grandmas

Monday, July 3, 2017

That cuts it!

I've been worried since we bought really nice, really sharp knives for Marc for Christmas.
I bought him a glove to protect his fingers.
We make sure the knives are always put back in their little wooden sheath.
We take care whenever we use them.
I've been particularly worried when I borrow one of them.
They're so sharp and they cut so quickly.
When I want to slice a tomato, one of Marc's knives cuts right through like it's nothing.
When I need to slice a loaf of bread I've picked up from the bakery before it was cool enough to go through the slicer, I borrow his.
The other day I was laboring to cut up a watermelon.
It took forever.
So yesterday when I needed to cut up another one, I looked at his precious set of cutting tools.
I realized I would be taking a chance so I put my silicon baking sheet on the counter so the watermelon wouldn't roll away.
I lifted the fruit and started to work.
I halved it.
Sweet!
The knife cut right through.
I halved the half and proceeded to cut slices which I then quartered.
It went great.
I didn't hurt myself.
It went quickly and I ended up with nice, neat pieces of melon.
It wasn't until I cleaned up the watermelon juice that I noticed something funny.
The silicon sheet lifted up in places that left the rest of the sheet on the counter.
I picked it up and waggled it. It fluttered in the breeze.
I had efficiently shredded my baking sheet which now was in strips.
It was beyond repair and only good for a demonstration on how dangerous working with sharp knives could be.
Who knew sharp meant sharp?

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Movie mob

Casting call...
We're having a great old time, the minions and me.
Each week we saddle up and roll out, seeing an oldie-but-a-goodie movie every Tuesday, the six grandkids I can fit in the car and me.
We bring along a snuggy blanket for everybody. (Cael's is a Batman fleece while each of the girls has a flowery butterfly pattern.)
We remember a drink and treats.
We travel as a troupe.
The last two years we went to the local Cinemark.
This year we have to drive to the Provo Towne Centre Cinemark because American Fork's theater just upgraded to luxury loungers and displaced all the little kids.
It's a little further and once in a while we have to wait for a train to clear the track but it's fine. It's still only about a 20-minute drive.
Along the way, we sing and chat and enjoy each other, six cousins who recognize each other as movie buddies.
The last two years we didn't have Cael but he's three now, potty-trained and old enough to sit still through an entire showing of "The Secret Life of Pets" and "Shrek the 3rd."
He doesn't mind being the only boy. In fact, he has a whole pack of girls willing to serve his cause.
We're halfway through the 10-movie cycle and so far, the reviews are interesting.
These kids know how to recognize a good movie versus a so-so flick. They discuss what works and what doesn't and tell me how a plotline could've been done better.
They know about movie etiquette and nobody shouts or talks out loud.
They laugh at the funny parts and register dismay at the scary parts.
It's a bit of an ambitious undertaking.
I have to dedicate most of my Tuesday each week to movies I might not choose to watch if it was just me.
It's simple fun and their mothers love it. (They get a couple hours every week to sit down and think.)
The kids get so excited for each Movie Day. They enthuse for each movie.
However, I'm pretty sure it's the pleasure of grandma's company they really go for — more than the promise of candy and pop and a free movie.
They just love being around a funny old lady.
Am I wrong?

Monday, June 26, 2017

Spacing it!


It's a long-standing tradition in our family that we go to space every chance we get.
When the Christa McAuliffe Center was operating at Central Elementary in Pleasant Grove, we went as a family and we dragged along our business associates...colleagues from the Daily Herald, The Deseret News and later on, Marc took his buddies from Xactware when it moved out to the Manila Church as the Space Discovery Center.
While the locations have changed around and the opportunities are less frequent, we've persisted.
There's something magical and addictive about role-playing on the earth-bound ships.
We like flying in pretend space and figuring out how to defeat enemies.
We enjoy learning how to keep a virtual ship fueled, repaired and shielded.
(Of course, along the way we've had our share of defeats. One time, we were all playing dead so the enemy faction would go on its way. It was going fine until the phone rang and one of our crew members picked it up . "Ah, ha! You are alive but now you're dead!" said the alien who then proceeded to blow us up.)
(Another time, the aliens were unimpressed with our tactics and our decisions so we died.)
It's always an adventure trying to work together as a crew and make good choices under duress.
This last time, we went to the new Farpoint Academy at the Renaissance Academy in Lehi. That's where Victor Williamson, the guy who originated the whole idea, is currently building a program.
He had a brand-new facility with high-speed computers and graphics on the screens.
The missions are run by guys who take the whole thing quite seriously.
They explain the mission, the goals and the risks.
Then we take off in the USS Voyager, armed with information, fake torpedoes and a couple of plastic photon blasters.
It's always interesting to watch the grandkids (and the grown-ups) we take along get into the action.
At first, everyone is kind of kidding around, making jokes and acting as if it's nothing serious.
Then it starts to get real.
There are tasks to perform and work to do. Scrub those CO2 scrubbers. Plot a course through the asteroid belt.
Then an alien ship appears and we're in a battle.
Smoke fills the bridge. Alarms sing.
An intruder comes in who must be subdued.
The captain has to make some hard choices.
Crew members find their simple tasks matter.
By the time the mission is finished, everyone is involved and a little stressed out.
A couple of the teenagers on this latest flight went right home and went to bed. They couldn't talk about it until the next morning.
Now they want to know when we're going again.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Behind you...

I was picking up children for Grandma's Movie Day and because we had a cousin we were taking Grandpa's SUV.
We had a total of six kids and one grandma.
I gathered all my chicks and headed to the car with one in the front, three in the back and two in the extra row.
Everyone was busily fastening their seat belts and I was finding my keys since the Leaf I usually drive just needs the keys nearby and not in the keyhole.
"Cael's not in the car," said Breanne, the cousin.
"What?" I asked, looking around and counting noses.
"Cael's not in the car," she said again, looking steadily at me.
I swiveled.
I couldn't see Cael but he's three and short and if he was in the back row, I wouldn't be able to see the top of his head.
We were running close on time but I got out and went around the back of the car to see if I could find Cael.
There he was, standing patiently behind the car waiting for somebody to open the door.
I gasped as I realized that it was quite possible I could have started the car and rolled back on him.
I opened the door, helped him in and buckled him tight.
It wasn't until I was on the road that it really hit me.
What if Breanne hadn't said anything to me?
What if I hadn't taken a few minutes finding my keys?
What if I had backed into or over this precious little guy?
My Leaf has a back-up camera so I am used to checking out what's behind me on that screen.
It's also not as high profile so I can see out the back window.
Whatever the situation, I had made myself a new rule.
When I am driving anywhere and backing up, I will first walk around the car, without fail.
I think this was my wake-up call.
Thank you Breanne.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The real zucchini killers...


Marc is exonerated.
For the past several years, he's been Suspect Number One when it comes to the question of who killed our zucchini.
We'd buy seed and plant the seedlings and they'd wither and die.
We'd buy plants that were well along in development and they'd shrink to nothing and die.
I figured he was overwatering...He figured it was too hot and dry.
I'd issue strict orders that he leave the zucchini alone and last year, the plant lived. We harvested a crop of several.
This year we bought two healthy-looking plants from a reputable nursery and Marc planted them in the ground.
We stood back and waited and sure enough, in a couple of days the two young plants bit the dust, almost literally.
I righteously declared that his brown thumb had struck again and marched off to the store to buy yet another one.
Marc replaced the dirt so as to give this plant a decent chance,
I built up a small hill and tucked it into a hole, watering around it and pushing the soil all up around it like a blanket around a baby.
Imagine my dismay when the next morning the plant leaves were skeletal. It looked awful so fast.
The leaves had been ravaged. I'd never seen damage like it that came on so fast.
I ran to the Internet...looking for expert advice and comfort.
I found a site dedicated to "holes in zucchini leaves."
This lady had run into similar plant disaster and after trying a couple of things, rigged up a camera to film what happened overnight to her babies.
Earwigs happened!
An army of the critters swarmed over the plant during the dark hours and ate all they could hold.
To defeat them, it would take an insecticide that had to be dusted all around the plant and over its leaves.
I went to the store, bought the appropriate deadly dust, put on my rubber gloves, my gas mask and went to work.
This morning everything seems stable. No further damage but no little dead bugs that I can see.
Maybe they ingest the poison and crawl away to die. Maybe they took a Sunday break.
When it isn't Marc's fault, I don't know what to think.
I'm on this though.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Give it the proper spin...

I have a couple of new friends at Walmart.
It didn't start out that way but now we're buds, the people who work in returns and me.
See, what happened was my granddaughter Adell bought a new, purple, 18-speed bike with mostly her own hard-earned cash.
A bike that promptly exhibited problems.
A spoke broke.
The gears wouldn't shift up.
The brake was erratic.
All in all, it made for a dangerous ride, even with a helmet.
Adell was sad.
Her mother was too busy with a new home business to worry about returning the bike so, intrepid grandma that I am, I offered to help.
Adell and I loaded the bike in the back of my Leaf and off we went to the Cedar Hills store.
I explained the situation to the workers, expecting an offer for an exchange or a refund since it was obviously new and barely used.
The lady at the service counter called in her supervisor.
She asked me for the card used for the purchase.
I offered one my daughter had sent with me.
Wrong card.
I called my busy daughter. She gave me the number for another credit card.
The ladies started looking it up.
"When did she buy it?" they asked. "Did she buy it here?"
I called my busy daughter again. She gave me a date.
Wrong date.
The ladies looked at the day ahead and the day after, then the week ahead and the week after.
Then they took a picture of the bike's serial number.
"It says there's no record of a bike like this being sold for the past two weeks," the lady said.
I looked at her in despair.
"You mean, I have to make another trip when I have the date?" I asked.
"Yes, I'm sorry," said the supervisor, not looking very sorry.
Other customers were now backing up in line behind us.
I called my busy daughter one more time. I told her she'd have to do some research and find the transaction on her credit card history.
We returned to Adell's house with the broken bike, dismayed and defeated.
However...ta da...today we went back armed with a transaction receipt and the proper card and the bike and a little brother.
We made our case. Somehow the supervisor remembered us and we got a new bike.
We were wheeling it up to the counter to buy it again when we saw a man looking over the broken bike.
"This isn't even our bike!" he said. "We don't sell this kind."
I drew in a breath. Adell stopped in her tracks.
Taking a cue from our reaction, the supervisor stepped in.
"Yes, we do," she said. "They had a receipt."


Thursday, June 15, 2017

One migraine headache, please, to go...

open wide
I knew when I called to make my appointment that it wasn't necessarily the best idea.
I've had dilated eye exams before and my memories are fuzzy. (Ha ha.)
But the insurance company was sort of insisting that I get one and I like to do what I'm told when it involves insurance and co-pays and my good health.
I got an appointment for mid-day, deliberately selecting a time that wouldn't interfere with my main duties of delivering grandchildren to various birthday parties and social events or with my shopping and/or errands. (I'm a busy girl.)
I took a book and prepared to wait a bit.
When it was my turn, I took a seat in the exam room and rattled off my history.
I recited the letters on the eye chart, forwards and backwards. I think I got an "A."
Eventually the actual eye doctor came in and did his thing.
He looked all around in my eyes and then he put in sticky drops.
He told me to wait in the outer foyer for 30 minutes.
That's when the trouble began.
My vision began to get a little fuzzy.
Everything started to get brighter.
When I finally returned to the exam chair, I was a touch wobbly.
The doctor shone bright white and yellow lights directly into my eyes.
I started, recognizing the kinds of triggers I try to avoid so I don't get migraine headaches...things like strobe lights, mirror balls, hot sun, flashing mirrors.
I said something about it but the doctor was unimpressed and he had his task to complete.
Finally, he was finished with a flourish and a pronouncement that my eyes were healthy.
He handed me the bill and a funny slip-in pair of shades.
My pupils were huge and the world around me shimmered.
I drove to where Marc and I were buying dinner for the grandkids.
I put my temporary shades in my purse and then couldn't find them again.
In the restaurant, I was on sensory overload. The music seemed really loud.
On the way to Salt Lake, I was miserable, nauseus, disoriented and, according to Marc, a little cranky.
It wasn't until several hours later that the effects wore off.
I'm supposed to have one of these every year now because of my diabetes. I believe it's probably a wise plan.
I just can't see it from here.