Yes – it’s that time of year again – time for a letter from the Gurnett bunch so you can feel like your family is far more normal than you originally thought! It has been another great year – we had graduations, homecomings, departures, new puppy, milestone birthdays, weddings and all of the other general craziness that goes with life. The one thing we did not manage to fit in this year was a full week vacation like we have in the past few years. Pat and I did manage to take Tim to Spirit Lake, Iowa for a little fishing while he was home on leave – and when I say a little fishing – that’s exactly what I mean. We were there for a weekend, and the boys caught three fish. The reason I know exactly how many fish they caught was because I was steering the pontoon boat the whole time! Mostly I was trying to make all of the geese fly off the lake by driving right down the middle of the flock! It was great fun! I think they should make a sport out of pontoon boat racing through ducks and geese. Whoever gets the most geese to fly without getting any bird poop on the boat or the pilot – wins the game! Although we only went fishing for a short time, Tim was home for a month before heading to San Diego for training and then on to Bahrain for the next two years. I was very happy to have Tim home – until he found his father’s compound bow and decided that archery was his thing. I now have about eight nice round holes in the back of my house, as well as the holes in the garbage cans, the hose – and probably other things I haven’t discovered yet! I really hope he is a better shot with his gun in the Navy than he is with that bow and arrow – I guess I should be thankful he didn’t shoot the dog or one of the neighbors! We did get a new dog this summer. Poor Odessa, our black lab got the “big promotion” as Pat calls it – so of course, we couldn’t go very long without a companion for Pat. Being a sane woman, I won’t walk with Pat when it is below 30 degrees outside (with or without a wind-chill factor) and when it is pitch black – so he needs a walking companion who is too dumb to complain the whole time – hence the dog. We acquired a lab mix puppy – he looks like a chocolate lab, except for the little fluff of white on his chest (where it looks like his stuffing is falling out). The kids named him Gatsby – I think they want people to believe that we actually read scholarly books in our house instead of playing video games and watching TV all the time! So, we are back to closing all the bedroom doors and the bathroom door because Gatsby has this thing for women’s underwear (he doesn’t bother the boys’) and empty toilet paper rolls – obviously the dog fits right in with our dysfunctional family.
Jenny, age 24, probably had the biggest news this year. She was married on December 2, 2006 to a very nice young man named Michael Clark. We made it very clear to Mike that once he says “I do” there are no returns – not even if he has the sales receipt! It was a beautiful wedding – lots of cake, food and dancing. They are living here in Omaha – which of course means that Jenny is still using our house as a storage facility until she finds room for everything!
Bob, age 22 is working full-time at Best Buy in their computer department. He is attending classes part-time and still working on his English degree. He is the only one living at home – still in the basement. We don’t see him that often – unless we happen to run into him as he goes to the kitchen for a soda – or if he wants to watch one of his favorite TV shows upstairs. Otherwise, the only way we know he is home is if we hear him swearing at the dog who is stealing something out of his room.
Tim, age 20, is currently stationed in Bahrain, an island off Saudi Arabia. He is in the Mobile Security Forces in the Navy and is “fighting pirates” – he is so excited about getting to shoot a 50 caliber gun he can hardly stand it! He came home from Iceland in August and then was off again. He had his Jeep shipped to Bahrain so he can continue his exploration of the world! His new position requires him to be on a ship – go figure – he has been in the Navy for two years and he finally gets to be on a ship! We don’t hear from him as often because he is at sea – but the last we heard, he was in Greece. I’m sure he has rented a scooter and is exploring the land – hopefully not irritating too many people along the way!
Becky, age 18, graduated from high school in May and is now a freshman in Creighton University’s School of Nursing. She is living on campus – which means we don’t have to drive her back and forth all of the time – plus, having been college freshmen before – we would rather not know all of the details of her college years. She likes her classes and meeting lots of new people. Her roommate is from Hawaii – so we are hoping they become friends so we have someone to visit! Dad misses his baby girl a lot and badgers her every weekend to come home – and since Creighton is right around the corner from my office – we at least see her dirty laundry every other week. We are planning on going to some of the Creighton basketball games just to embarrass Becky since she plays in the pep band – we’ll wave and scream and act crazy – seems only fair after all the years of her sitting in the grocery cart doing the same thing!
Pat and I both had our big 50th birthday this year. No big celebration – just an admission that we have reached that half-century mark. We are having to get used to each other again – especially since all of our children seem to be fleeing at the same time! I knew if I was mean enough, they would eventually leave! Now if they would only take their stuff with them – we have an extra Jeep (Tim), clothes (Jenny), assorted junk (all of them – including Pat!) – maybe it would be easier to just turn our home into a second-hand shop. Maybe I can get our neighbors to change the zoning in our area to accommodate that!
We hope your holidays are happy ones – make sure to enjoy each other’s company, laughter and love – share each other’s achievements, disappointments and challenges – but most of all – make sure that everyone gets as many cookies and hugs as they want!