Monday, May 13, 2013

On This Date in 1998

We received your letter yesterday, Mom, and are happy to hear that you are feeling better.  Glad you enjoyed your Mother’s Day gift.  Since I ordered by phone, calling Ekey’s direct instead of using FTD or Teleflora through a Middleton florist, I have no idea what the arrangement of cut flowers looks like.

I bought JoAnna a necklace, a gold chain with a gold heart and a small stone of blue topaz.  We cooked out Sunday afternoon – chicken teriyaki kabobs, with mushrooms, onion, zucchini, green and red peppers, and tomatoes served on a bed of rice.  Steamed asparagus on the side.  The boys ate chicken and rice; Mom and Dad’s entrees bordered on vegetarian.  We gave up most of our meat since the boys still won’t’ eat their vegetables, at least not the stuff that we prepared.  Eddie will peel himself a carrot every now and then, and both boys will eat a side of peas or corn.  Pretty typical, huh?

Andy had his first baseball practice yesterday evening.  I was working so I wasn’t able to observe it.  The coach has tabbed Andy to be one of the starting pitchers.  On Sunday there are try-outs for a traveling baseball team, and, of course, Andy is interested in that.  It could turn out to be a full summer of baseball.  Eddie has already had two practices.  He’ll be playing in a coach-pitch league this summer.
Andy’s soccer team is doing quite well.  They played three games last week, winning two and tying the third.  The tie game was played on Friday evening in Mount Horeb, 10 miles west of here, against their most competitive opponent.  The other team scored a goal on a penalty kick in the last minute of the game.  Both boys have soccer games this evening.  JoAnna’s working, which means I won’t be able to see any of Andy’s game.  His team’s “home” field is 5 miles west of Middleton, at the Sunset Ridge Elementary School.  Eddie usually plays at a field just two blocks from the house.   The field where Andy used to play most of his games the past two seasons, land owned by the city, is being transformed into tennis courts.

JoAnna’s expecting to work late tonight.  The Senate Democrats plan to filibuster some cock-eyed bill that the Republicans want to pass.  She checked out a stack of books at the library last night – biographies of Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Andrew Jackson – to help with the effort.  Might as well read something educational as opposed to just spewing hot air.
Eddie has become quite the skilled rollerblader.  In fact, he skated to the library yesterday while JoAnna rode her bike.  He’s developed  very good sense of balance, which makes me wonder why he hasn’t been able to master riding a bicycle yet.  Probably because he hasn’t given the latter activity an all-out effort.  Monday evening Andy was pulling him on his bicycle, a version of roller-skating.  I expressed my concern, but didn't forbid the activity – just told them to be careful.  Andy they were.
We've had our new member of the family for a week now.  Boxer is a gray-and-white little furball, so tiny when we first got him he easily fit into my cupped hands, although he has definitely grown during the past 7 days.  He’s adjusted to his new surroundings very quickly.  He spent the first few nights with JoAnna and me, but we were both nervous about flattening him as we changed positions during the night.  Friday night it was almost like dealing with a newborn for all the sleep we got.  After that we decided to keep him in the utility room, closing the door so he couldn't escape.  For the past two nights, he has slept on the couch in the family room.  Gaining a sense of independence, I suppose. 

Our cat was kept in a box while JoAnna and Eddie drove him from the east side of Madison to Middleton last week.  Hence the name Boxer.  Initially, I thought we should have called him “Birdy”, since his “meow” was more like a “chirp”.  His voice has changed in the week that we've had him.  His coloring is almost evenly divided:  gray on the top (except for a white collar) and white on the bottom.  When I came home for lunch yesterday, I found what looked to be a completely gray cat.  Boxer must have been exploring the furnace area in the utility room, getting his pretty coat all sooty.  I gave him a quick rubdown with a damp washcloth, and JoAnna gave him a more thorough cleaning after she returned home from work.  I hope Boxer learned his lesson.  I suppose if the furnace had been on, the heat would have repelled his curiosity.
Boxer really likes his family, although he does seem to be especially partial to the adults.  Yesterday during my lunch, even after I had put a cold cloth to his body, he followed me around the house like a dog, practically begging for attention.  I didn't give him his usual strokes as I was afraid of dirtying the light clothes I was wearing.  Right now he’s playing with my feet, again trying to get my attention, letting out with a “meow” every now and then.   For a little guy, his claws are sharp.  We talked about getting him declawed, something we’d have Meaghan’s dad do since he’s a veterinarian.  I’d hate to come home some day and find that he’s torn up the furniture, especially the nice stuff we have in the living room.  Despite my reservation – the rest of the family had to lobby long and hard to get me to agree to having an animal in the house (I thought the boys were enough!) – I really enjoy having Boxer around.  In fact, we've even talked about getting him a playmate.  Two cats?!  Maybe I’ll have to think about that one a little bit more.
How are things going with Dad?  For the past year or so, I have wondered what would happen if he could no longer negotiate the stairs.  Wouldn't you have to move your bedroom downstairs?  That would probably mean transforming the dining room, which I supposed is not the most desirable prospect.  Dad couldn’t be left along during the night, could he?  Do you think at some point you’ll need to hire a nurse or attendant to provide home case on an occasional basis?  At what point would we have to consider a nursing home?  From our last phone conversation, it sounded like Dad took a decided turn for the worse as far as basic motor skills are concerned, which is why all these questions are foremost in my mind.
You’ll recall that within the past month, I was bemoaning the conditions of the lawn.  My “doctoring” in the back yard has yielded tremendous results.  The large bare spot, the former whiffleball and kickball diamond of summers past, is now a lush green carpet.  Since then I’ve done some patching in the front yard and think that I’ll tackle the entire job myself.  My procedure is to loosen the soil with a rake, spread topsoil, mix in a nitrogen and phosphorous-rich fertilizer, and then sprinkle a liberal amount of grass seed, which is mixed into the soil.   I water on a daily basis, unless it rains, of course.  Now that we have most of our flowers in, the yard has been transformed into something I can be proud of again.  For the past two years, I’ve experienced a major case of the spring blahs when observing the fallow condition of the yard.  That feeling quickly disappears once it comes alive with new plant growth and color.  The yellows and reds of the daffodils and tulips are first.  Then the deepening green of the perennials and grass.  Now the splash of color provided by the annuals we've planted – mostly impatiens, pansies, and coleus.  I just wish we had more time to take in and enjoy the results of all the work we have put into our yard.
It’s not even 7 a.m. yet.  I woke up at 3:30 this morning unable to fall back asleep.  Since I felt rested, I decided to get an early start to the day.  I did my Walkfit, read the New York Times, played with Boxer, and have just completed this letter.

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