Formerly known as "Cruzers in Korea"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rerun #2

Tuesday, November 25, 2008 0
Hello Family, Friends and People of the Internet,

Since I haven't had time to blog and will once again be out of pocket for the next couple of days, I am posting another rerun. Here's the annual Cruz letter from January 2007. Enjoy!

Dear Family and Friends,

We know this letter is really late and that my prediction from last year of Saban leading the Dolphins to the Superbowl probably won’t materialize. Anyway, Feliz Ano Nuevo from Miami! I know you didn't ask for an update on the Cruz household, but like those annoying stock recommendation and mortgage refinancing spam emails, you're gonna get one anyway. In the last year, Carol and I dug ourselves out of the snow piles of Newport, Rhode Island and landed in the blistering heat of south Florida. We hope you are living la vida loca in your own version of tropical paradise. Just in case you didn't know, the worst places in the country for traffic accidents are Jersey City, NJ and Miami, FL. So what happens on my first day of house hunting in Miami? Some guy smashes into my rental car. This guy must've been thinking, "well, I saw this in a cartoon once – I think I can do it." Long story short - wasn't my fault but I got sued anyway and the guy gets $50,000 of insurance money. I felt like the new James Bond, naked and sitting in that chair with no seat, waiting for another hit on the danglers. Go see "Casino Royale" for the full effect. Awesome movie by the way. If they would've added a couple of very corny scenes to that movie, they could've named it "Casino Royale with Cheese." Go see "Pulp Fiction" for the full effect. I digress.

We ended up buying a house, site unseen. Little did I know that the lake behind this house would forever change my life. Because of this lake, I discovered the meaning of life - FISHING! I am hooked! The difference between crack cocaine and fishing is that you can quit crack. Matter of fact, I'm questioning my own judgment right now because I'm wondering why I'm writing this letter when I could be fishing. For those of you that haven't fought a nice large mouth bass, you don't know what you're missing. My lovely bride is doing great as usual. Every now and then Carol surprises me by straightening out her curly hair. She looks totally different with the straight locks - so much so that I feel like I'm cheating. Who is this stranger I’m getting down with? Carol stays extremely busy as the family CEO. I have great respect for all you stay-at-home moms out there. Carol reminds me how her life is ruled by poop. Every day it's changing poopy diapers and picking up Fred's poop in the yard. She also makes sure that Jake gets his daily prune intake otherwise he won't produce good poops. Not to mention CJ's newest habit of forgetting to flush the toilet after he drops the kids off at the pool. Nothing a few good beatings won't fix.

Speaking of our non-flusher, CJ's doing fantastic. Star Wars, superheroes, books, Legos and just recently, his teddy bear, are this 8 year old's favorite things. CJ's not on the honor roll but he beat up an honor roll kid the other day. Kidding of course. The kid he beat up was only a "C" student. Of course CJ is on the honor roll - he's a CRUZ! He recently overcame a major hurdle. For the first time ever, he was able to watch the scene from "Return of the Jedi" where Darth Vader removes his helmet. No more running out of the room when that scene comes on. It was actually anti-climactic for CJ to see a pasty British white guy underneath that evil black helmet.

Jake is doing well too. What an awesome baby. According to the doctor, Jake hasn't gained a single ounce in 8 months. I'm sure the doctor's office made absolutely zero errors with their highly accurate, balls-on weighing procedures. Just look at the kid. He's a chunk of lead. Not sure about Jake adding on pounds but I've definitely witnessed him getting rid of a few. It’s like looking into the eye of the sun. The latest issue is that Carol thinks Jake is a little cross-eyed. No way was my reaction. That is until this lady behind us in a Wal-mart line pointed out to us that Jake is cross-eyed. Who did she think she was? An ophthalmologist? Turns out she was. So he’s a little cross-eyed. Not a big deal. Nothing a few good beatings won't fix.

So what big event was worthy enough to mention in the annual Cruz Holiday letter? Since I was on the poop topic earlier, I might as well continue with that theme. We love having company. This summer, we had ten family members staying at the house for an incredibly fun visit. Along with the ten people comes the heavy demand on the toilet. Eventually, the showers, sinks and toilets all started to bubble and finally back up. What a nightmare! Those disgustingly graphic dismemberment scenes from these new scary movies are nothing compared to the terror of the water slowly rising in that backed-up toilet bowl, the unsavory contents of the bowl about to plummet gruesomely onto the floor. The horror! The plumbers eventually came out and dug a huge hole in my driveway in order to get to the main sewer line. A professional team of city workers descended upon the house with their heavy machinery and did a bang up job but we were still without water for about 3 days. So what does the Cruz family do? Make bathroom runs to the nearby Best Buy, wash dishes and our hair outside with the garden hose and most importantly, laugh it all off. The visit was still a ball. The older I get, the more I realize that the best friends you can possibly have are the same folks you grew up with - family. Have a great year everyone and come visit if you can!

With love,

Chris, Carol, CJ, Jacob and Fred
Even this major plumbing problem couldn't keep the Cruz's down!
One of my big discoveries in Miami - I love fishing!

We'll write more when we get back from our family trip to Hong Kong. Until then, take it easy - C2

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My Not-So-Little Bro

Saturday, November 1, 2008 5

This blog entry is dedicated to my younger brother, Lee, and all the other hard-charging Special Forces guys out there on the tip of the spear doing the tough jobs. Lee had the movers pack up his stuff the other day in Fayetteville, North Carolina for yet another military move. He's on his way to San Antonio, Texas to begin the next phase of his Army career. Because of his strong record, Lee recently got picked up for a highly competitive special program where upon completion of his training, he will become a Physician's Assistant. He will also be commissioned as an officer in the US Army. You go Lee!

This will be quite the change from jumping out of airplanes, going on dangerous patrols and dodging bullets. After multiple deployments to Afghanistan, God was undoubtedly watching over my bro.

Lee is in the middle of this picture. He was the Medical Sergeant on his Special Forces team. A big part of Lee's job was distributing medication and treating the local Afghan folks with their medical problems. Somehow, those type of stories don't make it in the newspapers.

Notice Lee's valiant attempt to grow a moustache and beard in order to blend in with his desert environment. I am also cursed with that Fu Manchu style of facial hair growth.

Living in the desert and still smiling!

Here is Lee with all of his "flair" on. He recently got selected for E-8. It'll be a quick stint as E-8 since he'll be getting commissioned as an officer soon. That's another big transition for Lee - enlisted to officer. The change from eating MREs (meals ready to eat) to tea and crumpets might be a little taxing on his digestive system.

A rare treat - Lee home for the holidays! Mom and Lee are standing in front of my sister Darby's Christmas tree. Side note - Here's how Darby buys her Christmas tree every year. She tells the guy, get me the biggest tree you have on the lot. If you're gonna be a bear, be a grizzly!

I'm thinking one of the best things with Lee getting picked up for this program is getting some well-deserved normalcy in his life, at least for a little while. As many of you know, the military life is challenging with all of the moves, deployments and family separation. Lee, I hope you're able to squeeze in a lot of normalcy in San Antonio - like more football and more fishing.

Speaking of football, this is from Lee and Beanie's visit to Miami where we saw the Cowboys play the Dolphins. Although for me, watching the Dolphins get pounded was like getting a pine cone shoved up my butt backwards, it was still an awesome time because my Cowboy fan brothers enjoyed it so much. The video clip is the post-game celebration/mourning, depending on which team you rooted for. Keep in mind that this game was in Miami. Click on the video to get the full effect.

Lee and I are both freshwater fishing fanatics. Some of my best memories in Miami are me and Lee catching fish in the lake in my backyard. Here's Lee catching his first Peacock Bass. I'm thinking one of Lee's biggest challenges in San Antonio might be to put the fishing pole down and hit the books instead.

Another side note. Ladies out there, what do you think about this idea from Lee? Instead of the crude, neanderthal-style bachelor party, Lee is thinking of doing a bass fishing gala with the boys in lieu of the whole stripper pole, clear high heels and lapdance thing. It'll be a Basstravaganza. I can't wait! This could be the start of a national trend.

Lee, the family couldn't be prouder of you. We know you'll do great with your studies and the next phase in your career. We wish only the best for you and Cathy. I know you'll miss your days as an SF soldier. Having flown what was probably my last tactical Navy flight, I might have an inkling of what you're going through. We're all grateful you made it back in one piece. Many can't say the same. I don't know what our country would do without men like you. Proud to be your bro - Chris
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