Tax Day 2020

Tax Day (-90) 2020

Snowmobiling in Iceland

It started out as a bucket list year! Shortly after last tax day, we headed to the airport for a trip Sarah arranged to Iceland. There were some issues with the Iceland air flight so our first planned day we actually spent at the Smithsonian's Dulles Air and Space Museum. But the flight did eventually get us to Reykjavik and back on our planned itinerary, though we missed the famous blue lagoon, planned as a recovery stop after arriving. We saw icebergs up close from a zodiac, rode snowmobiles over glaciers and found a very nice, less touristy hot spring lagoon to relax in. Along the way, the scenery really was otherworldly. (See

Sarah and Robert on Diamond Beach

Over summer break, we returned to Great Britain. We met Elle for the first week in London; it was great to have time to visit with her. The trip was planned to take Sarah's dad's ashes to Cambridge, where her family spent a magical year while Harry was on sabbatical. Robert, David and Elle loved the introduction to Cambridge, seeing the house Sarah's family lived in and trying out punting on the Cam — much harder than it looks. (See

Sarah and David behind Seljalandsfoss (photo by Robert)

In Scotland, we celebrated Robert's birthday with a birthday haggis and go-karting — drifting on a damp track in a go-kart is a lot of fun! We headed further north to the Orkney Islands as well, a bucket list item for David to recreate part of a trip he took with his parents decades ago. One fun moment for him, insisting we follow this one road while Sarah looked at the map and said it doesn't go anywhere, just a dead end. The dead end took us to the Brough of Birsay, a very cool tidal island with a causeway (at low tide), fantastically fun tidal pools and even puffins on the back side of island. (See

Brough of Birsay (photo by SZap)

Having enjoyed that international travel, and hoping to enjoy more, we had to renew Robert's passport. And that means getting out the lights for a photo. This time the kitties, really cats now, were less interested in having their portraits taken. But we did get a couple new photos. (See

Domestically, we drove to Ocracoke Island, where Loren and Susan recently bought a house. Our spring trip was for niece Kate's wedding. She and Sean put on a great party for their friends and family with weather on the island perfect for the event. (See

Brough of Birsay (photo by unknown)

In the fall, we headed down to Richmond and met up with David's brothers and sisters-in-law. The occasion was a sad one, the memorial service for family friend Martha. But we decided to call it the first of the "brothers' reunions" and continue the tradition that their father and his brothers started at about the same point in their lives. (See On the friends and family front, we enjoyed a visit with one of Sarah's classmates from Clark. Terry came down from Boston and gave us a great reason to try out a new, very nice restaurant on the DC waterfront.


For Thanksgiving we enjoyed visiting with the extended family on the Zapolsky side in the DC metro area. We spent Christmas with the Williams extended family around Atlanta — where Kate and Sean and Sally and Alex are landing after living out west and in the northeast respectively. Sam and Rachael drove in from Flagstaff and Steve, Helen and Aaron came down from North Carolina. (See

Happy Haggis birthday lunch (phonecam)

Robert is now a tenth grader; still enjoying all the options TC Williams has to offer as a large high school, and staying on the honor roll there. He has taken driver's education and he and David have been getting lots of driving practice in. The manual transmission car we purposefully tracked down to buy a couple years ago has made that a bit more challenging, but Robert is doing great (just keep your eyes open for a white Subaru when you come to visit us). Getting behind the wheel is clearly a bucket list item for Robert (Sarah and David are getting used to it).

Go-karting (photo by SZap)

Volleyball remains a high point of Robert's fall. And he's also enjoying working behind the scenes in the theater both at TC and in the community. We saw a great Beauty and the Beast put on by TC (with sets Robert worked on) and Frozen Jr. at a community theater where Robert was working as a stage manager. Last month, he was working on sets for TC's West Side Story show.

And that interest in theater was one reason we've been to a couple shows this year. The other being, they were really good shows! Dear Evan Hansen was extremely well done, and hard to watch at times. And My Fair Lady was a pure joy to experience.

Loren, David and Steve on the James (photo by SZap)

We've also been fortunate to enjoy a lot of good music over the past year: the Subdudes at the Birchmere to celebrate Sarah's birthday. Another great Birchmere show, Gaelic Storm, with friends from Robert's old school including Irish dancers Eleanor and Katherine, who found a spot to dance. And Sarah and David enjoyed a night out there to see Graham Nash just a couple weeks ago. We supported friends of friends, going to see Twenty20 in DC. And supported musicians directly with a couple Group Muse concerts in the addition that we are loving at home. Those are magical nights with friends over to enjoy a really special, intimate concert. (Thank you Sarah for discovering Group Muse and arranging the concerts.)

We've also been enjoying one of DC's new sports venues: Audi Field is much smaller than the Nationals stadium and we've enjoyed a couple Washington Spirit soccer games and even an XFL football game there. We'd love to see the Alexandria water taxi offer a connection this summer.

Robert and temporary license

Of course, with our interest in water, it wouldn't be a good year without some time on the Potomac in our fleet: David's canoe, Sarah's paddle board and Robert's inflatable kayak. And in other water news, we were able to get back to Assateague with the group who have been camping there over the Fourth of July for years. Having that ready access to fun water to play on has been a bucket list item for all of us.

Robert's serve (Photo by SZap)

We enjoyed our Ocracoke visit so much we decided to head back that way for spring break to help out a bit with the the cleanup and repair after the hurricane. Those plans changed. And the TC Williams production of West Side Story is on hold. We can't ignore the current state of affairs. The date for this tax day letter says -90 because of the filing deadline change. And the only way there would be an across the board 90 day extension to tax deadlines is if this really is a difficult time. So it is with trepidation and some fear for our family and friends that we close this year's letter. But also with hope and in the clear expectation that we are resilient and we will pull together and come through these difficult times; perhaps even come to find some small positives to counter-balance some of the negatives.

David, Robert and Sarah at Kate and Sean’s wedding (photo by Craig Leathers)

Stay well, stay safe and come visit whenever that's possible. Keep up with Sarah on Facebook ( or David on the blog (