Ye Olde Christmas Newsletter 2016

Jay Cole image

Humor is our most enjoyable form of truth.


Dear Friends and Relations,

The Yule Log is alight, and it’s time again to catch up on the McMurder clan’s accomplishments this past year.

You’ll be happy to know that, despite this season’s Artic chill, we made the trek down to the pound and adopted a lovely Yorkshire Terrier. The puppy is very well behaved. We each put a suggestion in a hat and my husband, grumpy Old Laz, won the blind drawing to select a name, and I can tell you that everyone already loves ‘Yappy Little Shit.’ (Yap, for short.)

Unfortunately, our eldest, Joey, will not be home for Christmas due to a minor disagreement with his employer. (Work issues never end, I suppose.) While I’ll miss him during the festivities, I take comfort in knowing that the FBI is very experienced at protecting mob informants, and our homeowners insurance covered the bullet damage to the front room.

Clementine, now twenty, will be joining us this holiday! We’re so very proud that she’s continuing her university education while still working full time. She’s a film major, and despite her very demanding schedule, she still finds time to write home and ask for money. Her first film (Haven’t seen it yet.) was just released, but Clementine says she won some sort of prestigious award for Boobalicious Bunnies #4.

Little Evelyn, our youngest, appears to be slowing her pursuit of all things Goth. She still wears that horribly dark eye makeup, but it’s been at least three days since she’s had something pierced. She has a boyfriend now! I think Vicious is a nice young man, but Old Laz eyes him suspiciously whenever he’s around Evie. I guess that’s a father’s natural instinct, but it’s driven a wedge between Evie and her dad—one argument after another. Frankly, I’m tired of reminding her not to throw my good china at her father’s head. There’s no reason a young person can’t express themselves with everyday crockery.

Speaking of Old Lazarus, he’s gardening again, and he won the county fair’s Blue Ribbon for his ginormous and genuinely delicious tomatoes. Wouldn’t you know, he flashes that damn ribbon in everyone’s face, and while I try to be supportive, it’s caused more than a few disagreements between us. I say his tomatoes grew so large and tasty because our backyard gets lots of sun, but Old Laz insists it was the stray cat fertilizer.

Quick update on my in-laws: Still dead.

My parents are much the same. Even with his new medication, dad’s dementia hasn’t improved. Still, his doctor insists that I report even minor changes, but the only thing I’ve noticed is that he no longer asks what happened to his Social Security check.

Mom is spry as ever. Her nymphomania has taken a Latin turn this year. I caught her at the Hilton in flagrante with the male membership of the Mexican American Caucus and an overly flamboyant Mariachi band. What a shocker! I was truly horrified at her liberal stance on immigration reform.

Ancient and feeble Uncle Mortimer is still disgustingly wealthy and a childless bachelor, thank God. I love my elderly uncle dearly, but, damnation, he’s a lot of work! We had an absolute panic when his day nurse arrived one morning driving a new Lexus, and our hidden microphone in his bedroom recorded several references to “very special sponge baths.” Hussy! I swear, professionalism in healthcare is dead. Naturally, it was left to me to protect dear Uncle Morty’s weak heart and the family’s inheritance. I fired the brazen gold-digger immediately, and Uncle Morty finally told me which temp agency was supplying these jezebels, so, as promised, I turned his oxygen back on.

I almost forgot myself! I’ve given up decorating the house ala Martha Stewart—so tiring! However, I did join The Kickapoo County Ladies Auxiliary on an impromptu pilgrimage to Martha’s grave. Boy! Were they angry when they found out the fastidious bitch isn’t dead! However, I remain optimistic since more and more overworked, over-stressed suburban housewives are packing and self-medicating. We’ll try again next year.

Well, that’s about all that’s new. As usual, please skip this year’s Christmas gifts and send cash.

Special Note to Harriot Milken-Heifer: I see from your Miami vacation pics that you found the ten pounds I lost. How nice!

Merry, Merry!!

Delightfully yours,

Wanda B. McMurder

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Move and You’re Dead!

Jay Cole image

Humor is our most enjoyable form of truth.


Ah, moving day—that joyous equivalent of hell on Earth.

I actually enjoy apartment living. It’s nice to have a crew of illegal immigrants mow the lawn regularly, not to mention the amenities such as a treadmill that you can look at daily and know you never have to use. However, greed has invaded the apartment market. The landlord always wants more money, which he blames on the county tax board, the utility companies and market prices. The latter being what he can get away with in concert with all of the other greedy landlords
in the area.

Okay, I’m whining, but I’m also trying to conserve some of my income for me.

Then, a windfall came my way. I was offered a lovely, two-bedroom house that had been sitting vacant for over a year. Granted, it was an older house that needed a little work, but it offered more room and was significantly less expensive than paying for my landlord to send his kids to Harvard.

Packing My Stuff
When you really need one, cardboard boxes become more valuable to people than their children.

I briefly considered shelling out three to four dollars per box for new, single-use cardboard that I was going to recycle in a matter of days. While I don’t march on Earth Day, somehow such obvious waste nettled my conscience and promised karmic retribution. So, I collected free, used boxes from local businesses, and thanked the business owners profusely for their generosity. Unfortunately for the planet, I was unable to locate used tape.

Filling the boxes goes faster if you don’t bother to clean anything…Nah! At the very least, I dusted everything that went into a box, and avoided Styrofoam peanuts by cushioning fragile items with extra cardboard, old t-shirts and towels that I needed to pack anyway. Let me tell you, my environment-friendly karma was looking good! However, as I probed deeper into the dark, hidden recesses of my closets and drawers, I discovered a most unsettling fact of life. Frankly, I don’t have a problem storing things that I only use once a year or so—punch bowls, lockjaw pliers, first-date cologne, etc. However, moving day also uncovered items I couldn’t imagine using—ever. What was I thinking when I bought a doggie backscratcher and a battery-powered melon baller? Idiot!

The Move
The actual move is simple if you stick to basics:

  1. Load truck.
  2. Take ibuprofen.
  3. Drive to destination.
  4. Unload truck.
  5. Take more ibuprofen.

This Old House
Hardwood floors! Room for all my stuff! A shed in the backyard!

I was seriously impressed with my excellent decision until the hot water in my morning shower turned into the runoff from an Artic glacier. (That old joke about cold temperatures and the size of male genitalia is no joke.) I also learned that sudden shocks will make you rip down your shower curtain while escaping.

Two days! I had hot water for only two freakin’ days before…

I’m sorry, but your electric is not up to code for me to install a new hot water heater. You need to call an electrician first, so for this service call, I’ll only charge you one arm, two legs and maybe a kidney.

Fortunately, the electrician was able to diagnose the problem with the hot water heater as a fault in the wiring and not the heater itself. However, the age of the wiring and many, many years of jury-rigged circuitry made this old house a fire trap and, plainly, a bit dangerous for daily living.

Remind me, how did the previous owner die?

While the electricians upgraded my wiring and breaker panel, I busied myself with painting the house, interior and exterior. Admittedly, the electricians were fast and professional, and I was unbelievably grateful to have new, safe, ground-faulted wiring in the house when the toilet overflowed and I discovered that standing in raw sewage is a memorable experience for all the wrong reasons.

I now learned three things that everyone should know:

  1. Using a plunger is a dirty business.
  2. People who buy liquid drain cleaner always use the store’s restroom.
  3. Plumbers who work weekends require you to pay for their new Mercedes.

I’m fairly certain that he drives the same model as my old landlord.

Parting Funny: I have French doors in the bedroom. They don’t open unless I lick them.
Judy Gold
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