Monday, March 10, 2014

On This Date in 1999 (March 10)

I spent an hour on Tuesday morning shoveling six inches of snow off the driveway and, thanks to a speeding snowplow that threw up a big spray of white, more than ten inches off the sidewalk. Wouldn’t you have loved to join me? Don’t you miss Wisconsin in the wintertime?

Due to the late-night/early-morning timing of the storm, the boys got a bonus holiday. School was canceled as high winds blew the snow all over the place. At first, a two-hour delay was announced, but that was changed when some of the snowplows in the rural areas of the school district couldn’t clear the roads. Since the streets were passable, both JoAnna and I went to work, as the boys can be trusted to stay home alone. But not all day. At one o’clock, I returned home, where I planned to stay for the rest of the afternoon, but the boys, feeling a bit bored – even playing in the snow wasn’t enough to keep them interested – wanted to go to the library. As a result, I lost only two hours of the workday.

Tuesday evening, JoAnna and I attended a reception at the Unitarian Church for Madison author Jacquelyn Mitchard and the world premiere of the movie The Deep End of the Ocean, which is based on her best-selling novel. The two events were packaged as a fundraiser for Dane County libraries. For JoAnna and me, this was our first “date” since Christmas vacation, when we saw You’ve Got Mail during our visit in Warren. Andy’s basketball season really steamrolled over our weekends. We both enjoyed the movie very much. It was very true to the book, well acted (with the glamourous Michelle Pfeiffer believable in the role of an everyday suburban Mom), and nicely paced. I would venture to say that the majority of the 500 people in the theater gave the movie a thumbs up, even though, as reported in the Capital Times today, Roger Ebert gave it a thumbs down. But then he’s probably still grieving over his partner’s death and not seeing or thinking straight.

So if I had decided to work all day and then attend the evening festivities, the boys would have been on their own from 8 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. Can you imagine what the house would have looked like?! As it turned out, he boys were still up when we returned, empty cans of Mountain Dew on the kitchen counter. No wonder they had trouble settling down. They were chattering like squirrels during their first five minutes in bed. Both JoAnna and I had to bellow a “Quiet!” before they finally piped down. 

According to the letter I received from my mom yesterday, Dad is now getting hospice care. In order to be eligible for this service, a doctor has to certify that the person has less than six months to live. Mom indicated that Dad has taken a significant turn for the worse over the past few weeks, to the point where it was getting too much for her to handle. He can’t eat solid foods anymore. He’s completely bedridden, unable to support or balance himself, even with the assistance of a walker. Now at least there will be someone visiting the house who can give Dad a bath and closely monitor his condition. 

My brother Lar called earlier this evening with a medical update, so to speak. Dad’s condition is so precarious right now he could die at any time. Mom and Lar have purchased a casket and consulted with a funeral home director. It’s very likely he won’t survive to the end of the month, when the boys and I plan to visit. This month, there are probably two trips to Pennsylvania in our future.

While JoAnna is in Tamaqua for Julianna’s christening, the boys and I will be whooping it up in Chicago. We have tickets for the Bulls (April 2nd) and the Blackhawks (April 3rd). Also on our itinerary are the Art Institute, Adler Planetarium, the top of the Sears Tower, the Museum of Broadcast Communications, a trip on the double-decker buses that traverse the loop, and who knows what else. Andy is so excited about this trip that he has started to collect a notebook of information he printed from the Internet: pictures, maps, historical information, descriptions of various sites.

Last December you got JoAnna hooked on Law & Order. Four months later, I find myself addicted. We just watched an episode on NBC at 9 o’clock, and the opening credits of a rerun on A&E just concluded. In fact, we’ve developed a new bedtime ritual. Instead of watching the news and Seinfeld, we usually sack out in bed and watch Law & Order, followed by Golden Girls on Lifetime.

Just wanted to get a quick letter out to tell you about my dad. According to Larry, Mom is taking things in stride. The past two years have been very difficult for her, watching her husband of more than 50 years waste away. His death will be a blessing in a way.

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