Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Grand Camp - Part Two

Where were we? When I left you last week Grand Camp had taken a field trip to Chuck E Cheese while I stayed home. (Thank you, Jesus.) For the remainder of the week we held forth here in paradise with all sorts of grand adventures until I took the girls home on Saturday morning.

I’m slowly getting the house returned to Quiet Old People status. It was easier this year because I finally figured out to use paper plates and other disposables to cut down on a lot of dishes to wash. When each kid has her very own gallon of ice cream you just use a LOT of spoons. And, (bless their hearts!) the girls are fairly agreeable to my instructions in how to pick up after yourself.

We have one firm tradition here at Grand Camp. Every time we have the girls over for a week we begin with a solemn business meeting where all four of us discuss what we want to do during our time together and make a list of them. As we accomplish the items on the list we give it a triumphant check. We ended up with the usual things on the list like Chuck E Cheese but eliminated the trip to Six Flags. We learned the hard way last year that you NEVER go to Six Flags during Spring Break.

Bowling was on the list but we never got around to it. To start with, Sarah showed up with a loose tooth. And, in case you never thought about it, loose teeth and bowling do not mix well. I think she's been losing ten-year molars for the last year or so because this time last year she had another loose tooth. When she wasn’t wiggling her tooth with her fingers she had those same fingers inside a bowling ball that only God knows who used last. But you can bet it was probably unsanitary people with colds, TB, Diphtheria or Typhoid. She finally quit bowling mid-game because I kept making her go wash her hands. Or maybe that was because she was losing.

So this year when the tooth finally came out toward the end of the week “Hallelujah"s rang out and the Tooth Fairy was overly generous as only you can achieve at your grandparents’ house. We thought it would be smooth sailing from the on.

We had sleeping outside in the tent on the list. And I put the tent up. But it never got quite warm enough. We took a stab at it mid-week but bailed out around 10pm because Granny was cold and knew it would only get colder. I still put a check by that item on the list. I think the effort counts.

One of our best projects was cutting up a massive oak that fell over when we had a huge snowstorm a month ago. We kept nibbling away at it all week: a branch here and limb there. We left most of the trunk that touched the ground because it made just the coolest climbing array you’ve ever seen--You can hop onto the huge tree trunk and walk up it toward the main break. I'll bet the climb to the top was at least ten feet high. However, it was a real challenge to burn the wood because it was still fairly green. We managed to keep a fire going all week through a lot of effort. That's always my favorite part of a fire--when you can add a few pine needles in the morning and coax it back to life you know you've got a good fire.

On Thursday afternoon Essie burned her finger while rearranging the fire. Essie’s pretty much a “roll with the punches” kind of kid and not much bothers her. But the burned finger kept her tethered to a glass of ice water for the better part of the evening.

Then I asked Sarah to help me carry a huge log that was too heavy for me. But she dropped her end of the log on her toe and it immediately turned blue. I took her inside, fluffed her up with pillows and an ice pack, overdosed her on baby aspirin and put on her favorite DVD. Then I went back outside to check on Harold.

Harold is our pet water moccasin. Well, no, he doesn’t have a little snake house and we don’t feed him every morning but we do spot him on a regular basis in the same place—sunning himself at the edge of the creek. Since all water moccasins look alike and I only see one snake at a time I have decided to regard any snake I see as the same one. It’s just easier that way. And giving him a name helps make him seem friendlier.

So when I saw him while I was taking Sarah inside with her toe I knew I would want to show him to Essie. For one thing, he’s grown since last year. He’s huge now. He disappeared into the creek the minute Essie saw him and gave out a little “Ack” sound but maybe Essie had seen enough to suit her. It’s not like I’m inviting my grandchildren to play with poisonous snakes. I know Harold will always instinctively swim away when he sees people. And you and I both know Essie isn’t going to try to reach out and grab him with her bare hands. So I don’t worry too much about Harold. We’re not going to walk around in the dense brush by the creek and he’s never going to stray far from that area.

The girls helped me plant most of the garden. We got the potatoes and onions in. Spread a few carrot, corn and radish seeds. I’ll plant the tomatoes when it warms up more. Spring officially arrived Saturday and Sunday it snowed. Go figure.

I took them home after their one and only bath of the week. Emily listened to the injury list with an arched eyebrow. It was a successful week.

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