Friday, February 14, 2014

On This Date in 1999 (February 14)

It’s a very springlike afternoon – warm and breezy with lots of sunshine. After I finish this letter, I think I’ll ask Andy if he wants to play catch, get an early warm-up for the baseball season. Actually, it’s not too early to think about it. We received a postcard in the mail last week announcing that the baseball registration starts on February 22nd.

After today, JoAnna should be able to reduce her work load on Shirley’s campaign. Right now she’s talking with the person who agreed to take on the duties of campaign manager until the election. JoAnna will now, hopefully, be able to limit her activities to fundraising.

Three weeks from today, the library will open on Sunday for the first time ever. Our schedule of 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. will run through the Sunday before the Memorial Day weekend and then resume on the Sunday after Labor Day. I plan to work the first three Sundays just to get a sense of how things are working. We expect that it will probably be the busiest four hours of the week as far as circulation and people in the library are concerned. Last week I offered the position of Young Adult Services Librarian to our second choice of the five candidates we interviewed. Our first choice, a very dynamic and personable woman whose has been working in or for school libraries for the past 15 years, turned us down because we couldn’t offer her enough money, although it’s not like we made a secret of the salary when we advertised the job. Her dilemma was compounded by the fact that she would be moving from a full-time to 3/4s time job. She thought she might be able to work out some free-lancing training opportunities on the side, but that opportunity never materialized during the five-day extension I gave her to give us a final decision. Our second choice might actually be a better fit for the job. She’s a recently library school graduate (1997) who served in the Peace Corps, in Palau, a Micronesian island, for three years and also has a storytelling background. Rebecca was too modest during her interview, the three of us on the selection committee felt. Eve, our children’s librarian, attempted to draw her out a couple times when she seemed to be holding back. Although she looked very calm on the outside, she could have been suffering from a severe case of nerves on the inside. At least one candidate we talked with had a rash covering most of her neck by the end of her interview. It’s been 13 years since my last job interview, the one that landed me in Middleton. Because of my extensive public-speaking experience over the past decade, though, I think I’d handle this situation well. Not that I’m planning to test the waters. After all, the library board worked very hard to get me that big raise. What a slap in the face it would be to turn around and say, “Thanks, but I’m moving on to bigger and better challenges.”

Two more basketball victories this weekend. Middleton trounced DeForest yesterday, an away game, 65-33. In today’s game, at home against Stoughton, whom Middleton beat in a 31-30 thriller a few weeks ago, our guys got off to a very slow start, scoring only 3 (that’s not a typo) points in the first quarter. Stoughton didn’t do much better, managing only 8 points, their guys probably as nervous as our guys, knowing that this was going to be a hard-fought game. Middleton ended with a one-point lead at halftime and went on to win by 10 points, 33-23. The regular season concludes next week, followed by a tournament in two weeks. The month of March should provide us with a sports breather until the first soccer practices are scheduled after spring break. Because he chose to play football last fall, Andy will play in a recreational league, which doesn’t involve as many games or much travel as the soccer leagues where the kids try out.

I’ve become the chocolate chip cookie king as far as baking is concerned. I usually make a batch every Sunday evening. This past week they lasted until Saturday because I put nuts in them, much to the boys’ chagrin, and JoAnna has been counting her calories, a little disappointed that she hasn’t last more weight since starting her regular visits to the health club. The batch I made this past week was almost as good as yours, Mom! I prepared the dough and then refrigerated it for a couple hours. It made a big difference in the texture of the cookies. Today I’ll think I’ll add peanuts to the dough, or at least to half the dough, although when I just asked Eddie, whose a knight in shining armor for today’s imaginary play, he thought the peanuts would be OK.

In case you’re wondering, I’m feeling much better today. In fact, I was up and about early Friday afternoon. I went grocer y shopping before picking up the boys at school, did a couple loads of laundry, and tidied up a very messy house. Between Eddie and JoAnna, this place, until Saturday morning, looked like it should qualify for disaster aid.

It’s almost 3:30 and I feel like I should be doing something outside. There’s a scattering of branches in the back yard that could be picked up. Or I could walk to the grocery store to get shake-and-bake, at JoAnna’s request, for the pork chops I took out of the freezer earlier today. By saying I’d get that ingredient, I probably volunteered to make supper. We went out to eat last night, after attending 5 o’clock mass as a family, a weekly family activity that JoAnna has made mandatory. (Going to church, that is. Eating out is an occasional treat.) We went to the Bavaria, a locally-owned, “family-style” restaurant just a block from the library, one of a handful of “downtown” – what little of it there is -- Middleton success stories. With a new restaurant opening up in April, giving us 6 in a square-block area, the library’s neighborhood is turning into quite a dining district.

I wonder how long the impeachment post-mortems will last. I’m sure CNBC and Fox News will try to milk these proceedings and the aftermath for every last drop, but I won’t be there to see it, except for those few occasions when I’m surfing, not in the mood to read anymore, not quite ready to go to bed. Monicagate, as it’s been dubbed, has become an industry. For some people, it will be analogous to closing a military base. Some people may say we don’t need this, but my job is at stake.

We had a letter from Alice and Larry this past week. They are still living in the trailer that Alice’s brother owns. It sounds like they haven’t made an effort to find any other accommodations, which I told JoAnna would be the case. She cashed in the bonds she received from her grandmother and gave her folks the money as a Christmas gift. Doesn’t sound like they’ve been doing much of anything other than hanging around that godforsaken piece of desert in Buckeye, 2½ miles from the nearest paved highway. Did I ever show you pictures of this place? JoAnna and I and the boys spent our first and last night in Arizona there two years ago. That’s all we could have taken. Fortunately, we had a detailed itinerary for the other nine days we were there. 

That’s all for now. We send you our love. The boys thank you for the Valentine’s Day cards.

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