New Year says bye-bye racoon, squirrel, turkey neck

People have accused me of pedaling hope. I am proud of this accusation and the first to admit that I am guilty as charged.

Most likely, anyone could conclude this from reading my Christmas letter. There's not a bit of bad news in it, which may give many people the wrong impression. Believe me; my life is far from perfect.

That's why every year at this time I write about what happened between the lines of my holiday letter. Here goes…

 Last January, I started the year with surgery to remove benign ovarian cysts. I took two weeks off from work but should have taken three. After returning to my job, I ended up with the worst cases of sinus infection and bronchitis and had to take two rounds of antibiotics to get well.
 
This past summer, the vegetable garden was a flop, again. We had some decent cherry tomatoes, but everything else was a complete disaster. It was the most miserable looking vegetable garden this side of the Mississippi.

Our shoreline eroded another foot this year, which is due to too many high-speed boats racing up and down our tiny lake. I'd like to hire a contractor to stabilize the bank, but Brian thinks it will cost too much, probably about $15,000.

This is coming from a man who for a brief spell considered having plastic surgery on his turkey neck. Here's the funny part: he thinks the bill would be right around $5,000. If he only knew the real cost of plastic surgery, he would say, "Hello, turtlenecks, bye-bye turkey neck."

I decided to go all out in 2009 by taking name brand vitamins for women over the age of 50, instead of generic ones. I figured that at age 57 I'm worth it.

We had pouring down rain on all but two days of our fall vacation.

I went through a passage of sorts. Out of utter frustration over always losing my reading glasses, I very abruptly started wearing a glasses chain and started washing away more of my gray with ash blond. Go figure.

In November, Brian broke his right ring finger to go with the left ring finger he broke last summer. This latest break was when he started a mini-remolding project on our kitchen, which caused my OCD to flare up. (I thought the kitchen was fine the way it was.)

We had some run-ins with nature in 2009.

A raccoon decided that the inside of our house would make a better home than the outside of our house. So, late one night, he (or she) climbed up the downspout, tiptoed across the roof, pried open the cupola and settled in for a long winter's nap, or so the raccoon thought. Brian added some mesh over the vents and that ended that.

Just last week, two of our three Dachshunds caught and killed a squirrel in our yard. It must have been a very slow squirrel or a very stupid one, because with our Dachshunds' short stubby legs, we're still wondering how in the world this all happened.
 
Unfortunately, by the time we arrived at the scene, it was too late. Fighting to the very end, that squirrel did not go down easily.

Zoe suffered five lacerations to the snout; Poe ended up with three and there was blood everywhere.
 
Both dogs landed in the veterinarian's clinic for damage control and received shots to ward off infections. And now, I have a $148 bill to pay all because of a squirrel.

Even though these things occurred in 2009, I'd like to think that it was a pretty good year.

It amazes me, though, how much I really do leave out of my Christmas letters. It's probably for the best.
 
A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her columns have won first-place in National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women Communications Contests. In the 2009 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contest, Paula's columns took three first-place awards. To contact Paula, email pauladamon@iw.net, follow her blog at www.my-story-your-story.blogspot.com and find her on Facebook.

2010© Paula Damon

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