Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Merry Christmas 2020


We’ve almost survived 2020!

This has been one wild and crazy year, hasn’t it? I’m sure we can all agree that 2020 did not live up to our expectations. Here’s hoping for a much better year in 2021.

We were never more thankful to be living out in the country than this year. We were able to lay low and keep our minds off the pandemic and all that came with it by occupying ourselves with our bottomless to do list.

Zoe came home from college in March and ended up finishing the year online. Annie and I went on spring break and completed the remainder of the school year online. Clark started working at home at the same time and we were all competing for our inadequate internet. The girls and I went back in the fall, but Clark is still working mostly at home. He has been traveling a bit too because the source recovery missions must go on. He is very careful though, and to be honest, Annie and I are the biggest threat to our health as we are around hundreds of people every day, many of them incapable of wearing their masks properly. Everyone hates the masks. We hate the masks. Teaching in a mask and making sure my students wear their masks properly is wearing on my nerves, but it is our reality right now. Complaining about it helps none of us. On that note, I’ll shut up now.

I spent my entire summer working outside in our yard and it was wonderful. Little by little, this place is becoming a home that we love. It’s truly my favorite place to be. Clarkie still regularly exclaims that he hates this *$#@ing place, but we know he really loves it. He has multiple pairs of farm pants to prove it, and so do I. They are my favorite pants and I even wear them to town sometimes. It can’t be any worse than wearing pajamas to Walmart.

I went back to the classroom this fall, and it has kicked my trash. There’s so much stress having to teach in person and make sure everything is accessible online for quarantined and Covid positive students. I just make a to do list each day and get through it, doing what I can with the hours that I have. Many days I fall short, and I don’t beat myself up over it. I’m thankful that I have remained healthy and that I still have a job. I do enjoy the kids. I’m teaching 7th grade math, and there is not a more awkward age than 7th grade, so my entertainment is free.

The dogs are loving Clark being home. With him at home I don’t have to go through the routine of putting the couch screamers on the furniture every day to keep the dogs off. I’m a little jealous, but at the same time I do not want to be teaching remotely. I didn’t expect that  we would be able to stay in person, so I am thankful for that. Clark is not traveling as much as he was before March, but we are hopeful that it will pick up after the first of the year. He likes to travel and we like the miles and hotel rewards that he earns.

Zoe bought herself a car in early Spring. It’s a 2011 Nissan Rogue which is an all wheel drive vehicle, so it’s perfect for Idaho winters. She spent her summer working at Cal Ranch and the vet clinic and she was exhausted working every day of the week. I think she has learned her lesson about that. She went back to ISU in the fall and has been home since Thanksgiving. Her finals were online and her spring semester will start mid January. She will be doing a career path internship this semester in a lab with a plant ecologist. Then this summer she has an opportunity to work on a Fish & Game work crew and continue with an internship with them in the fall. On the work crew she will be doing grunt labor like fixing fences, spraying for weeds, planting to reintroduce native plant species, etc.

Annika is in the middle of her senior year of high school. The little slacker finally got a job last summer. She works in produce at Walmart where she puts her OCD skills to good use inspecting and discarding imperfect fruits and vegetables. She has had to deal with some disgusting rottage which we quite enjoy hearing about because it causes her so much discomfort. Everything she throws away has to be weighed and logged. It’s awesome.

We are in the stage of wondering where our child will be this time next year. She has her eggs in several different baskets right now. She has active applications with the Naval Academy and West Point and they are progressing. We are waiting for Congressional nominations right now. She also has applications with the Colorado School of Mines and the University of Idaho. The latter two she picked because they have ROTC programs. She seems pretty set on the military and Clarkie strongly suggests that she go in as an officer, nevermind that that’s not what he did, despite his own father’s wishes. He forbids her to go to the Air Force Academy because he says if she wants  a business major with a minor in religion she can just go local to BYU. Yes, he is a funny guy. I think it’s a Marine Corps thing. They are very particular about the other branches of the military. The other consideration is that she wants to fly and she will have a better chance at that in the Navy/Marine Corps or the Army.

Gunny and Bane are getting on in years. Gunny had a pretty nasty case of pneumonia in the spring and he’s still not 100%. We’ve had many visits to the emergency vet and he is on a steady diet of hot dogs with his various prescriptions. He has turned into my grandparents with his assortment of pills, except that I’m pretty sure they didn’t need hot dogs to choke their medicine down. Baney had a bizarre case of geriatric something something. I can’t remember the technical term and I have no documentation because his care was free at the Emergency Vet Clinic where Zoe works because he has been a blood donor for them. He woke up one day and he couldn’t walk without falling down because his equilibrium had left the building. I’m telling you, it is not possible to carry a 130 pound dog around to do his business. If it weren’t so frightening it would have been comical. Who am I kidding, it was comical, but it was also frightening. After a back door drive up at the clinic, a shot of anti nausea medicine and a few days taking Dramamine he was mostly back to normal. His head is still a little half cocked, but he’s still Baney and we love him. Although he won’t sleep in his bed now because when he was not himself he overshot his bed and clocked himself in the corner where two walls meet. Now his bed is from the Devil and Gunny quite enjoys having choices.

The goats, horses, and chickens are still keeping us from sleeping in too late on the weekends. Oh, and we have kittens! Well, they are cats now, but Zoe found them as kittens in our pasture in June and we had to keep them because destiny brought them to us. Clarkie is super grouchy about excessive cats, so they are barn cats. It’s pretty funny because cats loooooove Clarkie. 

Work on the money pit continues. This year we replaced our well pump and our roof. In fact our roof just happened and it was a nail biter. I’m just so glad it’s done.

This thing is too long so I’ll wrap it up. We hope this letter finds you all happy and healthy. Merry Christmas!


Clark, Jill, Zoƫ and Annika