Merry Christmas from the Highlands Ranch Fergusons- Byron, Toni, Kyra, and Nolan.

We hope this somewhat belated Christmas letter finds you well. Frankly, one of us has been overloaded and kept putting the writing of the Christmas letter off until a few days ago when a ghost of Christmas past reached out. Both Toni and Byron’s phones lit this week to let us know “Carolyn Ferguson is on Signal now.” Since Byron’s mom passed away in early 2020, this was quite the surprise. Like Scrooge, we proclaimed “Bah, Humbug..,” but wondered if Byron’s mother was reaching out with her annual Christmas message: “Hi Byron, can you order some presents from Amazon for the kids and have them sent to your house and wrap them? Also, my computer isn’t working, and how do you run the TV remote again?” Our version of Jacob Marley, aka Mom, was extremely tech challenged, but well meaning. Both Toni and I miss our moms the most at Christmas, if for slightly different reasons.

As touched on in last year’s Christmas letter- Byron was diagnosed with Ocular Myasthenia Gravis in December 2020. The immune disorder is currently only affecting his eyesight, causing double vision off the port side (all the consequences of drinking too much without the pesky drinking). Wearing a patch to limit the double vision, Pirate Byron, unable to afford a ship, or even a parrot, took to plundering Amazon packages from the neighbors, making him the worst type of pirate— a “Porch Pirate.” Fortunately the eyes began working well enough to ditch the patch and pirately life of crime. While he’s happy to give up the crime (he was having a hard time living with the guilt or singular lack of doubloons), he was less happy to give up the eye patch. Byron remains adamant that “Toni loved the sexy eye patch look.”

In January, Nolan started back to in office work doing Aerospace-y things for the Department of Defense. The commute from our house was a bit onerous, so Nolan elected to move into a Colorado Springs apartment. We’ll miss him, but are happy to have the new income from renting out his room as a VRRBO— vacation rental room by owner. Visit for all the details and to reserve a spot. Please note, not all dates are available, and dates are subject to change ‘cause Nolan is always coming home for food, abandoning his recycling, picking up his unforwarded mail, and generally ruining the whole income stream plan.

Kyra too returned to in-office work, living at home, but commuting to work in downtown Denver via light rail. She works for the Secretary of State’s office and does work reviewing and “approving” notary stuff, and taking customer questions on notary and business issues. Both Toni and Byron prefer to call her job, “telling people they are wrong,” and declaring this the perfect job for Kyra. Kyra, who also proofread this Christmas letter, also declared much of it grammatically incorrect, and/or “WRONG.” We rest our case that this is the perfect job for her. We also thought it would be funny to “notarize” this Christmas letter. She declined for legal reasons (disqualifying interests. Yada, yada.) implying our suggestion was wrong. Her parents think it’s a gray area.

Toni, like her children, returned to working in-office. For those keeping score at home, that’s three of the Fergusons working from an office. Toni still works for a property management company as their “Director of First Impressions.” She’s extremely fond of declaring as she leaves in the morning, “I have to go to work, unlike some people.”
“I work.” Byron replies.
“Upstairs,” she counters. “In your sweats. I wish I had your life.”
“It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.” Byron replies.

Perhaps it’s not. While not on video conferences, Byron makes do by talking to A) himself, B) Penny the Puppy, who while smart, is a terrible conversationalist, and C) to Alexa the home assistant who is very good with the lights, weather chat, and an occasional joke, but otherwise is cloyingly always hanging around, listening at inappropriate times, and to be honest her jokes are a little corny. Of his conversational partners, Byron believes he is the best. Even so, Byron occasionally drives into the new Nelnet office. The huge space, planned before the pandemic and designed to hold hundreds, now holds a dozen folks on a good day. Byron’s willing to make the exhausting 10 minute commute, just to see real non-video-call people during the day. Those days are a nice break from working at home.

Nolan, when not working at his job, or volunteering at the Colorado Springs WWII Aviation museum does find his way back home occasionally. Nolan’s girlfriend Alexis, currently working in Pennsylvania, and a much better conversationalist than, and not to be confused with Alexa, also has traveled back to Colorado a few times and visited us— along with Nolan. When the entire clan is at the house we’ve taken to playing any number of board games that appear to be about cute little forest animals, but are in reality thinly disguised social experiments and brutal simulations of politics and war that leave the players exhausted. Mostly these games are picked out by Nolan. Toni usually politely declines to play these games muttering something about, “the only way to win is not to play.” True. Very true.

The Fergusons have started to venture out a bit more recently. The mild winter weather has made some mountain excursions easier. We’ve rented a nice little cabin and spent the weekend near Leadville, took a “ghost tour” of the nearby Highlands Ranch Mansion, and even saw a movie or two, but only during the day when the crowds were low. We’re all vaccinated, boosted, and ready for whatever next pre-treatment may be available. Ultimately, we’re hoping, like we’re sure all of you are, that this damn thing will be over and everyone can go back to normal. At least we think we remember what normal was like. It seems like forever ago.

We encourage you to spend some quality time with family this year, to reach out to friends, to grab a cup of cocoa (maybe even with a little something extra in it), and to really enjoy the holidays. We know we’re looking forward to it.

Christmas Byron FERGUSON Software Development Manager NELNET, Inc. 8740 Lucent Blvd Highlands Ranch, CO 80129 w 303.696.3363 c 720.290.9536 ine