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.


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.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.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in 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.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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