A Christmas Card from the Deirdres

Well, another year’s over and a new one’s about to begin, and things are just tickety-boo at the Deirdre household.

This year has been an eventful one for our family. Doug is well. He had a vasectomy in early January after a New Year’s scare. (Imagine us, pregnant and nearly fifty. The poor thing would have come out retarded for sure.) Doug has been drinking more since the old snip-snip. Says it helps offset his feelings of resentment. None of us mind so much, though. He always was more fun when he was drinking, anyway.

Doug’s father died around Easter this year after a long battle with age and a quick fall down the stairs. Mabel, Doug’s mother, found him in the cellar. Bit of a mess on the rug, but nothing compared to the mess he left in his bank account. He was seventy-eight. Mabel is still with us. In fact, she has been living in our basement ever since the funeral. We don’t have much room down there, but Doug has built a little makeshift apartment for her between the deep freeze and the sump pump. She has her good days and bad. Senility and whatnot, but she seems happy to be among family, and we’re delighted to have her nearby.

Pauline, our oldest, is now eighteen — can you believe it? — and a real piece of shit. We’re not sure what’s happened to her, but Father Dan assures us it’s Lady Gaga’s fault. She has a boyfriend now. He’s twenty-nine and doesn’t have a job. He too has taken to living in the basement on a cot beside the deep freeze. Doug’s not sure how long we should let him stay, but I say better to keep them in the nest than to have them out on the streets.

Did I mention Pauline’s pregnant? Three months now, with a little bump. She has given up smoking for the New Year. So has Doug. Resolutions, resolutions! I say they’ll be back on the Marlboros by February. But they say I’m just negative. We’ll see.

Grace, my mother, is still going strong at eighty-two. We put her in a home two years ago and have been to visit three times this year. She’s got Alzheimer’s, which makes it a bit difficult to want to see her. But we do our best.

Jesse turns sixteen this January and desperately wants a car like the one in Back to the Future. He seems pretty determined to get it. He recently started up his own business, calls himself Jesse the Weedwhacker. He’ll cut your grass for $25.95. He also shovels snow for $12.95. He has two clients already — Doug and I. Doug, though, thinks we shouldn’t be paying him. Says he’s no damn good with the shovel and complains about the trim around the trees in the summer. But you know Doug, he and Jesse have never really gotten on so well. Doug still says he looks too Chinese to be one of his. Boys will be boys, as they say.

Bobby turned twelve in September. He’s trying grade six again this year. Didn’t do so well last year. Troubles with math and swearing and such. He’s not doing too well this year again. His teacher accuses him of eating her chalk, but he says she’s just one of those angry people in life. Doug’s met her. Says Bobby’s right.

Scott, our youngest, is a bit of a bother. He’s six now and obsessed with penises. He draws them on the walls, on his face and on his hands. I caught him thumbing through my underwear drawer the other week. Doug’s not sure what to make of it, but has enrolled him in hockey, football, boxing and karate. Says he thinks he can fix him before it grows into a real problem.

The dog ran away in July. Or at least that’s the official line we’ve been giving the children. Doug actually ran over the poor thing with the Honda by mistake. Quite sad, really. Only five years old. We didn’t have it in us to tell the kids what happened, so we told them he ran away. Scott has taken it pretty hard. They were almost the same age, you know, Scott and Frodo. Scott has been putting up “lost dog” signs across the neighbourhood for months. He even started up his own email account: wheresmyfrodo17@hotmail.com. Doug has been sending him anonymous emails with tips and sightings. I know it sounds a bit cruel, but it seems to give Scott hope. Maybe you’d like to email him with a sighting? I’m sure he’d like to hear from you.

As for me, I lost my job in a round of layoffs two weeks back, but I can’t complain. My doctor says it was the best thing for me. He says my skeleton is disintegrating from an aggressive case of osteoporosis. Says my bones are becoming like eggshells. Guess I didn’t drink enough milk as a girl.

Trust you’re doing well on your end.

Here’s to 2011.

With love,
Beth and the rest of the Deirdre clan

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