We have two new additions to our family this year, M’TK Sewer Rat: End of an Empire and M’TK Sewer Rat: Birth of a Nation. This is President Jake’s autobiography in two volumes. They should be available on Amazon around Dec. 15, or so, for those who are late Christmas Shoppers. After writing two more books about Jake, I feel like he has moved into our house. I occasionally set him a place at the dinner table. I’m told this is normal for authors, and I haven’t completely gone around the bend.
Trying to bring two books out at the end of the year in time for Christmas has been stressful. I am starting to weep over anything related to a comma. I’ve often noticed little black grit on the floor. I’ve learned that the grit is commas sneaking out of my manuscripts and running around on the floor. I know I put them in, but when I go back to proofread, they are gone. I also shudder over the diabolical evilness of autocorrect.
For these two books, I’ve been over each manuscript at least 30 times. Melissa has been over them once and my proofreader did three passes. I know there are still typos and wrong words lurking in the manuscripts, but I can’t see them so I’ve sent the books on their way through the printing process. I promise I am not going to start the publishing process so late next year. I might even have another novel Something About Maudy out by Easter.
When I haven’t been writing, we’ve had a few adventures. Princess Cruises gave us an offer we couldn’t refuse for a trip to Alaska. Loren was eager to see Alaska. I was eager to avoid cooking for ten days so we caught the ship in Vancouver BC and went north. On this trip, we actually saw a bear. I don’t think we’ve seen any moose in Alaska yet. We saw glaciers and sea otters. I nearly wrecked our tour bus when I announced loudly, “Eagles having sex in the sky—left side of bus.” Well, perhaps I should have given the birds their privacy.
Of course the highlight of our year, was a big Parker family party at my house the last weekend in July. Cousins came from Maryland, Texas, and California to add to the Pacific Northwest relatives. I met some second cousins for the first time. We had some third cousins here. I have no idea what relationship my great-nephew is to my third cousins, but he got into the family reunion idea and had a great time playing with the other three year-olds.
Several cousins came to the party with the canine members of their family, so Huck and Woody got to entertain too. They graciously showed their new friends where the doggie buffet was located in the black trash bags in the garage.
Loren is still working at his tax-accounting practice. He hired another CPA this fall in hopes that he can take more time off. He did cut back to four days a week for the last half of this year and worked fewer hours during tax season. He hopes to work fewer hours next year. He wants to spend more time on client relations and less time doing the technical work.
I am still running my flower farm. Flower sales picked up nicely this year. I have scaled my business back some. I don’t deliver many flowers anymore. Sales at the stand almost made up for the lack of delivery customers. I think I may have made some progress in taming the gardens this year. I took the electric lawnmower through one bed of weeds. I may have mowed down an iris or two, but they were too choked by weeds to bloom. Melissa gave me two chickens with a portable run. I let them clean the weeds out of some of the worst beds. My plan for the future is to install more thirty-inch tall raised beds. These work for me and are very productive for the amount of space used.
Loren took his fall hunting and pie eating camping trip this fall. His back is much better than it was a year ago so he enjoyed hiking to the tops of some mountains. His nieces got a couple deer. I don’t know if any of the men got some. The McCanns thoroughly disgraced themselves by having left-over pie to bring home.
Of course while he was gone to Eastern Washington looking for deer, I continued my constant battle to keep the nasty beasties out of my gardens. We had one deer come in, so I let the dogs out to chase it out of the yard. The thing didn’t want to leave. Huck made a magnificent flying tackle, which brought the deer down, and both animals rolled through the flower beds before the deer decided the poodles play too rough and trotted back out the gate.
Our daughters are doing about the same things. Jamie lives in an apartment in the same building as Loren’s office. She drops in to visit at the office several times a week.
Melissa has been writing and should have two new books out soon. Symbiont should be available on Amazon before Christmas, if there are no major issues with the publishing/printing process. Melissa spent her fall confined to bed with an infection on her leg. She was miserably sick for several weeks, and I worried about her losing her leg. She seems to have recovered or just isn’t telling me about it.
Melanie is still in Pasadena. She is attending seminary at Fuller and looking for work. Kim is working as a school nurse for the Clover Park district.
Our step-grandson, Adrian moved back to Vashon this fall just in time to cook and keep house for Melissa while she was confined to sitting with her leg elevated.
Kim’s daughter, Carissa is a Sophomore at WSU. Loren went over to visit her Dad’s weekend and pointed out all the places we used to kiss on campus.
Hope all of you have a Merry Christmas and the best of everything in the new year.