Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Christmas Letter

 We mailed the following letter (sans pictures) in with our Christmas card this year.

A reader of Dear Abby was making fun of the annual Christmas Letter. It went something like this: 'We spent the year traveling for world peace, our #1 son had an audience with the Pope and our #2 son won the Nobel Prize'. So with these caveats in mind, here goes our life in 2010.

We started the year by inviting two cats into our family, Mike and Ike. We had gotten rid of our last cat on 9/10/2001, so we took the events on the following day as an omen, and we had resisted adding anymore cats. The personalities of brothers Mike and Ike fit our family lifestyle, and we both get more from them than they get from us.

Larry took over the Presidency of the local computer club. It was not so much a position of honor or knowledge as it was to give the former president a break from his 14 year 'reign'. These presidential duties did temporarily sidetrack Larry from his main goal: to check into the possibility of a pacemaker. The story is long and convoluted, but essentially in mid-2009 Larry could tell he was NOT coming back from the back fusion surgery. His resting heart beat had dropped to 35, and a visit to the cardiologist confirmed that he was a candidate for a pacemaker. Unfortunately, the cardiologist 'forgot' about the office visit. But a new doctor had come to town. Officially she was an electrophysiologist, and she had a new $5 million operating room at her disposal. An appointment in March confirmed that a pacemaker was needed (bradycardia is the technical term), so on April 27 Larry had both a pacemaker installed and some cardiac ablation done. The two procedures were day surgery, and recovery was complete in two days except he could not raise his left arm for six weeks (to let the internal leads heal).

The big event of the year was our 50th anniversary. The manditory trip or family dinner was never on our radar. Judy concocted this plan to share our celebration with family and friends at the Loons baseball game. The Loons are a three year old, A-level professional baseball team in the Dodger's organization. So about 12 of our family and 18 of our friends were able to join us at a cookout at our house before we all enjoyed the game in prime seats behind home plate. Larry put together a PowerPoint show that contained over 100 photos from our married life.

The most visible accomplishments in 2010 were changes to our house. We did the changes with our checkbook rather than our own sweat, which was both a seismic shift in our philosophy and a boost to the local economy. The key was finding a good, local contractor. Mike first reroofed our 25 year old garage in May. When we saw what a great job he did, we turned him loose on new siding and windows for the house. Then we had a 55 year old spruce removed from the front lawn, and voila!, we had a new home. Checkbooks are a wonderful thing!

Larry had some adjustments made to his pacemaker and a second cardioversion done in late summer. Now his heart was hitting on all cylinders. But the hip pain had returned. The expert opinions said he should return to Cleveland Clinic for the redo operation after 22 years. Larry's original hip surgeon had retired in 2007, but a new surgeon even more capable than the first had taken over. The downside was a four month wait for an open surgical date. But then the gods smiled upon us and a date became available at Thanksgiving. The surgery took twice as long and the hospital stay was about three times as long as expected. The recovery period will be tougher than previous surgeries, but as Judy noted, 'if we had done the surgery at any place other than Cleveland Clinic, Larry might not have walked normally again.'

All in all it has been another good year. We have a lot to be thankful for. Life is good.

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