Thursday, January 25, 2007

The State of the Household Address

My fellow householders. I come to you tonight to report on the state of the Martin household. Although 2006 was a year of unprecedented challenges, I am proud to report that 2305 Samuel Drive is stronger than ever.

Thanks to the financial stewardship of yours truly, we weathered the uncertainties in the economy. By maintaining my famous low profile at work, I avoided last July’s layoffs. And, despite historically low productivity levels, fortune smiled on me as I received an unexpected negotiated pay increment.

In view of the unsettled economic climate, some infrastructure improvements at 2305 Samuel Drive had to be cancelled or delayed. Unlike the heady times of 2000 when we acquired a new bed, fridge and roof, plans for new kitchen cupboards and a new dining room table had to again be put on hold. The outlook for future bathroom renovations is cautiously optimistic.

Provision of utility services presented a mixed picture in 2006. As you all know, the wild fluctuations in oil prices caused some uncertainties in the Martin household budget. But thanks to my wife Cheryl’s fortuitous switch of long distance telephone providers, overall losses were minimized. We are investigating long term contracts for electricity and heating oil to provide greater price stability.

Despite my pledge not to touch our retirement security funds, as you know, I felt compelled to switch $10,000 to a high tech mutual fund in April of 2000 when the NASDAQ had fallen to 3200. All I can say is "my mistake." The good news is that we still have most of the $6,000 capital loss realized in that year to carry forward for future use.

On the growth front, eleven-year old Sarah’s demands for a sibling unfortunately had to be refused. However, in order to placate her and to allay increasing parental guilt, a long-delayed commitment to dog ownership was finally realized in May of 2005. Some critics have noted that a second child would have been less expensive but I have reluctantly agreed that it is too early to make a final determination on that score.

As for external affairs, our usual placid relations with our neighbors to the east and west were tested. After the change in ownership at 2303 Samuel Drive, there was much upheaval along our eastern border. Luckily, protracted negotiations resulted in a mutually satisfactory fence extension. The situation along the western property line will continue to be monitored as 2307 Samuel Drive now has unreasonable expectations of a jointly financed replacement of the existing 30-year old fence.

In conclusion, I am pleased to report to all Martin householders that the future looks bright. Despite the turbulent uncertainties of the new economy, we can look forward to everything from a new lawnmower to a new TV in the coming year. And if we play our cards right, we may even make it to Disney World. God bless America.

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