Saturday, June 1, 2013

On This Date in 1998

June is off to a gorgeous start. A cloudless sky, a bright sun, and a very comfortable temperature. As a result, the little boy in me yearns to heave only three more days of school left and nothing to do this summer but play. But I can’t, and neither do I want, to turn the clock back that far. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy that time of my life. Quite the contrary. I can remember being around Andy’s age and playing one game of waffle ball after another or spending most of the day – morning, afternoon, and evening – at Beaty Field, where we had a choice of activities: tether ball, box hockey, softball, kickball using the pavilion as the diamond, checkers and chess (for the more sedentary), or just hanging out on the tree-lined path along the Conewango Creek. Few kids experience that type of unstructured vacation nowadays.

Larry and Alice spent the weekend with us so we could help them celebrate their 42nd wedding anniversary. Early Friday evening, we enjoyed the beautiful weather by sitting on the patio and talking. Around 6:30, our conversation was interrupted by the high-decibel screeching of a gang of crows. The noise brought many of our neighbors outside. Instead of going out to eat, I picked up some fish fry at Crandall’s. Later in the evening, we visited Scott’s rooftop garden on the near east side of Madison, site of the 70s theme party JoAnna and I attended a couple weekends ago, and watched the sesquicentennial fireworks over Lake Mendota. Seven stories from ground level afforded us a great unobstructed view.

I worked on Saturday for the first time in three months. I’m no longer in the regular rotation, but I do fill in for vacation and emergencies and had agreed to do so on the 30th more than a month ago. With one staff member out of town to attend her brother-in-law’s funeral, I couldn’t make a last-minute substitution. 

Grandma and Grandpa Richard didn’t get to see much of Andy. He spent all day, except for a two-hour afternoon baseball practice at his friend Rex’s house, where he had a sleepover that night. (JoAnna and I overruled our previous dictum: no sleepovers until the end of school.) Eddie had a baseball practice Saturday morning, and during the afternoon, JoAnna and her dad attended a Civil War re-enactment at Camp Randall, just south of the UW campus. Eddie refused to go, so Grandma stayed home with him. He was in somewhat of an ornery mood, mostly due to a runny nose. We wonder if he might have allergies.

We went out to Smoky’s, Madison’s premier steakhouse, Saturday evening. Sometimes the wait for a table here—the restaurant doesn’t take reservations -- is excruciatingly long, but we were seated within 10 minutes of our arrival. In the mood for a major feast, I ordered the 20-oz. T-bone. Larry was the only one who finished his steak. He ordered a small tenderloin. Our leftovers provided us with one part of the following day’s breakfast: steak, scrambled eggs, and fried potatoes. Not exactly a healthy weekend of eating.

Larry and Alice left around noon on Sunday. JoAnna and I then tackled a farily major project, moving Eddie’s captain bed into the blue bedroom, since the boys recently agreed that they should have their own bedrooms. On Thursday, the beginning of the boys’ summer vacation (no daycare until the following Monday), JoAnna and I will paint Andy’s room, a long overdue project. The walls are filthy, and I was never very happy with the color we chose. Desert beige turned out to have a surprising orange tint. Last week I picked up about 20 color samples from Mautz. Individually, they don’t’ look all that different, but side by side, it quickly became clear what color has a green or orange or yellow tint to it.

Andy decided he wanted to go swimming early yesterday afternoon, just as JoAnna and I were finishing up the rearrangement of the bedrooms.

“But the new pool’s not opened yet,” I said.

“Not the outdoor pool,” Andy countered.

“Well, you better call first to see if they have open swim now,” I told him.

He didn’t know where to look in the phone book, so I helped him find the number. Open, swim, we learned, was from 1 until 3.

Andy called his friend Tyler, and he accompanied us. Eddie, too. The indoor pool is attached to the high school and was constructed at least 5 years ago. Yesterday was my first visit. Only 8 other people were there so we had a lot of room to splash around. It provided a relaxing break.

I thought I was going to get some yard work done later in the day. More lawn doctoring. The area in the front yard where I reseeded a few weeks ago is starting to fill in – almost a solid green now. I ended up folding laundry and watching the Game Show network for 90 minutes. Couldn’t’ tear myself away from the rebroadcast of three classics from the 1950s: I’ve Got a Secret, What’s My Line?, and To Tell the Truth. What a trip down memory lane, although it wasn’t too often that I saw the first two shows since there were aired on Sunday evening at 10:00 and 10:30. Later in the evening we watched a rebroadcast from the first season of Password, with two now-obscure celebrities, the actress Dina Merrill and the playwright Abe Burrows. I suppose even Allan Ludden doesn’t have much of a recognition factor today. Even Andy’s become a fan of the Game Show network. With this and Nick at Nite and TV land (not available here), one could live completely in the TV past.

Yesterday we discovered that all four of us have sore throats. Nothing major, although JoAnna did feel a little rundown during the afternoon, probably from a lack of sleep (a comfortable sleep) the past two night. We slept on the sofa bed in the family room so her parents could have our bed. The thin, lump mattress provides no support and is not something we like to subject our older guests to. After a storm blew through (literally, seeming to shake the house with the intensity of its force) early Sunday morning between 2 and 3, I walked to the other sides of the house to sleep in Andy’s bed. If I hadn’t gone swimming, I’d’ve probably taken a nap, too. In fact, I had been looking forward to sacking out in the hammock.

Andy and I watched most of game 7 between the Bulls and the Pacers. Andy, of course, was rooting for Chicago, but I was hoping for an upset. I wanted to see an early end to all the Jordan hoopla, but now I’ll have to endure at least another couple weeks of it. During the first quarter and a half of the game, Andy and I rode our bikes to a nearby ballfield. Andy practiced his pitching, and then I threw him some batting practice. The next day, I always feel some pain in my legs, especially my right knee, after these activities. The crouching to catch his pitches, the running after the balls he hits – my body is telling me it’s not as resilient as it used to be. Hey, 50 is not that far off!

That’s the news for now. We send our love.

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