Thursday, October 10, 2013

On This Date in 1998

Although the week started off on a soggy note, the gray dome of the weekend remaining in place, we found ourselves basing in warm sunshine by Thursday. It was tempting to play hooky, but I had a full schedule: a meeting of LINK, the automation consortium of which Middleton is a member, in the morning; a staff meeting in the afternoon, and a stint as guest lecturer for a class at the library school in the early evening.

When I dropped off Eddie Thursday afternoon, the living room was sset up with lights, microphones, and a camera. JoAnna and I had offered Jon Erpenbach the use of our house to film a commercial for his Senate campaign. It was shot just inside the front entrance, a moment in the life of a candidate knocking on doors to introduce himself to the votes, Drew’s mom, Kathy, filling the role as the woman of the house. (Drew, if you recall, is on Andy’s football team, and Kathy’s husband, Brian, has been one of Jon’s best friends since high school.) The boys would have jumped at the chance to be in this commercial, but their services weren’t needed this time.

Yesterday I worked from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. without a break, but by the time I returnred home it was too late to do anything outside. Before picking up Eddie, though, I did take care of one chore on my household to-do list. I cleaned Eddie’s bedroom windows, inside and out. The two of us stopped at a fundraiser for 2nd Congressional district candidate Tammy Baldwin on the way home, where we met JoAnna. Andy, of course, was at football practice, and it was my turn to pick up the boys, so I had to leave in the middle of Tammy’s remarks, a political pep talk, for the most part.

The Middleton High School football team traveled to Beloit yesterday. We aren’t big enough fans to follow the team on the road. If Andy continues his interest in the sport and plays on the team when he’s in high school (which is only 4 years away!), then we’ll make the road trips. Middleton lost a heartbreaker, 14-10, Beloit scoring a touchdown with one minute left in the game. The loss eliminated the Cardinals from the state high school playoff picture. Last year, Middleton won the Division A championship, so for some fans, this season has been a letdown. The coach’s wife even wrote a letter to the local newspaper, complaining about callous and degrading remarks uttered by fans during the games, loose-tongued people who obviously didn’t realize who was sitting near them.

As a result of conflicting schedules today, I wasn’t able to see Andy’s game. The Orioles traveled to Sauk City, 20 miles northwest of here, to play an undefeated team that had beaten their previous opponents by an average margin of 30 points. We saw Andy’s defensive coach (and his family) at Pasqual’s last night after football practice, and he mentioned to us how big some of these kids were, about 8 tipping the scales at 140 or more. (Where do they find these kids?, is what I want t5o know. I used to think that Andy and his friend Ross Hellenbrand were big for their age. Maybe in Middleton, but not elsewhere, it seems.) Consequently, I was pleased to learn that the Orioles lost by a score of 7-0. Andy played both offense and defense today and, according to JoAnna, looked like he was really into the game. A couple times on offense, he was wide open, but the quarterback was unable to get off a pass in time. The offensive line remains the Orioles’ Achilles heel.

Eddie played in a soccer tournament today, a total of three games between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. His team, the Sailfish, tied the first one (2-2), won the second (1-0), and tied the third (2-2). With ten seconds left in game 3, the Sailfish had a golden opportunity to score, the right forward having an open shot 4 feet in front of the goal. He could have dinked the ball through. Unfortunately, he got way too much loft on his kick, and the ball bounced off the wooden frame at the top of the goal. Everyone on the sidelines groaned. The team had made a furious second-half comeback from a 2-0 deficit, and it would have been great to see them snatch a victory just prior to the game-ending whistle. Eddie played defense most of the day, a position he enjoyed and at which he excels. At Wednesday’s game, his coach raved about Eddie’s tenacity. He exchanged high fives with him as Eddie ran off the field at the end of the game. Then, as we were walking back to the car, I overheard him say to his assistant coach, “If it hadn’t been for Eddie’s defense, we would have really been out of that game.” As it was, they lost 2-0.

One of the side benefits of the Ritalin is that is has made Eddie a more focused soccer player. Last spring, and even at the beginning of the season, his head would drift in and out of the game. Now he plays with a little more intensity and with a greater awareness of where he is supposed to be in relationship to the ball. Of course, the primary reason for this drug therapy is to improve Eddie’s classroom performance, and already, during the first three weeks of his being on medication, we feel that he has made big strides. Eddie has been able to stay focused while working on his nightly homework assignments. We haven’t had to deal with any outburst caused by his frustration when something doesn’t come easy for him. I should probably call his teacher ext week to see if she’s noticed any corresponding improvements at school. We’ve had no reports of classroom disruptions or recess run-ins. From this evidence you can see that we’ve been operating on the no-news-is-good news principle for the past three weeks. Tammy Baldwin’s fundraiser was hosted by the boys’ pediatrician and his wife, and he was pleased to hear our report about the positive steps that Eddie had made. And it’s not just related to behavior. His reading comprehension increases each week. His special classes, 45 minutes each day with a reading specialist in a small-group setting, are really working wonders for him. It also helps him that JoAnna or I, depending upon who’s home, work very closely with Eddie each night, giving him encouragement and praising his hard work.

Surprised about the results of the second round of baseball playoffs so far? The Padres certainly made everyone sit up and take notice with their two-game sweep of the Braves in Atlanta. And now I see the Padres have a one-run lead going into the bottom of the 7th. In San Diego. With the fans tasting the possibility of a sweep. The Fox network is certainly not looking forward to a San Diego-Cleveland World Series, since those two cities represent relatively small markets. The Yankees, of course, guarantee at least respectable ratings, and the Braves have developed a national following as a result of their presence o Ted Turner’s Superstation. I’m hoping that Doc Gooden can put another nail in the Yankee coffin tonight. And you know he has to be motivated to do so, after being considered expendable by Joe Torre.

Earlier in the week, I investigated the possibility of consolidating three of our loans: mortgage, auto, and personal equity line, which add up to around $1,150 in monthly payments. Our bank is offering what they have dubbed a “Turbo” loan – faster approval, less paperwork – at an interest rate of 6.99% for anything between $75,000 and $99,000. The current principle on our debts adds up to $70,700, but the extra $4,300 will allow us to get the kitchen remodeled: new flooring, baseboard, countertop, and refaced cabinets. With a ten-year repayment schedule, our monthly payments will be $870.

Andy’s friend Matt is sleeping over tonight. Meaghan is here now and the three of them are playing games – until a few minutes ago Slap Jack, it sounded like, and now they are setting up the Clue game board right next to me in the family room. Eddie’s on the sidelines, of course, wishing he could play, but I told him to watch the first game to get an idea of how it is played and maybe he can join the second game, if their collective attention span lasts that long.

JoAnna went to her office after dropping off Andy. She probably won’t be back home until 7 or 8. It’s almost 7 right now so I should think about supper. Let’s see… we had Mexican last night, and JoAnna ordered pizza for delivery on Thursday, and I treated the boys to McDonald’s on Wednesday after Eddie’s soccer game. (This fast-food review will give you an indication of how busy this week has been.) Looks like it might be a Subway kind of evening.

No comments: