Christmas Letter

It’s been one of those years that makes the inside of your brain itch. Tedious, expensive, and, often, not much fun.

First task was the repair of the garage. There was a hole in the roof through which water STREAMED. The garage door was fiberglass, OK, but it was full of holes and then the hatch-back door on my car flipped up while I was pulling out and broke the door completely.

There went my annuity for the year.

Hiring people here in the back-of-beyond is different. People say they’ll come out to give you an estimate, but they don’t. Or they come out, do the work for an estimate and you never hear from them again. OR… People come out and it turns out they’re tweaker rip-off artists, so bad at it that they TELL you (after you give them a deposit, grrr…)

And then there are the Amish. Two brothers — James and Markus — and their Mexican driver, Gabriel. They look, they measure. They bring a ladder (it is a roof after all). They write stuff down. They say, “I’ll call you with an estimate,” and they do, that evening. It’s EXPENSIVE but you KNOW they’ll do the work. You hire them. They don’t ask for a deposit, they just say, “When the materials come in we’ll come back and fix the roof.”

And all is silent.

And then, some bright Saturday morning when you least expect it, the two Amish brothers — Markus and James — show up with their Mexican driver, Gabe, and in a half a day the roof is fixed. Beautifully. But you weren’t ready and you have to frantically get $3000 in cash.

Oh boy… I learned a lot from that experience, but one thing I learned is that I will call the Amish first next time I need repairs.

I’d say 2017 was bizarre like that all the way through. And now I’m facing a hip replacement next year sometime. The arthritis in my left hip is not “end stage” yet and it doesn’t always hurt, but it hurts. My range of motion is limited. I’m waiting for spring so I can do the rehab walks on clear sidewalks and trails rather than snowy and icy ones. AND in May I will get my second-to-last ever windfall annuity for the deductible.

To put a cherry on top of everything, my mom’s youngest sister passed away Thanksgiving week. I always liked her very much and I will miss her. She was fierce and loving in a very unique combination. She was the world’s biggest fan of my novels. That generation is rapidly tottering over the far horizon, and I feel the loss of them.

In OTHER news… My awesome neighbors and I had a few adventures. We went on a beautiful studio tour around Creede down to South Fork. We explored Del Norte (MUCH MUCH more than meets the eye in Del Norte, by the way). We got in a few hikes — Penitente Canyon twice and up to the Natural Bridge. We took a few treks out to the Wildlife Area where I often take my dogs. One of my neighbors and I, with Dusty T. Dog, went to the Sand Dunes in October. It was an act of complete desperation. She has a lot of responsibilities with her kids and isn’t home much and the weather at that time was awful. We just had to GRAB a day and GO. I met another very nice neighbor who’s fun to talk to and we took a couple of walks — she is very, very good at spotting owls.

I took some trips up to the Springs to see friends and they came and visited me.  We shared some of the big events in Monte Vista, such as the Potato Festival which is the sine qua non of small town lameness and beauty. I love it. Many people don’t know that the second largest producer of potatoes in America is the San Luis Valley of Colorado and my town is the center of it all.

The Famous Writer identity has been on hiatus for a few months but is lately returning to the fore. We’ll see. The book I’m working on now is about the Schneebeli Family (see The Brothers Path) in the generation in which they emigrated from Switzerland to America.

I’ll end here before this Christmas letter comes to close to simulating 2017…

Warm wishes to you in the holiday season

6 thoughts on “Christmas Letter

  1. I enjoy reading your blog. So sorry to hear, that you may need a hip replacement. 😦 Sending you Best Wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Hoping 2018 brings you much happiness and good health!

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