Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Letter 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all our family, friends, loved ones, acquaintances, and those people who just seem to creep back into our address book year after year that we still don’t know who they are (I thought that was your cousin twice removed on your mother’s side?);

Thanksgiving sure seemed to come early this year, and with it the Christmas rush.  Diane asked me if I had the letter done already – but I still have three weeks before Christmas?  Three weeks – I had better hurry!  The branch of the Ohio Carter clan is still doing well out here in the wilds – though it didn’t feel so out of the way with all the politicians (from the Latin poli : many and tics : blood sucking insects)  that swarmed the state just a month ago.  But enough of those depressing thoughts, time to talk about something (anything!) else.

2012 was a busy year.  Probably the biggest highlights had to do with my parents and the kids.  The whole clan gathered in Philadelphia in July for Dad’s 80th birthday, and a good time was had by all (that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!)  At least none of my kids caused any drama, which was amazing in and of itself.  And then the most amazing part, in September Diane and I officially became “Empty Nesters” as the last of the kids moved out. 

For me, not much has changed this past year.  Same great job (The Design Knowledge Company), which continues to grow and expand (I did get a private office (with a window no less!)), and the growth does not look like it will let up.  I continue to brew beer, once again bringing three kegs to the Christmas party this coming week.  I still play with toy soldiers as well, winning a team tournament in June.  What I am not doing any longer is being the treasurer for the band boosters – I handed this over at the end of my term in May and have not looked back.  So still being the uber geek as much as ever.

Diane has been very busy with the real estate business starting (knock on wood) to pick up a bit – she actually sold some ‘real’ houses this year.  She is still heavily involved with the Women’s Council of Realtors as the Vice-President of Membership again this year, becoming the president elect for 2013 (so she will be president in 2014), attending many meetings and conventions.  At least that is what she said the trip to Florida in November was for – however seeing the pictures of margaritas and the beach make me wonder how much work actually went on.   She also became a consultant for Tastefully Simple this year – because I can always support her by eating!

Becky still lives on Minnesota, and loves Interpreting for the Deaf – even the overnight sessions on video-relay.  While she and Burr-d have parted ways (along with her owner Lou), she seems to have successfully navigated the storms and swirls of the dating pool and has a new Beau, Eric.  (Yeah, that doesn’t cause any confusion in conversations between Diane and me).  She also adopted a rescue boxer named Harlow (who is sweet, even if she is a bully to Scout).

Jon moved back down here this past summer, and found a house to rent with three of his friends from high school (and college as well).  He struggled for a time finding a job, and is currently selling Kirby Vacuums door-to-door.   It is very hard work, and long hours.  He isn’t sure he wants to do this  long term, but for now it is a job.

Katlyn met a nice young man on the internet who draws a web comic when not working at his day job, and he invited her to come up and attend Emerald City ComicCon with him back in March.  She had such a great time in Seattle with Sam Boyd that she never went back to Albuquerque, moving in with him in the small town of Lebanon, Oregon.  She brought Sam with her to Grandpa Carter’s 80th birthday to meet the entire family, and he somehow managed to survive that with his sanity intact.  She has a part time job as a file clerk currently.

Erik started off the year as an Intern at Regal Beloit in Tipp City, and really enjoyed working for a living (for a few months at least), even if it meant moving back home for a few months to save money.  Then in the summer it was back to school to make up for the time as an intern.  He is still studying Computer Engineering at UD, and is also heavily involved in several groups on campus (including FASFAC and the Freethinkers).  He is getting ready for his second round of intern life come January.

Matthew had his big event in May as he graduated from West Carrollton High School, and then started all over again as a freshman at Miami University of Ohio.  He has switched to a mechanical engineering major as it looked like architecture was much more fine art than he expected.  School is going well for him, and he has a campus job to keep him from having too much free time at school.

Scout is the only one of us actually starting to show his age (ahem).  While he is still on track to sleep his life away, he has started to slow down a bit, and is occasionally missing when he tries to jump up onto the couch or bed.  However if any varmit dares to step foot on his porch (when he actually has his eyes open) then we will definitely hear about it.

2012 was a good year, and with any luck this will reach all our friends before the Mayans end the world in eight days.   Assuming that the world does not end, we wish for all of you a safe, happy and wonderful holiday season and new year.

May the blessing of the rain be on you—
the soft sweet rain.
May it fall upon your spirit
so that all the little flowers may spring up,
and shed their sweetness on the air.
May the blessing of the great rains be on you,
may they beat upon your spirit
and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there many a shining pool
where the blue of heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Empty Nest

Yes, as of September 1st, 2012, Diane and I are officially Empty Nesters.  It has been on my mind a lot, and I'm still trying to process it.

The house is quiet.  Jon has said he will come back and finish cleaning the basement that was overflowing with his stuff for the month he stayed with us between houses.  My guess is, like a lot of their projects, I'll have to finish it.

The dog is now sleeping in our room, and our queen bed (small for our fat butts) isn't quite big enough for all of us - so there is a bit of sneakiness as he moves from the floor to the bed when we are asleep and can't kick him off.

I've noticed Diane is spending a lot less time upstairs in the bedroom - maybe because it is so quiet, or just that she actually has a chance at the downstairs tv.  She wanted to start planning for our free time several months ago - but I put it off wanting to have the free time first.

Do we have free time?  I finished my stint on the band boosters as of May 31, so you think it would free me up.  But instead I've started more miniature projects (technically 4 if I were to actually work on all of them - but two are way on the back burner).  So I have more than enough to keep me occupied, if I want to.

I have always found it a bit difficult to process change, and especially endings.  And this is a big ending for me - I was an active father for the 24 years, 4 months and 12 days - more than half my life.  Now, while I'm still a father, it is one to three adults (ok, step-father to one of these), an two college students.  Not nearly as much in the active category, and finding that I have to hold myself back a bit as well - because it is their lives to live, not mine.  I did the best I could to raise them - and we have kicked them out of the nest, to fall or fly, on their own.

Even the college students are getting so they won't be back.  Erik is hoping his friends plans for a house will work out - which would mean no more having to move somewhere for the summer.  Matt is in a dorm this year, so will be home for vacations.  But even that gets different.

So I'm still trying to process this, as I think Diane is.  Cooking for only the two of us.  Not being able to yell at one of the boys to empty the dishwasher.  I'll have to go out and pick up dog poop myself - haven't done that in ages!

One thing I'm not feeling yet is a beginning - it just feels like an ending.  It doesn't yet feel like I have started on a new phase of life yet - just like a lot is over.