Greetings Family and Friends,
I (Derek) have been tasked with the holiday letter this year, and I must say it was another typical slow-motion train wreck of a year for the Ries family.
For example: the company I work for went bankrupt, half the family had temperatures of 103 while at Disneyland, the Dodgers didn’t win the World Series for the 31st consecutive year, and I idiotically started feeding some stray cats that wandered into our yard and now Cheddar and Licorice are permanent residents. Nice, right?
Kendall graduated this past May and started at BYU in August. I wept uncontrollably for a week but soon afterward I was crying tears of joy when she got a job at the BYU laundry facility and started paying her own living expenses. She is looking forward to slipping and falling on ice for the first time in her life.
With Kendall gone, Carson took over the responsibilities of being the oldest child. Unfortunately, he turned 16 this year and decided his room is the best place to be and has been holed up there for a while. There have been rumored sightings of him in other parts of the house but nothing has been confirmed. The last time I saw him come out of his room is when his PlayStation controller stopped working and he had a reaction similar to the people on the Titanic when it started to sink. That was in March.
Landon started seventh grade, and his education has really taken off being in middle school. He hears a new swear word every day and sometimes from people other than his teachers. I thought he was spending too much time playing Fortnite this past year until I found out the Fortnite world championship prize is $3 million and realized he wasn’t spending enough time playing it. He has a friend nicknamed Oof. Yes, really.
Presley also started middle school and is doing quite well except school causes quite a bit of anxiety. A couple of weeks ago she asked me to calculate the lowest score she could get on her mid-term math final and still get an A. I did the calculation and told her she could get a zero and still get an A. She told me she was still nervous about the test. Yeah, totally looking forward to high school.
LanLan turned 9 this year and has made tremendous progress. At the start of the year she was telling us no in Mandarin (Boo-yah!) but now tells us no in English. Most of her sentences start with “I can’t.” My personal favorite is “I can’t walk,” which is usually invoked when we are in the back of a Super Walmart and approximately a half mile away from our car. At that point Amy and I try to decide if we should carry all 60 pounds of her back to the car or see if we can get an Uber to pick us up in the automotive aisle. (On a serious note, she is doing really well).
Amy is ready to leave the People’s Republic of California and move to Texas so she can be by her family. Unfortunately, when I looked for a job in California, I couldn’t find any company that wanted to hire a 52-year-old man whose only real skill is his willingness to work in Stockton, California.
I changed jobs within my company this past year, and it has been a complete life change for me. I no longer wake up in the middle of the night with the sudden urge to play Russian Roulette.
Molly continues to cost us money.
With that said, our family is looking forward to 2020 because it is going to be an amazing year. Since it is an election year there will be an abundance of good feelings throughout the country and civil discourse will reign. I personally will be making all of my election choices based on what I read on Facebook.
Our family wishes you all the best in 2020!
— Derek Ries
Derek Ries is a father of five who works hard to keep his sanity with the insanity that is raising five kids.