2006.07.19 Tuesday night torture

Written by David Green.

I worked in the office, I took photos at a BMX race, I mowed the lawn, I attended a post-wedding hoo-hah in Grosse Ile as a total stranger, I ate ice cream, I watched a movie—I did all sorts of things this weekend, but I didn’t write a By the Way column. So here’s one from a hot July day 20 years ago.


By DAVID GREEN

This column has to be written on Sunday afternoon. Why? It’s just a tradition spanning several decades. I think my mother made my father bring his home before press time so she could serve as censor. Fortunately, I haven’t gotten into trouble yet with my wife for her to make similar pre-publication demands.

More importantly, if this doesn’t get written on Sunday, it has to be done Monday night when there are much more important things to be doing down here, such as writing the news.

But here I sit Monday night already feeling trepidation of what will come tomorrow night. Tuesday evening at our house is known as Torture Daddy Night (TDN). It’s the night after I stayed up late working on the paper and the night before getting up early to take the papers to the post office. What a life.

Colleen and Ben—and now Rosanna—are becoming perfecters of TDN.

I read a book to Ben and begin to doze off halfway through, maybe somewhere around number 230 of Bartholomew’s 500 hats. Ben won’t allow me to continue sleeping nor does he gently nudge me awake.

Instead it’s a slug to the chest along with a verbal attack. “Dad! Dad! Wake up!”

9:30 p.m.—things are quieting down, but Colleen decides that she really should go shopping for a few things.

10:05 p.m.—The fateful discovery of a basket of wet clothes is made. They were quickly brought in from the line earlier when rain threatened. (On some Tuesdays, someone will remember clothes are still hanging from the line and must be brought in, maybe to protect from bats, I don’t know. This generally happens after 10:30 p.m.

10:32 p.m.—Rosanna performs an act common to babies that requires the attention of an adult.

10:42 p.m.—Colleen’s co-conspirators join in TDN and phone calls begin to arrive.

10:51 p.m.—Ben is becoming demanding. It’s either another book or else we build a tunnel for rats with Legos.

11:01 p.m.—The phone rates are down. Let’s call Minnesota.

The details are different every week, but overall it’s the same general pattern Tuesday after Tuesday. Sometimes something really unusual breaks the tedium. The best one yet happened last week.

It must have been about 2:30 in the morning when Colleen dragged me out of the dream state to ask me this question: “Why in the world is the furnace on?”

I just rolled around making strange noises while she went downstairs to move the thermostat down from 80°. The answer to her question was simple enough: Ben.

The heating season started early for us this year, just a few hours before the long heat wave moved in.

   - July 19, 2006

 

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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