Christmas 2000 Letter
Was Y2K overhyped? No way!

      Y2K was a real battle, but we won it. At one site, our product passed extensive Y2K tests but the testing was interrupted several times, for days at a time, by Y2K failures in other companies' products. If those faults had not been found and fixed in advance, that site would have been closed for most of January 2000. This was serious stuff!

      In the end the world scraped by, but not as painlessly as you might think from the media silence. About a third of all businesses had a Y2K failure! Most of these were in systems that had not been tested because they were less critical. One of our banks could not process deposits for several days after Feb 29, a known Y2K failure date.

Special events and experiences:

Alan: Won an award as top employee of the quarter, for leading a project developing new quality control software.

Kathy: Produced two CDs, one of Hispanic worship music and one of favourite Christmas songs.

Peter: Made two vacation trips, one to the Cornerstone Festival in the US, the other to a wedding in Saskatchewan.

Monica: Formed the Maenads - a women's Celtic music group, joined two country bands, and played at festivals.

Paul: Drove all the way to the Yukon on his vacation, experiencing small-town Canada first-hand.

Michelle: Auditioned and was accepted into Pianos Galore, a spring 2001 concert by 16 pianists on 8 pianos.

Greetings, friends and relatives around the world!
Alan & Kathy Chattaway

Christmas 2000: Well, Y2K came and went and hopefully everyone drew the right lessons. Far from being overhyped (see box), the reality is that when faced with a serious problem coming on a definite date, people did what it took to prevent it - much like the people in Ch. 3 of Jonah in the Old Testament.

Now our family news. 2000 gave us enough excitement for two years!

January: Kathy's brother Peter Sawatzky and his wife Helen left for Paraguay, where Peter was asked to teach science, math and computing for a year in the community where he and Kathy grew up. Peter & Helen suggested we visit Paraguay while they were there!

February: Alan went to Aspenworld, his firm's triennial conference, in Orlando, Florida. For chairing a session and signing up all his speakers before the deadline, he won a companion ticket, a preferred room, and tickets to SeaWorld. So while Alan demonstrated software, Kathy relaxed by the pool. SeaWorld was wonderful, and we also visited Universal Studios and Medieval Times, where we watched knights jousting on horseback while we ate with our fingers from rough pewter plates.

March: Onkel Peter and Tante Melita visited us from Germany, and we attended Uncle Henry and Aunt Susan's golden (50th) wedding anniversary.

April: The transmission in Alan's car failed (at 7 years, 250,000km) on Kathy's birthday, just after he crossed the border on his way home, so he was an hour late for our dinner date! Kathy's clan met to celebrate Easter at the home of Kathy's brother Henry and his wife Selma. Kathy videotaped the graduation recital of Colin Balzer, a tenor married to our niece Marlene. Michelle played her compo­sitions at the Douglas College student composer's recital.

May: Kathy organized a Youth & Family campout for the youth group of the Hispanic church she has worked with.

June: Dave & Sharon Esau, missionary friends from Spain, visited Canada and made our spare room their HQ. Kathy set up a water balloon fight for the Hispanic Church youth group; of course, everyone got soaked!

July: We visited Osoyoos, a resort town in Canada's only desert, with Kathy's brother Jakob, his wife Linda, and two nieces from Germany. Both nieces went paragliding over the lake. Kathy accompanied our church youth group on a three-week trip to Mexico, where they ministered in poor areas outside Tijuana, living under difficult conditions and learning what life is like in much of the world.

August: Kathy returned from Mexico. We held a "braaivleis" (barbecue) for anyone in this area who had lived in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). It was fun watching people who had never met before discover connections like "your cousin used to repair my car!"

September: We camped on Hornby Island over the Labour Day weekend. The Hispanic Church moved away, and Kathy said goodbye after being their pianist and youth worker for the past five years. We volunteered at the Mennonite Central Committee annual festival and relief sale, which raised a record $500,000 for charity. The roof and sidewalks of our house were repaired.

We also visited Paraguay. We had a rough start as Kathy reacted to our anti-malaria medication, but the Mennonitenheim in Asuncion took care of us and soon we were in the "Chaco" region visiting Peter & Helen as well as Kathy's other brother Anton and his wife Neti, their son Peter and his wife Renate, and Kathy's many other relatives and old school friends there. We loved staying on Anton & Neti's farm with the chickens, cows and songbirds. We attended a special barbecue for Kathy's 80 closest relatives. Peter and Alan visited campesinos at a beautiful lake north of the Mennonite area. We are very grateful to Tante Anna Thiessen for lending us her car during our visit.

October: Alan returned from Paraguay, but Kathy stayed another week to visit the Iguazu falls and Itaipu dam with Neti. On October 31 we enjoyed a great fireworks show from Paul. He built an interface that lit each firework on command from a computer, so he fired them from a notebook computer 10m (30 feet) away, with no pauses between each firework and the next - much more fun.

November: Kathy returned to her piano studies after a three-year absence.

December: Alan and Monica worked on a special project for Christmas. Since this is going out before Christmas we can't say more than that, but it was challenging and fun.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Page last modified 2000-12-12
Copyright © 2000 Alan & Kathy Chattaway, All Rights Reserved
Site design and server administration by Paul Chattaway