It feels like we’re sprinting to the finish line of the school year. Not that I’m in any particular hurry to get there. The boys probably are, though. For Andy, it will mean no homework for three months. For Mom and Dad, it will provide a temporary respite from tense confrontations over late and incomplete assignments.
Tonight JoAnna reminded me to check Andy’s assignment notebook, right after he told us he had finished everything he was supposed to do. But when I reviewed his assignments item by items, I found out otherwise. As a result, I made him sit at the kitchen table and complete the work he had previously blown off. For the past hour, he’s been working on a crossword puzzle that uses vocabulary from a list of words in a science glossary. He should have been able to complete it in 15 minutes, but initially he had trouble getting focused. He had to sharpen his pencil. He needed a drink of water. Then he was going to have a bowl of ice cream. I quickly vetoed that last idea. Even when he returned to the table, he seemed unable to concentrate, a blank expression on his face, then a hint of stubbornness spreading across it. In our bedroom, I shared an idea with JoAnna. Andy’s weekend doesn’t start on Friday until his homework for Monday is done. No TV. No playing with friends. No pizza delivery. No videos. One of Andy’s problems is that he won’t tackle an assignment until the day before it’s due, even if it’s assigned a week in advance. I’m trying to get him to see the advantage of completing an assignment early.
Eddie seems to be making great progress as a result of his special reading classes. He had some homework tonight, and, taking a cue from his brother, initially resisted the idea of doing it. He read five little stories to us (“Sam has ham” – simple words used repetitively). He was able to sound out all the words without our assistance.
JoAnna spent Saturday evening and Sunday in Two Rivers with her parents. She made a presentation Sunday afternoon to the Two Rivers HistoricalSociety on the Richard family history. Outside of the special election, that was her big project during the past few months. She was expecting somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 people to show up. Almost 200 attended! Her family tree goes back to Acadia. French-Canadian. She has found a lot of information on the Internet, and I ordered her a couple of books on Acadian history from the State Historical Society library. We’ll have to remember to bring along some of her research this summer.
In two more weeks, I’ll be done with my class at the University. I won’t be teaching again in the fall, since UW has a policy that a “hired gun” like myself can only teach the same course two semesters in a row. It’s been a great experience. I feel honored to have been given this opportunity and very pleased with the feedback I have received from students and faculty.
I started the annual spreading of the mulch. This year I ordered 7 cubic yards of shredded bark, up one from last year. I started with the front yard on Saturday, a gorgeous day to be outdoors, which helped me to tackle the project with an extra dose of enthusiasm. I removed some sod next to the evergreen trees at the north end of our lot, the mulch I spread here giving this area some much-needed definition. It also helps to downplay the lawn blight. It rained in Sunday so I wasn’t able to get started on the south side of the house, where no grass is found and a variety of perennials soak up the sun all summer long. It did clear up by late afternoon, but by that time I was determined to finish the books I was reading (TheWishbones, a funny first novel by Tom Perrotta, 1990s New Jersey slice of life – a book that I bet Dale would enjoy reading). Then after supper, the boys and I walked to a nearby ball diamond where Andy practiced his pitching (he hopes to be one of the starting pitchers on his baseball team this summer.
Saturday night I took the kids (the boys + Meaghan and Nick) to see Paulie, a movie about a talking parrot, one who doesn’t just mimic what he hears people say, but actually has a mind (and a vocabulary) of his own. It’s a cute family film, although I must admit I found it a little sluggish and treacly at times. With the weather so lousy on Sunday, I thought we might take in another movie, but Andy was with Nick and Meaghan for most of the day, and Eddie was at a friend’s house for three hours during the afternoon. Dad ended up home alone, stretched out on the couch of the living room, reading his book, enjoying the solitude.
Last week I turned off the furnace but fired it up tonight. The temperature was 43 degrees when I woke up this morning, the wind chill at 20. Tonight it’s supposed to get even colder. Glad I didn’t try to plan anything this weekend. There are a few areas of the yard where I’d like to fill in some open space with perennials. I usually don’t even think about planting annuals until the Mother’s Day weekend, although some people around here will say wait until Memorial Day. I can never wait that long.
I noticed the obituary for Levina Karlson. Did you go to her funeral, Mom? I was thinking of sending a memorial to the church. I always associate city chicken with Levina, probably because it was one of the meals she served us at their house on Sixth Avenue.