We actually had a sort of "early Christmas" for the kids this year, since there will be a lot of traveling -- first to see relatives, and then to relocate to Florida -- that last week of December.
Liam added a Nintendo 3DS to his collection of gaming machinery, and will probably get a piece of software added to his game-creation setup (he wants to port his GameMaker games to Android in time for the Ouya launch).
Daniel got a tattoo rig (two guns with the assorted barrels, tips, needles, rubber bands, etc. and ink and so forth) and a one-year extension to his Xbox Live membership. The only thing he's tattooed so far are grapefruits, but it won't be long before I get one of my presents, probably on the back of my left shoulder.
I won an online contest and got a piece of jewelry for Tamara -- flamingo earrings. I've hinted to her that I'd like a pith helmet for myself, seeing as how we are moving to the jungle.
Which brings me to the tie-in: We are looking at a mix of possible future residences.
My preference is to either live right in downtown Gainesville (so that Tamara is minutes from work and everything we might possibly need is right there) or way out in the sticks (so that we aren't surrounded by busybodies and the kids can be a lot more "free range"), preferably the latter. None of this suburban stuff. That's the worst of both worlds -- you have to drive to get any place, but you don't have any privacy or room to roam.
I've noticed that the most affordable country places all seem to be waterfront or close to waterfront on various lakes, creeks and rivers -- the opposite of most places, where waterfront commands a premium.
Maybe it's just paranoia, but my theory concerning that backward pricing structure comes down to one word: Alligators. I've come across numerous variants of:
Q: "Are there gators in [that body of water]?"
A: "It's Florida, isn't it?"
So I'm thinking that the "Christmas present for the whole family" this year might ought to be a gun in larger caliber than my old .22 bolt-action rifle. Anyone got any recommendations from a reptile defense perspective? I've been leaning toward an old Mosin-Nagant, just because I've always wanted one, but I could see the virtues of a shotgun or a .40 or .45 pistol over a long, unwieldy rifle.