Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas 2011


Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year (and if I don’t get this posted soon), Happy Easter!



Yule (Christmas humor) be happy to hear that the Kane family has thrived yet another twelve months here in the Southern Tier of New York.  For those of us counting, this makes roughly 888 months in 'dog years'.     



Gail is a New York State licensed Nurse Practitioner (like they say, “Practice Makes Perfect!”).  That’s the GOOD news.  The BAD news is that the only NP job she could get ‘locally’ happens to be 69 miles away.  Monday through Friday Gail lives in an apartment.  Yes, she does come home on Friday evening to spend weekends with us, but most of the week she’s ‘hunkered down’ in her apartment in the one place on Earth voted “Most likely to snow” nine months out of the year.  This means that she has nine months of excellent snowmobiling opportunities with three which are merely ‘adequate’. 



Gail continues to save lives at her medical practice in her role as a Nurse Practitioner.  Luckily there is one responsible member of our family who goes out of her way to make the world a better place.  Although, as I am typing the Christmas update again this year – hmm?  Savings lives vs. typing end of year update letters?  I’ll let you be the judge as to which is more important. 



Ben is still attending the University at Buffalo.  Yes, located in the second-place finalist for the ‘furthest from the sun’ competition in Buffalo, New York.  He’s been living on campus since the end of August (i.e.:  his room here was CLEAN for almost four months!).  We picked him up this past weekend for the Christmas Holiday and brought him home in our old yet-relatively-dependable Chrysler Mini-Van.  I walked in his room this morning prior to leaving for work and it looks like ‘he never left’.  I think you know what I mean…



Ben was lucky enough to get his Mom’s intelligence.  MY gift to him, apparently, is his organizational and room-cleaning skills.  Ben is an active member of the Thunder of the East Marching Band.  If you go to www.YouTube.com and search for “Thunder Of The East” you can find video of this year’s musical program.  Ben is easy to find in the video as he’s the one dressed in ‘blue’ with a big black hat and a white feather.  Go ahead, check it out.  Oh, and if you ARE able to find him, please let me know.  He’s one of the kids carrying a Tenor Saxophone (there appear to be HUNDREDS of them).  Although, if you listen very closely, he’ the one playing the ‘Best’.  At least, that’s what I hear... 



Jonathan (everyone except his parents calls him “Jon”) continues to keep Japan safe on behalf of the US Navy.  He has been stationed at Sasebo Fleet Command, Japan, since the end of May, 2011.  On good days he handles his eight-hour shift flawlessly as he pilots the Harbor Patrol boat around the naval base.  On bad days he does the ‘exact same thing’ for roughly twelve hours per day.  On really bad days he does it seven days per week.     



The Navy apparently, never gets mad.  It gets even.  If a member of his unit fouls up, the entire unit gets punished.  With proven motivational techniques like these, when he gets out of the Navy, he’ll be very ready for private sector employment, pretty much 'anywhere'.  The only major difference, of course, is that he won’t be able to take his 50 caliber gun with him to work (let’s hope not, anyway).




Thanksgiving was hard without him here.  I’m dreading our first ‘Blue Christmas’ without the Number 2 son picking up and shaking boxes under the tree.  To carry on the tradition, I’m wrapping a Milk-bone in one of the boxes under the tree and let the girls (Kelly and Sandy) dig through the pile – this should approximate the damage Jon typically leaves behind when he is here.    



From past letters you may remember that Jon got ‘his own dog’ when he was in High School.  Yes, he did.  While ‘boy’ is in the Navy, I watch the ‘Woobie’ on his behalf.  She’s his dog, but I don’t think that I could box her up in an APO Priority Mail box and ship her out to Japan.  I’m not sure, but I think they EAT small dogs over there (although, I could be confusing Japan with Detroit, MI – I do that sometimes).  Nah, I’ll hang onto her until he comes back.  When he’s going back to the airport I’ll stuff the little fur ball into his Sea Bag.  Sea Bag travel is much more humane than traveling by Priority Mail box is.  Well, at least the view changes...    



Timothy (everyone calls him “Tim”) is working hard in this Sophomore year of high school.  He’s sixteen years old, is in Boy Scouts, and is in his third year in the High School Marching Band (he began in Eighth Grade).   He is doing well in school, camping AND band.  He spent another week in July in a cricket and spider-infested tent at Tuscarora Scout Camp with his dad.  The crickets and spiders were very happy.  His dad (me), not so much.  It was in the upper 90’s – low 100’s for the entire week and the air conditioning in the tent was broken (this, of course, was a joke the air conditioner worked just FINE – once you got the flaps open, of course).    



As mentioned above, Tim is follows in his brothers’ musical footsteps by playing the trumpet in school.  He continues to play trumpet (we’ve got a family full of hot air – once again, they get that from me) and seems to enjoy it.  When he practices, he sounds pretty good – I don’t hear him practice a lot, but he must be doing it more at school because scales actually sound like scales (as opposed to squealing brakes from last year). 



Before I forget, I need to mention that Tim is taller than I am.  It happened over one week during this past year.  The exact week isn’t important.  The fact that I am (or USED to be) 6’ 1” and the boy TOWERS over me, is.  I’ve begun to call him ‘Gigantor’ around the house.  I believe this was a cartoon about a giant robot when I was a kid.  He’s not really fond of the name, but since he’s almost 12’ tall, I think it works.  I hate looking up to my kids…   



As for me, I continue to work selling online advertising on www.cars.com (you should really find your next car there J).  My responsibilities have been expanded to include support for the Ithaca and Elmira Markets.  I assist the reps we have in place there, as well as two guys in the Binghamton area as well.  Instead of working out of my home (like I used to) I get to go to an office with people, and everything!  Heck, we even have a break room with a couple of them vending machines. 



I continue to write ‘stuff’ online to relax.  It’s what I do when I can’t sleep or when I wake up earlier than I need to.  I’ve missed having Gail around since March, 2010, I’m going to miss Ben when he goes back to college again and now that Jon’s in the Navy, yeah, I miss him too.  Since January 11, 2011, it’s just me and Tim (and the dogs) in the house full-time.  Sometimes I think about it a lot when I can’t sleep – could be the reason it’s hard to sleep some nights, I guess.



The house has a bigger hole in it then than it already did.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that the kids are moving on with their educations, lives, and careers – it’s just that I thought they’d stay little forever and hang out with me.  For a brief period of time I believed this to be a real possibility.



I guess I forget that once upon a time I grew up and moved away too... 



Well, I moved away at least.



Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a Good Night!



Merry Christmas!

Mike Kane
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