For 3 years, it ran in the Greeley Tribune. Since then, it has run in various subsidiaries of the Douglas County News Press. I still have most of my columns in digital format.
For many years, I only gave myself one rule: try to work the word "library" into every piece. My intent was to think in public about just what librarianship means at the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st.
There have been many advantages for me. I found that putting library plans out in front of the public, and getting feedback about them, helped me make better decisions. Sometimes, I found that it was very difficult for me to describe those plans or policies -- the kind of thing that makes me realize that they might not be good ideas after all. The weekly discipline of explaining my profession to the public keeps me more mindful, more honest. It also has provided steady visibility for the library and its issues.
February 28, 2001 - Trials of a House Husband
This week, my wife is in England. Suzanne and her father have relatives back there, and my father-in-law, now in his seventies, got the itch to go. When he wistfully suggested that perhaps Suzanne would like to go along, I encouraged her to go for it - an opportunity not only to get to know him better, but also for her to return, for a time, to her globe trotting youth.
So I'm spending the week looking after the kids and being a house-husband.
I have to admit that I thought, for almost a day, that this would be a kind of vacation for me. I'd have a chance to rest up. But that was before I got a close look at my wife's schedule.
For one thing, there's the home schooling of our son, Perry. He's quick, and I'm expecting to have a lot of fun with him. But it's not the same thing as lying around and watching TV.
I don't have to worry about my daughter's education. Maddy goes to the local middle school, and I'm very proud to report that she has just been accepted into the National Junior Honor Society.
On the other hand, she has an amazing number of appointments during the week: sports, music, and more. Toss Perry's extracurricular activities into the mix, and you've got a lot of tearing around the metro area.
Then we get into the other stuff. Now, I enjoy cooking. Unfortunately, the things I like to make are not the things my kids like to eat. I love soups and casseroles. I like things that simmer and stew and blend. Alas. My daughter believes that rice and peas should be set down as far from each other as possible on her plate, if not eaten in separate states entirely. My son's idea of wild commingling is a hamburger AND a bun.
So I'll be pursuing a simplicity theme this week. But that might be kind of fun, too. And I will say that my wife left me some interesting books, particularly "One Bite Won't Kill You: More than 200 Recipes to Tempt Even the Pickiest Kids on Earth," by Ann Hodgman. It's a hilarious cookbook.
I'm committed, also, to the notion that when Suzanne gets back, there won't be anything that I let pile up. She will find groceries in the fridge. The house will be straightened and vacuumed. The dishes and the clothes will be washed. The children will have practiced their instruments, attended their lessons, and fulfilled all their obligations.
And I, I suspect, will have the chance to go back to the library, seeing it for the island of calm and peace that I suspect it really is.