February 2007


Another smarty party today at the middle school.  This will be the sixth consecutive year that I’ve attended this thing where they recognize all the kids with a 4.0 grade average.  This pretty much makes up for the total lack of recognition of us smart kids when I was in those grades.  Finally we seem to have arrived at a point where they recognize something besides athletics.  Now they also do music, academics, and art – at least at our local schools.

So Erin is doing pretty well.

The spring banquet for the high school marching band (The Pride of Broken Arrow) was last night.  Mel missed it last year since it was right after one of her surgeries but this year we all went and since it was the celebration of the national championship, it was a good one for her to go to.

Erin was pretty good for most of the evening especially since she actually found one of her friends from school to sit with but after the guest speaker when the boring awards began, she began to lose it.  I have to admit I was right there with her and Mel had to poke us both at one time or another to make us stop fiddling with our phones and other ill-mannered distractions.

The highlight of course was the passing out of the championship rings and things were pretty orderly for the seniors but when it got around to the freshmen, things were pretty noisy and uncontrolled.  The older kids were walking around looking at each others’ rings (which is ironic since they were all exactly the same except for the names) and making many photos of each other in little groups.  It was all very distracting which is why Erin and I decided it was OK to play a game on our phones.  These rings were reasonably priced due to the contributions of many sponsors for which I am grateful.  At full retail, that would have been an unpleasant little expense.

The food was good but predictable.  I believe there is one and only one recipe for a banquet:  baked chicken breast (lightly seasoned), rice or mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, and a chocolatey cake.  It’s been the same menu at every one of these things I’ve been to for about as long as I’ve been an adult.  They have to cook for the least common dietary denominator and chicken is it.   And, as usual, they never got around to me with the coffee.  That’s what I get for sitting in the middle apparently.

Evan seemed to enjoy himself in spite of the fact that he was sitting with us instead of a cluster of his friends.  Of course, they were all with their families too so there really wasn’t any option.

They had gone to the trouble of rounding up as many of the former band directors as they could and they had one old gentleman who had been around since 1938 at which time he was the entire music department as well as teacher of english and history.

But, as I often say, a good time was had by all.  Except maybe Erin during the awards presentations.  At least to judge from her cross-eyed looks directed at me during the proceedintgs.  And the text  message on her phone that said “JUST SHOOT ME!”.

This is generally a slow time of year for us. Nothing much happens and I usually try to do some woodworking projects in the garage while it’s not hot but this year, it’s been really cold and the garage is uncomfortable at the other end of the scale.

It snowed yesterday and last night which makes this one of the snowiest winters we’ve had in quite awhile. I usually snows at least once and probably twice in Tulsa on any given year but this winter it’s snowed at least four times – two of those with huge accumulations that caused school to close. One of those closings was for the entire week due to a lot of ice and they’ll be running school late this year to make up for it.

Today’s snow was one of the good kind. The best of course is that wet snow that builds up quickly and packs into snowballs well. Even better is the situation where the ground is not quite freezing so that the snow builds up on the grass but not the streets. After that is the kind we had today which was more of a flurry with little accumulation. What is present is a fraction of an inch thick and is dry and powdery so that tires can get decent traction. Plus, it blows off the street like dust. So it’s basically just pretty.

Valentine’s day came and went with some fanfare. Erin has had a boy chasing her. They were “dating” for a few days but Erin decided to cut that off. She doesn’t feel that strongly about him and they have to work together in drama so she wants to keep it just friends which is simpler. He’s not the sort to give up though so that drama is not over perhaps. Once again, Mel tried to mark the day with the proper mood at dinner by going with candlelight and once again, the kids ruined the mood by playing with the candles the entire time. They’re both teenagers and so their behavior is pretty much set. We should probably mark “classy” off the hoped-for traits list. After attempting to light the second hershey kiss paper, Evan’s candle was confiscated.

And so it goes.  Tonight, he is off to Cain’s Ballroom to see AFI and we expect him to come home with his ears ringing and a shirt stinking of cigarette smoke.

Mel and I have come to realize that the only health risk that we truly have control over is our own behavior; therefore, we’ve just decided that we need to take charge together over our collective lack of exercise and lack of concern about what we eat.  Mel is concerned about cancer recurrence and I’m concerned about high blood pressure which I’m really close to the trigger level on.  Mel has enrolled in weightwatchers and I’m participating too although not as an official member; rather, as an enthusiastic participant.  Hopefully, we’ll both lose weight.

We’ve both begun to get on the treadmill daily and try to use one of the preprogrammed workouts.  The lowest one on the list; that is, the one that is the least workout of all still kicks both our butts pretty handily and I’ve not yet been able to finish it without reducing the speed during the faster parts so I’d say we have our work cut out for us.  I used to walk the dog daily but when the time changed and it got dark before I could get out, I fell out of the habit.   Now, it’s the treadmill for me daily and I’m working up to staying the course for the minimal workout.  If only I could arrange for it not to be so boring – I’ve been listening to an audiobook on my iPod lately but I think I need to arrange for the TV to be on and viewable.

I’m a very long way from the so-called ideal weight.  It seems almost undoable at this point.

Tuesday night was the spring band concert, where they play nice music rather than march around in a stadium.  This was held in the performing arts center auditorium of the newest campus of the community college and was therefore very pleasant.  It’s a very nice facility and the music was very enjoyable.  I’m sure it was made moreso by the fact that we knew lots of the kids on stage and it was free but I still think we need more stuff like that to go to.

It’s amazing how, when bad things happen, they really seem to happen in clusters.  I’ve rarely had single event problems; mostly I have several things happen at once.

Like today.

It’s been snowy lately around here which is typically not a problem for me since I always park in my garage.  So it was last night.  When Erin and I went to get into the pickup so I could take her to school, as she shut the door, the window shattered.  As automotive windows do, it shattered with a big bang and subsequent shower of little glass bits.  For some reason, most of them shot outward so that she wasn’t hurt; only scared.  I’ve never seen a window just shatter that way for no apparent reason.  All she did was shut the door.

So, I drove her on to school (with the 24 degree wind whipping into the truck) and returned home to get busy with the duct tape and trash bag.  I wouldn’t have made much of a panicked fuss but the forecast called for a 90% chance of snow today and I didn’t want the interior ruined with snow before I could get it fixed.  Plus, I vacuumed up all the glass shards but not before discovering that my shopvac was on the fritz and had to be fixed before it could be used.  (As usual, it’s just one thing after another)  My duct tape kludge lasted for about three minutes before the wind ripped it off and it went sailing away so far that there was no hope of retrieving it.  I went on to work where I could park it in the lot and get another trash bag.  I’ve seen plenty of rednecks with a trash bag for a window and I’m not sure why mine didn’t stay in place; perhaps there’s some tribal duct tape knowledge that I’m missing.  It’s amazing that the heater kept up with the situation pretty well and I wasn’t particularly cold after the thing started working.

After a hurried trip upstairs, I returned to the parking lot and sure enough, it was snowing again.  I hurredly taped up the window so that most of the snow was kept out and returned to call around about getting it fixed today.  I suppose it’s only one window but without the truck I can’t go to work so I figured I needed to get to the office in order to bum a ride from somebody back from the window repair place.  Plus, I’m trying to make some time up – not spend more time off so there’s another complication.

It seems that the city is swamped with window breakages due to the ice and snow but I eventually found one that could get me in today.

I hope nothing more happens today.