I am very glad to report that we are all back in the best of health – well,
maybe the computers aren’t (one is in the hospital, the other is receiving
house calls from Jim Femister) – but it does feel good to be over that fever.
I think it was the longest lasting fever that I remember having.
Just after saying that we were more than ready for Spring, we got news that
the blizzard of the century was about to fall upon us. Last weekend everyone was
in preparation mode. There were ridiculously long lines at the grocery store,
the post office, the bank, Blockbuster and all the other places I went to get
ready to hunker down for the storm. I saw neighbors that I hadn’t seen for
months as we were all out clearing parking places and sharing news about the
latest forecast. David was at the RUM conference in Maryland, and they decided
they should end the conference Saturday night so the students wouldn’t be
traveling in the storm. By Sunday afternoon churches were canceling evening
services and schools and business announced closings for Monday. There was a
general air of excitement about this final flourish to winter. The TV news must
have made much of it, as well, because Nana and Poppa called from Hawaii to make
sure we were okay. Then we got up Monday morning to see NOTHING! There were
feeble hopes that the storm might make a delayed appearance, but aside from a
few inches, nothing ever materialized. We were quite disappointed – especially
Stephen, who is the perfect age for a blizzard, and who feels that he has been
cheated by the last several winters.
As a kind of mental therapy, we purchased a seedling planter and Christopher
planted some parsley and basil from seed to put in the garden. It has been
encouraging to watch them sprout. Maybe we’re better off with Spring, anyway.
Otherwise, life has followed a more predictable routine. I had my
parent-teacher conference at Ben’s nursery school where they
"informed" me (as if I didn’t know) that my son "knows exactly
what he wants". That is a polite way of saying he is stubborn! Ben is the
youngest in his class, and is very close to the cut-off date for entering
kindergarten in the fall. In some school districts, he would not be entering
kindergarten until 2002. I asked his teachers whether they thought he was ready
for kindergarten, and they said he was borderline. Since I will be homeschooling,
it is something of an academic question, because we can proceed at his own pace,
yet I was interested in their assessment. I would like to find some play group
for him because he will greatly miss the time with kids his age and we will miss
the opportunity it gives us when he’s at school to get some work done!
Peter’s school has been entertaining an assessment team this week which is
the final step in getting accreditation. They have been talking about this since
last summer. Peter said that the school had been turning the heat down because
of the cost and allowing the students to wear non-regulation sweaters and
sweatshirts to compensate, but this week they announced they would be turning
the heat up and everyone must be in proper uniform. Twice this week school was
delayed starting because of the iffy weather, and both times Peter missed the
radio announcement, thought he had missed the bus, and had David drive him to
school two hours early.
In other school news, Peter decided to write a computer program for his
science fair project. This means that he has to learn how to program first, so
he has been working through a 760 page book on Java.
Well, I got interrupted and now it is a full week later. I’ll pick up where
I left off. Peter eventually came to the decision that he didn’t have enough
time to complete his original idea for the science fair, so now (with the
deadline even more imminent) he is starting on something else, also having to do
with Java but not as ambitious. I told him that as a backup he can assemble the
Visible Man that I did in school!
Another school assignment was to make a scale drawing of our house, and
formulate and execute a fire escape plan. I made it realistic by yelling,
"Fire! Fire!", and the boys and I all ran out of the house to meet at
the designated spot across the street. Just as we were running out, David pulled
up in the van and it must have given him quite a shock.
Christopher has been eager to take his guinea pigs to the vet, so he can
experience some first hand observation of a vet’s job, which he thinks would
interest him. Last week Nutmeg developed some skin condition, so we decided to
make an official appointment, and the boys and guinea pig all piled into the
car. We took over the waiting room, which rather reminded me of a James Herriot
story. Anyway, the vet was very nice and prescribed some cream which cleared up
the problem in a day or two.
Daniel came home Friday night for his week of Spring Break. Already he has
fixed some things on the computer for me. His news is that he has decided to
switch his major from computer engineering to computer science. Apparently
programming has grown on him. He was very disappointed to learn that a job that
he had lined up for the summer (as an intern with Agere) is now on hold because
of a hiring freeze. So one of the things he needs to do this week is check out
other possibilities. He brought a friend home with him – his roommate’s
Japanese fighting fish.
Yesterday Stephen spent the day in Philadelphia for the Awana Olympics. His
team placed fourth (out of 16) but he was frustrated because of some controversy
with the scoring. His soccer season was supposed to begin this weekend, but the
field conditions have postponed it. In addition, he is working on his pinebox
derby car for Awana. It is project time of the year at MAFA, as well, and Chris
and Stephen are applying themselves to finishing several art projects for our
final program in two weeks.
A friend took Stephen to the Olympics so I could attend the funeral for Duke
Roberts. It was a beautiful service of tribute, and of course I saw many people
from the good old days – the Joynt’s, John St. Clair, and so on. I loved
singing all the Welsh hymns, and hearing the family stories.
There have been a lot of odds and ends events – friends over for dinner
(usually impromptu) or outings, or the various committee meetings that David and
I need to attend – but I want to be sure to finish this letter this week, so I’ll
spare you the painstaking details! We have been praying for all those with