Saturday, December 23, 2006

An almost annual letter from Doug, Jeanette and Ian

What can I say about 2006? Hmmmmmm, I guess I feel a bit like how the pResident (of the White House) responded to the Iraq Study Group report, which is to say that 2006 was “interesting”.
In 2005 I had been hired full-time in the Information Technology Services department at Alfred University after a few years as part-time Technical Specialist for Environmental Studies, AND I taught Alfred State College’s only Environmental Science class (over my lunch hour, three days a week) during the 2005 fall semester. Near the end of the semester, I was told that someone with seniority wanted to teach the class, so I would only be working full-time on one side of the valley as 2006 began. Three weeks after 2006 began, I had no job at all. The new head of ITS had decided to change things. A lot.
So I spent the first half of 2006 looking very diligently for another job (as far away as Elmira and Salamanca), and although I was told I interviewed well on several occasions, by June I was still unemployed. In retrospect I think I should have just resigned myself to unemployment (pun intended) and done more work on our house, sooner. Ah, if only we had “do-overs” in adult life!
Anyway, over the summer we did get two bedrooms (after dividing our “master bedroom” in half) finished so that Ian has his own finished space, and we are staying in what will be the “spare” bedroom until we convert two unfinished rooms downstairs, into our “new master suite”. Since I stopped trying so hard to find employment and started spending my time more like a house-husband, things are going better and I think we’re all happier. I’m exploring other prospects, including a home-based business, a used book store in “beautiful downtown Alfred”, and another part-time position at Alfred University. But I’m making bread and cooking meals, sorting and disposing of things, working on our house, and spending time with Jeanette and Ian that two jobs and too many volunteer activities used to keep me from spending. Good things come in surprise packages.
Toward the end of the summer, Jeanette was called in to a special meeting at her school. She and a couple other teachers were told that enrollments had changed so much that they were moving to new positions. Jeanette went from teaching 5th grade Special Ed. to 10th grade Resource Room, so she’s been re-learning algebra and other subjects, and has moved to the high school building of the newly-merged Canisteo-Greenwood Central School. Change seems to be the theme of our year by this point.
Ian, meanwhile, finished third grade in great shape, played soccer, went to Camp Gorton and advanced to Webelos I, and did some camping with his parents. We spent most of a week in our RV at a conference where Doug gave two workshops (one on biodiversity and another on environmental history), we celebrated Jeanette’s birthday, and Ian got to play laser tag and go on a water slide (his Dad went, too).
Having been “camped out” at Dad’s place in the village of Alfred since Dad’s cancer surgery and following Jeanette’s hip replacement, we finally moved back into our house after the school year ended. In August, Doug’s Dad’s second wife, Ethel moved into assisted living so I went to South Carolina and moved Dad back into his house in Alfred. Then Dad spent over a month with big sister Roberta and we went to get him when Doug’s brother and sisters gathered at Bert’s for Thanksgiving.
Ian has told us he loves being back at our house where he can run around outside all day long, and seems to think it’s ok to only get a few channels with the TV antenna. He does use his PlayStation and GameBoy for entertainment when other amusements are unavailable due to weather or the like. Both parents enjoy reading such things as Tom Sawyer and Sherlock Holmes to him at bedtime, and his Mom is diligent in working with him on his studies, evident at report card time. He has a pet crayfish named Bowser, thanks to a science project, and is looking forward to taking in Aunt Carol’s cat, Midnight, after the holidays. I think he’s a natural drummer but so far he is only singing in chorus. He also plays soccer and wrestles, having played tee-ball for a couple years.
All three of us continue to make new friends, whether in the fire/ambulance company, church, school or community, and we always enjoy renewing old friendships. We’re glad to have Dad back in our midst and, aside from helping him with practical things, we’re just trying to spend as much time with him as we can. We’re off to Oklahoma to see Jeanette’s family at Christmas-time.
We hope your 2006 has been a bit less “interesting” than ours has, and that next year will be even better. We hope that a more progressive approach in our government will lead to a better future, and we will continue to try to make a difference in all the things we do. We hope you have an awesome 2007!

Doug, Jeanette and Ian

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