Jeremy and his girlfriend Melissa tried to start a colony of honey bees this year in Melissa's back yard. Spring here was unusually cold and wet so the colony didn't have a chance to gather food on its own and died off. Jeremy has one of those nifty white suits that the beekeepers wear. Mike and Mary also learned a lot about honey bees – did you know that you buy them by the pound? There's a large feral cat colony in Melissa's neighborhood, so she and Jeremy have been trapping cats and having them neutered.
Mike hasn't fenced much this year but is still an officer for the Colorado Division of the US Fencing Association. He takes care of their web site and sits on the bout committee for the tournaments that the division has to run (eg, the Junior Olympics qualifiers). Mike's gotten quite good at looking a teen-aged fencer in the face and asking, "You want me to break which rule for you?" His fencing club runs a fun annual team tournament that doesn't match any of the standard formats. Mike took pity on the coach that ran registration and scoring and has written a piece of custom software to do that task. Well, started writing it. It remains a work in progress.
Grandma Cain's music box moved back from the restorer's workshop this year. It's a wonderful-looking antique and now it plays music as well. More information about the restoration and a video of the box in action are here. Getting it repaired has been a long, slow slog. Could have been worse – how many people are lucky enough to have a world-class restorer living a mile-and-a-half from them? Mike says he gets jealous every time he visits the restorer's workshop and sees all the nifty little tools he has.
People say that things in houses wear out in ten-year waves. This year the wave struck in the kitchen: new dishwasher, new range hood where the under-cupboard microwave oven lived, new garbage disposal. The range hood was one of those projects that keeps getting bigger. There was a substantial hole in the wall behind the microwave that had to be fixed. That required painting the whole wall. (The paint-matching process at the paint store we use takes a long time to run, but the result was almost perfect.) Before we could paint, the small cabinet next to the stove needed to be removed and remounted. It's nice to have enough light over the stove again, but getting there was a pain.
We've slowly started cleaning out the stuff that accumulates when you live in one place for almost 30 years. Fortunately, there's a very good recycling place here in Arvada that will take almost anything. Here's to everyone's lives becoming less cluttered with worthless things in 2016.
Mike here. I feel somewhat like Warren Buffett, when he announced that Berkshire Hathaway had purchased a corporate jet. So, in little tiny letters: we bought a domain name and web hosting service this year. Comcast forced us into it by dropping the personal web space part of their internet access service. I chose the name because I've been "mcain6925" for many, many years in many, many places on the internet. So much so, that if you google for "mcain6925", most of what you find is me. The hosting company provides a more complete web server than Comcast did. I have a whole list of things that I need to put up there.
The bad part of doing a holiday letter online instead of on paper is that you can run on forever.