August 2008

Okay, I’m supposed to be rushing around getting ready for our weekend camping trip. But, in the interest of balance, I have paused, poured a cup of coffee, and am quietly doing the computer thing for a few minutes. There has already been a fair bit of “rushing around” today, though. I started laundry this morning, only to discover we were almost out of water. Must have been that luxurious bath I had when I first got up. No problem, I had to run to town anyway to have some blood work done at the hospital. Did that, got water, started laundry, and started packing. I want to get away by noon if possible. We are dropping off The Puddle at Lyndon’s Mom and Dad’s place, on the way. Should be able to meet up with Lyndon in Weyburn at supper time.

Forecast looks good. It is supposed to be nice all weekend. The bad news: I heard from a wise farmer this morning that we are supposed to have a cold winter. Waaa. I am not a fan of cold winters.

Rollerblading has been the entertainment of choice around here lately. The musical sound of blades running on my veranda accompanies most of my kitchen work. Except the other night, when it was the sound of crashing and glass breaking. Tyson was blading, slipped, and put his hand through the kitchen window. Fortunately he is fine, just some minor cuts. The window, on the other hand…

Well, better get at it. Daylight’s burning and this outfit needs to move out. (Cowboy lingo I’ve picked up from hanging around my rancher-type friends!)

It really has been “one of those days”. It was a “school in the car” day, already! It’s only our second day of school. All because of The Puddle. She had an appointment in Assiniboia for 8:30 this morning, to get her hair and nails (and anal sacs) done. This meant we needed to leave the house by 7:45. Believe it or not, we did. I even managed to get school stuff organized so that the kids could do some work in the car. We arrived at the Poodle Parlour at 8:30 exactly and… nobody home. We sat in the car until almost 9:00. I was just about ready to leave when – ta da – the sign in the window flipped over from Closed to Open. I took Bella in, expecting profuse apologies, or at least a simple sorry I was late. Nope. Nothing. Just, She’ll be ready by 11:00. Alrighty then.

This prompted a little lecture for the boys on how to treat people you are doing business with or for. Right, Mom. Whatever you say. Okay. On to the bank.

Next problem. I went to deposit my baby cheque (I don’t know the official name for it, Child Benefit maybe?), and I couldn’t find my bank card. I think I gave it to Lyndon so that he could deposit last month’s cheque for me. Oops. And, of course, the bank didn’t open for another half an hour. Grrr. I knew what would make us all feel better, breakfast.

We headed over to the Chat ‘n Chew. Would you believe it wasn’t open yet either. Doesn’t anyone work in this town?! We found an open restaurant, and actually had a very fun, lovely breakfast. The boys had pancakes and hot chocolates, and I had toast and coffee. I love eating breakfast out. I’m not sure why, but it is my favourite meal to eat at a restaurant.

The Salvation Army Thrift Store was across from the restaurant, so we checked it out. Ten dollars later we emerged with three pairs of rollerblades, some books, some craft supplies, and a picture for my bathroom. Not bad. The only traumatic moment there was when I was in the bathroom, at my most vulnerable, and a woman walked in on me. After three babies, however, I have very little sense of personal dignity left, so I handled the moment just fine. Ummm, I’m busy here, is what I think I said.

Back to the bank, to see if I could deposit my cheque with a living, breathing teller. No problem, said the LBT, except the computers are down. I’m not kidding! It took some time, but I did finally manage to deposit my cheque.

We did some shopping and then went to pick up Bella, only to discover I could only pay by cash or cheque, of which I had neither. I’ll be back, I said, and rushed Bella over to the vet, only to find he was in surgery and wouldn’t be available for another half an hour. I left the dog in care of the veterinary assistant, went back to the bank for cash, paid the dog lady, and went back to the vet’s to pick up the dog. By this time the weather had turned ugly. Windy, rainy, yucky. But I had promised the boys that we would stop at the park and they were still game, so… we stopped at the park. I supervised from the car, while the boys tried out the new rollerblades. They had a blast, I had a rest, and everyone was in good humour when it was time to leave. I just needed to stop for fuel, and then we would be on our way home. Right.

I stopped at the Co-op, asked for a fill, and went in to pay. When I came back out, the car wouldn’t start. No way, I silently screamed. What I actually vocalized was something like, What the crap is wrong now! (Sometimes I use the word crap, even though it is a word I don’t really like, when I am very frustrated about something. And I was feeling pretty frustrated.) Long story short, a couple of people helped me push the car out of the way of the pumps, and gave me a boost. I drove straight home to Dr. Andy, who tightened a battery connection or something and told me I was good to go. He also addressed the starter issues the car has been having. So, by the end of the week my car should be healthy again.

In spite of everything, it was fun to spend time with the kids. Any trip with them is a little adventure. They took the challenges in stride, and are out on the veranda, rollerblading, as I write.

Wow, what a crazy week. Last Monday, the boys and I (and our friend Shayla) hopped in the car and headed to Calgary. Actually, Carter and Colton slept in the car Sunday night. I peeked at them before I went to bed. So cute. They were curled up in their sleeping bags, one in the front and one in the back. So we just moved them over a bit and hit the road early on Monday morning. Shayla came with us as far as Medicine Hat, where we left her at WalMart. Actually, her sister came and picked her up there. The rest of us carried on, and arrived at Mom and Dad’s that afternoon. My sister, Milessa, was there with two of her kids. She left that evening, but the kids stayed. The boys enjoyed playing with three of their cousins.

Tuesday, Dad and I took the six of them to the Calgary Zoo. I am sure we walked miles around that place. Everyone loved it. We were able to see all of the babies: giraffe, gorilla, and elephant. The baby elephant was so cute. One of the Keepers was spraying her (or him, I’m not sure) with a water hose. The baby absolutely LOVED it. Then, the keeper gave the adult elephant a watermelon, which she carried in her trunk over to where we were standing, placed it on the floor, and stepped on it. Then, she vacuumed it up with her trunk, rind and all.

When my sister Kathy got off work, she came and picked up four kids, but Colton and Carter wanted to stay. So, Dad and I stayed with them till the place closed. They had a great day.

Wednesday, Dad and I took them to the pool for the afternoon. My bathing suit had had it, so I just watched. It was a fun pool with lots of “toys”. The kids seemed to especially love the “river” part of the pool. And, of course, the waterslide.

Thursday, Dad and I ran around Calgary. I stopped at a friend’s church to pick up their leftover VBS material, which they said we could have for our VBS next summer. Then, we went to the homeschool store where I was able to get the last of the things I needed. We went for lunch and then went home, picked up the kids, and took them bowling. They bowled for about two hours. They all loved the ten pin lane. Carter would push the ball, then watch it s l o w l y roll down the lane. He actually did quite well. He insisted he could control the ball with his mind.

Thursday night I fit in a little girly time. My sister, Kathy, painted my neice’s and my toes, complete with little stick-on flowers for decoration. I never bother with manicures or pedicures, so it was kind of fun. Then, I packed up the car, and we left Friday morning around 6:30. Stopped in Medicine Hat for about an hour, then again in Swift Current for a bit. So we were home in good time.

Lyndon was already home when we arrived. He informed us that he had to work in Regina on Sunday afternoon, so after a flurry of laundry and cleaning, we packed the kids up again and headed to Regina. We spent Saturday night at a waterslide hotel, then went to church together. Lyndon had to leave right after church, so the boys and I ate lunch, and then headed for home.

Whew. I am ready to be home for awhile, but the fun continues! This coming weekend, we are going to camp at Nickle Lake (again), near Weyburn. A cousin of mine is getting married there on Saturday. That will be our final summer adventure. I hope the weather cooperates. Four days with my family at the lake sounds quite heavenly.

It is early. I am the only one up. Coffee and quiet, a calm moment at the beginning of this Sunday morning. It will be busy shortly.

I am getting lunch ready (frying hamburger for spaghetti), and tidying up a bit in case we have someone over after church. There is also a baby shower at 2:00. And the boys and I decided we would drive up to Calgary tomorrow to spend a few days with Mom and Dad, so will have to get ready for that as well.

Everyone survived the roof yesterday. Tyson has done a great job painting up there. There is still some to do, but he has made a big dent.

Lyndon took his bike for a ride yesterday afternoon, so we met him at the Snack Shack for ice cream. They have these yummy Saskatoon berry sundaes right now. While we were there, a man came in and ordered two large soft ice cream cones. Then he went out to the parking lot (holding his cones) and started visiting with someone in a truck. He stood outside, leaning on the truck door, with his cones balanced in one hand. We all watched carefully as the ice cream started to lean. I kept telling Lyndon he should go and tell the guy he was about to lose his treat, but Lyndon just said, If you’re going to buy ice cream you have to know what you’re doing. The boys were killing themselves laughing and waiting with anticipation to see what would happen. It was like watching an olympic event. There it goes. Oh. Oh. Look out! The guy finally looked, just in time. So funny.

Speaking of the Olympics, Canada has been winning some medals lately. I haven’t watched a lot, because watching requires trekking down to the TV in the basement, where there is only one chair (unless you count the weight bench), and where it smells, well, like a basement. Anyway, Lyndon was watching some yesterday. He was texting his friend in BC, who would text back with the times of certain events that they wanted to watch. Then Lyndon would head downstairs, and when it was really exciting, he’d call me and I’d run down to watch the good bits. We are very different “watchers”. He tends to get a little loud, and shouts stuff like, Come on, you’re at the Olympics for Pete’s sake. Get the lead out. I tend to be a little quieter, and maybe a little more encouraging, like, You can do it. Good job. Way to go. I always imagine that I am the parent of one of those kids. And I am always interested to see the parents they show in the crowds, to see if the mom is crying, or what they have printed on their tee shirts. And I love the hugs and stuff after the event is over. Anyway, yesterday I enjoyed seeing the woman wrestler from BC win Gold, and the kid who got third in the really long swimming race. They went on forever. I was very happy for him, though. He looked like he was about twelve years old.

Wonder how the Canadians are doing today.

So I am blogging now to distract myself from the knowledge that all of my men are currently tromping around on the roof above me. The story…

We have wanted (needed) to do some painting outside this summer. The window trim especially is desperate for some attention. Now, normally we do not pay our children for the work they do at home. We all live here, right. But we are making an exception in this case. Tyson is really wanting to make some money, and we really wanted to get this painting done. So, yesterday Tyson climbed out of the bathroom window, onto the roof, with a wire brush in one hand and a paint brush in the other. He spent several hours out there yesterday, and has already put in a few hours today.

Carter, of course, has noticed the activity and, being all boy, thinks it would be really cool to climb out of the window and crawl around on the roof. Lyndon agreed to take him for a stroll. Because it seemed Crocs would not be suitable rooftop footwear, he is wearing his winter boots. It’s quite a picture. If he added his earring it would be perfect. I am feeling a little nervous about it all. Lyndon has assured me that all will be well.

Okay, so on to the distraction… Yesterday I took my first ride on Lyndon’s new bike. He and I went into town for breakfast. It was okay. (The ride I mean. The breakfast was great.) I don’t know if I am destined to be a biker babe. The helmet made my head feel wobbly and heavy. And, it is not the most comfortable seat in the world. There is no back rest, and the back seat is higher than the front seat, so I had to sit kind of hunched over to put my arms around his waist. Whenever we hit a bit of a bump, my wobbly head would hit his head. I guess I need practice. Glad it was only for a couple of miles. The kids love to go for rides with him. Except Tyson. He hasn’t gone yet and says he isn’t going to.

My apologies to all of my friends whose husbands are now looking at bikes. I think Lyndon and his friends are planning a little “Wild Hogs” adventure.

Last night, after we did some errands in town, we picked up supper and went out to Thomson Lake. It was a beautiful evening. The lake was still. It was perfect, except that when Lyndon stepped out of the truck the handles of the box of chicken that he was holding ripped, and all of the chicken fell on the ground. No problem. We just brushed it off and called it good. (Someone once told me that everyone needs to eat a peck of dirt in his lifetime. I have no idea how much that is, but we went a long way toward that goal last night!)

Okay, I’m off to hang laundry on the line. The distraction thing is not working very well. Guess I’ll give prayer a try.

Wednesday night. Free pop with large pizza night at the Sub Shop. Guess what we had for supper.

Kids are watching a movie. It has been a pretty low key week so far. A welcome change after the busy (but awesome) weekend.

The weekend…

On Friday, we headed down to Clint and Dawn’s. Dawn has been putting down laminate floor, so I helped her shuffle furniture and clean closets while Lyndon went in search of Clint, who was doing some ranch-type thing. Great visiting times. We accomplished a fair amount of Mexico trip planning. We talked to the bus driver, to try to plan out the trip down and back. Friday night, Tyson and Colton slept on the trampoline. Fun, fun.

Saturday, Dawn and I picked her beans. The beans had these horrible purple bugs on them. June Bugs, someone said. So Dawn said to squish the nasty things as we went along. Right. I couldn’t. They were just too gross. So I had to get Dawn to squish my bugs.

Saturday afternoon, we went to Wood Mountain Park for the Redneck Rumble. We served food out of the booth, to raise money for the Mexico trip. It was actually a lot of fun. Tyson helped out, and did a great job. We got to hear Garrett’s band play.

Then, of course, on Sunday we went to Regina for Carole’s funeral. We travelled up with Clint and Dawn. When we stopped for lunch, Carter found a clip-on earring, which he insisted on wearing for the rest of the day. It was a lovely, dangly, sparkly thing, which went well with his blue shorts and tee shirt.

After the funeral we went out to eat with friends, and then fit in an hour of water sliding at the hotel. In the morning, Lyndon left for work, the boys and I went to WalMart, and then drove home. All in all, a very full weekend.

On Sunday we celebrated Carole’s life. Her oldest son wrote and read the eulogy. Like nothing I have heard before. Two granddaughters spoke on behalf of the grandchildren. I loved this one: Grandma said her favourite colour would be the colour you got if you mixed the blue sky with the white clouds. She said she would have liked a dress that colour, but she never got one. Grandma gets to spend eternity in her favourite colour. Another grandson played the guitar. A daughter read a poem she had written for her mom. I sat, captivated, for two hours as Carole’s family shared her life with us. It was beautiful. I remembered the purple boat, the potlucks, the cabin, the friends … the love.

I saw Lisa, my best friend from years ago. And Jeff. The three of us were great buddies. My mind is so full of Yellowknife memories…

Carole. You were well loved, as Jason said, because you loved so well. I’ll miss you.

Yesterday morning, early, Carole went Home. It is hard to imagine Bernard without Carole. Many, many people will miss her. The funeral is Sunday afternoon at 2:00, in the auditorium at Western Christian College in Regina. Carole and Bernard have spent the last several years volunteering their time at this school.

Lyndon will be home tomorrow around noon. We’ll head down to Clint and Dawn’s. Saturday we are working the booth at the Redneck Rumble. The money goes toward our Mexico trip this winter.

I had coffee this afternoon with Jodi, a woman who is quickly becoming a friend. She is interested in coming to Mexico with us. What an amazing and interesting life she has led. Truly someone who cares about others. I am blessed to have people like her in my life.

I am starting to think about school. It’s the second week of August already. I’m not sure when we will start. The local schools start quite early here. The 25th I think.

We have had a spate of pet deaths here lately. First the gerbil. Then our sweet Betsy. The oddest death, however, was that of Colton’s algae-eating fish. It is truly an aquatic mystery. The other morning, Colton noticed that the fish was missing from the tank. It was quite a large specimen, and was always seen hanging by its “mouth” on the side of the aquarium. I don’t think I ever saw it actually swim anywhere. Anyway, the fish was missing. About an hour later, Colton discovered the deceased fish on the floor under the couch. At least three feet from the aquarium.

How did the fish get out of the tank? How did the fish get off the table the tank sits on? How did the fish get under the couch? I simply cannot imagine a plausible scenario.

Speaking of mysteries, I have been reading the forensic anthropology novels of Kathy Reichs. Never read her before. I found three of her books, plus a Robert B. Parker novel I had not yet read in our library this week. Oh Joy! There is nothing like a well-written mystery on a hot summer day.

We had company this past weekend. Two of Lyndon’s aunties, Aunt Lill and Aunt Merry, came for a visit. It was so fun to have them. The boys loved the special attention. Carter, especially. He and Merry went for a long walk one afternoon, down the back road to the old well. Probably a 2 1/2 mile walk. And Lill received many hugs from my little man. He was so sweet with her. I really enjoyed visiting with these wonderful women. And it was fun to watch them be “sisters” with each other. Merry lives in B.C. and Lill in Saskatchewan, so they don’t get to see each other very often.

Sadly, our border collie Betsy was killed on the highway near our house on Saturday. She had been gone for a few hours which was unusual for her. Lyndon went looking for her and found her not far from our place. It was very sad for us all. She was such a great dog. Lyndon buried her in our little pet cemetery, and Colton and Carter each wrote her a letter. Carter buried his letter with Betsy. Here is what Colton wrote:

I loved you more than the whole world. I loved hunting with you, and hugging you. I hope you loved me the same. And I hope you loved God. Bye.



Poor girl. We’ll miss her.

Lyndon had yesterday off. It was nice to have a long weekend with him. We drove out to The Dirt with Lill and Merry on Sunday afternoon. Lyndon enjoyed showing off his hay crop. Lill gathered a bouquet of grass and rushes to dry and keep. Merry took another long walk with the younger boys, around one of the big sloughs.

Our dear friend Carole is still hanging in there. She has been non-responsive for several days. No matter what I am doing lately, a piece of me is with this family as they gather with Carole in her last days. Carter was praying last night, and asked God to remember Carole and her family. After, he was remembering our visit a few weeks ago with the Strakers, and he said She didn’t seem like an old person. She seemed like just a girl with a few wrinkles.

Oh Lord, the wisdom of children. I pray that as I grow older I will remember Carole’s life and death. I pray I will be a “girl with wrinkles”.

It’s 6:00 pm and the temperature on my back deck is 35 degrees celcius. It’s hot. We’re going to the pool as soon as the boys finish doing the dishes.

Lyndon is on his way home. He said he’d meet us at the pool.

Two of Lyndon’s aunties are coming for the weekend. They should get here around noon tomorrow. I am looking forward to having these grand ladies for a few days. In anticipation of their visit, we have spent a fair bit of time house cleaning. The whole messy gerbil thing is driving me a little crazy. I think the little critters stand at the bars of the cage and throw the wood chips all over the floor, just for the fun of watching us clean it up. I need to find a tray or tub or something that the cage can sit in to contain the mess.

When we were in Regina last weekend, Colton bought a little frog (yes, we paid good money for a FROG), and some Ghost Shrimp for his aquarium. Nice additions, actually. The frog likes to hang out on the lily pad. What a cliche! The Ghost Shrimp are little, transparent guys. So it is fun to try to find them each morning.

In this month’s issue of National Geographic there is an article on monkeys from Bioko, Africa. There are kinds of monkeys that the boys have never heard of. This has spawned a flurry of monkey research, monkey art, and monkey conversation.

There was a Sunday School Committee meeting at my kitchen table this morning. (ie, some of my friends and I got together to discuss what we should do in Sunday School for the next year.) I asked the kids ahead of time how things were going in Sunday School, and if there was anything they would like change. Right away Colton said, “Snacks!” I guess you’re never too old for snacks in class.