Out4Blood & El_Cap's Rise of Nations Strategy

Monday, December 01, 2003

OT: O4B's half of the annual Christmas newsletter
Note: for those with too much time on their hands, here is the expurgated version of my half of the annual Christmas newsletter. Read at your own peril.

This is O4B. Wifey and I always go through a struggle when it comes to putting together a Christmas newsletter. She's the driving force behind this exercise, and so naturally the focus is on her and, now recently, the kids. Things that I do don't usually merit inclusion in the newsletter unless I:

1) move, or
2) change jobs.

This year was no exception. Wifey asked me to read the most recent newsletter and add my comments. After the fourth page of hearing about her stay in the hospital, my comment was this: "This is about you having a baby, not a Christmas newsletter." This unfortunate remark resulted in me having to actually contribute to this year's letter, as opposed to hastily editing -- which is much more my style. With that, I bring you my list of major events for your Christmas cheer.

1. We had a baby. (Of course, we didn't have one, Wifey had one. But there's usually a lot of patient effort the father has to go through as well. It's just not as painful.) This time around it was a boy, and things went smoother than the First Time. But I'll leave the details to Wifey and the other 90% of the newsletter.

2. We moved. Yes, the builders finally finished and we were able to move in on April 10th. As usual, I am already nitpicking about the builder's poor quality – rounded walls, unfinished paint jobs, mangled spackling, nail pops, stupid architecture, lack of follow up, unreturned phone calls, improper drainage... GRRRR. Okay I am stopping here before I start to get angry all over again. Anyway, Wifey likes the house, so I try to ignore the rest of it.

3. We survived a hurricane. Hurricane Isabel hit September 18th. Its eye passed within 20 some miles of our new location. The damage was less than I expected. We lost several big trees on our property but by God's grace they didn't hit our house, although one came 6 feet from crushing the O4B-mobile. The only house in our neighborhood that was hit was an unsold property, so only the builder suffered. I had dashed out to visit Wal-Mart and it was eerie, like a scene from a disaster movie. There were no cars on the road at all, and the Wal-Mart was nearly deserted, except for a handful of hardy employees who remained to inform prospective buyers that "NO! WE HAVE NO MORE BATTERIES!" The neat stuff happened on Friday as everyone in the neighborhood mingled to inspect the damage and compare war stories. On a sad note: the husband of someone I knew from work was seriously injured by a falling tree. Coincidently, someone else at church worked with the husband and requested prayers. It's a small world.

4. I traveled a lot. I made my first trip to Spain. Madrid is my new favorite European city (edging out the former favorite: Prague). I spent the better part of two months (May & June) jetting to and from Virginia, Madrid, and our offices in the UK. It was hard work, but it was fun. Unfortunately, this came right after the baby was born. However, we had planned ahead and arranged for our parents to visit contiguously for the entire period. So Wifey had plenty of help. When I finished with that, I had to go to Mexico for some other work. This occupied most of July. No, I don't speak Spanish yet, but I did enjoy some of the best food I've ever had. Mexican food rocks! Spanish food on the other hand... As a side note, but not worth its own bullet: I saw the Matrix Reloaded 7 times in the theater in 3 different countries.

5. We bought a new car. The lease on the O4B-mobile expired in November, so we needed a back up. Wifey's embarrassed to reveal what we bought, but I'll say this: we did buy used, but we still spent more than we really wanted to, or should have.

6. I built a new computer from scratch. Tired of the 5 year old clunker that wouldn't run Windows XP, but unwilling to pay the $$$ to buy a new one, I decided to build a computer of my own. It's sleek and black and super fast. Can you say 2 Gigs of RAM? Of course, Wifey doesn't want me playing games anymore, so it's going to shameful waste. ;-) However, my real goal is to do some video editing and DVD-authoring. I hooked up the DV camcorder and KK enjoyed making some mini-movies. We'll see what comes of that.

7. KK has a new best friend. Her name is Emily, she lives across the street, and they seem to get along really well. They love to play with each other. Emily has a big dog, which KK is afraid of, so they mostly play over here. Which is fine. KK has this great playroom with fun, colorful, padded flooring (the dining room). It's loaded with all her toys. A LOT of toys. Most of the other interesting news is all about KK, but I'm sure Wifey will relay all of that.

8. We gave up our dog. Jenna is gone. I don't wanna talk about it.

9. I still don't have a piano. My Beethoven is coming along nicely. I can now play the second movement of the Pathetique pretty well and am working on the second movement of quasi una Fantasia (Moonlight). Since we spent too much on the car, we decided to hold off on this for awhile. So I'll be sticking with the ol' Casio for awhile. Just as well. I know that as soon as I get a real piano, Wifey won't let me play it. "It's too loud!" she'll say.

Okay, well that about wraps up my contribution. There's other minor stuff that happened: KK's great birthday party, my Grand Punkin Pie Experiment, the great shelf-making exercise, etc. If you wanna know more about this stuff, call and ask.

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