The Christmas Missives

HOLIDAY TALES

Christmas 2012

Dearest Friends, Family, and Assorted Others…

Happiest of Happy Holidays and Welcome to the 2012 Edition of our little Christmas Epistle.  We just know you’re quivering in excitement and anticipation, so we’ll cut right to the chase.

How about that Election?!?  Yes, these liberal gay boys are pretty happy with the outcome.  It was great being in a bit of a swing-state.  The Obama-Gifts were pouring in. The clincher for our pretty conservative neighborhood was the 48″ flat-panel televisions we all received.  Alas, they didn’t come with free HBO so our neanderthal Republican congressman was re-elected into his gerrymandered district.  Note for the 2014 midterms…  HBO and the Sports tier will guarantee our neighborhood vote.  But more on that, later…  So much else happened before November 6th…

First, a few things that didn’t happen. We didn’t get new jobs, we didn’t win the lottery, we didn’t cure cancer or world hunger… We know, we know… We’re slacking as we age. But, TSA be damned,  we did do a bit of travel…

Victor started it off by flying to London in January. Tim got to stay home. Victor was at the luxurious Mayfair Grovesnor Square. Tim cleaned the basement.

Actually, it’s been tradition that whenever Victor takes an extended work trip, Tim does some painting or redecorating of some sort. Traditions are good. And so are the messes that Tim makes. Like his ability to dirty every pot in the kitchen making a simple dinner for two, his painting and redecorating projects can take on a life of their own. It definitely did in the basement. Victor starts getting very nervous when the topic of painting or home repairs rears its ugly head, so Tim has found it better to just say nothing and do them while he’s gone. And as for the basement?  Almost a year later, it’s still clean and organized!

It was just a few weeks later that Victor flew off to Texas.  From London to Dallas. Westminster Abbey and the London Underground to the Tom Landry Freeway.  Tim happily stayed home for this one and painted the bathroom.

By the time Victor got back the planning for our June Italy Vacation was in full swing.

15 glorious days in Italy with Tim’s sister, Phoebe, her partner, Nancy, and their three daughters, Nicole, Megan, and Emily.

For us, the trip was to celebrate Tim’s upcoming 60th Birthday. Victor got a new granite kitchen for his 60th.  Tim got marble in the form of a 17′ David.  What a fabulous trip!  Mere words cannot describe – but you know that’s not going to stop us!

We flew into Rome and had a car and driver waiting to take us to our apartment – directly across the street from the Colosseum.  What a fabulous location.  The apartment was 4br, 2 ba in a building that hails from the 1800s. Brand new compared to the surroundings.  It was a 3rd floor walk-up – no elevator – and with 18’ ceilings on each floor, it was a hike. But a full kitchen, washer and dryer, living room with sofas and chairs, a dining room… It was worth the trek up and down.

Rome was beautiful, the food stupendous, the people magnificent, the chaos in the streets unbelievable.  To stand where Caesar said “Et tu, Brute?” and see the view Nero had while Rome burned… We tossed our coins in the Trevi Fountain, climbed the Spanish Steps, and stood in awe in the Sistine Chapel.  The history and the ruins are spectacular.  Every time we turned around there was something staring at us from two thousand years ago. Impressive, indeed.

After a week gallivanting around Rome, with side trips to Ostia Antica and Lido to see the Mediterranean, we took the train to Florence.  Our apartment in Florence was even more spectacular than Rome.  On the Arno River at the Ponte Vecchio, we were within walking distance of everything.  And, we had an elevator. It barely fit two people, but it got us and the luggage up to the 4th floor very nicely. One of the first things we did was to get in line to see the world’s most famous Naked Man.  He did not disappoint.  Stunning.

Actually, the word stunning describes Florence completely. Where Rome was manic, Florence was elegant.  We had our heart set on buying some dinnerware in Florence, but after stopping in several shops over the course of several days, we just couldn’t find what we wanted.  We headed back to one place we had been told about by friends and Victor started speaking with the proprietress, mentioning what he was looking for.  She very matter-of-factly said “No problem.  We’ll just make it for you.”  Make it.  As in, we pick out the style of plate and bowl, the pattern we like, and they will make, hand-paint, and ship it to our door.  Hand made.  For us. Our jaws dropped.  In about an hour we had picked out dinner plates, pasta plates, salad bowls, dessert plates, soup bowls, platters, and pasta bowl.  All it took was a well-funded debit card. Awesomeness!

Tim was 45 before he owned a couch that someone else hadn’t owned before him.  At 60, he had dinner ware hand-made for him.  You’ve come a long way, baby!

We did a side-trip up to Venice and stayed in a quaint hotel in the old Jewish ghetto.  Did you know that the word ghetto actually comes from Venice?!? Well, it does. Look it up.

Venice is just like Disneyland – really crowded and no cars.  It really is beautiful, though. We had fabulously-expensive ice cream in St Mark’s Square and a wonderful dinner right on the water to celebrate Megan’s birthday.  Our hotel was fun and the neighborhood was perfectly non-touristy.  It would make an excellent Italian version of Faulty Towers.

We traveled up to Pisa to see the tower and to Lucca to take in a walled city, and then, somehow, it was all over.  Back home, and back to reality.  Well…  back to travel-planning. 2013 is Arcata for Bill and Christine’s wedding and 2014 is Sicily for our 20th Anniversary.  Redwoods and the Pacific Northwest and then the east coast of Sicily with Etna behind us and right on the Ionian Sea. It just sucks being us.

And speaking of so much fun…  we’re Great Uncles to two new great nephews!  Mason was born on July 22nd and Dylan was born on August 21st!  Pictures are great but we need to see them both in person.  Hurry up, wedding! We’re starting to lose track of how many there are… Only foolin’. Not really. And there’s another little boy due in January here on the east coast…

Summer turned to fall and fall turned to Hurricane Sandy.  It was everything they said it would be – and more.  We lucked out. The storm tracked right over us and we lost power for 36 hours but still had solid ice cubes in the freezer when the power came back.  We didn’t lose anything.  Minimal – very minimal – water in the basement. Lots of downed trees in the neighborhood, but other than the normal branches and stuff, we came out okay. Total and complete devastation mere miles from us. Luck doesn’t begin to describe it. No complaints from us.

And speaking of no complaints – wasn’t that a great election?

President Obama was reelected to another four years.  How sweet it is.  Not that we have agreed with him on everything because we definitely haven’t, but it was so nice to see the new Republican party crash and burn. They really, really, really thought they had this election. They were really, really, really wrong. It’s been so much fun watching the pundits trip over themselves trying to explain away the loss. There are some serious sore losers out there. But on another positive note, there will now be a record number of women in the Senate. It makes our liberal hearts swell with pride.

Plus… there’s icing on the wedding cake!  We are now legally married in three more states!  We just celebrated our 18th Anniversary—and second legal anniversary. It really doesn’t seem possible.  It has been – and continues to be – such a wonderful time.  We suppose we should apologize for all of the heterosexual marriages we have destroyed but… nah.

Cybil Shepherd continues to be the world’s best puppy-dog.  She’s such an amazing creature and such a joy, spoiling us rotten and wrapping us right around her little paw.  She’s been a part of our lives for nine years, now—another thing that doesn’t seem possible.  In our next lives, we’ve both decided that we want to come back as our dog.

As 2012 comes to a close, so must this little epistle.  Our wish is for you to have the most wonderful Hanukkah, Christmas, Yule, Kwanza, and Whatever Else Holiday Season ever, with nothing but joy and prosperity in 2013.  It doesn’t matter what you say or how you say it.  The important thing is to share the joy that is this time of year.

Off to see what 2013 will bring…

Holiday Hugs and Kisses!

                     Victor, Tim, and Cybil