The Annual Christmas Letter, Part 8: 2007

Ah, 2007.  It was the year I was locked in the house for a week while San Diego County burned down and we drew up plans for our divorce (aka, home remodeling).  And to all the visitors from the State of California Department of Child Protective services: first, your IP addresses are showing and second, we did NOT actually force feed our primary school aged kids Benedryl or paste.  They find easier sources for their fix on the playground.  You’re probably just here to indict us for the pepperoni and bacon, anyway.  Guilty as charged.  Mmmm, bacon…

If you’ve read this far, you know the drill.  There’s other letters and then there’s 2007, below the fold.

Christmas 2007

It is hard to believe it is already Christmas time again but 2007 whizzed by as fast as a tornado in a trailer park.  The year is almost over and we still haven’t taken down last year’s Christmas decorations.  Fortunately, we found the time to publish our yearly update.  The writers in Hollywood may be on strike but the Kraatzes understand the importance of cheap holiday entertainment and are not afraid to cross the virtual picket line.

We started off the year by becoming one of the most powerful families in America: the Kraatzes were chosen to be a Nielsen family.  You may now hail the power and prestige we wield as a Nielsen Family.  We currently represent the TV viewing habits of 300,000 American households; most congressmen don’t have that many constituents.  We wasted no time using this power to our advantage by fabricating what we watch.  Frankly, we are embarrassed by the amount and quality of TV we consume, so while watching Sponge Bob we told Nielsen we were glued to the History Channel.  So far, they have paid us $100 for information regarding our viewing habits and opinions.  What Nielsen apparently doesn’t understand is that we are more than happy to give our opinions for free.  Don’t waste your time trying to be a Nielsen Family; it is completely random.  However, if you want to get in on the action, you can pay us $50 for each show you want us to say we watch every week.  We probably could have saved The King of Queens from cancellation with some faked log entries but there’s nothing 100 Nielsen Families could have done about Gilmore Girls.  Pick your requests wisely.

We finally have decided to put our marriage to the ultimate test: we are going to remodel our home.  While our neighbors are already celebrating the end of “the pink house” (it’s PEACH, we keep telling ourselves), many others have warned us of the strain it will place on our marriage.  In order to mitigate these problems we have adopted formal roles for the duration.  Jill will be in control and Pete will be allowed to think he is in control, or at least that he has some input.  Roles are important.  Once all the contractors and endless miles of butt crack have departed, we invite you to come for a visit.  NOTE: “Visit” is not defined as “semi-permanent lodging with room service and a hot tub”.  Dress codes will be strictly enforced — “Crocs” are verboten in our home.

If you weren’t under a car-sized rock in October, you know a handful of people were slightly inconvenienced by a minor brush fire that briefly touched the small town of “Southern California”.  How else could you describe what amounted to a week-long tailgate party at Qualcomm Stadium?  After CNN finished showing the same house burn down 73 times, they changed cameras to focus on the flatbeds of “famine” in the stadium parking lot.  And by “famine” we mean gourmet buffet food, designer clothes, every beverage imaginable, shelter and personal massage services.  Jill visited a shelter on day 4 to donate, where literally tens of people were fighting over the last metric ton of foie gras and beef Wellington.  We’re not too sure where THIS disaster relief was during Katrina…

Maddy is now in 1st grade and her hobbies include drawing and sarcasm.  She is even more “adorable” when she combines those 2 talents.  Last week Jill asked Maddy if she enjoyed her dinner and Maddy drew a picture of a girl rolling her eyes and puking in the toilet.  Jill then drew a picture of the same girl crying in her room with a red bottom.  Her dream career last month was to be a veterinarian.  This love of animals translated into an experiment with vegetarianism.  She did great for about 3 weeks until a pepperoni pizza got the best of her.  To be fair, pepperoni really isn’t meat anyway.

We made the decision to have Ben hold off on going to kindergarten for another year.  For starters, he still has his paste addiction.  Second, and most important, he goes to pre-school for an entire day whereas kindergarten is only half days.  Jill was not ready to take on more parenting hours.  Remember our “Zero Accountability” policy from last year?  It has served us well.

Ben’s favorite thing is to ask way too many questions in a 5-minute period.  Pete and Jill quickly learned questions cease when they feed him Benadryl (AKA “Super Secret Magic Invisibility Drink”).  When not asking questions (or passed out), Ben proudly declares that his favorite person is his sister.  He has stated numerous times that when he grows up, he wants to marry her.  We explained that California is the wrong state for that.  However, it would make the holidays easier since we wouldn’t have to share the grandkids with other in-laws.

We hope everyone has a Merryhappyjoyous AuldChannuChristWanzaaLangSyne season and a Kraatztastic 2008.  May your New Year be filled with an abundance of happiness, opportunity and bacon.

Mainly bacon.

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