Wednesday, February 19, 2014

On This Date in 1999 (February 19)

JoAnna starts her new job in the Department of Justice on Monday, March 1st. I think she’s looking forward to getting back into a go-to-work routine, as opposed to her current work-at-home routine. She has experienced firsthand one of the major drawbacks of working at home. You’re always available. Your office hours are all the time you spend at home. Morning, noon, and night. Evenings and weekends. As JoAnna complained the other evening, “It seems like I don’t have free time anymore.” Since she’s been working on Shirley Abrahamson’s election campaign, JoAnna gets phone calls from 7:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. Boy, has our phone been ringing a lot lately!

As a result of JoAnna’s new employment, our spring break getaway has been cancelled. Maybe next year. Even though Shirley now has a bona fide campaign manager on board, JoAnna is still coordinating her fundraising efforts. Between that responsibility and her new job, I think she would find it difficult to leave the state for a week, especially when the spring election falls on the day after we had planned to return from baby Richard’s christening in Tamaqua. Now I’m debating whether or not the boys and I should make a trip to Warren. With the Richard family reunion in Louisiana this August, I don’t see many opportunities to travel to Pennsylvania during the summer. Mom would be very disappointed if there was a gap of a year between our visits. It would be very painful for her to go that long without seeing her precious grandsons. Last March, JoAnna was busy with Brian Manthey’s special election, which kept her at home while the boys and I spent some time in Warren and Chicago. I bet the boys wouldn’t mind an instant replay of last year’s road trip. Dad wouldn’t either, for that matter. I’ve already requested the time off, so I don’t have to worry about missing anything at the library.

It looks as though Andy’s basketball season is going to be extended an additional week. Going into the final weekend of the regular season, Middleton’s record is 12 wins and 1 loss. Tomorrow and Sunday they play nonconference teams, i.e., teams they didn’t play this season. Next weekend they play in the Tri-County League tournament. The add-on is a tournament the following weekend (March 5-7) in Oregon (not the state!!, the suburb of Madison, although if it were an all-expenses paid trip to Portland or Eugene, I’d volunteer to be the team mascot.) By the middle of March, Andy and his teammates will have played in close to 25 games, quite a full schedule for fifth graders.

Andy continues to bring home good grades. His class has been studying the southeastern states in Social Studies, and he did a report on Georgia. His teacher attached a very flattering note to his assignment, for which he earned an “A”. She was very pleased that he provided more information than was required.

Eddie and the other scouts in his troop received their Wolf badges last night at the annual Blue & Gold Cub Scout banquet. He was so proud of himself. His den also put on a skit, about the benefits of eating a healthy lunch. Eddie delivered his lines with gusto. JoAnna helped to coordinate all the set-up activities: coordinating volunteer assignments and getting the tables set up, covered and decorated. I think she originally agreed to do this when she thought she was going to have more time on her hands, but she managed to fit this commitment seamlessly into her schedule which, of course, should be no surprise to anyone.

Larry called the other day with the news that Sheri (or however she spells her name) is engaged. JoAnna thought she might have been using Larry to get this other guy jealous so that he’d pop the question. From JoAnna’s half of the conversation, it sounds like Larry is planning to come back to Wisconsin. She suggested he look into the Department of Corrections, since they were blessed with such a big (obscenely so) increase in the Governor’s budget. She thinks they’ll be needing additional computer operations employees.

We’re experiencing another cold spell, nothing subzero, but during the day the temperature barely gets out of the 20s, a breeze always making it feel colder, and at night it falls into the teens. JoAnna and Andy sleep with an extra blanket or comforter over them. Eddie and I must be the hot-blooded ones in the family.

JoAnna is talking about flying to Louisiana for the reunion this summer, especially since it takes place over a weekend. If we drive, we’d have to leave in the middle of the weekend. The boys and I were a little disappointed to hear this as we were looking forward to a road trip in a recreational vehicle. I checked the mileage between Madison and Lafayette on the Internet, using Mapquest, an interactive atlas. Lafayette is actually 75 miles farther away from us than Colorado Springs. Considering the short duration of the reunion – three days – I guess flying might be the better option, unless some other destinations are incorporated into this trip. Once again, though, JoAnna’s new job might impact on any expanded plans. It’s likely that in August she’ll still be in her probationary period, which means she’ll have to get a dispensation to use any vacation time.

We haven’t decided what we’re doing with the boys this summer, at least I don’t remember JoAnna and I making a formal decision. At this point, we’re leaning to letting the boys stay home on their own. I’m sure we wouldn’t consider this option if I didn’t work so close to home. Andy and Eddie have shown themselves to be very responsible the times we have left them home alone during the past six months. We haven’t had to use a sitter since last spring, our summer get-togethers always being family-oriented. Nevertheless, I still have some reservations about leaving them on their own, day in, day out, all summer long. JoAnna and I would have to set up some very firm ground rules. And, if it turned out that the boys needed more supervision, it would be hard to get them into a program halfway, or whatever, through the summer. Last spring, we registered the boys late, a couple months after the program brochure for the Camp of the Trails program at Sauk Trail school here in Middleton was first distributed, and, as a result, some of the programs Andy wanted to participate in were already full. But let me put this all in perspective. In less than five years, we’ll be worried about whether Andy returns home with the car in one piece. 

Hope this letter finds the both of you doing well and enjoying the desert warmth. We send you our love.

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