Thursday, November 14, 2013

On This Date in 1998

Wisconsin’s great expectations are being dashed. At halftime, the Badgers are trailing Michigan 21-7, a touchdown in the last minute of the first half seeming to seal our doom. Tomorrow the TV-sports talking heads will gleefully point to the Badgers’ allegedly weak schedule and say,” I told you so.” Wisconsin should be able to reclaim their top ten status with a convincing victory against Penn State next week.

I turned the TV off at halftime, so it’s a quiet afternoon in this part of the house. Andy and Matt went bowling. Matt will be sleeping over tonight, which cancels out the movie date that JoAnna and I had planned for this evening. Eddie is over at Derek’s house for the first time this schoolyear. Last year, Derek called him practically every weekend, but something happened to cool their friendship last spring. Eddie must have been in one of his solitary moods. According to Andy, sometimes not the most reliable of source in these situations, Eddie abruptly, almost rudely, told Derek he didn’t want to play and hung up the phone without further comment, not even a goodbye. Until today, that was the last time Derek called, and no amount of prodding would convince Eddie to call Derek, or anybody else, for that matter.

Andy brought home a respectable report card yesterday, but one that leaves plenty of room for improvement. Here’s a list of his grades:
  • Reading B- 
  • Math B- 
  • Spelling B 
  • Language B 
  • Social Studies A- 
  • Science A- 

The only area where he received check marks (i.e., areas where improvement is needed) is in Spelling. “Completes work on time.” “Completes assigned work carefully.” Which is odd, since Spelling has always been one of his best subjects. The Reading grade is a bit disappointing, since here he is obviously capable of doing much better. Actually, now that I think about it, I’m not clear on the difference between Reading and Language Arts. Andy has made great improvement in the area of Individual Development, the part of his report card that evaluates his school and classroom behavior, a problem area for much of his elementary school “career”. He earned “satisfactory” marks in 8 or 9 areas, including “shows consideration for peers”, which had previously been an area where improvement was always needed. He received a “P” (progress shown) in “shows self control”. After listening to our encouragements to do better, he said, “Our teacher told us that the first quarter is the hardest.” He may not have realized it, but this remark automatically boosted Mom and Dad’s expectations for the second quarter.

Eddie brought his report card home last week. Although he doesn’t receive letter grades, he received a very positive evaluation from his teachers. The special education classes have resulted in a very noticeable improvement in his reading skills. We are very pleased with the progress he has made so far this year.

Just minutes ago, I quickly tuned in and out of the football game. Wisconsin is down 27-10 in the 4th quarter. The possibility of an undefeated season seems highly unlikely right now. I don’t think Barry Alvarez has a miracle in his playbook. I haven’t checked the other scores, but maybe this will be a weekend of upsets, which might help the Badgers in the standings.

Today’s weather can be described as sunny and breezy, unseasonably warm. I started to do some raking and mulching before the Badger game and will continue this task once I decide to take a pause from writing this letter. We had two days of intense winds – Tuesday and Wednesday – that stripped the trees of the few leaves still stubbornly clinging to the branches. Gusts of up to 60 mph were reported. I feared for our cedars trees along the edge of the driveway. The wind was bending the tops at almost a right angle. While I was home for lunch on Tuesday, the lights flickered a number of times, causing our new carbon monoxide detector in the utility room to emit a series of staccato beeps for 30 seconds, but, unlike other areas of Dane County, we didn’t experience a power outage. The power surge was so brief that I didn’t even have to reset the digital clocks.

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