Saturday, November 30, 2013

On This Date in 1998

Actually, JoAnna told me today that this is her last week at work since she has vacation through January 5th. It will be interesting to see what turns up for her. So far she hasn’t done much investigating, but then this time of year, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, is not the best time to conduct a job search. Not that she has anything to worry about. 

The possibility of reduced family income, at least temporarily, hasn’t put a lid on our Christmas shopping. Yesterday JoAnna and I spent $650, although that amount did include a birthday present for Eddie (a large X-wing Star Wars toy) and a couple items for Al and Cyndi’s baby. We were able to check a few names off our gift list: Albert, Larry R., Christie, Larry Jr. We also bought the boys’ big gifts, a Play Station game system for Andy and a set of Lego underwater vehicles for Eddie, designed for imaginary water play. While cruising the aisles of Toys R Us, we found a 100-piece set of little toy soldiers and equipment that Eddie will just love, as well as an additional “bucket” of plastic soldiers. You can tell from Andy’s gift list that he’s no longer a little boy. He included clothes, specifically jeans and mock turtlenecks. We didn’t find any turtlenecks in the boys’ department at Kohl’s so we ended up buying him a small in men’s size. I’m sure they’ll fit since he’s fairly broad in the chest and shoulders for an 11 year old. Last week we bought presents for JoAnna’s dad and Larry and Dale. Considering that we’re still 5 ½ hours from December, we’re off to a good start this year. Shifting gears, I need to remember to get my wife something for her birthday this week. She’s given me a number of suggestions. A cookbook of Cajun recipes. A membership to Harbor Athletic Club, which, if she’s unemployed for awhile, might be just the thing to keep her active. I suppose just about anything on the Civil War will do, too. That’s the trouble with December birthdays: there’s too much other stuff going on, or at least the anticipation of things about to happen. I can see how they can get overlooked or, more commonly, I suppose, underemphasized.  

JoAnna wants to go for a walk, so I’m going to have to take a break from this letter unless I can think of something significant to write about. I’ve been in a lowkey mood lately, not necessarily lethargic or unenthusiastic or uninspired or even blah. I guess I feel I should be more excited about life right now. I don’t know how else to express it. It’s not like this family has been unproductive this year or doesn’t have anything to look forward to. Maybe it’s the warm weather that’s responsible for this puzzling feeling. Sometimes I think I’d rather see some snow on the ground and have the temperature get down into the teens every night. I’m ready to get into the proper Christmas spirit but I need the appropriate weather conditions to do so. 

Well, I’m just babbling now. Time to get some exercise and clear my head. We’re all counting the days until Christmas vacation, looking forward to two weeks of family visits. 

I’ll add a postscript while Andy practices his trumpet. That certainly won’t help my concentration. JoAnna is sitting with Eddie right now, helping him get through his 15 minutes of reading. I worked with him last night and, even though he made improvement, he still has a long way to go. He’s still very hesitant with very basic vocabulary. His inability to retain words also concerns me. If he has difficulty with a word, sounds it out or waits for Mom or Dad to pronounce it for him, and then comes across that same word in the following sentence, it’s as if the past ten or so seconds didn’t happen. He stops and tries to figure out the word all over again. 

JoAnna and I walked for 40 minutes while the boys, with our permission, watched a Christmas special on TV. A lot of houses on the route we took, through one of Middleton’s more upscale neighborhoods, are decorated with lights. The icicle lights are very popular this year, as are white lights in general. We haven’t done any decorating yet. We don’t plan to buy a tree as we’ll be gone for two weeks over the holidays. We were expecting the delivery of a wreath yesterday, but it never arrived. Saturday provided the ideal conditions for putting up outdoor lights, but once we got home from Two Rivers, there were too many “in-household” chores to be tackled. In fact, Christmas lights weren’t even on my radar screen. A mist fell all day yesterday, creating uncomfortable but not impossible working conditions. Our top priority, though, was Christmas shopping, plus we had to watch the Packer game, which almost turned out to be too much to bear, Green Bay barely squeaking by the hapless Eagles. 

I have a couple loads of laundry that are waiting to be folded and it’s time to say goodnight to the boys. 

And how was the serenade? Considering how seldom Andy practices the trumpet, he sounded pretty good. Not too many missed notes, or brassy fart sounds, although he was happy to play me a few of those noises just for laughs.

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