Christmas 2013

Let’s face it.  After the excitement of preparing for the end of the world last year, this year has to be pretty boring by comparison.  This year, we didn’t stockpile water, learn offensive zombie war-wagon driving, sharpen our axes, or go to the shooting range.  In fact, we mostly stayed home and watched TV and movies. Time marches on, however, and the duty of crafting the Christmas newsletter once again falls- excitement, or no.  Come to think of it, however, maybe our life isn’t boring, maybe much of it is exactly like TV or a movie.

Most noticeably this year, Nolan and Kyra continue to practice their driving skills.  Juniors in High School now, we think they begin to see the benefits of being able to drive themselves.  We reluctantly returned the Herkimer battle jitney we picked up last year for the Mayan apocalypse, forfeited our down, and ended up with the same Toyota Echo we had before.  We miss the two roof mounted 50 caliber machine guns, but its got way better gas mileage.

It turns out, because of our 2013 E.O.W. (End of World) experience with the 50 calibers, we were able to make a little money on the side by selling guns.  Byron bought leather jackets for the whole family, got some skull and crossbone tattoos, and started his very own suburban compact car club. Initially, russian mobsters and chinese gun dealers do not fear the sub-compact, but trust me subcompact clubs are just as ruthless as motorcycle clubs, maybe even a tiny bit more so.

Both Kyra and Nolan have taken turns driving Mud- Byron’s new name, around from deal to deal, or at least up the hill to the high school.  Dad’s not ready to turn the club or car over to Nolan and Kyra yet- but he’s watching his back. Byron knows he’s the king- and the king always dies in Hamlet.  

Just when Byron was really starting to enjoy leading the “Sons of Representative Democracy Subcompact Car Club, the whole thing came crumbling down.  Byron made a fatal, nearly life ending mistake. He called Toni his “Old Lady.” Toni immediately disbanded the club. Nolan and Kyra continue to practice, but Byron is out- Toni took away his patch.  Just as foretold in Hamlet.

Toni is not impressed with Byron’s midlife motorcycle fantasies (said in a slightly haughty British accent.)  Toni insists on believing that we are living out our own version of Downton Abbey- a historical British drama featuring a castle, upstairs and downstairs servants, and small cucumber sandwiches.

As the dowager of the family, Toni insisted we travel the 70-100 miles to visit her nephew Morgan Lee of the house of Lee’s new baby boy- Master Harrison Lee in February.  Fortunately we drove and it only took an hour- not the weeks it would have taken by horse and buggy, ostridge, or whatever loony form of transportation they would have used at Highbrow, I mean, Highcliffe castle.

Arriving, parasol in hand, Toni proceeded to gather gossip from the other ladies, requested a mint julep, and asked about the baby’s nannie.  Byron promptly informed Toni we didn’t have servants and Toni just as promptly gave Byron the look that informed him that no servants meant he should get it.  Byron did so. No one crosses the dowager Toni. Baby Harrison, or Tank as we have taken to calling him is a strong little fellow who will look quite dapper dressed in dining wear, riding wear, or more likely wash n’ wear.  Fortunately for Harrison he’s not likely to get sent to boarding school. Unfortunately for Harrison he’s just as likely to have absolutely no estate or castle to inherit from any of us.

As the year progressed, Byron finally insisted that Toni put away her pretentious British accent, stop making the kids wear prep school jackets, and calling her french fries “chips.”  While some of Byron’s need to put his foot down was based on filling dual roles of “Lord” and “Servant,” Byron’s main reason was that someone always dies in the Christmas episode of Downton- and Byron didn’t want to push his luck too much as the year progressed.

Kyra prefers Sci-Fi and Fantasy over both motorcycle mania and British historical drama.  Kyra is a huge fan of Sherlock, Avengers, Supernatural, The Hobbit, and Dr. Who, and a few others that escape me at the moment.  Kyra’s even begun building her own costumes to go to conventions with. Thinking that mounting our own fantastical adventure would impress Kyra who is not easily impressed, the Ferguson’s took their own “Unexpected Journey” in October.  Loading their little Echo with various Hobbit treats (aka beef jerky, pringles potato chips, and chocolate) the intrepid explorers set off on a magical journey. While Bilbo Baggin’s journey was to defeat Smaug and return Oakenshield to his throne, our journey had a slightly less magical purpose- to accumulate driving time required for full licensing.  

Since Nolan was still firmly engaged in football practice over fall break, the family figured that we had roughly 2 days to drive somewhere and do something.  After telling everyone that we had chosen to drive to Hays KS, most responded with the appropriate response, “Why?” Perhaps we should have heeded the warnings better.

Mordoc cast a spell on the four of us early  and we drifted into a deep dreamless sleep for at least 2 or 3 hours during the trip, but because it was Kansas, or possibly Eastern Colorado (it all blends together after a while) we were able to steer back across the flat featureless landscape until we once again found ourselves back on I-70.

Orcs ambushed us once in Goodland Ks while we visited the world’s largest easel- something we’re relatively sure is used by Smaug the Dragon.  In Burlington, CO trolls tried to stop us from obtaining one ring to rule them all- which was surprisingly hanging from a ribbon outside an antique carousel.  Winter had come to Middle Kansas, however, and wind and snow caused dwarfs inside to bar the door. We continued on our journey ringless, but found more beef jerkey sustained us.

Finally we reached our destination- Hayes.  In Hayes we were served a local delicacy at Gella’s diner- grebble.  Grebble is deep fried bread served with piping hot maple syrup and sunflower seed pesto.  Truly we had arrived in Middle Earth and expected our waiter to be named Gandalf, but alas he was named Tom, or Bob, or something like that.  And so, our journey complete, we returned empty handed, but with full heart and stomach to Rivendell, ah I mean, Parker. Kyra at no time felt the trip remotely resembled any of her sci-fi or fantasy shows and returned to her laptop as soon as she returned home.

Nolan, no fan of TV or movies, takes our delusions of video fantasy with a grain of salt.  Nolan prefers the brutal realism of video games like Grand Theft Auto V, Mass Effect, and Arma.  When he’s not playing video games, he’s practicing football, lifting weights, or participating in military simulation airsoft games.  Honestly, we’re afraid of him. He’s scary.

Surprisingly, in spite of his scary demeanor, Nolan is more of a teddy-bear than alien.  Kyra who now takes Krav Maga, an Israeli defense forces martial art, is probably way more equipped to hurt (or kill) us.   Both are playing the game Mass Effect now where your choices on how to deal with people decide whether you are a paragon or renegade.  Nolan always picks paragon, Kyra always picks renegade. Fortunately for mankind both lettered in academics this year proving that both are smarter than the average video game hero, and assuring us they’ll use their powers for good.

Of course, if life was more like video games, we could fire our car’s rockets at the car that cuts us off, instantly heal ourselves and others with a med pack, and materialize where and when needed.  Except for the 3d part, however, real life is very much not like video games, and honestly not much like a TV show or movie either. That said, we’ve been saving all of our families best scripts for the Christmas sweeps!  We’re hoping to pull a 16 share on the Nielsens. While we obviously hope the Ferguson series is the number 1 show for the year- we hope all of you have close seconds! Merry Christmas and may your life be filled with comedy and laugh tracks.