Monday, September 30, 2013

On This Date in 1998

Monday morning, JoAnna and I were watching the Weather Channel, checking on the progress of Hurricane Georges as it churned its way across the Gulf of Mexico and headed toward the so-called Redneck Riviera. We stayed tuned through the local forecast. Another warm day. The high temperature near 80 degrees.

“Isn’t it ever going to cool down?” JoAnna addressed the question to the TV screen.

Her answer arrived two days later. I looked out a window at the library shortly before 12:00 today. What’s going on here? I wondered. It looked like the end of the world was approaching, the darkness more appropriate for midnight than noon. A heavy rain fell for the next hour and a half, delaying my walk home for lunch. As soon as I stepped outside, I sensed the departure of our lingering summer. The cool, crisp fell of the air announced that fall had arrived, a late but most welcome appearance, as far as JoAnna and I are concerned. This evening at Eddie’s soccer game, I enjoyed the feel of a cool breeze on my face. I liked the fact that I was wearing a pair of jeans and a long-sleeve pullover shirt and could have even thrown on a jacket without looking overdressed. Both JoAnna and I have had enough of summer.

Eddie is bringing home very good grades on his schoolwork. Lots of papers marked “100”, “Great Job”, “Wonderful!” We’re so proud of him. He’s still taking special reading and written language classes and will probably continue to do so during all of second grade. He’s making great strides, though, and working very hard at it. He spent 45 minutes at the kitchen table Monday evening completing a homework assignment, answering questions from a “Frog and Toad” book he was reading. JoAnna and I are giving him lot of encouragement. Eddie the perfectionist tends to get easily frustrated when he has difficulty sounding out a particular word of grasping a concept. We help him to keep focused on what he needs to do.

We still need to keep a pretty tight rein on Andy when it comes to his homework. If left on his own, he tends to let things slide. This y ear, his teacher deducts 11 points (one letter grade) for each day an assignment is late. So far Andy has (needlessly, carelessly) let this happen twice. Now we make sure to check his take-home folder and assignment notebook each night, review his homework once he’s completed it, and recheck his folder before he leaves for school to make sure he hasn’t left anything behind. There’s probably a better way to teach responsibility but for now we need to use this hands-on approach.

Tonight I helped Andy study for a science test he has on Friday. He read the section of his textbook dealing with movements of the earth and the moon, and then I asked him questions. Based on some of his answers, I wouldn’t call Andy the most careful reader in the world. We’ll do the same thing tomorrow night.

Eddie’s soccer team lost their second game in a row tonight, somewhat of an unusual streak for them. It was a close game, the score being 2-1. Eddie played great defense in the second quarter, probably saving 2 or 3 goals as a result of his aggressive play. His coach gave him a high five as he ran off the field. Eddie looks much more confident playing soccer this year than he did during his first two seasons – and even since the beginning of the season. Last year he seemed to drift in and out of the games, depending upon his mood. The past few games, he’s really been fired-up and focused.

Andy’s football team has an 0-3 record, mostly the result of a weak offensive line. Consequently, they haven’t been able to move the ball. Defensively, they are improving. They lost this past Saturday 13-0, so they are able to keep their opponents from running the ball at will. Next Monday basketball registration begins. This year Andy has the option of trying out for a traveling team, which, of course, he wants to do. If he makes the team, it means more games, more travel, more schedule juggling. The league covers a three-county area: Dane, Sauk, and Columbus, I’m guessing.

On the final day of September, most of the leaves here remain on the trees and green. I’ve seen only a few splashes of color in our neighborhood – and throughout Middleton and the west side of Madison, for that matter. I suspect we might have a very dull display of fall colors this year.

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