Friday, September 27, 2013

On This Date in 1998

Our fundraiser for Jon Erpenbach turned out to be a big success. It was scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 Friday evening. By six o’clock the house was packed. The block between Hubbard and South Avenue was solidly lined with cars on both sides. We were lucky that summer weather has continued through late September. In order to conserve space for mingling inside our house, we placed the sign-up table in the driveway, an area where half our guests ended up congregating after Jon and others addressed the crowd. Our guest of honor was Senator Herb Kohl, who is also the owner of the Milwaukee Bucks. He was introduced by County Executive Kathleen Falk, whose campaign committee JoAnna served on. Also making an appearance was Tammy Baldwin, the Democratic candidate for the 2nd congressional district in Wisconsin. Jon’s sister, Mary, is Russ Feingold’s wife, so actually both U.S. Senators were represented. The event raised more than $3,000 for Jon’s State Senate campaign.

Both boys had activities Friday evening, so I was in and out of the house. I dropped Eddie off at his soccer practice at 5:30 and picked him up an hour later. Andy returned home from football practice at 6:15, and I dropped him off at the high school football field at 6:45. The Middleton and Cross Plains youth football teams were being introduced before the start of the high school game. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it back in time for the pre-game ceremonies.

Andy and I stayed to watch the game, which was halted before two minutes had run off the clock – right after Middleton scored a touchdown. There was a lot of lightning in the southwestern part of the sky, and the officials didn’t want to take any chances. At the time, it was hard to tell if it was coming our way or not. After a half hour of waiting – and watching the lightning move off to the east – play was resumed. As they did the previous week, Middleton scored seemingly at will against a weak opponent, Madison East High, in this case. As the second quarter ended, the score was a lopsided 41-6. The lightning has also started to return, faintly visible in the east, at first, and the moving along in an arc to the north. The sound of thunder became more frequent and immediate. A very light rain started to fall as the clock counted down to 0:00. We wouldn’t have seen a second half even if we had decided to stay.

I had told Andy that we were leaving at half-time, a decision that he did not like. Fortunately, the other football parents I was sitting with in the bleachers had the same idea. Before we left, though, Andy said he had to “do something”. I watched him walk to the other end of the bleachers and wondered if he was going to try to pull a disappearing act. So I followed his trail. When I caught up with him, he was talking to a girl who is in his class at Elm Lawn. Her name is Kira.

Andy played football at 10:30 Saturday morning against a team from Stoughton. From a distance, they seemed to be evenly matched, but once again the Orioles’ (Andy’s team) offensive line could not open any holes for the runners. I think they managed only 2 first downs the entire game. They lost 13-0.

We listened to the Badger game on the way back to Middleton and then tuned it in on TV once we got home. As far as the sportswriters and fans were concerned, it was the team’s first big test of the year, a Big Ten season opener against Northwestern. Wisconsin took control of the game from the start, which made for uninteresting viewing. I had chores to do anyway. I cleaned the window s—inside and out – in the ”master” bedroom and then mowed the front yard. JoAnna did a lit drop with Jon, and the boys mostly hung out at home, although Meaghan did drop by during the middle of the afternoon. It was a warm, muggy day, just downright uncomfortable for this time of year, so I kept my chores to a minimum. Shortly after 5:00, Eddie convinced me to take him to Elm Lawn so we could fly a kite, a cheap plastic model that I bought last spring and had been collecting dust in the garage all summer. We had it up in the aira for more than 20 minutes. 

JoAnna and I went out on a “date” Saturday evening, Andy given the responsibility of being in charge while we were gone. We saw the movie, There’s Something About Mary, which has been the big surprise hit of the summer. Although we did notice a few 10 year olds in the audience, it’s a movie that I’d never take Andy to see. It’s hysterically funny – I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard – but rather crude and, at time, profane. The humor is inappropriate for pre-teens. It’s also not for adults who are easily offended. I’m sure the religious right considers it just another example of what’s wrong with Hollywood. There are no “family values” to be found here. The filmmakers obviously had their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks while making this movie. Nothing is taken seriously. It’s comedy that pushes the adjective “off-the-wall” to new heights.

I was up at 6 o’clock this morning, eager to attack a list of chores that I didn’t want to have spill over into the afternoon. But first I did 20 minutes of Walkfit and fixed a batch of blueberry muffins, from a box, for the family. Andy was up by ten of 7 and immediately parked his butt on the family room couch to watch TV. Eddie made an appearance a half hour later. By 8:30 JoAnna had hardly stirred. Once she got up, shortly before 9:00, she complained about not feeling well and went right back to bed.

So what chores did I tackle on Sunday? More window cleaning. Washing the mildew off the side of the house. (The bedroom portion of the house is what I accomplished today.) Planting crocus, narcissi, and scilla campanulata bulbs – a couple dozen altogether – in the front yard. I finished up in time to take a much-needed shower before the Packer game.

After Carolina scored a field goal and touchdown to take a 10-0 lead, JoAnna started to get nervous. “I had a bad feeling about this game,” she confessed, wrapped in a blanket as she lay on the couch in the family room, still feeling out of it. But then she always says that whenever the Packers get off to a bad start. After another interception of a Favre pass, she turned to another station and watched some old movie for awhile. I moved to the quiet of the living room but then rejoiced during the last three minutes of the game, JoAnna figuratively biting her nails the entire time. And the Panthers almost tied the game as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

So it was a busy morning, lazy afternoon. While I was doing my chores, the weather couldn’t make up its mind. It was cloudy, with a promise of rain one minute, clearing and pleasant the next. The afternoon turned beautiful, with a clear blue sky, comfortable temperatures, low humidity, and a pleasant breeze. After being outdoors for three hours with my gloved hands in a highly caustic cleaning solution for the first 90 minutes and my bare hands in the dirt the rest of the time, I just wanted to enjoy the interior comforts of home.

Andy and Meaghan played for awhile during the morning, but she had to go back home less than an hour after her arrival as it was her mom’s birthday and her grandparents were visiting. Andy spent the afternoon with Matt Ziegler a classmate and soccer teammate, at his house and out and about riding their bikes. They stopped by the house once to get a drink of water, and I could have sworn I saw a third person with them. A girl. Less than a half hour before his brief midafternoon appearance, the phone rang and a girl’s voice – not Meaghan’s – asked “Is Andy there?” I figured it must be Kira.

To take away some of the mystery of this new person in Andy’s life, I’ll tell you that Kira is in Andy’s class at Elm Lawn. I wasn’t aware of her existence until a week or so ago. According to JoAnna, she’s Andy’s girlfriend, this bit of new from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, i.e., Andy now admits to having a “special” friend of the opposite sex. Meaghan’s always been just a pal. At least that’s the way Andy sees it. Young love comes to Mayflower Drive.

As I did last week, I went grocery shopping after dropping Eddie off at soccer practice, a habit I need to break. Both this Sunday and last, the store was mobbed, people blocking the aisles with their carts every twenty feet as they have their noses pressed up against the displays as if they left their glasses at home. Fortunately, I didn’t have long to wait at the checkout line. J

JoAnna made pork chops and fried potatoes for supper. Because of our busy schedules, Sunday is the only evening when we can count on having a family meal. While I cleaned up the kitchen, JoAnna helped Eddie with his homework. He also read the first chapter of a book entitled Little Bear without any assistance from Mom.

“I didn’t lose my patience,” he told me. He does have a tendency to get easily frustrated when he stumbles over words he doesn’t know. That has been part of his problem at school. He reaches an impasse in something he’s working on and simply shuts down, unmoved by any encouragement that his teacher offers him. Although Eddie has completed just the first week of his drug therapy, we haven’t noticed any side effects. His pediatrician said there might be a tendency for him to “crash” at the end of the day, but we haven’t noticed that. We only give him the medication on weekdays, since it is the school environment where Eddie has most of his behavioral problems, although we do see examples of his impulsiveness at home. Fortunately, Eddie is a very bright kid; he soaks up information like a sponge. Otherwise, his tendency to get distracted by other things in the environment at school would leave him with huge gaps in his learning.

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