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My Christmas/Annual Newsletter--1995
by Brenda Kern 
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DATE: December 9, 1995
TO: Big Shot Movie Producer
RE: Making a movie of my 1995 life events

The following are several vaguely interesting things that have happened to me in the past year. Of course, in order to fill those theater seats, they'd have to be "punched up" a little--throw in a little suspense, action, romance, intrigue, etc. (There's already plenty of comedy).

In February I submitted a two part story on Easter to Focus on the Family magazine. I got a response back that they weren't interested in the first part, but that I should submit the second part again later in the year for consideration.

In mid-March I drove to a National Park with friends to go "tubing" (sliding down a hillside on snow on a large inflated tire tube). Upon arrival, we discovered that we had waited too long in the season, and there was no snow left! I call this my "non-tubing tubing trip." I also took a vacation where I went nowhere, did nothing. (I love that kind).

In May my VCR stopped recording on a timer, the main thing I used it for! So, I took it in to the Radio Shack in the mall for repair. Not a good plan, you'll see why when you read on. In late May I attended an outdoor (Fiddler's Green Amphitheater) concert (REM) during a strange cold snap. I shivered in the freezing rain with all of the high school aged kids around me and felt old.

Sometime in June I submitted a story about being a movie fan to a movie magazine that doesn't take unsolicited freelance manuscripts. I just did it on a lark. I've received no word back, not even a rejection, and I don't expect to. That same week in June I also submitted a short story to a Story magazine contest, and didn't win. It's the effort that counts, right?

On June 28 my building was hit by lightning (not my unit, but the condo 3 down from mine). It made a hole that looked like a bowling ball had gone through the exterior wall at the base of the upstairs. Inside, plaster from that wall flew across the room and embedded in books on the opposite wall. The heavy rain stopped the fire before it became serious (only insulation burned). The resulting power surge ruined my phone, answering machine, dishwasher, television, surge protector, and an outlet, and my roommate's phone. (My VCR was not affected, BECAUSE IT WAS STILL IN THE SHOP!!!) Later, an electrician was able to restore the outlet and dishwasher, but I had to replace the other things (and my insurance had a deductible, of course). Neighbors lost similar items; one neighbor lost a computer (ouch).

In July I took my standard vacation to Maryland/Pennsylvania, and bought a replacement phone and answering machine there. (I had already bought a replacement TV).

About 2 weeks after setting up my brand new phone, it stopped working. Just like that! And, just to make things interesting, my VCR came back from the stop in exactly the same condition as when I took it in. I took it BACK in, with a detailed written description of the problem attached. I was not happy with electronic objects by this time.

Also in August, I dropped a heavy wooden cutting board on my bare foot, corner first (it's a long story, just understand that it has to do with my own personal battle with klutziness). I didn't "officially" injure it (as far as I know--I never had X-rays taken), but I limped around for a while and experienced pain and swelling on the top of that foot for about a month.

In September I still had not gotten my VCR back from Radio Shack, and approximately 14 weeks had now passed since I had originally taken it in. They said they didn't "do" loaners, but I could buy a VCR and bring it back in within 30 days in good shape and in the original packaging and get a full refund. So, I did. (Try to ignore the big purple "SUCKER" stamp on my forehead). This VCR (#2) failed in 4 days. (A Radio Shack employee who also works with me at FOF inspected it at my home on my request, and assured me that I didn't do anything to it, the tuner had just gone out). So, I took it in and got the 100% refund, but still had no VCR. I was beginning to feel like the victim of some weird kind of curse. I wanted to have a VCR, so I bought one (VCR #3) SOMEWHERE ELSE. I have been happy with that one ever since. Ultimately, I told Radio Shack I didn't want my original VCR back, nor did I want to pay any more, AND I wanted a refund on the payments I had already made. Because the cost of the repairs by this time were going to "exceed the cost of the unit" (no kidding), they agreed, but gave me back my original anyway. Now I have 2--one perfect, and the other one does everything BUT record on a timer.

Meanwhile, my car was being bad, and I took IT in for Round 1 of the Fall Car Repairs.

A final goofy event for September. My furnace didn't come on when I "told it to" and I feared that it had broken down (considering everything, do you blame me?). My first solution to any electronic problem is to "jiggle it"--to try to jiggle any connections/chords involved.

Friends, this is NOT a recommended procedure.

I jiggled something that was "hot" with electricity in a big way, and got a wicked shock through my finger and hand, all the way up to my elbow or just beyond. It actually put a hole in my finger, and I felt funny twinges in my fingers, hand and elbow for about two weeks when I lifted things or moved just so. Oh--what became of the furnace? I called a couple I know, and the husband came over and determined that the pilot light had gone out over the summer, and we re-lit it. But, since the electrical shock I'd received made it kinda hard to think that evening, I didn't feel much embarrassment over my stupidity until later.

In October I submitted the half of the story (refer back to February) that FOF didn't want to the Nazarene magazine (The Herald of Holiness), and haven't heard back from them yet. I also resubmitted to the FOF magazine as requested, and that remains a maybe for printing around Easter next year.
I had to buy 4 new tires in Round 2 of the Fall Car Repairs. 10 days later the car was making an ominous rattling/thudding sound, and I took it back in. They had to tighten something, and helpfully informed me "Lady, you have a bad transmission leak, and you need to get that looked at. By the way, we don't do transmissions."

In November my garbage disposal stopped working, and I began praying for mercy with mechanical/electronic objects in my proximity. I got that repaired (a pop-top had gotten stuck down there, bummer).

I just know you're sitting on the edge of your seats waiting to hear about Fall Car Repairs, Round 3. I had a very bad transmission AND oil leak, and needed a bunch of repair (I won't even attempt to write exactly what, besides, it's too depressing). I got it back the day after Thanksgiving, and gave thanks that credit cards existed. This bill I'll likely be paying 'til I'm elderly. I also (FINALLY) bought another replacement phone the weekend after Thanksgiving.

If you're attempting to keep track (you brave soul), that's 2 TV's (the original and the replacement), 3 phones, 2 answering machines (actually 3, but never mind), 3 surge protectors (1 replacement for each room), 3 VCR's (with pretend repair in between), 1 dishwasher repair, 1 outlet repair, 1 garbage disposal repair, and numerous car repairs.

...And a partridge in a pear tree.

In December I've been busy planning 4 Christmas parties simultaneously, (exactly how did I become the "social director," I wonder?), and got word that I am to be an Auntie come August '96--Tina's pregnant!


Now, here's my movie pitch: It would be a spy drama. An evil organization, bent on conquering the world, tries to do so by controlling the earth's weather and electronic/mechanical objects. They cause no snow to remain for tubing and lightning to hit innocent condos. They also make life horrible for certain selected victims (maybe world leaders?) by causing appliances and cars to break down, stop functioning, or just plain collapse. (continuing need for replacements and car repairs would lead to nifty sequels...) Only one brave woman can save the world, but she is something of a klutz (that's the comedy element). Her super elite spy agency also sends in a male spy (behind her back), and they fall madly in love while saving the planet. Casting suggestions: Female Lead: Me. I was born to play this role. Male Lead: Keanu Reeves. (If he's unavailable, keep throwing money at him until he decides he IS available).


May your 1996 be ever so pleasant, and may electronic/mechanical objects be kind to you.

Your pal/relative


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