Well, what a dumpster fire of a year, huh, friends? We lost some of the most creative people ever to exist – and seriously, if I was an iconic celebrity right about now, I’d stay in my house drinking orange juice and pumping the vitamin C for the next eleven days and yes, I’m looking right at you Betty White, because my heart simply cannot handle anymore – the US lost its damn mind and elected a cross between Bif Tannen and President Snow as the leader of the free world, our neighbors over the pond lost its damn mind with Brexit, families aren’t speaking to each other, Facebook has lost its original purpose of showing videos of sneezing pandas and whimsy cat pictures and is instead filled with memes being flung back and forth between family members and friends like small, passive-aggressive missiles. People are shooting up churches and clubs and schools and shopping malls and all of Chicago. It was seventy degrees all of November, and yesterday it was colder in Chicago than on Mars. Babies are being slaughtered in Syria, Flint still doesn’t have clean water, and the U.S. government reprised its role of trying to prove that Native Americans matter less than the rest of the country. People. The Cubs won the World Series. We have indeed opened the seventh seal and ushered in the apocalypse.
All of that being said, it’s almost over. And it’s Christmas, and if you’re reading this you’re alive and have access to the internet, so you’re doing fucking fantastic by this year’s standards. I’ve been getting a lot of Christmas cards of smiling, happy children and this makes me happy. But happier still are the Christmas letters. I love the Christmas letters. I’m not being sarcastic – I enjoy them. It’s fun to see people’s lives in a snapshot and I genuinely enjoy reading about the accomplishments of friends and family members throughout this stressball of a year.
So I thought I’d share my own. I didn’t send it out, obviously, because anyone who knows me knows I am way too unorganized to have something like an address book, but that’s okay, right? You probably didn’t want to hang a picture of my cats on your fridge anyhow. Here it is!!
Happy Christmas, friends!
Hope this letter finds you well. What a year, huh? Where to start?
The cats are thriving. Ramon, in just her 15th year on this planet, has managed to find new ways to show her exuberance at life and we’re so happy. Now she hisses and swipes at everyone who walks by her and not just my family. She only drew blood a couple of times this year, but that was totally my fault for sitting quietly next to her when she obviously wanted to be alone. But she still loves sleeping on your face and purrs happily while trying to rip you limb from limb, and if she’s happy, we’re happy. Potato, in his 12th year, continues to improve from his traumatic escape attempt seven years ago. He continues to be terrified of his own shadow, me, our neighbor’s dog, wind, light, his water dish, movement, my shoes, and all coats and sweatshirts not properly folded and put away. The last part unfortunately manifests in him peeing on anything left out, but bonus? Once we figured out that he prefers an orderly environment, accidents went down and organization went up, so really, we should be thanking him for keeping the place spotless! Unfortunately, in their older age, sometimes they miss the litterbox in the bathroom – because omg they are 12 and 15 years old how is this even possible we don’t even feed them wet food – and that’s obviously a bit of a bummer. But again bonus? It only took a year and a half and three adults to consider putting puppy pads under the litterbox instead of changing the litter and mopping the bathroom floor every fucking day. Double bonus? Now that the puppy pads are down, they never miss. Ever. They might be a little diabolical, but they’re ours and we love them. I’d include a picture, but I can’t get them to get near each other or me.
We hosted our first ever holiday on Easter and it was a great success! My mom brought chairs, a ham, a roasting pan, fried chicken, and Easter baskets for the kids, and my in-laws brought a kitchen table and chairs, paper plates and napkins, a tablecloth, serving utensils (those were from my sister in law, how she found the time four days before giving birth while studying for her nursing finals, I’ll never know!) and more Easter baskets. But we did the really heavy lifting, which was cleaning the fish tank and heat vents and swearing at each other for three days running over whose great idea it was to host Easter. We did a great job!
Our collection of random miniature police, firefighter, and superhero figurines continues to grow. There was a really fun couple of months where they would be hidden all over the apartment. It’s a really good time! Tony and Tony are great at games. They have another fun one where they draw faces on every egg in the carton and hide canned goods where they’re not supposed to go. It’s a great motivator when you’re really hungry! I tell you, we just laugh and laugh.
Of course, we had some tough moments. We had a broken bone (Tony Marzilli,) a broken toilet (me) (twice) (the second one was really all of us,) (but I fixed it!) several arguments that nearly got physical with crackheads (Tony,) an unfortunate “getting pooped on by a bird” incident (also Tony) (wait, and me, what the hell?) a Natalie Merchant concert that wasn’t actually Natalie Merchant (all of us, but I blame them because they’re the 10,000 Maniacs fans and should have known better,) a bike accident (Tony Marzilli) (separate from the broken bone,) everyone loved “Sorry” by Justin Bieber, (more upsetting for Tony and Tony than myself,) and Ramon ate and then vomited the last piece of a 1000 piece puzzle that took eight hours to put together(no one won here) (and I challenge you to find something more frustrating than having 999 pieces of a puzzle.)
We had a great year. We have jobs we like. We didn’t have to move this year (and for those of you playing at home, that’s the first time in five years it didn’t have to happen,) and love our apartment, we kept the cats and a fish alive, we got to ride a camel AND hold an alligator, we went to every festival we could find in Chicago, I rode my bike in a triathlon, we got to be in Wrigleyville when the Cubs advanced to the World Series and were at Wrigley Field on a day that a World Series game was being played there. We caught a lot of fish, played some Pokemon, spent a lot of time at the beach, watched Purple Rain at Milennium Park, learned a whole hell of a lot about politics, and like always, had a hell of a good time.
Here’s to an even better 2017! (Assuming the world doesn’t explode on itself.)
Tony, Courtney, and Tony