Anne Notations

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Summer update

It has been hot and humid here, but my office AC is working fine, as is our window unit at home. (whew) The cool breeze off the bay makes sitting on the front porch very pleasant after supper, even if the daylight hours have been sweltering. Michael and I were excited that "our" hummingbird briefly visited the red nectar feeder just feet away from our porch chairs last evening. Such little busy things! There is a luxuriant flowering trumpet vine down the road, so that is also drawing the hummers to our area.

Saturday is party day. We're combining the annual summer family reunion with a graduation celebration for Melinda. We're expecting 30-plus people, which is actually fewer than we thought – it's hard to schedule events when everyone has summer vacation plans. Michael, bless him, hired a local Italian caterer to do various antipastos, sandwiches, and cold pasta salad dishes, as well as a sheet cake and some appetizers. The caterer takes care of all the dishes and cleanup, so I can relax and enjoy the company. The weather is supposed to be excellent. We're having a canopy put over part of the back yard, so if the sun is too hot or the forecast changes to rain, we'll be covered (so to speak).

Kevin started his two summer make-up classes on Monday at the local high school. Algebra 2 meets at 7:30 a.m.! Ha. Then he gets one-on-one tutoring in Italian 2, because he was the only student who signed up for it. He loves the tutoring as opposed to a classroom experience and says he is learning a lot more this way. "Can't I be home-schooled?" Do you really want Pop teaching you? "Oh, I didn't mean you guys – I meant by a real tutor." Nice try, kid.

This may be wishful thinking, but I am detecting signs of more maturity in Kevin. He has been cheerful and philosophical about the summer courses, and he hasn't complained about the early class hours, except on Sunday night, when we made him go to bed before midnight. He has also been going out for long walks or a 3-4-mile bike ride every day without being nagged, and each time I've asked him to do a chore, he has done so promptly and willingly... even cheerfully. A few days ago he responded to my call for paper towels and then cleaned out Daisy's crate after she had barfed twice in it. He continues to be smart, perceptive, and funny; and he is still composing music on his guitar and writing poetic lyrics. Some of his better attitude may be due to school's being out; he is certainly more relaxed. I have so much hope for the coming year. Fingers crossed.

Melinda is getting things together for college according to a list Syracuse sent to the new freshmen. We will go shopping soon for extra-long twin sheets at Linens N Things. She is going to wait to consult with her roommate about bed covers or comforters, so they can coordinate if possible. I keep looking at the calendar with dread: six weeks until we take her to Syracuse! I'm excited for her but already miss her. We have one of those intensely close bonds where one will say what the other is about to say. Ah well, parenting is all about getting the kids ready to launch so they can live without us. Good to remember.

The Rhode Island legislature passed a bill to extend unemployment benefits another 13 weeks for those laid off in the past year. Michael qualifies for this and will be processed over the phone this Friday. I don't know how soon the weekly checks will start. Little Rhody is one of 11 states officially in a recession in the U.S. and our unemployment rate is one of the highest in the country -- well over 7 percent. This short-term emergency measure will be a blessing to so many who are in danger of losing their homes. We are most grateful for the one-time boost. With luck and perseverance, Michael will find a job (and an employer that wants him) before the temporary funds run out.


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