Working off the holiday hangover

January 27, 2003

Glenn proves that he can cook with his once-a-year baking of the Christmas bread. Photo by Roni.
How odd it seems to be writing 2003, and just when we were getting used to the symmetry of the zeroes sandwiched between a pair of deuces. Yes, it is a new year, and for the Gehlke family it is a chance to get back to the familiar routines that serve us so well 11 out of 12 months of the calendar.

The holidays are thankfully behind us, although they didn't pass without a blowout Christmas Day that filled our home with piles of presents and shrieks of joy from an 8-year-old boy realizing his wildest yuletide wishes. Ben would be the first to tell you that he made out like a bandit on Santa's gift list; there was so little time and so much unwrapping to do that Ben was heard to remark that there were "too many" presents. We offered to take some back to the store for him, but he would have none of that.

This was a video game/NASCAR/book sort of Christmas. Ben's haul brimmed with cartridges for his Gameboy, software for his computer and disks for our new Nintendo GameCube, which was our family gift this year. Glenn's interest in NASCAR racing brought a variety of related gifts, ranging from T-shirts and collectible items to the NASCAR Thunder 2003 GameCube game. Roni's passion for reading resulted in a flood of Nora Roberts and Jayne Ann Krentz novels, most of which she has polished off as of this writing.

A week of rainfall has turned Vintage Park into a reflecting pool. Ben isn't sure what to make of it. Photo by Glenn.
With the addition of the GameCube, we have revamped the writing sanctuary somewhat to do double duty as an entertainment room. Glenn rearranged the computer desk so that it now also holds the game machine and the television monitor to which it is attached. He upgraded one electrical jack (more power cords now) and repaired a broken light switch so that now you don't have to fumble for the lamp when you enter the room at night. The couch is just close enough to the desk that we can leave the game console near the TV and sit on the sofa with the controllers. Ben has been loving it and spends his free time in the afternoons curled up in the den playing his Sonic Adventure 2 Battle or other games that we have rented from Video Cinema here in Oakley.

The first few weeks of 2003 have been typically damp and foggy. What blue sky we have seen has been short lived, and the temperatures have been hovering in the upper-40s to mid-60s. It's the sort of weather that keeps us indoors, although between our respective hobbies and work/school picking up again, we have found plenty to do. Ben was off track for the entire month of December and returned to class during the second week of January. It was sort of a culture shock for him after having been off campus for six weeks. It was a bit of a shock for us as well, not having him around the house in the mornings.

The funny thing was that we were all remarking about how we hadn't suffered any colds or flus since September, which we attributed in part to Ben's being off school during the month when a lot of the bugs seem to make their way around. No sooner than he started back, however, he came down with a stuffy nose and ear and eye infections to top it off. The rest of us have been in good health, so perhaps his was an isolated case. We are hoping.

Ben samples the wild blackberries during our Christmas Eve walk along the Delta trail. Photo by Glenn.
The football season has run its course, and once again Glenn's brother Sean managed to best him at their annual football prediction contest. Glenn doesn't like to talk about it much (it's been four years since the last time he won), but Ben was very excited as he came within a game of having the best record this year; Sean beat him out on the final week of the regular season. On Jan. 20, Glenn and Sean did what has become sort of an annual post-season tradition and got together for an afternoon, this time at Sean's apartment in San Jose. The day included a visit to the Tech Museum of Innovation in downtown San Jose. We wasted part of Super Bowl Sunday watching the Raiders lose to the Bucs.

The start of the new year has not been kind in the auto repair department. Roni took her car in for an oil change and smog check and learned the front brake rotors were shot. Two weeks after that repair, the alternator failed. We are crossing our fingers that nothing else breaks down for a while.

Speaking of things breaking down, we apologize to those of you who might have tried to visit our Web sites last weekend only to receive an error message or a blank screen. Our Internet service provider suffered a hard drive crash on the server that hosts our site and was forced to take the site offline for a couple of days to perform data recovery. Unfortunately, not all of our site was recovered during the process, so we spent another four hours reloading pages from our own archives. Hopefully all is as it was, but if you discover something missing that you thought should be there, it is likely because we didn't detect it and haven't repaired the damage. Please drop us a line if you discover one of these situations.

Glenn, Roni and Ben

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