Pressures mounted in January when we were selected for a random audit by the IRS. They primarily wanted proof that all of our children actually exist, though I don’t see why it should matter, since we can’t deduct any of them! Of course, we are allowed to deduct such things as Doug’s portion of travel expenses incurred while attending medical conferences, but when Jennifer began bragging to the tax adjuster what a great deal that gave us on last year’s cruise, Doug thought it inappropriate and issued a swift kick under the table to silence her. When he later tried to apologize, she laughed, “You didn’t kick ME!” Fortunately, a bruised shin was not enough to keep our amicable auditor from filing the first “No Change” he’d had in years. The Army piled on paperwork when Doug’s security clearance had to be renewed this month, forcing him to track down everything from “college roommate’s current address” to “last job’s supervisor’s middle name”. The anesthesia presidency also proved more time-consuming than anticipated. We felt desperate to get away from phones and faxes, but were so dog-tired by the time Doug got a long weekend that we opted to stay at home and watch a documentary on The 50 Years War instead. How’s that for an exotic vacation?
We forged ahead with our building plans in February. Once the trees were cleared to make room for it, our house seemed a lot bigger than it looked on paper! The land developer joked with passers-by that a new private school was being built on the lot. It is nestled on two wooded acres and surrounded by hiking trails that beckon our children to come explore the little lake that lies at the foot of the hill. Thus they spent many glad hours this summer, while Mom and Dad surveyed the slow but steady progress being made on our new home. Bethany learned to cut hair this month, thanks to her brothers’ willingness to serve as guinea pigs. Inspired, Rebekah did a little hairstyling of her own. She brushed the tangles from Mom’s waist-length tresses, then retrieved what Jennifer assumed was a barrette when she felt its cold, metallic edge slide against the crown of herhead. Blessings be on our observant Sam, who snatched the scissors from sister’s hands and spared his unsuspecting mother a severe scalping! Undaunted, Bekah simply smuggled the scissors into bed at naptime, where she buzzed two Barbies and gave herself a mullet, unhindered.
We had a terrific time at Crier Creek’s Family Camp again this July. Jonathan won a “First Aid Award” for the care he rendered wounded campers throughout the week. Jennifer was given the “Shopping Award”, having returned from a day trip to nearby Columbus with six antique bar stools and a nearly-life-sized statue of three children on a slide. Doug would have earned a “Packing Award” had one existed, for managing to fit these purchases into our 15-passenger van for the drive home, along with five mountain bikes, three suitcases, six backpacks, two diaper bags, three car seats, 11 people, and a jogging stroller!