Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tuesday: Catching up, again

Tuesdays seem to be a challenging day for me. I'm getting caught up, again.

Actually, after this post, I will be caught up.

The day was beautiful, again. I didn't take a walk, though. I'm stiff and a bit sore around the lumbar region: probably because of that long, long walk I took yesterday. I don't regret the walk: But the next one I take will be a little shorter, I think.

I did, however, go to Fitness Guru, that exercise place. And, got some writing done.

Our son came back from school at the usual time today. He told me that his classmates have been talking about the Ash Street project - which gave him an opportunity to say that he lives on Ash Street. That seems to give him some notoriety, for the moment.

#2 daughter had her talk with #3 daughter and my wife again today. And, as a sort of treat, I got to talk to #1 daughter when she called. We had quite a log conversation before she noted that I sounded like I needed sleep. She's right, I think.

So, with that in mind: Goodnight.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday: Field Trip for Our Son, a Walk for Me

Our son went on a field trip to the Minnesota Science Museum today, getting home about 5:00. He had a good time, and was impressed by the Omnitheater. They had something on the Alps, I gather.

My wife and #3 daughter went to Alex this afternoon, to get information about laptops, among other things.

There were the usual telephone conversations between #2 daughter and my wife, and #3 daughter.

As for me, I got the household chores done, put in about 10 hours of work, and took a walk. That walk was unplanned. Around 2:45 in the afternoon, I noticed quite a bit of fog collecting in my mind, and decided to see if an extended walk would help. Besides, walking is a bit of a treat for me, now that I got the original equipment swapped out and replaced with two new hip sockets.

The evening proceeded quietly, and I'm going to cut this a bit short: It's time I start getting more sleep.

Sunday: A Day of Rest - and Grilling

Some green grass is showing through yesterday's snow. We'll see what tomorrow is like.

The family went to church as usual. My wife had to leave early, taking the van with her. That left me and our son to walk home. He observed that it was a good thing that I've got two new hips now.

I grilled lunch: and did a pretty good job with the burgers, if I do say so myself.

The rest of the day has blurred together by now. #2 daughter and #3 daughter talked on the phone for quite a bit of the afternoon, and my wife and #2 daughter got some time in, too. #2 daughter has a job over the summer, which is good news. We may get a chance to see her on weekends.

And, #2 daughter is going to be able to wrap up her studies a semester early. She's happy about that. And, I'm impressed. She's done well, I think.

#1 daughter, sensibly, decided to stay in Alex. I-94 may be open to traffic again, but that doesn't mean that the driving is easy.

It's late, and I need sleep. Goodnight.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saturday: Springtime in Minnesota, the Sequel

There was almost a half-foot of snow on the ground this morning.

I had to shovel a spot in front of the grill, before fixing lunch today. While moving the snow around, I discovered that it was almost perfect for snowballs and snowmen.

I made a small snowman, about nine inches tall, while grilling lunch: setting it on one of the grill's shelves. It didn't last through grilling the burgers, but it was fun to make.

My wife and #3 daughter were at my father-in-law's shop this morning, while he was out of town. He made it back safely, for which I'm grateful. Interstate 94 was closed, from Osakis to Fargo, for part of the afternoon today.

Our son had instructions for starting the French fries. He went through the whole process without prompting: and they came out pretty well.

I grilled the burgers without scorching them: demonstrating that it can be done. It'll be more impressive, if I manage to do the same tomorrow, too.

At #3 daughter's urging, we watched a movie called "Game Plan" today. Pretty good: about a football star adjusting to a pre-teen daughter he didn't know he had. It's a familiar-enough plot, but the show was well done.

Supper, evening routines, and reading Garfield with our son wrapped up the day.

Something we've got to look forward to, starting next week, is the Ash Street Project. There's a lot of work to be done. Street crews started putting signs up Thursday of this week.

A crew from public utilities came around, checking our sewer, about 10 days ago.

Happily, there wasn't snow on the ground then.

Friday: Weekend Coming. Also Snow

I see I missed Thurday's entry. The highlight of that day was my session at Fitness Guru, the exercise place. I added two machines to the set that I've learned to use. They're #1 and #2, designed to work the front and back abdominal muscles. Happily, I didn't strain anything then: or today.

Day-to-day, the exercises don't seem to have much effect. I've noticed, though, that I'm a great deal more active now, than I was a few months ago. Little by little, bit by bit, is, I suppose, the trick.

Yesterday was gray, today was grayer: with rain. The rain was turning to pellets when I got back from Fitness Guru today. It's been snowing and blowing this evening. I'm glad I don't have to travel now.

I see that the Sauk Centre school levy passed, 1,362 Yes to 905, yesterday. There were some passionate letters to the editor about that. I suspect that what we were told would happen to school bus service may have been what tipped the scales.

Also yesterday, I set a hummingbird feeder by the north side of the house. It's early. I looked up arrivals and departures for hummingbirds bound for Minnesota, and found this: "Minnesota -- Ruby-throats arrive in May and leave in September."

I'll want to make sure that I keep the feeder clean and primed.

I've been a bit distracted by some work and organizing, and trust that things will be a bit more normal tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wednesday: Summer, Finally

Our son told me that it was nearly eighty this afternoon. I believe him: it was more than comfortably warm when I went to Fitness Guru this afternoon. I found out how to use two more of the machines. If this keeps up, I'll actually be getting into reasonable shape.

That's the idea, of course.

Being Wednesday, my wife and #3 daughter had music lessons: one in the morning, one in the afternoon. I forget whose is which.

I see I forgot to mention the tick yesterday. #3 daughter asked me for some help yesterday evening. She had a tick on a sheet of paper, and was standing by the stove. My wife had told her to burn the thing on one of the burners. #3 daughter had the back-right-hand burner on, and red hot.

She'd realized that, if she put the paper anywhere near the burner, it would burst into flame. And, that a sheet of flaming paper wouldn't be a good thing to have in the kitchen. I asked her for a tongs, which she provided. I grasped the tick, and had almost gotten it to the surface of one of the coils, when I dropped it: through a gap between two of the coils, into the pan below. I was wondering how to get the thing out before it crawled into the innards of the stove, when I heard a sharp "POP!" and saw something fly out of the burner pan and onto the stove top. It was the tick, now deceased.

#3 daughter must have been really concerned about that tick. Instead of reacting to the unpleasantness of the situation, she thanked me.

#1 daughter came over this morning, bringing her rabbit Giol with her. She set up an area of the living room where he could walk (hop?) around. The reason for her visit was to sort out something with her bank account: which she did. She also got in some good talking with me, #3 daughter, and our son.

After #1 daughter returned to Alexandria, we went through the usual routines, ending with reading Garfield with our son.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tuesday: Catching up.

I got up in reasonable time, and feel better than I did yesterday. Our son went to school and returned, I got some work done - mostly catching up on what I didn't get done yesterday - and enjoyed being outside for a few minutes. That was when I went to Fitness Guru, that exercise place, did some errands, and then spent some time on the north side of the house, putting what the store called a "shepherd's crook" in the ground.

I intend to have a hummingbird feeder set up tomorrow.

#2 daughter got a job for the summer: to our delight. It means that we won't be seeing as much of her, but it also means that she'll be solvent - and that's important, too.

#1 daughter has a job interview tomorrow morning. We'll see how that goes.

And, I got a very nice letter saying that I didn't get a job that I had applied for. Well, that's how it goes. I'm still trying: and my online business is still growing. Slowly, but it's growing.

The day for our son ended with some talk and Garfield with me.

Life is good.

Monday: Unusually So

Toward the end of this morning, I felt a little tired, and decided to lie down for a few minutes. My wife woke me just before supper.

Then we had a rumble of thunder. Just one. It was, I think, the first this season: and enough to send us around the house, unplugging computers. It's part of our 'better safe than sorry' policy.

Supper followed, and some time spent quietly with the family. #3 daughter spent a great deal of time talking with #2 daughter on the phone. Our son and I read Garfield before bedtime, and I tried to catch up with on what I'd intended to do during the day.

Maybe I'll be caught up, sometime tomorrow.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday: Getting Back to Normal

One of the perks of weekends is that Saturday and Sunday is when my wife lets me grill burgers. I hadn't expected to have that experience today, but since my wife got home about 24 hours early, I was out around noon, grilling up a storm.

Or, more precisely, grilling up smoke. Also three burgers, nowhere near as scorched as I sometimes get them.

I learn, I learn.

It was a beautiful day: our son was outside, enjoying it, for a fair percentage of the afternoon. I spent most of the day relaxing and enjoying being with family.

My arms and back have been aching: no doubt due to my working them harder than usual on Friday. I had to get the exercising done in less than the usual time, to get the van back for my wife to use, and had chosen a rower that I can run through (I'm not going to try to fix that metaphor) very quickly.

After starting, I noticed that I had a little more time than I thought, and rowed for a bit longer than I usually do.

I'll be doing some other sort of exercise tomorrow. No sense overdoing things.

We didn't see #1 daughter today: she's got a cough, and prudently stayed in Alexandria. She called in the evening, though, so I had a good talk with her. She told me that she's discovered something new about her rabbit: three raisins make him 'hyper' for hours. Today, he seems to be resting up from his Saturday jitters.

Toward the end of the day, our son and I talked, read Garfield, and so to bed for him. He thanked me - again - for walking to Wal-Mart with him yesterday. We had a good time on our own, us two guys.

Saturday: Age of the Bachelors, Second and Final Day

Our son and I have had a fine time together, while the ladies went off a-visiting.

We've fixed meals (more or less on time), using the detailed instructions left by my wife - and the prepared food she left behind. And, we maintained the household maintenance schedule, for the most part.

The two of us walked to Wal-Mart this morning. It's about a half mile south of where we live. Our son explained that he'd found am MP3 player in his price range there, and had earned enough money to buy it.

Fair enough. We got a good walk, and a good talk, out of it, and stopped by Coborn's on the way back to pick up some groceries that we needed.

It was a beautiful day for that sort of an outing, too.

Our son fixed the French fries this noon, and did a pretty good job of it. They were a little less than fully done, but quite edible.

I got a little writing and other work done in the afternoon, as well as a sort of nap.

Our son spent some time on the other computer, and quite a bit of time outside. With his new MP3 player, of course.

I joined him for a while, after supper, and we had a pretty good talk while playing catch - topics ranging from mosquitoes and gnats to space aliens and why other planets exist. That was fun.

The two of us were inside, when my wife and #3 daughter returned home. They arrived about 24 hours before I expected them back. The ladies had decided that it would be better to come straight back, instead of leaving a van full of interesting-looking, if not particularly valuable, stuff out on display overnight. And, they were getting a bit pooped, I gather.

It's good to have more of the family under this roof again, although our son and I enjoyed our time with the place to ourselves.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Friday: All in All, a Good Day

My wife and #3 daughter set off to visit #2 daughter and the Red River Valley grandpa, my father. They've arrived safely in Moorhead, where #2 daughter lives.

That leaves me and our son here, on our own. My wife left detailed instructions for how to make French fries. That was for me. She also left a set of instructions for our son, covering the care and feeding of dad.

I have to hand it to my wife: She's showing great courage, leaving us two guys in charge of the house. So far, almost 12 hours after the ladies left, the entire house and its contents are intact. The only gaffe was a relatively minor one. It was forty minutes after the usual meal time, when I realized that there was a reason for my feeling so hungry.

Happily, the meal was a microwave-and-eat matter, involving food stored by my wife before she left.

My wife's anniversary present came, dropped off this afternoon by someone in town. Thankfully, I'll be able to surprise her on her return: probably Sunday.

Our son and I read Garfield, of course, at the usual time.

He asked me to leave him a note, telling him when to wake me up.

On a more serious note, my father's status is worrying me.

It's silly, of course: He's in his mid-eighties, and some early lung diseases, plus about a decade of smoking, caught up with him; and now his lungs are failing. We all die, sooner or later, and he appears to be going through that process.

I said "worry," not "concern." There's a difference. "Concern" is having rational misgivings, or realizing that something needs to be done. "Worry" is the emotional uneasiness that can come, even when there is nothing to be concerned about.

Being Catholic, and having been Christian for as long as I can remember, I have a fairly clear idea of what death involves, why it is inevitable, and how to view it. My father was born in a nominally Catholic family, 'wasn't anything in particular,' as he put it, when he married my mother: and had been active in the Methodist church after that. I know his beliefs, and how he lives them. I have little concern about his relationship with God.

Still, it's a worry. All my life, I've been able to kick problems upstairs to Dad. Even when I didn't talk to him about something, knowing that he's around helped.

I suspect that, sooner than I like, I'll have insights into how my wife felt, when her mother died.

There. That's enough brooding for now.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday: Good News, Not-So-Good News

A crew from Sauk Centre Public Utilities, and a specialist, came this morning. They tracked where the sewer went, once it left the house. The 'specialist' used to work for SCPU. Now, SCPU likes to go to him for this sort of work, I think mostly because he knows so much about how they work, and what's under the streets in Sauk Centre.

The process sounds simple enough: uncap the sewer pipe, run a tape that's attached to a transmitter down the pipe, outside, turn on the transmitter, and then track the signal outside.

I knew they were having a hard time with the sewer pipe cap, by how loud the banging was. I was outside at the time, and could hear it clearly. They had to break the cap to get it off, but no worries: They replaced the old cap with a new one.

Then outside, about four guys were going around the yard and intersection with gadgets that look a little like giant, mutated dustbusters.

Happily, although the sewer pipe is in an odd place, it could be a great deal worse. The thing turns north after it leaves the house, then after a few yards turns northwest, joining the sewer main around the far side of the street intersection, I gather.

The SCPU guy thinks that sewer service was added as soon as the sewer line got to Ash and 9th. Which makes sense: As far as we can tell, we're in an old farmhouse that the town grew around.

Also, I found out that the SCPU thinks that there's bedrock near the surface, at the south end of this block. There seems to be ridge, running roughly east-west, down there, although the surface is flat.

The best news, from a practical point of view, is that the sewer and water work is going to cost a great deal less than it might have. Still, this project is going to be a hard hit to the family finances.

As the last of the SCPU guys was leaving, he said, "thanks for being so cooperative." Nice of him to say that, but I wonder: was I really that different? I just let the guys in, showed them were things were, asked a few questions, and stayed out of their way.

I called my father today: he was sounding a lot better than he did yesterday, when I tried talking to him. Turns out, they'd been trying to treat one of his breathing problems with scopolamine - I think that's it - and it didn't agree with him: no wonder he sounded so incoherent.

Today, he was better, and we had as much of a conversation as his shortness of breath allowed.

Then, this evening, while my wife, #3 daughter, and our son, were at Soo Bahk Do, I got a call from the hospital. We've got a caller-ID service, so I knew where it was from before taking the call.

It was good news, sort of. My father had managed to get himself out of bed - something of an accomplishment these days - and then had fallen. They're keeping track of him and his vital signs now, and he's got no more than a bump and scrape or two, so it could have been worse.

Oh, right: one more thing. Today is our anniversary. My wife and me were married on this day, long ago.

I forgot all about it! That's funny in a sitcom: not so much in real life. Worse, I hadn't gotten her gift. Happily, a backup arrived in the mail today.

She's taking it rather well, all things considered. She's had a great deal of practice, dealing with my foibles.

Gotta go now, goodnight.

Wednesday: Beautiful Day; and I Got Something Done

#1 daughter came to visit, but mostly to sort and shelve books in the attic. My wife and #3 daughter went to their music lessons this morning and afternoon, and spent some time with the Sauk Centre grandpa.

#2 daughter called, had my wife call her back (on our much less expensive service), and talked for quite a while. Mostly about school and boys, I gather. #3 daughter and #2 daughter had about an hour's talk after that. Thank goodness, my wife found a long-distance plan that's fairly inexpensive - and has a flat rate.

I got to the exercise place again, read Garfield with our son, talked a bit with him, and had a talk with #1 daughter while she was here, too.

And, I got some work done. A good day.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tuesday: Taxes; Family; Beautiful Blue Skies

Minnesota: We don't have climate, we have weather.

Today, it was wind that reminded my of my native Red River Valley of the North, with a beautifully blue sky, bright sun, and temperatures in the sixties. I had an excuse to get outside twice: and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I'm applying for a job in town: maybe this one will pan out. Being one's own boss is a fine thing: but even with this year's improvements, I'm still not paying myself enough.

Our son's first pimple is going the way of all flesh. #3 daughter claims, in a friendly way, that my wife and I never made so much fuss over her pimples. She may be right. I think she's enjoying being a big sister to our son.

Our son and I did our usual "Garfield" routine, and briefly discussed pimples. And, I demonstrated that I remembered his 'log off' tip from yesterday.

I need to get a good night's sleep tonight, so this will have to do for now.

Monday: Learn Something New Every Day

"did you know there's a shortcut on the keyboard for logging off?"

"it's right here, clearly labeled 'log off.'"

My wife and #3 daughter went to Alexandria today, to get a file cabinet to #1 daughter, and get some shopping done. My wife brought a few more plastic storage units home.

This evening, while we were getting ready to read Garfield, our son noticed me going through the rather long process I use to log off a user in Windows XP.

He helpfully asked, "did you know there's a shortcut on the keyboard for logging off?" I grunted something about not knowing that. He stepped over, leaned past me and pointed to a button near the upper right corner of the keyboard. "It's right here, clearly labeled 'log off.'"

So it was: right between the button marked "calculator," and the one marked "sleep" - which I need at this point. Goodnight.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sunday: Rest, Grilling, and a Broken Board

My wife, our son, and #3 daughter went to Soo Bahk Do this evening. They came back with good news: My wife had jumped over our son, and broken a board. She's definitely getting better at that.

Our son, meanwhile, passed another milestone on his way to adulthood. He's got a pimple walk on his forehead.

We saw a red bird in a backyard bush: a cardinal. I hope there's another around, and that they set up a nest. The cardinal's a colorful bird. This afternoon, a large white dog came through the yard: one we haven't seen before.

The snow is bright white, making branches seem black by comparison, but there's a patch of grass near the back door that's almost green.

Aside from that, going to church this morning, and grilling lunch amid the snow of spring, it's been a nice, quiet Sunday.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Saturday: It's Been a Good Day

Our son was out again today, shoveling: including the area in front of the grill. That was a nice surprise, when I went out to grill burgers for lunch.

I had company while I was out there. Quite a number of birds were in the trees and bushes, keeping at a discreet distance, but quite audible.

There wasn't all that much unusual to report today, aside from a Currier-and-Ives-style coating of snow in mid-April. I talked a little with our son, #3 daughter, and my wife. #1 daughter called: she's got what sounds like a cold. My wife gave her good advice: including 'don't come to Sauk Centre tomorrow.' I'll miss having her around, but it's a good idea. #2 daughter called, too, and had a good talk with my wife about college, boys, and whatever else those two talk about. I even had a few words with her, myself.

Supper, evening routines, and the reading of Garfield followed. Our son and I finished the Garfield book we'd been reading, so we'll be starting another tomorrow.

All in all, a good day.

Friday: Not Quite a Blizzard, but It'll Do

#3 daughter discovered that the rabbit, Giol, had chewed the #4 button off her calculator. She was none too pleased about it. It was a giveaway from a local bank, from when she opened an account there, and had been a very useful tool. I checked, and the bank had run out of that item.

No surprise, but it was worth checking on. We'll be keeping an eye out for that button. There's a chance that the rabbit didn't swallow the thing. A remote chance, but a chance nonetheless.

We stayed inside today. Except for our son. My wife sent him out several times, to shovel. He's got a fair percentage of the driveway done now.

This snow isn't going to last long. It's been above freezing today, and the forecasts are talking about warmer weather coming.

This is what it was like, about 10:20 this morning.

It isn't very cold, but we got a lot of snow.

It's April 11. Springtime. Minnesota-style.

Looks nice, but not exactly inviting as a seat.

That snow's heavy, but the evergreens are built to take that sort of weight. A lovely scene, as long as you don't have to travel in it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday Morning: No School.

Sauk Centre schools were smart.

No school today.

We got another automated phone call this morning.

Snow plows have been by here, this morning: But out in the country, this almost-a-foot of snow that we got is almost certainly making travel an adventure.
Yesterday's post now
'New and Improved: with Photo!'

Thursday: Winter Storm Thunder

I'm wrapping this up about 2:15 Friday morning. It's been a crazy day, thanks to a couple of deadlines I had to meet.

A flash and lightening and thunder a few minutes ago let me know that this is not an ordinary winter storm. No surprise, really, since it's April in Minnesota.

We got an automated call from the school this evening. They're showing remarkably good sense, and delaying school for two hours tomorrow. With the snow, rain, and mutant combinations of that nice, normal, precipitation, the roads are going to be in rare condition by morning.

Our son got out for a few minutes this afternoon and had a high old time in the wind and snow, before my wife caught him. He's still recovering from that bug, and she had no intention of letting him get sick again.

He sat for a while after that, looking out the back door.

Speaking of back doors, when I did a routine late-evening check, I found that the back door of the garage had been left open. It's on the east side: the direction the wind is coming from. There was quite a bit of snow caked on the wall, floor, and a few other surfaces, by the time I discovered that.

I was not a happy camper for a while after that. It's awkward, trying to jam a door shut, with a Minnesota storm trying to blow it open.

I got the job done, though, with a shovel and a half-filled garbage can. Elegant, no: but it got the job done.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thursday: Winter Storm in Progress

I like Minnesota. We don't have boring weather here. Earlier this week, it was blue skies, sunshine, and temps in the sixties.

Now, it isn't.

This morning, about 10:20, it felt like rain, and that's about as far as it went.

Around 4:00 in the afternoon, spurts of snizzle started coming down. Or, rather, across. Snizzle: that's a drizzle with snow in it.

About 20 minutes ago, at 5:08, we're starting to see some real snowfall. It's supposed to be 9 to 13 inches before it's done: we'll see how that turns out.

Meanwhile, feel free to keep an eye on Ash and 9th, at "Small Town America: Central Minnesota," the first on-the-street webcam in Sauk Centre.

Wednesday: Back to School, and a Little Spring

I hear on the weather that there's a winter storm advisory out for most of Minnesota, starting 1:00 tomorrow, and running until Saturday morning. Probably starting with rain and snow.

I'm glad I enjoyed being outside for a while today.

Our son was back to school today, and I think my wife and #3 daughter are in better fettle. #1 daughter came over for most of the day: she'd been asked to do more organizing in the attic. She got my science fiction and fantasy books shelved: and asked me if I knew how many anthologies I had. I understand her feeling: I preferred to get collections of short stories, rather than buy a whole magazine for one story.

#1 daughter brought her rabbit, Giol, along with her. That was a treat, for me anyway. Our son likes the rabbit too. Giol likes to nap behind the couch, and under the chair I use in the living room. It's a bit of a treat, feeling his whiskers when he sniffs my feet.

The light in the living room floor lamp burned out when I turned it on today. Later, when our son had brought a pack of light bulbs, he asked me why they were so hard to get out of the pack. I explained that light bulbs were fragile, and rhetorically asked what he though would happen, if a light bulb fell to the floor.

Then, I neatly dropped the spent light bulb from the floor lamp onto the floor.

It popped, making a rather neat pile of shattered glass. right by my bare feet. I practiced standing very still, while members of the family barricaded Giol at the other end of the room. My wife proceeded to the kitchen, returning with a broom and dust pan.

I didn't think until later about the implications of that. First they take care of the rabbit. Then me.

I got to the exercise place again today: I'm getting back to where I was before that sick spell much more rapidly than I thought I would.

Tomorrow will be interesting. My father-in-law, the Sauk Centre grandpa, is going in for one of his carpal tunnel surgeries tomorrow, so my wife and #3 daughter will be over at his place, minding the shop. My wife tells me that she'll leave me something to eat at noon.

Apparently, his knee will wait. He's having almost as interesting a time with surgical procedures this year, as I was having back in 2006.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tuesday: That's Better

Our son is feeling better: well enough so that he's slated for return to school tomorrow. That's good news. My wife and #3 daughter seem to be improving, too. Me? I'm not sure. I've been back to the exercise place two days in a row now, despite feeling distinctly wimpy on the way over today.

The weather might have something to do with that: Gray, dark, distinctly not the sort of day shown in Chamber of Commerce brochures.

Caution: the next paragraph contains moderately disgusting medical details. Good news, but still moderately disgusting.

I got information from blood and other tests back. Apparently, I'm getting my glucose levels closer to what's healthy. Not there, yet: but going in the right direction. That, and the fact that I lost five pounds over the last three months. Incredible! More good news: my kidneys haven't been damaged. That's really good news.

Monday: A Little Snow, a Little Sun, A Little Exercise, and I'm Done

I got up this morning: three times. Looks like I'm still refreshing myself from that all-nighter last week.

Sauk Centre had a very light coat of snow on the ground this morning, which was gone before sunset.

Our son still isn't feeling well, neither is my wife and #3 daughter. I'm rather determined not to join them. I got back to the exercise place, Fitness Guru, this afternoon, after a rather protracted absence. The gal there had been about to call me, to see what was happening. I wasn't as radically out of shape as I'd feared, but intended to be unusually diligent about getting there for the rest of this month.

Let's see: I made a run to the bank, the post office, filled an LP gas cylinder for the grill, filled the van's tank. Also, got some work and writing done.

That's about it.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sunday: A Day of Rest - and Grilling - and More Rest

I had a relaxed morning, punctuated by #1 daughter's waking me with the news that she had come to visit for the day, and going to church.

Then it was grilling while talking with #1 daughter. She sensibly stood in the garage back doorway. I was out there in the intermittent light rain. Very intermittent, and very light.

After lunch, #1 daughter and #3 daughter were engrossed with something online, my wife and our son were resting, and I felt relaxed myself, so I started a nap, too. I remember #1 daughter letting me know that she was leaving, but not much else between lying down and supper time.

It was a good day for napping. The rain picked up to a steady drizzle, making a restful sound on the roof. Cars driving by made a now-and-again swoosh outside.

My wife, our son, and #3 daughter are still under the weather. Much as I approve of families sharing experiences, I'd just as soon miss this one.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Saturday: Grilling, a Long Nap, and Family Ills

That snow we were supposed to get went north of us. I'm not disappointed. There was enough wind to keep life interesting here, though.

While I grilled lunch this noon, the occasional tongue of flame came out the bottom of the grill, and headed my way. No problem, though: I just had to remember to stand a tad farther back than usual.

The burgers came out pretty well this time. I think I'm getting the knack for not burning them again. Of course, as it gets warmer, I'll have to re-learn everything. On the positive side, it keeps grilling from becoming routine.

I napped for most of the afternoon: still catching up from that zero-sleep night, it seems.

Despite that, I'm the only member of the immediate family here in Sauk Centre who's feeling well. My wife, our son, and #3 daughter are under the weather: although at different depths. I spent some quality time with our son this evening, helping him clean out a bucked he'd thrown up into. I hope he's feeling better in the morning.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Saturday Morning: Bad News from Pelican Rapids

Pelican Rapids has a place in my heart, from experiences in my boyhood and youth. I remember a park and a dam, with an enormous statue of a pelican. Later, in the sixties, a speech contest brought me to the Pelican Rapids high school: a small labyrinth of hallways and an inexplicably-placed stairway or two.

I know: trivial. But that's what got stamped in my memory.

So, news that someone was killed, and dozens injured, when a bus carrying Pelican Rapids high schoolers back from a Chicago band trip tipped over, was a little more personal than it might have been.

Pelican Rapids PSD 548 seems to be doing a good job, handling things. I noticed right off, that they were mercifully reserving one room for the parents and surviving students, and another for all the people who would be coming.

All that condolencing can be tiring.

The accident has hit the regional news:
"One dead, others injured after Pelican Rapids bus tips on interstate"
In-Forum News (April 5, 2008)
"One dead, at least 40 people hospitalized in rollover bus accident" (April 5, 2008)

The Minnesota State Patrol website puts this accident in perspective. (I clicked the "Media" button in the lower left corner of the screen, and followed links to get this information.)

The high school tragedy near milepost 202 on westbound I-94 wasn't the only traffic fatality that the State Patrol has dealt with lately.

4/5/2008 5:48 am:
The Pelican Rapids high schooler accident - one dead
4/2/2008 5:12 pm:
Two dead in a collision on Highway 14, near milepost 160
4/1/2008 5:55 am:
Two dead in a rollover on U.S. Highway 52, near milepost 70

Friday: Tomorrow, I Get to Grill!

I got a good night's sleep last night, but for some reason still feel tired. It could have something to do with night-before-last's triumph of deadlines over common sense.

Funny. I used to rebound from things like that a lot faster, back in the seventies.

My wife, #3 daughter, and our son were over at the Sauk Centre grandpa's this morning. He's started work on a punching bag for us. My wife intends to hang it in the basement, in place of the dummy she's got down there.

I spent part of the morning, preparing a bulletin for mailing: then got it to the Post Office this afternoon. We get another month of the current rates, and then up they go again. I collected the form I'll need month-after-next online.

I'm pretty sure more happened today, but I'm still a bit fuzzy.

Oh, right: Our son had the day off from school. End of quarter, or something like that. He observed that he's had a lot of long weekends lately.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thursday: Beautiful Day with Ducks

I got my tax information together, sorted, counted, and printed. When my wife came down this morning, she found me hard at work at the computer. I explained that she'd told me that we needed the report ready this morning.

From the way she rolled her eyes, I don't think she was all that impressed.

I haven't pulled an all-nighter in decades. I don't recommend it.

It did give me some remarkable sensations, though. This morning, after sunrise, my teeth felt heavy, and I could feel the weight of my cheeks. Fascinating!

My wife and I went to the clinic for checkups around midmorning. Routine stuff, except that in my case it was to see how my diabetes is doing. The doctor says that most people do as badly at controlling sugar levels and all that at this point, as I have.

That's a comforting thought, sort of.

Also, I lost five pounds. Not bad.

I slept through most of the afternoon, and intend to start catching up now.

Hold it! I nearly forgot the ducks.

It's a beautiful day, which might explain why I saw a duck and a drake strolling across a street downtown, around noon.

It won't be too long, before love-struck ducks will be a traffic hazard near the lake.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wednesday: Tax Time Comes

April 15 is coming.

Like many other Americans, I'm scrambling to get information together for tax preparation. My wife gave me until tomorrow morning, to put my 2007 expense report together, so I'll defer today's entry until tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tuesday: and Monday, Too

It snowed yesterday. Big, beautiful, white flakes of snow came down, slowly, all day. It's melting again today, but we had a winter reprise for a while.

Our son brought fruit snacks to share at school, to celebrate his birthday. I'm told that some of the kids like them, some didn't.

I slept for much of the morning yesterday, catching up from a weekend of work and family get-together. I still feel rather, well, relaxed.

Today about the same, except I didn't oversleep. Our son went to school and returned, #3 daughter did her studies here at home, my wife talked with #2 daughter on the phone, I got a bulletin to the printers, helped that small publishing company I worked for with their website, picked up 2007 medication records for the April 15, and realized that I have to get the 2007 business expenses put together. I've got the information: it's just not organized.

On the positive side, I don't have to wonder what I'll be doing tomorrow morning.

One of our neighbors came over this afternoon. Apparently, I've got a fan or two. Her husband and mother like my "Brendan's Island" website: particularly "Sauk Centre Journal" and the webcam that looks out on the street. She wanted the URLs, so I wrote them down on the handiest thing around: a (clean) Styrofoam plate, left over from the family get-together.

There's a school referendum vote coming up later this month, and we got a call from someone, talking about the issue: one of these calling campaigns. She asked me how I would vote. I hemmed and hawed a bit, so she prompted me by suggesting that I might be undecided. I replied with something like, 'well, undecided sounds classier than clueless, so I'll go with that.'
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