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Another year has come and gone, and in lieu of a classic Christmas letter detailing the whereabouts of my family (none of whom I keep tabs on anymore, or have any idea of what they’re up to), I offer this: a year in review from my point of view, presented as randomly and illogically as if you were actually talking to me.

First of all, just this morning Damon appeared in the bedroom door after his morning shower and proclaimed: “It’s happened, Kristine. After twenty-five years, I’ve done it. I’ve come up with exactly the right saying to put on your tombstone when you die. Are you ready for it?”

Of course I was ready. As if he had to ask! My favorite saying of all time was Liz Lemon’s exasperated, “When will death come?” Damon knew I’d thought over my last utterance at great length, and long-favored “I Told You I Wasn’t Feeling Well!” Whatever he’d come up with would have to top that, obviously. I doubted him, but nonetheless sat up from under the mound of bedcovers and clutched my coffee eagerly. “Let’s hear it!” I said.

“Bed….Bath…and Beyond!” The words echoed round the room majestically, while Damon, clad only in a towel, stood with his chin pointed in the air and his bare arm raised grandly like a famed magician earning his keep.

Well…what could be said except Bravo! I flopped back against the pillows in ecstasy. It was perfect. Simple, apt, catchy too. I set my coffee cup down on the nightstand and clapped. “I can die now, can’t I?” I gushed happily. Damon nodded, tears frosting his eyes. We both smiled, delighting in the moment. Then he went to brush his teeth. And I sank back to my coffee.

So it seems fair to say that my marriage is chugging right along. As for me, personally…well, all five kids are able to dress themselves and read and write and figure some here and there, and each and every day they eagerly embrace their independence until its Need Money or Feeding time, when they mysteriously pop up near my bedside, cute as a clutch of prairie dogs poking their heads above a sand swept rise, so in this department all seems right on track, as well.

Of course, there have been a fair amount of ‘must put on clothes and go out into the world’ challenges throughout the past year: crashing our friends’ car, serving on a life-sentence jury for a person my own child’s age, navigating the college scene not once, not twice, but three times, adopting a dog named Saga, unraveling the mystery of why one child keeps keeling over every now and again, managing another child’s sudden surgeries and septicemia, keeping up with Damon’s two full-time jobs, moving house, attempting to pay for all of the above, and of course dabbling in failed careers here, there, and everywhere… But mostly, truly, I am lucky enough to putter back and forth between bed and bath, all while contemplating the great, unknowable beyond. And this seems to suit my ‘energy’ and ‘excitement’ levels just fine. “See, this is where I do my best thinking!” I yell lamely to one or another of the busy bodies going in and out the front door, even as they ignore me.

We actually did move to a new house this past year, and wonder of wonders I did not suffer a nervous breakdown in the moving. As a bonus we now reside on all three floors, which is vastly preferable to living in a segmented portion of the house. So this place – Villa Villa Koona – feels like an upgrade, and looks like one, too. Kirk House 4.0

When we moved here I stood in the vast living room marveling at all the extra space, but also at my personal growth (Ho ho ho – I didn’t accost anyone this time around!). Still, I couldn’t help but wrinkle my nose at the smell coming off the walls. They were all painted a color I thought of as “Fresh Baby Poo”. I promptly splashed a pale, Swedish Midsummer Night lavender mist across most of the walls. It’s my first purple house, out of all four houses in my grown up life, and I like it! That poem ‘When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple’ seems especially prophetic now, because before we moved here I did not consider myself an old lady, and now I do. And because of a childhood scarring, I never, ever wore purple. But now it’s on me and all around me and I don’t care a bit if it clashes with my hair. Over in Sweden purple is apparently written as purpur but pronounced something like PuhPuh (to rhyme with shh…shh!). So I’ve come full circle, color-wise, which seems happy, and sappy, and not at all blue.

The best bit about the new house besides the three floors and PuhPuh walls is the enormous sunken tub in the upstairs bathroom just under the eaves. In Bathroom World, this tub is firmly entrenched in the 1%. One must navigate a whole new social strata when visiting. Surprisingly, though, there is a downside to even exorbitant luxury. Because the tub is so tall, you must climb up three full steps to get in it. And then at the top of these porcelain steps you find there are no steps down into the tub, so you must drape your leg over the edge and plop it way, way down, all the way to the bottom of the tub while your other foot stays nicely balanced on the raised stairs. Which, if you must visualize, means you’re arcing, naked, over the tub at maximum height with your derriere high in the air, while your groin region totters precariously over an ’eminently dangerous situation’. And since I am undertaking this as a bona fide Old Woman now, I’m all veiny and purpurly, too, and the window is right there with all those koona (Native American, squirrel) peering in at me with their startled, shiny eyes…. and ack! Stop visualizing! Quickly!

Exiting the tub is even worse, because of course now you are soaking wet and the tiles, too, are a slippery mess, and unfortunate disaster LOOMS. Which is why every single time I undertake to enter or exit the tub I first caution myself in the firmest of tones, “DO NOT DIE IN THE TUB, Kristine!” But now that Damon’s come up with such a spiffy epitaph just for me, I’ve decided to throw caution to the wind and just jump on in there.

Indeed, 2015 seems destined to a rollicking start, my friends!

(And yes, I’ve just written an entire ‘Christmas letter’ about puhpuh and taking a tub. If that’s not a ‘Happy Holidays’ from me to you, then I don’t know what is!)

May Peace and Happiness keep you Cozy and Warm all the Year Through! 


– Kristine…

(and all those other Kirks, too)