What a year! Adventures galore. Stranger things. Where do I start?
Early in the new year, Rich and I found ourselves setting up a refugee camp for excommunicated White House employees. They sought protection, a place of rest and or safety. Displaced persons who fled presidential persecution, harassment or bad treatment for secret meetings with Russians, use of private jets, being too far alt-right, an expletive-ridden phone conversation, in-fighting, the Russian probe, and beliefs that differed from those of the orange hair persecutor. Or because they didn’t adore the Mango Mussolini with unyielding loyalty no matter what.They wanted to get as far away from Washington as possible but California was too liberal. Humanitarian aid in the urban fringe of Scottsdale, Az.. Our job is to reinforce a sense of civil society. Everyone seems to get along other than arguing with Sean as to what the news of the day really is. The neighbors hope it won’t become a permanent city camp.
It is a small camp. Twenty-two blue tarp shelters around our pool in the backyard. The maze of walkways through the tents is tight. If you spread your arms out, you touch tents on both sides. Our gas barbecue (which also has burners) became the communal kitchen with ice chests everywhere. During the winter months of December and January, hose showers (after the hose heated up in the sun) became the norm. In the warmer months, the pool became the bathhouse.
Like sentries, blue porta-potties guard the back fence. It didn’t take long for political graffiti to appear everywhere. And posters of martyrs lost in battle. Quite the diaspora! Not all refugee camps are equal.
There is high unemployment in this camp. We can only offer two jobs. That of pool boy and tree trimmer of our two palm trees and two fruit trees. Others are forced to become seasonal day laborers picking cotton and fruit. Our collective minivan is their transport. Others reluctantly become Democratic pollsters. Since we only have two Democratic families in the neighborhood, additional transport and security are required. Some of the refugees do receive money from their relatives.
Security is tight. Strict access controls included constant surveillance, required permits to enter and three guard cats. The political background of all visitors is highly scrutinized.
A few refugees have left to live with families elsewhere. Their blue tarp domains were immediately filled with others. In fact, we have a waiting list. Some seek permanent asylum.
We will keep you updated. Donations of any kind are most welcome. Tis the season!
As if the above was not enough to deal with, one of our beloved cats, Babbaluche, joined a cat cult in April! He has always been unsure of himself and has an insatiable appetite for love and attention. If he wasn’t following me around all day like a lost soul, he was sitting four feet away just staring at me. We did our best to be good parents.
Well, then the strange behavior started. He’d leave the house during the day for hours at a time. When asked where he went, he’d just mumble meow some discombobulated story that never, ever made any sense. I never pursued it. You know how teenage cats can be… Then he withdrew even more. From us and his cat brothers. He’d disappear for longer periods including the nighttime. We thought maybe he had a girlfriend. Or had taken up with some unsavory characters in the neighborhood. And then, out of concern, a friend ratted him out. The skullduggery was a cult! We were dumbfounded. A mountain of anguish buried us. Where did we go wrong? Did we have too many houseguests? Was he not happy with the litter box? Not enough kibbles?
Proper parents would have seen the signs. Cause for concern. Babbaluche had been acting differently. He had started meditating, collected money for bogus charities, had a me-versus-them (us) attitude and displayed reprehensible behavior at times. Like pooping on the bedspread in our guestroom. He never did this before joining the cult. His conversations and mannerisms had become stilted and seemingly programmed. And he quit socializing with his friends Paco and Taco who live directly behind us.
Babbaluche’s family and friends were rallied for an intervention in June. It did not go well. He’d already been brainwashed by the leaders of the cult. Our little boy had no tolerance for questions or critical inquiry. He has an unreasonable fear about the outside world. Impending CATastrophe, evil conspiracies, and persecutions. None of us can convince him to leave the cult. He is extremely obsessed with it and its leaders. Only the leader can provide truth, validation, problem-solving, and solutions. If we dare to question or criticize the leader, it’s persecution.
Rich and I are so sorry to bring this news to you in what is supposed to be a joyful Christmas letter. Right now, our efforts are at a standstill. Professional guidance is being sought to save our boy. We will keep you all posted.
Now for some exciting, good family news. Motorsports to the moon! A precursor to space tourism. Competitors in this emerging market include Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origin. In September, Rich went on a road rally to the moon. A rally with no roads….just craters. An extreme offroad rally with only twelve cars. His boss sponsored him and Elon Musk sponsored the rally. The cars and drivers were transported there by Elon’s private spaceflight company Space X Rockets. Health and fitness tests along with training were required. He prepared by playing the Driver Lunar Rover 4 Offroad Game. And by driving up rocky, dry riverbeds here in his modified Bugeye Sprite Lunar Rover.
According to Rich, there were obstacles to overcome besides craters. With less gravity there, the drivers were forced to go slower as bumps in the terrain wreaked havoc. A rollover was not just a rollover. The driver rolled over and over nonstop until something brought the car to a stop. Like being in a dryer. The lack of streets and street signs made navigation a real challenge. GPS was spotty unless you faced the earth to pick up the satellites. Rich claims that toward the end of the rally, most drivers had improved their skills enough to jump over the craters. The next intergalactic rally, Cars To Mars, will be in 2022. Rich is already designing the over and over and over rover rollover rover!
Since September, things have been pretty quiet. I enjoyed some small accomplishments which included cooking thirty-minute brownies in twenty minutes, memorizing the history of man, reading Anna Karina, Moby Dick and the Bible in one day and still had time to paint the entire house that evening. I also discovered the meaning of life but I forgot to write it down.
The magic of Christmas never ends and its greatest gifts are family and friends. Much love to you all!!!