Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Letter 2013

December 05, 2013

Once again it is time to wish a Merry Christmas to all our friends and family, loved ones and acquaintances, and even a few people that never leave our address books even though we no longer even recognize their names (I think that is my ex’s cousins college roommates sister).

Looking at last year’s letter, I laugh because once again Diane is bugging me about writing the letter after Thanksgiving, but this time turkey day came quite a bit later.  Most of the Carter clan is still here in the wild and wooly state of Ohio.   I’m beginning to think that some of these new fads may actually take hold- it seems that the kids I keep yelling at to get off my lawn sure seem to have a lot of new tech toys.

This year has been a bit tough overall.  As most of you know Mom was in a very serious car accident in the spring, and spent nearly a month in the hospital.  She has finally recovered and is feeling good again, especially because she actually found a good lawyer to deal with the bills and other financial aspects, though nothing really makes up for that much time in the hospital and rehab.

For me, I’ve found another way to be busy.  I’m still working at TDKC, which hasn’t been growing as much this year because of all the political games going on in Washington (a big drawback for having the military as most of our business).  I’ve expanded my gaming hobby though, becoming a “pathfinder” for Mantic games – a miniature gaming company based in the UK.  This means I go out and do game demos and run events, and in return get yet more toys to play with!

Diane has had a very rough year.  At the end of last year she went in for a sleep study to help with her sleep apnea, and they became really concerned about her blood oxygen levels.  So much so they put her on oxygen 24/7 (with the exception of when she is just sitting doing nothing), and things have not gotten better.  They did rule out COPD, and while she does have some mild pulmonary hypertension, they now suspect it may be a problem with too much CO2 in her blood.   She had to put her Realtor license in escrow and has actually gone on disability, but really struggles with being very confined.

Becky continues to be a very successful sign language interpreter, working at Communication Services for the Deaf as the Deaf Domestic Violence Advocate, and was awarded “Advocate of the Year” this fall.  She got to attend several conventions, even if Vancouver did make her sick.   Unfortunately she lost her sweet boxer Harlow last winter due to a sudden heart attack.  However she did meet Eric, and as of yesterday has moved in with him and his dog Karma.  They dared to visit us in Ohio for a few days just before Thanksgiving, and he didn’t seem daunted by our crazy family.  To top off her year, she just got a job with benefits as the Dear/Hard of Hearing Project Coordinator for a grant at Cornerstone (as opposed to friends with benefits, which is something completely different).

Jon realized that selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door was not the career he wanted, and finally found a job working at TelePerformance where he does tech support for AT&T wireless, has already received a promotion and is on his way to becoming a manager.  He moved to Fairborn to be close to his job and shares an apartment with a friend he has known for over twenty years.

Katie is still living with Sam in Oregon (even more remote than Ohio, if you can believe that!).  They have a couple of cats, and enjoy going to comic conventions, where her clay figures are a big hit.  They had a bit of a rough time with getting their car broken into this spring, but managed to get insurance to cover most of the loss and are just continuing to live day to day.

Erik is doing well. He is currently in his fourth year of college, working towards a degree in Computer Engineering.  In addition to school he has been employed at Regal Beloit, a company that designs and manufactures a variety of electrical motors.  He is still on schedule to graduate from the University of Dayton in May of 2015. He is currently the treasurer for the UD Fantasy and Science Fiction Appreciation Club for the 3rd year in a row. The club raises money for Child's Play charity through multiple events throughout the year and has already broken its record from last year.  In addition to all this, he has started dating Isolde Hannan (known just as “Z” to us), a very sweet girl who is also in Computer Engineering and a volleyball player.

Matthew has stated to discover that college classes can be challenging as he continues as a sophomore at Miami University of Ohio working on his Mechanical Engineering degree.  He works on campus in a couple of food service positions, and then when he is home he also has a job at Toys ‘R’ Us, which meant we had an early Thanksgiving dinner this year as he had to work at 4:30.  He enjoys his campus game club, and is planning on finally getting his driver’s license over winter break so that he can actually drive the car he bought from a friend of Diane’s.

Scout has had some problems this year, and is really slowing down as we figure he just turned 13.  He had a nasty flea infection that we figure he got when he killed a feral cat (one of 3 he killed this year).  We finally seem to have that under control and he is no longer constantly scratching and is back to his normal, lazy self.
So even though 2013 was a year full of challenges, we look forward to the next year with much anticipation that things will be better.  We wish all of you happiness, health and success in all you do.

Matthew, Jon, Becky, Eric, Z and Erik

May the rains sweep gentle across your fields,
May the sun warm the land,
May every good seed you have planted bear fruit,
And late summer find you standing in fields of plenty.

    -Mike, Diane, Becky, Jon, Erik, Katlyn, Matthew and Scout