Our 2012 Certainly was Exciting! Especially the Fire!

A late Christmas letter, featuring violent illness and exploding cars.

Dear friends and well-wishers,

I can’t believe that 2012 has come and gone already! We hope this holiday season found you well and that the upcoming year will be a prosperous one. Or, at the very least, one in which your house doesn’t nearly burn down, like ours almost did. Anyway, here’s what we’ve been up to!

Last year began with my dear Hubby deciding to do his best impression of an elderly person by falling ill with a case of shingles (a disease that pharmacies won’t even vaccinate you against if you’re under 60) that left him hallucinating about sheep and spiders in the bedroom. I am happy to report that he is doing just fine and hasn’t suffered any long-term nerve damage, though sheep still make him a bit nervous.

After his recovery, we got to bone up on our homemaking skills when we got the news that our septic tank had joined the great drainage field in the sky. We had to fork over a lot of cash and get a lot of permits to replace it, which also necessitated the digging up of our entire backyard. On the bright side, the Olympic-swimming-pool-sized trench in the middle of the yard did seem to cure my terrier Harper of her digging habit. I’m no dog psychologist, but perhaps she felt she couldn’t compete with the bulldozer and so went into early retirement.

The very day the septic work was completed, Hubby and I went out for dinner and a movie, little knowing that a second household emergency was right on our heels. On our way home that night, a mile from our house we found the whole road filled with fire trucks and flashing lights and people running. And, in the not-so-far distance, the unmistakable hazy orange of flames was coming from what looked an awful lot like our yard. We dumped our car in a stranger’s yard and took off on foot, weaving our way through yards and mud with clasped hands and the fervent hope that our dogs were okay.

Fortunately, dear readers, the source of the towering fire was not from our 1970s-fabulous ranch house, but from the abandoned tobacco barn a few feet away. According to our neighbor Andrew, the whole thing was suddenly engulfed in flames and began exploding as the fire consumed the vehicles that were stored inside. Andrew, in a successful campaign for the title of Patron Saint of Neighborly Folk, had managed to run a hose to our yard and put out the flames that had rapidly licked their way over to set our fence and shed ablaze. Until 1 a.m., 35 firefighters from all over the county worked tirelessly to put out the blazing building, vehicles, trailers, and trees. Lucky for us, we and all of our neighbors made it through the night with homes intact. And we all had a great new conversation starter for the next few months!

After the triple whammy of sickness, septic, and fire, Hubby and I began to wonder what we had done to anger the universe so very, very much and what misfortune would befall us next. (The answer, by the way, was a freak windstorm that knocked out our power and our trees, a dog with a urinary tract infection, throwing my back out, a hurricane, sprained fingers on my birthday, and my car breaking down repeatedly.)

But worry not, chums: Hubby, the dogs, and I made it through the rest of 2012 relatively unscathed. In fact, we even got to do a lot of really exciting things, like graduate with Master’s degrees, travel to Ireland and Williamsburg and Niagara Falls, attend weddings for family members and friends, and begin to turn the charred spot next to our shed into a garden plot. But we’re running out of space here in this letter, so we’ll have to fill you in on all of that another time!

In short, we have high hopes for the coming year. Just in case this year gets any wise ideas, though, I have taken up taekwondo. This mild mannered librarian will be roundhouse kicking her way into 2013. And it won’t like her when she’s angry.

Happy Holidays!

Love and hugs from the Weeks/Hubby collective

Article © 2013 by Molly E. Weeks