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Tuesday, February 9, 2021

 I now sit in my new home where the temperature is 0 degrees.

That is to say, there are no degrees. We are bereft of degrees. There are no degrees to be had.

Yet I feel safe and warm because it's home to me. I'm back in the Wisconsin Northwoods. I can't publicly announce it until the newspaper does Thursday but no need to hold your breath. Because you'll freeze to death.

The two-day trip was fraught as driving for twelve hours and three states during February invites fraughtness -- if I can make that a word.

I spent much time driving through snow in central Illinois. It was like driving through the whiteness of Miracle Whip.

When there weren't trees or farms on the horizon, the white fields met the white sky seamlessly. When I glanced down at my speed and temperature, I couldn't see them -- blinded by the whiteness of the drive.

I overnighted in Madison, where I enjoyed a couple of Spotted Cow beers, a joy you cannot share outside Wisconsin.

And then I woke up to temperatures of 2 degrees. I looked out the window of my hotel and could actually see the little degrees, running around, blind as they are, often smashing into each other and falling down into the snow giggling. Low degrees aren't so sharp.

I made it all the way to Eau Claire when my car started to shake like a paint mixer. I stopped at Birch Street Auto, where I begged help that I was on the road to my first job in nine months. The owner took me in immediately and found I had busted a couple of lugnuts off my right front tire. They fixed it immediately, with the owner saying it was the easiest job of the day, and I made it to my new home in less than two hours.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, I will work for money I've earned.

That's a big deal to me. Bless unemployment pay but I like to earn my keep. Unemployment kept me well for these last nine months but I will be happy and proud to work again.

I will alert you as I go.

Peace and accomplishment unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


  1. been following you quietly. holding my breath once a while, hoping for a good outcome. it was worth the wait. _/\_ j.

  2. Great to hear you will back in a newsroom, where you belong, soon. And in Wisconsin too. I have an inkling about the job, but won't share it here.
    Your description of driving through central Illinois reminded me of the three years I lived in Mattoon, where I got my first newspaper job. That's some flat landscape there in east central Illinois. And in winter you can feel the effects of the wind blowing off Lake Michigan more than 100 miles away.

    Best of luck with the new job, Rich. Hope to see you soon.

  3. Congrads!!! I love to live in Wisconsin again.

  4. Congrads!!! I love to live in Wisconsin again.

  5. Congrads!!! I love to live in Wisconsin again.

  6. "My car started to shake like a paint mixer." What a brilliant image, Rich! I'm so happy you've found work again, but I sure will miss your prose! Stay warm in those frigid, northern Wisconsin temps.

  7. I am so happy for your dogged pursuit of what you love. Bloomington we hope is indelible for you in your writings and days. Glad for your safe drive, and again, LOVE WI. Be sure to register to vote there too.

  8. Your gain is Bloomington's loss, but I am elated for you.

  9. First time commenter, longtime reader. So glad to know you have succeeded in your search. Damned sorry to see you leave Bloomington AND the HT. I'm hoping you've seen Laura Lane's tribute column by now. True praise from a wise reporter.