The Waite Family 2004
In order to get our Christmas letter done
earlier this year, we decided to write it in January 2004 instead of waiting
until the end of the year. If we get anything wrong, we'll just make some minor
corrections. After all, aren't our lives entirely predictable?
Margie loves her new job at the educational toy company where she started
January 4. It is a growing and dynamic organization that really values her
ideas. What a great year she had!
Wow, were we ever wrong about that one. It
turns out the place wasn't growing. In fact, they had layoffs going when they
hired her, and in accounting alone, they had gone through 45 people in 28
positions the previous year. On her second day on the job, the boss told her not
to make any suggestions until she had been there at least a year. On Day 5, she
wisely ran screaming from the building after giving 30 minutes notice. The story
is much longer, but you’d never believe the other parts. She looked for a new
job for a few months and decided to take the summer off to hang out with Alex
and David, spending a week at a time at the cabin. This shot of the kids
lounging at the cabin shows how stressful it was. She got a couple of consulting
jobs to keep her busy and make some cash. In October, she took a job with her
employer from several years ago, Bristol Farms, where she is the accounting
manager (her actual title would require this be written in even a smaller type).
It actually did turn out to be a great year!
job: Barry is still with the city of Carson doing
the same thing as last year.
That was certainly an easy prediction, so we’re up to 50% accuracy. He did get
a hefty raise that made Margie's time off surprisingly easy from a financial
standpoint, and he's co-authoring a technical book due out by July 2005. It's
sure to be a real page-turner, right? He thought his part was just okay until he
saw how bad some of the other parts of the book are. His massive compensation
for weeks of writing and editing is six free copies of the book. Want one?
Didn’t think so. He learned some new chainsaw skills thanks to all the dead
trees at the cabin.
Alex moved up to seventh grade after a very enjoyable sixth grade year while
David began his final year of elementary school, finally making him one of the
top dogs of the school.
Hmm… This one didn’t come out quite as expected. Alex despised most
of sixth grade and spent many hours thinking of disasters that might befall his
school, which he said was run by prisoner of war camp guards. Among the possible
rule violations were using the wrong color of highlighter pen or having one's
shirt untucked. Missing a single instruction on one teacher's assignments is
grounds for getting a zero on the project. Forgetting to outline a map in black
is one such transgression. We're not making these up! What really made him mad
was to see that he was using the same science book as David's class two grades
younger -- the same book Alex had used in fourth grade. He did enjoy a trip to
Yosemite in January with the school, but not as much as Barry enjoyed going
along. Maybe that’s because they passed out homework in Yosemite. Ugh! In
spite of that, he got straight A's and continues to do so with the report card
he just brought home. Meanwhile, David really did have a good year. This year,
he has a new teacher whom his classmates refer to as a real babe but not so
loudly that she would hear it. Last spring, he was the first member of the Waite
family to have an act in the school talent show that actually had talent! As you
can see in the picture with his co-star Johnny, he looked like a character out
of Star Wars playing the electric guitar. His rendition of “Yoda” (to the
tune of “Lola”) by Weird Al Yankovich was the big hit of the show.
The dreaded minivan:
Over Margie's grimaces that vans are very uncool, we finally bought one. It
turned out to be very good for domestic tranquility to have the boys sitting in
Hey, we got this one right! Since Margie wasn't working, we bought a van anyway.
What's the use of a line of credit if you never use it? We're doing our part to
keep America in debt -- oops, we mean keep the economy running. It really was
handy, and it really is handy to have the boys in separate rows. On long trips
to the cabin, they no longer argue about which of them has the dog leaning
against him more.
Since we bought a van, we drove up to Seattle in August to visit Margie's family
and friends. The drive was of course awful, but it's beautiful in Seattle that
time of year.
Do we get half credit? Since we bought a van, we drove up to Seattle in August.
The drive was generally quite pleasant. We got a laptop so the boys could watch
movies on the road. Gee, sounds like a write-off for Margie's accounting
services. The weather was not quite what we expected except of course that San
Francisco was cold. Leaving southern Oregon in a rain storm, we came across
three major accidents in the first hour of driving. In Seattle, we managed to
end a lengthy drought by our arrival. It rained until the day before we left.
That day, it merely sprinkled. Margie had forgotten her Seattle upbringing and
packed almost exclusively shorts for herself. We went shopping for sweatshirts.
The picture shows us picking blueberries with Uncle Mark and our friend Becky.
We only got 23 pounds of them. Anyone up for some antioxidants?
The household pets:
Monster the dog (author of the 2001 family Christmas letter) continues to rule
the roost, showing those silly cats who the boss is. David got a fish named
Sparks who, of course, survived only a few weeks.
Oops, missed this one too. Somehow, those cats have convinced Monster that they
can do whatever they want, including taking over her bed. She does, however, get
terribly upset if they get too close to her food dish, even if it's empty. By
some miracle, Sparks the fish is still with us and seems to be doing well.
Meanwhile, Margie desperately wants a turtle and Barry desperately doesn't. Alex
is getting a bunch of crickets. Unfortunately for them, they are his science
fair project for the year and are highly unlikely to gain full pet status. Watch
out for the turtle.
Christmas letter: Since we started so
early, we finished by Thanksgiving weekend.
Wouldn’t that have been nice? At this point we’re hoping to have all our
cards mailed by Christmas. Hey, if we use the date for the Russian Orthodox
Church, that gives us an extra 13 days. Procrastination encourages us to be
creative in our rationalizations.
So what happened with you this year? Call,
write or email. We'd be happy to hear from you, especially if you have ideas for
next year's Christmas letter. After all, you don't want to have the dog write it
again do you?
Barry, Margie, Alex & David (that’s Barry
holding the camera)