Christmas letter 2018

The Ravens
Apple Valley, CA 92307

December 2018

Dear friends,

We don’t mind telling you that 2018 was a rough year for us financially.

Our cash flow took a major hit in January when we closed escrow on that bank we bought. It was so bad at one point that the only thing we could offer a bum (who asked for 50 cents to buy food for his dog) was a free toaster for opening an account at any of our branches in London, New York City, Zurich, Singapore, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Beijing, or Abu Dhabi. We barely had the wherewithal to buy caviar and brie at the Australian Open.

Then for Valentine’s Day, Laura bought Greg a jet he’d had his eye on, but the seller forgot to mention it had the older PW-35 engines — you know how much Greg hates those things — and the update to the PW-55s wasn’t cheap. Fortunately, an aerospace museum in France was willing to pay a premium for the old PW-35s, so the upgrade costs were covered. They promised to pay all our expenses to attend the opening of the exhibit, but it turned out that we were on the hook for cover cab fare to and from the airport. Money down the drain.

While at the dentist in June, Greg came up with an idea for crunchy mint ice cream. We built a plant, hired a crew, and set up manufacturing, only to have the price of pumice go through the roof due to the demand for Kilauea volcano souvenirs. We were able to recoup our start-up costs by selling the idea to Ben & Jerry’s, but now we own this warehouse near the Atlanta regional hub that seems to be good for nothing except storing our huge collection of vintage automobiles and housing a walk-in Sturdy Safe vault for our guns and ammo.

When Laura wanted more peace and quiet, we reduced the staff from 6.5 days per week to three. But we still have to pay them their full wages! Most of them live in rentals we own, so we were able to mitigate our losses by raising their rents, but nevertheless …

In October, we had Ruckus Wireless revamp our wifi, and decided to install our own server farm and private VPN as long as we were at it, using some dark fiber we acquired from Google. Then, Edison started sending us daily warnings about how much electricity we were using. So while we were in Hungary to help them set up their new worldwide online payment processing system, we bought a suitcase nuke to allow us to go off the grid. We hauled it home on our plane to avoid customs, but the guy who did the installation gouged us like an extra $150 for some gizmo he said we needed to make the whole thing work right. By our calculations, it’s now going to take almost a year and a half for us to break even on that deal.

And don’t get us started on the fiasco of hiring someone to take our selfies for us.

To cap off everything, Greg forgot to take his lucky penny out of the pocket of a pair of pants we donated to the Salvation Army. Hope it brings more luck to the next person.

The Ravens