December 1st, 2017 – 12:01am PST

Welcome back, friend! 😀

Thanks for holding on there, I know it’s been awhile since I’ve updated with another page from the story arc. For what it’s worth, I’m extremely thankful for everyone who reads and enjoys this comic, your feedback and critiques are invaluable (and I don’t say that lightly)!

It’s been an exciting couple of weeks! Thanksgiving was magical and glorious, plus my baby brother just bought a house, and I can’t WAIT to visit and remind him of all the things we said we wanted in a house when we were kids, like a giant aquarium with sharks, and a TV the size of an entire wall. Of course, these days you can just buy a projector, so I mean… it’s do-able, you know? The sharks though… that may be somewhat more tricky.

Long, long ago we were at… I think it was a PetsMart? Or maybe it was Wal-Mart, I’m not sure. Anyway, while we were there, I found myself looking at all the species of fish they had. In one cage, hovering like Harriers, were these weird, angular fish that looked JUST like miniature sharks. They were beautiful! They weren’t piranhas though, if that’s what you were thinking, but they did look menacing in a way I can’t do justice with words alone. You wouldn’t want to see swimming towards you, small or otherwise.

It just turned 12:01am here in Seattle, so it’s officially December! For me, that means a lot of things. It means boarding a flight, and it means soaring above the clouds towards the pan-shaped state that shaped me into the outlandish creature I am today. When I close my eyes, I can see it. I know what’s waiting.

Barbecue, meadows, Mexican food, arrowheads, Welsh Sheepdogs, blue skies, Braum’s Ice Cream, wooden rooms, tall windows, thick trees, beef jerky, familiar furniture, gingerbread men, silent nights, happy mornings, family stories, and… the view.

When you look out of the sunroom you see the front yard. The air conditioner unit continues spinning and whistling away not far from the window, while in the background a thick copse of trees surrounds the lake. It isn’t a view I see often, but when I do, it tells me I’m home.

Then there’s family.

Tall Kid is always tall. He can’t help it. He never *asked* to be taller than me, but that’s how it ended up. At this point I have to accept it and just hope we’re in the same nursing home and that he ends up in a wheelchair sooner than me (fingers crossed). When he was a kid, he had a giant collection of National Geographic binders which contained an absurd amount of animal related trivia. Now he’s a real life Zoologist, but if I asked, he’d still refuse to let me borrow the animal fact sheet on orangutans, because I “probably wouldn’t bring it back”. Pfft. I totally would.

The mothership will be there, of course. She won’t cook anything, but she’ll hang our Christmas stockings on the mantle, as she always does. At this point my stocking is thirty four years old. On the front, she knitted a mouse in a Santa outfit handing a cherry to a bird in a tree. Too bad she’s going to be swimming in dirty laundry by the time I leave. I won’t hang my towels up, I’ll just dry off and leave them in the closet, then I’ll complain that there are no clean towels and throw my mildew-y ones from the closet on top of her nice linens. After I leave, I’ll deny full responsibility. Someone else did it. Probably Tall Kid. It was Tall Kid the whole time.

Then there’s Mr. Richard. Solemn. Discerning. Perceptive. I’ve never managed to be eloquent and concise, though not for lack of trying. He cornered that market on that one, and I suspect he purposefully held on to that gene just to troll me a bit. He has a home office now, and I admit, it’s very… therapeutic. Peaceful. He has a small fridge out there, and I won’t hesitate to plunder it’s depths and guzzle down whatever I find within, whether it’s Mountain Dew or orange juice. I’ll blame someone else for that too, obviously. I’m thankful, of course. There was an attempt, long ago, to civilize my wayward heart. Rather then carefully examining the screwdriver set he gave me and using them to do something constructive, I simply poked holes in things. He tried.

Then there’s McSpiffy and MurderVan. They haven’t *officially* agreed to make an appearance, so I feel obliged to point out that by NOT coming they are directly contributing to terrorism, global warming, and inflation.

No matter how old he gets, I still gleefully remember the occasion that one of McSpiffy’s glue-based science projects got stuck to a couch cushion, which he carefully hid in the closet. Better yet, there was the time he wanted to make peppermint ice cream, so he microwaved a piece of peppermint candy in a bowl and hoped for the best. As it happened, the “best” was a hole in the bowl, and a weird smell that lasted for hours. A good attempt though, worthy of the praise, if not consumption.

I should clarify that, relatively speaking, MurderVan is new addition to the box set of Owen action figures. I don’t always know I’m being trolled at first. Not immediately. She’ll probably bitch because I still owe her some brownies, since she beat me in a match of Dr. Mario on an occasion where I foolishly made a wager. I have no definitive proof she cheated, but as you can guess, I have my suspicions. At the very least, she concocted some sort of muffin based performance enhancer and denied me a victory lap around the living room.

Back in the old days, you had to play a certain number of matches of Smash Brothers before you could unlock a character. At some point, after the completion of a match, the silhouette of the character would appear on screen, you’d be warned of an approaching challenger, and then you’d have to beat them in single combat. For some, such as those that played as Kirby, that was simple and easy. Simply swallow the new character, then walk off the edge of the stage. Done. For the rest of us, it meant a battle against an unfamiliar and unpredictable opponent. Yet again, the clock strikes zero, and another challenger will soon make an appearance. Tall kid seems to think highly of her, but we’ll see.

As I said, Christmas means many things to me. This year, however, it *doesn’t* mean eggnog. I’m trying to watch my figure, you see, and I just… I just *can’t* fit it in. It’s impossible. Six ounces of eggnog is… well, it’s brutal, I’ll leave it at that. Diets and eggnog go together like oil and water, but a million times worse, and turns me into a giant hog-man-beast who can’t move, much less function.