The Year in Review
You know those boring, annoying annual family summaries that some people send along with their Christmas cards? Well, here’s our version all about the Emerald Lakes family, every bit as annoying, but perhaps a teensy less boring.
Merry Christmas, one and all. This is your dear cousin Emmy (as in Emerald Lakes, get it?). It’s the most wonderful time of the year and all, so I thought I would sit down and remind you of all the fun we have had this past year.
Our annual family reunion at the Pocono Mountain West High School went as well as could be expected; which is to say it was embarrassing. It started when one of the twins (who can tell them apart?) complained that having to put her ballots into two different boxes was really hard and she didn’t think that our family was smart enough to handle such stringent requirements. When we were done laughing, we got to vote, but nothing was passed. Nothing. After spending three years rewriting our bylaws so they don’t force the board to break the rules by requiring them to travel back in time each year to present a budget to the family in August that has to be passed in May, the very few folks that showed up said the new rules weren’t any good because they got cooties on them when some unsavory person touched them. Also, the extended family that can’t show up to vote weren’t there to vote that they can mail-in their votes, so the meanies that did show up made sure there won’t be mail-in votes so they’ll never be able to vote. Guess they showed who’s boss here.
There was a changing of the guard this year, with Lola Lollipop’s hubby, Bobby deciding to step away from the fighting at the table at the end of his term, and later, Red Sox Johnny C stepping down too. They were replaced by Dapper Dan G. and the talkative, but lovable, Margie F. We all look forward to seeing what kind of mark these two will leave on our fair family’s business dealings but, with the holidays, they haven’t had much of a chance to work. You know, between Labor Day and New Year’s, there is just no time to actually do anything.
There have been big doings at the Community Center this year. When the ratty carpeting became one big stain instead of hundreds of smaller stains, we finally got new tile flooring installed. There were fights, with some insisting that mold was a lovely shade for a carpet, but they got the new beige floor in just in time for the Haunted House folks to bleed all over it. They had crazy clowns chopping up bodies for the entertainment of parents who love to watch their kids pee in their pants. It’s a great service these folks provide; for the rest of the year when the kids get out of line one only has to say “the clowns won’t like that.” and the kids will walk straight and narrow without argument (although a few are still wetting the bed). Anyway, for the maybe twenty days a year when we actually have more than five people in the dining room, this floor is an investment that will probably go paying for itself indefinitely.
We were all very worried and excited when crazy Joanne found oil in the well, but after everyone in the world looked at all the wells around her place and found it nowhere else, I figure someone probably got mad at her for one of her late night, spirits-induced rants and just dumped a can of Valvoline’s finest directly into the pump. Which is a good thing, because we really don’t want all the wells around here tested. Word might get out and our property values could plummet. (I prefer bottled water anyway, don’t you?)
The fight against fun has continued throughout the year, with some of our family members taking their noise complaints to mom and dad at the board. They were mad because some people partied on Summer nights. Oooh. Partying in the Summer? We’ll put a stop to that! Since they don’t have any fun friends like that, they don’t think any of us should be allowed to have them over or laugh and dance to music. After listening to both sides, our esteemed Patriarch Al told us all that he didn’t see anything and couldn’t prove anything, so no one would be punished, but we can be sure that he will make sure the babysitters at Public Safety keep an eye on things over there. The Aunties were smirking, and I guess they are going to be looking for anything they can find to keep the noise down over there. In the meantime, Mean Old Millie (MOM) got her friends at Rules and Regs to pass a “no loitering” rule, just to make sure everyone is in bed before dark. Don’t get caught outside after dark, or you may get in big trouble! And while we’re at it, if you have something to say, you better say it here and not on a sign on your lawn, because they also passed a rule about signs. In fact, I am a little worried about my “Merry Christmas” sign. Technically, it’s against the rules, isn’t it? Oh, but wait, signs are okay if they say things that the Aunties like. It’s only bad if it personally offends them. You see, that’s the problem with the fight against fun; it’s only enforced against the family members that the older generation doesn’t like.
As for this blog, most of you know by now that crazy Uncle Buz and Lola Lollipop have been writing like crazy. MOM and Auntie Carmen got a bee in their bonnets and decided that they were talking waaaay too much about things they would rather forget and and that people were better off not knowing so, after trying enough times, they finally got a couple of the boys on the board to make a rule about the paper only telling their side of any story. Since Uncle Buz and Lola Lollipop just don’t ever know when to shut up, they decided that the board could keep its silly little paper, and they would finally step out of the dark ages and write to you all online. It seems to be working out pretty well, too, because they can talk everyday now, instead of waiting two whole months for the paper to be published.
Speaking of our little family’s online presence, let’s talk about the new website purchased with the TOPS system for more than $10,000. This little beauty is supposed to do everything. Billing, accounts, property records, newsletter, website, probably even the laundry, who knows? This amazing piece of electronic wizardry managed to … well, there is a website now. Many of us remember the good old days, when we used Cousin Leon’s website. Of course, it was free, and you get what you pay for, right? Leon’s website had lots of news and pictures, it was updated daily, and questions were answered promptly. It had an easy to read format for finding information on events, committees, and board actions. It even had contact numbers for the staff and the board. Yessir, cousin Bob did a bang-up job. So, of course, they fired him. Then they tried launching their brand new TOPS website. And the very first thing it did was publish all the names, addresses, home and work phone numbers and email addresses of every single member. Whoops. It’s been about five months since they launched the new website, and well, let’s just hope the other parts of the system work a little better than the website module. It should be working like they promised any day now.
We celebrate all the holidays here in Emerald Lakes, just not the way most families do. There’s Independence Day (no fireworks, of course, that would be fun), Veteran’s Day (there was a lovely memorial wreath put out for 5 minutes to commemorate the occasion, but it had to be taken in so it wouldn’t be stolen), and Halloween. Now on Halloween we don’t trick or treat; we trunk or treat. In theory it’s a great idea. Kids go to the Community Center parking lot and generous townfolk open their treat-filled trunks to the costumed kids. It’s supposed to be for two hours, but what happens is that the early arrivals just keep circling the lot endlessly, going back again and again and filling their greedy little bags until all the treats are gone. It generally takes about 20 minutes. And then there’s nothing left for the later arrivals. Oh well. But this year, we are doing Christmas right. Christmas caroling at the Main Entrance. (Just don’t stay too long, or you will get fined for loitering!) On December 22 from 1 to 3, Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit the Community Center and the children will perform in a play called “Help Santa Save Christmas”. You should all come so we can talk about the ones that don’t show up.
‘Till next year,
Merry Christmas from Aunt Emmy and the Emerald Lakes Free Press!
Beaching and Boating: By the Weather or By the Calendar?
by Buz Whelan
Sunday, September 8, 2010. The temperature between late morning and late afternoon ranges between 81 and 84 degrees. The sun is shining brightly and the blue sky is dotted with a few puffy white clouds. The lake water temperature is in the mid-70s. We’re just one week from the middle day of the Labor Day weekend. It’s a perfect day for sunbathing, swimming and boating. But there is not a soul on the beach during the entire day, and not a boat on the lake. What’s going on? Is the calendar so powerful that once we pass that unofficial final weekend of the summer, no matter what the weather is, summer activities are over? We’ve gone back to school and back to work and that means no more summer fun, even on days off. That’s the way it seems, doesn’t it?
The funny thing is, that doesn’t seem to work on the other end, the beginning of the summer season. Remember the unusual hot spell last April, when we had two weekend days with the temperature hovering near 90? Even though the water was an icy 60 degrees, folks were wading and even swimming in the chilly water. Apparently, we can’t wait to get summer started, but we are not at all reluctant to let it end before it has to.
I make these observations because I live directly across the lake from Pine Tree Beach. While there may not be anything profound here, it’s interesting to me to note the difference in the way people view vacation-type activities pre- and post-season.