Scott Family Christmas Message 2006

It seems that I am fated to write our annual Christmas letter while the house is undergoing renovation. Last year it was new kitchen floors in Santa Rosa, this year it's bathroom tiling in Mystery Creek Rd. Maybe that's the only way I am forced to stay put long enough to get the time to do it.

Three events of major significance to the Scott family occurred in 2006; Jonathan turned 50, Kay turned 40, and we moved back to the Antipodes (New Zealand to be precise), in the process selling our house in Santa Rosa and buying a house on 5.5 acres in Hamilton. Maybe that's 5 major events. Whatever. All other minor events can be categorised as BNZ (Before New Zealand) or ANZ (After New Zealand).

BNZ, Edwin received the Hornby live steam Mallard as his 'sweetener' for leaving his friends in Santa Rosa, practiced light-sabre battles with Yuki, our Japanese exchange teacher guest, and learned to shoot a BB gun. ANZ, he amazed us all with his progress in reading, writing and spelling after only a couple of months in 'Junior class' at the small local school, Kaipaki, where the grand total of students at the end of this year was 51. Edwin's 3rd semester assessment put his reading level at that of an 8 year old, and his end of year award certificate was given for "being a kind and thoughtful class member and achieving high standards". Next year he will continue in the Junior classroom. He is a regular helper at Hamilton Model Engineers (model train nutters who think bigger than most), where he celebrated his 6th birthday with a party in early November. For his birthday, he asked for a kitten and chose Ghost, a silver tabby, from the local SPCA, and also got the "Polar Express" electric train set. Edwin continues to enjoy building Lego, playing computer games, and watching Star Wars, and recently had his hair cut "like Obi-wan when he was young", complete with plait at the back.

BNZ, Merinda tried indoor rock climbing and continued with weekly riding lessons. Harry Potter inspired her to make potions and write in her spellbook on a regular basis, and her theatrical flair showed in various impressive outfits she put together. ANZ, she settled in surprisingly well to 'Middle class' at Kaipaki, and was in the top study group for maths and reading. She was assessed as reading at the level of an 11 year old. Next year she will move up to 'Senior class', where she will be the youngest student. Her award certificate from school cited her for "being a creative motivated learner". On the pet front, Merinda realised her dream of owning her own pony when we bought Willow, a 10yo chestnut-and-white paint gelding, and also managed to inveigle a black & white kitten called Me-me ("it's all about me, me!") when we were getting Edwin's birthday kitten. She has now been bucked off a horse once and has fallen off thrice. She still stubbornly resists learning to ride a bike, however, as it it 'too scary'! She is looking forward to celebrating her 8th birthday on Christmas Eve with warm weather for a change, and has planned a pool party.

BNZ, Jonathan began his N-scale Sea Quarry layout, and went to Penang in March. Our friend Ming, who lives in Singapore, stopped by en route from LA to Portland especially to help us celebrate Jonathan's 50th birthday. ANZ, Jonathan got to ride his E-go electric scooter for the first time, bought a sports car ("any overpowered German convertible would do"), struggled to learn 2 new subjects while simultaneously teaching them, joined the Hamilton Model Engineers Society where he recently completed his Diesel Driver certification, fixed numerous broken stuff around our new house including but not limited to 2 ride-on mowers, a fridge trolley and a pool valve; completed various DIY projects including installation of an electric garage door opener, plumbing the water line to the fridge, connecting the new kitchen sink and taps, installing the plumbing, heat/light/fan unit and powerpoint for the bathroom renovation, connecting hot water to the upstairs toilet including installation of a new sink and taps, moving the light switch to accommodate the kitchen tile splashback, making a coat rack, and installing the roof outlet for the kitchen range hood (briefly setting light to the roof in the process). He also found time to visit Australia and maintain our web site throughout the transition process. He enjoys having a workshop large enough to fit all his woodworking equipment and model train sets. He does not enjoy being allergic to horses and cats.

BNZ, Kay spent a lot of time getting the house ready for sale, stripping wallpaper, patching and painting, packing our large book collection in preparation for overseeing the floor sanding, and generally keeping the place ready for showing at a moment's notice. She continued to volunteer one day a week at the Charter School and edit the school newsletter, while researching NZ real estate online, and doing all the usual boring housewife stuff. ANZ, Kay was largely responsible for making the new house feel like home, overseeing removalists, tree pruners, fence builders, plumbers, kitchen and bathroom renovations, plans for an extension, obtaining Council approval for same, mowing lawns, keeping sheep and chickens, and pony and kitten shopping, while still doing all the boring housewife stuff. She loves living in the country, seeing baby animals all around, collecting eggs, having a decent vege garden, birdwatching, photographing the changing views of Mt Pirongia from our kitchen window, stargazing at night in the spa, and hand-rearing a lamb. She was a bit sad to not have any close friends handy to help commiserate her 40th birthday in October. Kay also does not enjoy being allergic to cats and horses (not to mention grass pollen) but that does not stop her from seriously considering acquiring a horse of her own so she can ride with Merinda, even though she does not particularly enjoy shovelling horse manure. She is also thinking of acquiring some beef calves to raise for the freezer, and next year plans to go back to tertiary study, probably architectural drafting.

Now missing friends and family on at least four continents,
we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
With love and best wishes from the Scott Family.