Spring fever

April 29, 2002

Maybe it's time to change the name of our newsletter to the Monthly Recap. It seems like we always start the month with every intention to post an update sometime around the 10th, but for the past few months we've been just making it under the wire on the last day. But hopefully absence makes the heart grow fonder. We've just been consumed with work and our respective writing projects.

Even Ben is getting into this writing thing lately, having authored a couple of short stories with Dad's assistance. The two of them have spent several evenings hidden away in the "writing sanctuary" concocting wild tales filled with Pokemon, Powerpuff Girls, Animorphs and other favorite characters from Ben's television shows and chapter books. The boy has an active imagination, but it seems to run in the family.

Meanwhile, Glenn and Roni's novel projects continue. After a spate of writer's block in late March, Glenn returned to a more regular regimen of writing in the wee hours after work and has expanded his manuscript to roughly 88,000 words, still a long way from completion. Roni recently picked up her book again and is trying to look at it through fresh eyes. She is filled with ideas to liven up the plot and further develop her characters.

Our weather has been dry and and steadily growing warmer. A week after completing our taxes we all felt we'd been couped up indoors for far too long and decided to take advantage of the spring weather for a drive up to the Napa wine country April 21. We stopped in at Peju Province to pick up a bottle of our favorite wine, Carnival, and then had lunch at V. Sattui Winery in Rutherford. We've been visiting that place for more than a decade and it is amazing how busy it has become. We found a spot to eat on a bench under the shade of a grape arbor that was abloom with wisteria vines. We dream that one day our own wisteria plants will look as lovely.

Speaking of plants, we have been derelict in our gardening duties for some time now. Only this week have we begun to take inventory of what is growing in our garden, and the sad fact is that most of it is weeds. Our sprinkler system is in its annual state of disrepair, having fallen victim over the winter to a severe wind storm that sent a couple of landscaping timbers toppling onto the water faucet where our sprinklers are hooked up, cracking the PVC main and forcing us to shut off the emergency valve until repairs can be effected. We've been watering the back lawn by hand, but it too has been reduced to bare earth and weeds through its five years and will probably have to be replaced. We want to re-sod, but naturally we aren't eager to undertake the backbreaking labor involved until the weather cools off again, probably this fall.

We have begun some weeding and general cleanup, mostly of sand that has been blown across pathways. Glenn's garden railway officially met its demise this week as he began dismantling nearly 200 feet of track. It had languished for close to two years after some of the G-gauge equipment failed and he became occupied with other activities that left him less time to enjoy the layout. The tracks were getting buried beneath sand and weeds, so it was time for them to go. He hopes eventually to resurrect the railway in another portion of the yard when time and interests permit.

Tracks and weeds aren't the only things we have been removing around our home. Our cats Ariel and Eevee have been harboring a growing flea population, so on the day we visited Napa we set off aerosol flea bombs throughout the house and gave both cats baths when we returned. Unfortunately, it seems that the flea situation is worse since we did that, so it looks as though the cats will have to return to the tub again soon. (And won't they be excited about that!)

We finally broke down and upgraded our digital cable service this month after AT&T Broadband slyly managed to change the way they handle their premium movie channels, which required us to add a new digital converter if we wanted to continue watching HBO and Showtime in our bedroom. They added a number of channels to their lineup at the same time, so we decided to go with the "platinum" package for a while to see how we like it. Glenn is happily watching Daytona 500 reruns on the Speed Channel, while Ben is getting into the programming on Toon Disney and his new favorite show, Pepper Ann. Roni continues to curl up with her Nora Roberts novels at night and, apart from a few favorite network series, is still convinced that there is nothing on TV despite the wider channel selection. Some things will probably never change.

Glenn, Roni and Ben

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