Every time I sit down at my computer to write our year-end, holiday greeting, I wonder how I’m going to REALLY tell you how we’re doing – without a multi-volume, gift box set. This year there’s even more pressure because we neglected all of you last year. That’s two years of catch-up, and I don’t even like tomatoes (sorry about that – I’m a sucker for a bad pun).

As you may recall, Cheryl and I are the parents of a now EIGHT year old daughter, Beth. Before our eyes she has grown into a kind-hearted, giving person… who moonlights as a third grade “tweener” whose sole purpose is growing gray hair. One day she’s having a hard time with her homework, the next she’s scoring off the charts in testing. Then I notice a certain gleam in her eye when I’m growing frustrated with an assignment of hers, and I realize SHE’S not the one having a hard time with homework. It’s not always easy, but reconciled with her playful (if at times mischievous) spirit and sense of humor, she’s hard not to love.

You may not recall that we have a one year old son, Adam. Born September 30th last year (2004), he’s part of the reason you didn’t hear from us last year. It’s so much easier to procrastinate with a newborn in the house (with matters not directly related to child rearing, that is). Adam is at that wonderful age when a child is first learning to get around on his (or her) own; where every nook, cranny, and crumb on the floor is an epic adventure of discovery… filled to overflowing with laughter, joy, and no small amount of curiosity. As evidence of his emerging personality, we’ve decided that his first discernable word is “‘sss-that.” O.k., it’s not really a word… but spoken as a question, in conjunction with a pointed finger, it’s a precious attempt at communication.

On the grown-up front, Cheryl has made the perilous leap to management. She’s not just the boss at home anymore. Still with the Florida Department of Corrections (probation and parole), she says she’s made the transition just fine. She feels a little vulnerable, based on some of the high profile cases that her department has been involved with in the last year or so (you may have seen some of them on the news yourself), but she’s doing pretty good. Little has changed on the job front for me… I’m still a “Jack of all trades, master of none” with the Florida Child Support Enforcement Program. Dealing (directly or indirectly) with the issues of money, children, and love unrequited still isn’t the most glamorous job, but it keeps me on my toes. There isn’t a really good title for what I do, but the most succinct way to describe it would be “problem solver.” I get to do a little bit of staff training, a little bit of high level client complaint resolution, a little bit of policy interpretation and implementation… all without any of the red-tape associated with being in management. It’s been a really cool combination that I’ve enjoyed immensely.