Today I began the process of wiping out the last vestige of evidence that kids used to live here. It's time to renovate and repaint the family room in the finished downstairs.
For the last year, Patrick's large couch sectional was stored there and it made a good place to fold laundry and occasionally sit. But he's moved into a new place and came to get it while I was in New Orleans last weekend.
In years past, the room (it's an L shaped room) also housed a set of airplane wings and a canopy. But those are now out at the hangar.
So, it's as good a time as any to repaint the room, pull up all the carpeting, put down new carpeting, add a fireplace of some sort and an HD TV, as well as buy some new furniture.
Today I tossed out a lot of old stuff and packed up kids VCRs and various games which will likely never be used again, as well as saved Sean's 4th grade poetry and other assorted art work from Patrick and Sean.
I haven't updated the blog lately because life is either work, which means you can find it on MPR's News Cut. Or life is building an airplane, which means you can find it on the Letters From Flyover Country blog.
But this weekend I've been in New Orleans for, ummmm, work. The boss said on Wednesday, "How'd you like to go to New Orleans to cover the Vikings game?" I actually didn't want to. I like the Vikings fine but I intensely dislike the cliches surrounding football games.
But it was New Orleans and I wanted to take a look at post-Katrina. And, I found out when I got here, it gave me the opportunity to explore this connection this city has with its football team, which is unlike any other.
I sat in the press box at the Louisiana Superdome and enjoyed the game, despite having to miss watching overtime and the last four minutes of regulation because I had to get set up down in the media facility for the post-game news conferences.
I'd have loved to have Sean or Patrick with me for an event like this (and, of course, Carolie), but this is a work assignment. Still, I made sure I followed the advice Terry Bradshaw gives when he recounts a critical Superbowl play during his career. "I said to myself, 'Stop, and realize where you are,'" he said, just before he gave the ball to Franco Harris to win the Super Bowl.
I think back often to working those early days in Southbridge, and Fitchburg, and Pittsfield and if you'd told me then I'd be in New Orleans to meet nice people and cover an NFC Championship game, I'd have rained on your parade.
Retirement still seems like a good deal to me; I'm on the downside of the career and all. But I've still got the greatest job in America.
But when you're on assignment -- especially when you're on assignment alone -- you work all the time. I put in a 15 hour day on Saturday and 20 hours yesterday, and that's OK; I love working and feeding material to the blog and back to MPR. But when I looked at the Web traffic stats this morning (I'd told the boss there's no online audience at MPR on weekends and he said that's OK), all of my stuff got beaten out by some webcam of a bear giving birth to a cub.
And that's what keeps one's head on straight in this business. You can always be replaced by a pregnant bear.