Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Post-Apocalyptic Christmas From The Ross Family

Hey, folks, here's my annual Christmas letter (well, I skipped last year, but I'm back on track).

Click here for the PDF format.  It will download from my site.

Otherwise, here's the text...

Ross Family Christmas 2012

Hello from the Ross family, out in the windswept wastelands of Nevada. If
you're reading this, hopefully you have survived the long-foretold Zombie Apocalypse
of 2012. If not, no worries.

Our 2012 has held, like it probably has for you, its share of ups and downs.
We'll concentrate on the ups, if you don't mind.

First and foremost, despite all the doom and gloom that seems to saturate
society, we've got a healthy little family. Rachel and I have bright kids and a good
marriage, despite my best efforts to drive her crazy.

My wife remains the bedrock and foundation of this family. Her father, LJ,
had to spend some time in the hospital earlier in the year. Rachel was able to fly
back and spend some time with him and her family. Mr. LJ is better, and still able
to outwork me.

Rachel also got to spend another two months over the summer at home. She
still gets homesick, but I’m hoping the extended time surrounded by her family gets
her through it. If anything, it’s a change of scenery from the Nevada desert.
In March, Rachel celebrated her birthday by jumping out of a perfectly good
airplane. She did some research, and tandem-jumped out at the Jean airport, south
of Las Vegas. She managed to get pictures of the whole flight down. The look of joy
and terror on her face are the things memories are made of. She is talking about
doing it again. I’m looking into life insurance policies for her.

Rachel also proudly joined the ranks of the soccer mom legions when I bought
her a minivan. Our truck died, but we were able to trade in its worn-out carcass for
a Chrysler Town and Country. It’s nicely featured, and very comfortable. But it’s
still a minivan. I drive it, but only grudgingly.

Our eldest, John Bear II, did very well in finishing up the third grade,
achieving straight As. He was able to split his time over the summer between time
with Rachel’s family in Louisiana, and a month with my mom and dad in Reno. The
time in Reno had a purpose beyond just visiting family: John Bear had to get up to
speed for the upcoming year.

We enrolled our kids in a private school in Pahrump, because we didn’t feel
that they were being challenged enough. So, because we knew that fourth grade at
the private school was going to be rough, my Mom tutored Little Bear for the second
half of his summer. It was tough, and the transition to private school has had its
turbulent moments, but he’s doing fine. He just really hates cursive, and I can’t
blame him. We don’t sweat the low grades in penmanship.

Outside of school, John Bear had a great time in soccer during the fall season.
For what he lacks in talent and ability, he makes up for in heart. He received a bow
and arrow as a gift recently and has become a great shot with a .22 rifle. I keep
politicking to get him his own. Rachel says he’s not ready yet. I may have to pass
this decision up to Santa, and see what may or may not end up under the tree.

Olivia is in the first grade, and takes to the stressful course load very well. No
matter how old she gets, though, she remains our baby-talking, unicorn-loving,
ever-dancing princess. Rachel and I don’t want her to grow up.
But, despite our wishes, growing up is what she is doing. She’s six, now, and
like the old song, all she wants for Christmas is her two front teeth. Actually, one is
growing back in, but she still looks cute. She’s also getting taller and prettier. I
know I’m going to have to start saving for braces, but I already own a shotgun. Oh

Olivia got to play on a soccer team this year. She spent more time dancing on
the field than kicking the ball, but we think she still had fun. She has become a
formidable artist, and has covered our walls and refrigerators with paper drawings
of unicorns and rainbows. She even told her mother that she wants to be an artist
living in Paris. Since I never take Rachel anywhere, she is very supportive of this
dream, so she can move in with her French artiste daughter.

This year, like in the past, we went to Reno to spend time with my family over
Thanksgiving. We had a wonderful time and had an opportunity to see my cousin
Zoe from Alaska who was able to make the trip. We were also treated to the
wonderful world of "bachelor pads" by visiting my youngest brother who had moved
out into his own place. I had forgotten how much fun it is to party with 20
somethings! Once or twice a year is my limit, I think.

And as for me, nothing much has changed. I’m still out at the Nevada Test
Site, doing nuclear maintenance. The side job of digital sculpting and writing has
largely fallen to the back burner, as I come home later and later. Whaah, I know.
I’m feeding the family, and spending more time with them, so that’s what really

I actually had an opportunity to share my geekiness with my family in
September when the comic convention came to Vegas. We posted a few pictures of
the kids with some dressed up characters on facebook. I hope they had as good a
time as me...but I'm just not sure if they are up to the true challenge of being a lifelong
geek yet! That's ok, I have my whole life to work on them.

All in all, it’s been a good year. Next year, if the Apocalypse doesn’t erupt,
promises to be even better. If not, we’ll roll with it. Take care of each other, keep
your powder dry, and start stockpiling Spam and beanie-weenies in the garage. Be
prepared to eat the family pets, if you have to.

Remember, when the zombie hordes are chasing you, you don’t have to be the
fastest in your group. Find someone you don’t like, and shoot them in the leg. Then
keep running. Free advice. Take it for what it’s worth.

Love from the Zombie-Free Desert (so far),
The Ross Family of Pahrump
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