How many holiday letters start off with, “Wow, another year has passed by?” However many it is, add one more. Where, exactly, does time go and how can it be that it is November again? 2013 has been another interesting year in the Tinkleflick world and, while Facebook seems to have destroyed the newsworthiness of the holiday letter, we have this website and we figure that we may as well update it with our annual holiday letter. Who knows, someone might actually read it?!?!
We’ve been relatively lucky over the years by avoiding most of the common traumas that afflict families. As far as we know, we are healthy and things are good so we really cannot complain. That being said, we did hit a few bumps in the road. Most recently, the bump was a deer that Wendy hit going 65 miles per hour at 6:00am on the highway. Thankfully, she was not hurt but we cannot say the same for the car or the deer.
A One-Day Project
Almost as traumatic was the “one-day job” to paint the basement back in April. We have had a long-standing joke in our family that you take the estimate of time for any home improvement project and multiply it by at least three. In this case, even that estimate woefully understated the scope of what was to come. In the process of fixing a wall before painting, we found water. Lots of water. Thousands of dollars and weeks of time later, we had a new chimney that looked exactly like the old chimney (but was it dry and we were poor).
The reason that we were painting the basement (besides the fact that Ralph had been advocating for it for a long time) was that we were expecting the arrival of our Rotary foreign exchange student, Gabby, from Chile. Gabby lived with us from April until she went home at the end of July. We thought it would be great for our family to host an exchange student and it really was fun. Of course, it helped that Gabby was so much fun to have around with her posse of exchange students with whom we also became friends plus many local high school kids who ran with that group. Wendy became somewhat of a den mother to that group and our house was the bon voyage depot as the inevitable departures started. Gabby was one of the last of the exchange students to leave and the Kleenex Shuttle from Gig Harbor to Sea-Tac Airport was a regular occurrence through the first part of the Summer. If you ever have a chance to host a foreign exchange student, we would recommend it. It changes everyone’s life for the better.
After Gabby left, and we returned from the annual trip to California, we focused on camping. Noah became interested in camping last year and received much of the necessary gear for Christmas and his birthday. With the craziness of the Spring, we did not get out into the wilderness until August but, once we did, we went as often as we could. We set up a separate blog to record our travels (with links to our Flickr picture sets) if you are interested. We stayed mostly in Western Washington but we also made a family trip to Bend, Oregon to see Michael Franti and Spearhead.
The other day at the bank, the kids entertained themselves while I was at the teller window by lining themselves up next to the height measurement stick that all banks have so tellers can give accurate descriptions of bank robbers to authorities. As far as we know, our kids are not in the business of armed robbery; however, Noah is now over five feet tall and Natalie is over four feet tall! Those little tikes in the pictures from yesteryear are growing up fast.
Noah now reads the paper every morning and cuts out ads for cars that he wants to buy. Turning 11 in January, we are only five short years from a driver’s license which is quite scary. The deer of Gig Harbor have already learned not to mess with the Flicks and I am sure that they are already having meetings to discuss the impact (literally) to their community of another Flick on the road in five short years. This Spring, Noah moved up to Little League baseball and, while he struggled at the plate, he worked hard and dropped all other sports to focus exclusively on baseball. At this time next year, Noah (now in Fifth Grade) will no longer be in elementary school and will, instead, be a middle-schooler! Yikes!
Natalie, now in Second Grade, is coming into her own. She loves soccer and just finished a great season as a member of the PAA Orcas. Next year, she is going to move up to Harbor Soccer but she also has expressed interest in playing Little League softball in the Spring. Last year, Natalie appeared in the Missoula Children’s Theater play which they are not doing this year but she has expressed interest in doing more of that sort of thing. There is no shortage of energy or personality in Natalie and, while petite, she really packs a punch.
Wendy and Ralph
When Wendy is not attending to the needs of exchange students or deer hunting, she is at the YMCA where she runs into most of the population of Gig Harbor on some regular interval. Ralph is busy, as usual, trying to be a solo law practitioner and making movies about the kids’ sports teams. Life is good here in Gig Harbor. 2013 had its ups and downs but 2014 should be interesting. For one thing, there will be no major family vacations. Instead, we will be staycationing on our soon-to-be-replaced deck (and we thought the chimney was a big project) and, hopefully, camping some more. Stay tuned to the camping blog for more on that.
We hope you and your family has a safe and happy holiday season! We’ll see you again next year!