print would be smaller. So, since Chrissy (who should start receiving AARP mailings soon) has been advised by her eye doctor to use reading glasses, I had to print this bigger. I’ll end this with my most memorable moments of the year (all are from my NYC visit due to old age & alcohol ruining my memory). Seriously though these moments still make me smile…Georgie & me sitting in a NYC diner at 1am shooting the shit over milkshakes & pie…my Uncle Freddie proudly walking his daughter Terri to the altar…after Terri’s wedding, eating my favorite pizza with my family at Corato’s Pizzeria in my Grandma Ott’s old neighborhood…and looking for my cousin Karen in front of a snowy Penn Station on Broadway at 2 in the morning and finally seeing her big smile after ten years and her long day of traveling. This holiday season take the time to remember the moments in life that bring a smile to your face. Merry Christmas to everyone, love G & C

P.S. Some resolutions for your new year…donate time or money to a cause you believe in…vote for a president who will serve his country, not those who enrich him…and for Christ’s sake lose some weight…God! Americans are fat!!!

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