Monday, September 2, 2013

On This Date in 1998

With the new school year more than a week underway and Labor Day still around the corner, it seems as though we’ve been given a bonus week on the calendar. We’re still enjoying summery weather of the most pleasant sort. Warm, dry days that keep the sweat glands from overworking; cool, comfortably nights that provide ideal conditions for sleeping.

The boys’ casual attitude in getting ready for school on Monday morning resulted in a family meeting that evening. JoAnna generally leaves for work around 7:00, which leaves me on my own to get the boys in gear. It took a lot of prodding on my part. I practically had to drag Andy out of bed. Repeated requests to make their beds and brush their teeth went unheeded. The boys conducted a search of the house for their shoes. Andy ended up riding his bike to school, but I had to drive Eddie since there wasn’t enough time for him to walk there. By the end of the day, the boys had received some hard and fast ground rules for the next nine months. No TV on school nights, a rule that had already been in place. Lay out the clothes you are going to wear to school the next day before going to bed. Lights out at 9:00. Get out of bed no later than 7:00. Get dressed and make y our bed. Have some breakfast, a meal that Andy would rather skip if given the chance. Make sure you have everything you need for school, i.e. gym clothes, band instrument (for Andy – he’s taking up the trumpet this year), homework assignments, papers that need a parent’s signature. Get to school on your own power, unless it happens to be raining or severely cold. Two days later, the boys have shaken off their morning lethargy – Monday morning they were sitting around the living room like it was a Saturday – but still try to slide by with a minimum of effort. Their beds weren’t made this morning, a fact that I didn’t notice until I was out of the shower and the boys were off to school.

I had a big surprise waiting for me when I went home for lunch yesterday. I walked in the side door and found JoAnna in the family room, watching an old movie on TV, just like it was a Saturday or something.

“I quit my job,” she informed me. “I just can’t work with Hal anymore.”

They’d had a big disagreement over the phone earlier in the day. Hal has to be in control of every bit of business that takes place within the office. He definitely is a micro-manager, where JoAnna trusts her staff enough to delegate assignments and expect that they’ll get done on time. JoAnna and Hal have had arguments about this before, but yesterday JoAnna reaching the breaking point. She was obviously having second thoughts about walking out, though, but certainly not on account of Hal. Her biggest concerns were letting down her staff and her clients. She made a couple phone calls to her most trusted staff members and then had a long, close to an hour, phone conversation with Hal. Since I had a meeting in the morning and was working the reference desk in the evening, I had decided to work a split day. Stretched out on the couch in the family room while reading a book, I couldn’t help but overhear much of JoAnna’s end of the conversation. She wasn’t giving Hal an inch. She didn’t have to ask for her job back because I don’t think Hal ever thought that she’d really leave, but JoAnna was not shy about letting him know what she felt was the most productive working environment.

When JoAnna first hit me with the news of her quitting, though, I mentally started to tight the family belt immediately. Let’s see, we’ll have to get Eddie out of After School. We don’t need the Maids to do our housecleaning anymore. (Did I mention that JoAnna hired a cleaning service to come in and do general housework every two weeks?) Before I could answer the question, Am I going to have enough money in my payment to take care of the mortgage and all the other bills, I decided that I didn’t want to think about the possibility of becoming a one-income family anymore.

But now everything is back to normal. Or at least I still think it is. I haven’t heard anything to the contrary. I do think that JoAnna will be looking for another job at the beginning of the year. Hal’s a very hard person to work for. If I had someone like him on my library board, I’d probably go bonkers.

Andy is practicing football three days a week – Monday, Tuesday, and Friday – and has games scheduled on Saturday. Just a scrimmage this week. Even though he’s only in 5th grade, he looks like he belongs in a football uniform. At least Saturday’s scrimmage, he played well on both offense (tight end) and defense (tackle). We’ve worked out a car-pooling arrangement with a group of parents; otherwise, I’d be making three 14-mile round-trips to Cross Plains per week. With our cooperative delivery and pickup schedule, I have the Monday and Friday after-practice taxi service. You’d think the boys would be tired out after a two-hour football practice, but I had a carload of 4 very wired boys on the trip back to Middleton. By 9 o’clock, though, Andy is usually just a eyelash from sleep. At least since school has started, once he gets ready for bed, it doesn’t take him long to crash. Eddie still takes awhile, but now that he has a tape of early Beatles songs to serenade him to sleep, he’ll stay in his bed instead of walking back and forth between his room and the bathroom or his room and the living room or his room and Andy’s room.

It’s time to pick up Eddie at After School. I might add a postscript later.

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