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1947 East Beech Road
Sterling, VA 20164


As you know, this year the President and Congress sent us a tax rebate along about the first of September. Our kids had heard about this on the news. One evening they demanded to know what we were going to do with the 600.00 windfall. We asked them if they had any suggestions. Talk about a long discussion! Finally, we had to cut them off and tell them that we had decided to give it all to our 18 yr. old son, Ryan.


For a brief moment there was one very happy kid and three others forming a lynch mob. We really did not want blood on the carpet so we quickly explained that Ryan needed a crown and possibly a root canal. We suggested that if any of the others kids would like to have the nerve pulled out of one of their teeth to please let us know. That pretty much ended the discussion.

Ryan's $600 Tooth

We decided to treat our kids to a day at the amusement park. Calvin scheduled a day off work two weeks in advance. Sixteen year-old Brooke invited her friend Jason, and 11 year-old Chelsea invited her friend, Megan. The weather was forecast to be a typical late July Washington day—hot, hazy, and humid. After the hour drive to the park, we were anxious to disembark. We arrived at Six Flags just as it was opening. The parking lot seemed less crowded than it should have been. We only had to hop out of the car to discover why. It was not typically hot, hazy and humid. It was HOT, HAZY, and HUMID! (and no wind) While 105 degrees in Arizona may seem like a spring day, when it is accompanied by over 90 percent humidity, it seemed like 115 degrees—

Brooke being helped off the Roller Coaster

and the perspiration does not evaporate. With almost no lines—all the clever people stayed home—Trevor raced from one ride to the next. After about a half-dozen turns on the kiddie coaster, the parental unit’s stomach was a spasmodic inferno. We took refuge for most of the rest of the day in the wave pool and lazy river. Brooke rode the upside down roller coaster so many times she blacked out on one turn. She had trouble breathing for several days afterward. Upon arriving home we learned that it had been the hottest day of the year. When Brooke had her Cross Country physical later in the week, the physician suggested that riding roller coasters until you black out is not good for your health.

THE WASHOUT          
Fireworks in the Rain

Janet’s sister, Debbie, brought her family to visit with us for about 10 days in early July. They really wanted to see the fireworks at the Washington Monument on the 4th of July. Mind you, there is no parking available. It is also at night. There are hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people. It was raining. What adult in their right mind would take a bunch of kids into a situation like that?


You are right. Four adults—out of their gourds—and five kids piled into the van and headed off in the downpour to the subway station. When we got off the subway at the Smithsonian exit, the station was jam packed with people trying to get up to see the fireworks. However, at the front of the line, people were not leaving the station because they did not want to go out into the rain. The crush of the crowd was scary. It took us about 20 minutes to go 50 yards.


It was just barely raining when we got out on the Mall. We found a spot and the group fanned out to find the best port-a-potty. They were all gross. Once reassembled, we prepared for the downpour. We were wearing ponchos and draped a plastic tarp over the umbrellas to make a shelter. We were rewarded for our efforts immediately. The rain came down in torrents. Many localities had cancelled their firework displays, and we expected the cancellation notice at any minute. But then the fireworks started. And as dramatic as any movie, the rain stopped. We watched a spectacular display.


After it was over, we spread out a blanket and ate snacks while Uncle Scott played patriotic tunes on the harmonica. One fellow stopped to sing the blues. Another stopped to dance. And then the monsoon came again. We rushed to an exhibit tent. A stream was running through it. Once it calmed down we trudged through the puddles to the subway station—which had been closed. We wandered to the next one up the line and finally got on. Anyone want to come and do it with us next year?


Men, have you ever been put on a diet by your wife? I thought so. On January 1st I started the Atkins Diet. If you are not familiar with the diet it is lots of steak, tuna fish, cheese, and whipped cream, but no bread, corn, breakfast cereal, cake, pie, ice cream, twinkies, snickers, spaghetti, tacos, nor twice-cooked pork, and just a little bit of apple, lettuce, cucumber, and banana. Conclusion: all diets are painful. But this one worked. Janet said once I reach my goal (losing 17.5 pounds), she would treat me by coloring her hair back to the red she had when we got married. Now that is a deal I could not resist.

Calvin's Atkins Diet Chart

It only took about 7 weeks to meet my goal. Wanting to see if I could keep it off, Janet waited a couple of months to get her hair colored. It looked great. It looked great the second time, too. The third time it came back teenage punk purple. That was great for about 5 minutes of laughing. She had to go back in and get it fixed. The fourth time I did it using the stuff from the drug store. At least it wasn’t purple like the professional hairdresser did. So now that my wife is red again, what incentive do I have to keep the weight off? Well, if I can keep it off until 31 December, I get to treat myself to a full half gallon of ice cream at one sitting! THAT is worth losing weight for.

THE BRAG SHEET          

No Christmas letter is complete without at least some “in your face,” “one-ups-manship” bragging about how perfect one’s family is. Hold your nose.

Brooke lettered in cross country. Janet sewed Brooke’s homecoming dress and Chelsea’s Halloween costume. Ryan graduated from high school and was promoted to shift supervisor at Pizza Hut. Calvin’s website received its 10,000th visitor. Stan moved out of the house and now does all the dishes for his roommates.


Trevor has only choked one kid in pre-school this year. Chelsea is always on the honor roll. Calvin made cinnamon-mango sweet rolls from scratch. We felt Scotch-Irish pride at the Celtic Festival, ate turkey drumsticks at the Renaissance Fair, and listened to Blue Grass music at the Lucketts Fair. Stan let his roommates use his cell phone and ended up with a $260 bill. We took Janet’s mom to the Air and Space museum on Thanksgiving.

LOVE, The Andruses
David Calvin, Janet, Stan, Ryan, Brooke, Chelsea, and Trevor

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