grandmas

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.

Friday, June 9, 2017

There must be something...

The mighty Leaf
I took our Leaf in to have the tires rotated.
Every year, that's our maintenance plan, move the tires around each 7,500 miles and keep the car battery charged.
(Plus, keep me from banging it into things like other cars and solid snowbanks, but that's another story I've already told.)
I've been faithful about the rotation even though it drives the service department at Ken Garff Nissan a little crazy,
I drive into the bay and hand the man the keys.
"Just a rotation?" he says, looking over my sky blue, electric vehicle that quietly stole into the area.
"How much do we charge you for that?" he asked, writing down "$40" on his paper.
"Uh, usually nothing," I said. "It's a lease and that was part of the deal."
"Oh, ok," he said and erased his note. "It'll be ready in about 30 minutes."
In 30 minutes I came back and he handed me a 15-point checklist with everything checked off as fine.
Amazingly my sweet little car didn't need any fluids, air filters, any gaskets, anything at all.
Because it's all electric there's no engine debris, no oil and no fuss.
It's a zero emission so there's no exhaust system to worry about.
I think it's great.
I feel like I'm doing my part to keep the planet clean and I love the economy.
So far, my only problem is feeling a touch guilty as I drive away having paid the service guy nothing for his time.
(He did try to talk me into four new tires because one on the left back side is starting to show some wear, he said. The other three are in good shape but "it's a good idea to replace all four at the same time" for a mere $500.)
I think we're good.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

A big tree, a big ocean and fat starfish...

As good as it gets...North California beach

Fern Canyon ferns
Underwater Marc


A pair of hooligans

Starfish in love

Rocks to die for

A Happy Birthday girl

I didn't ask for much for my 66th birthday.
I told Marc I just wanted to go to the beach, stand where I could hear and feel the roar of the surf and see the Redwoods in California.
I wanted to stay in a place that offered more than the standard hotel experience. I'd pay a little extra for the ocean front view and the solitude.
Oh, and our visit would have to be sandwiched in between high school graduations and writing deadlines.
We'd have to fly over and back in a jet and a puddle-jumper that could land in the Eureka/Arcata airport.
Marc signed on and off we went for three days.
We hiked and splashed and discovered all kinds of natural beauty on the northern California coast.
We stood almost face to hindquarters with a major herd of elk that weren't that impressed with us.
We climbed down the dangerous face of a cliff to get to the beach rocks and then up again so our leg muscles could claim a serious workout.
One morning we combed the beach tide pools with about a hundred schoolkids looking for critters, finding big, fat, pink, orange and red starfish tucked in all the crevasses and masses of anemones.
We explored Fern Canyon which is really a magical kind of trail through the water back, back, back into a place where the walls drip and sparkle and rain down on everyone who comes in for a look. (It's actually where Steven Spielberg filmed "Jurassic Park, the Lost World" because it feels so primeval and ethereal.)
From our bed and breakfast (Turtle Rocks Oceanfront Inn), we could hear the barking sea lions covering the rocks in the ocean...all day and all night!
Inside the trail dedicated to Lady Bird Johnson, we stretched our necks to see to the top of giant Redwoods that are thousands of years old and huge!
Some are Fire Trees, trees that have been completely burnt out inside yet still live to support others.
For a mini-vacation for me, it completely worked.
I came away fulfilled, aware that there's still so much more to see in this world and it's a good idea to stay healthy enough to check more of it out!
I just have to live another 66 years or so.
Mini me, bottom right...honest..I'm only a centimeter tall

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A tree house for Mia

Mia wants a tree house but she needs a tree...and some wood, some nails and a ladder.
She has it all worked out in her 5-year-old mind.
She is a problem solver.
She has seen a tree house like she wants at her friend's house.
It's cozy and up in the air and she can take cookies up there.
The main obstacle is the absence of a tree.
There used to be a tree in Mia's backyard but it was a mean tree with thorns and a rough scaly trunk.
Her dad cut it down to keep kids from scratching their legs as they attempted to climb it and because it was very old and leaning dangerously in the wind.
It now makes for an interesting stump to jump on.
So Mia is searching for a new tree.
She asked me if she could use our tree, looking at me with hope in her big blue eyes.
We have a cottonwood in the back that has some potential as far as she can understand it.
It's tall. It has lots of branches and it's right here in Grandma and Grandpa's yard.
She knows I would help her.
We went out to look at it.
Hmm. Most of the branches didn't look up to the task.
I told this to Mia.
She dismissed my concerns.
"I know where you keep your wood. We can put it up there and then try it. You could get some nails and a ladder and I could climb up there!" she said.
I sighed.
I asked Marc about it.
He was aghast and he fears for our precious tree.
"Mia might just have to do without a tree house," he said, looking at me pointedly.
Ok.
Fine.
I'll just have one more surveying look. Maybe if we propped a piece of plywood on the lower branch or hung a kind of hammock between two of the stronger ones?
Maybe a double-decker?