This week Mac’s parents have gone to Florida for a little R&R. Gramps and I will have Mac for three days and the other grandparents will have him for three days. Share and share alike we say.
He came with the usual bag of clothes, a stuffed animal and the dreaded electronic gizmos. Although when he is at our house, he likes to use my phone because it has the “good games”.
Immediately upon entering the house, Mac asks for my phone and retreats to his bedroom. (Really the guest bedroom but we call it “his bedroom” while he is here)
This means there is no talking, no interaction, no relationship going on between us and him. This is totally unacceptable to Gramps and me. So we have put a limit on electronics usage in our home and especially no devices at mealtimes.
Instead we do other things. Mac loves to ride his bike, so we do that often when he is here. Good for him and good for us.
He and Gramps have explored the uncharted areas around our house and gone bird watching many times. They always have a tale to tell when they get back from their biking trips.
Gramps and I walk around the neighborhood every evening and Mac either walks with us or rides the bike around. Walking in our little neighborhood means greeting other neighbors, walkers, dogs and children playing in the street. So Mac joins in the conversations and pettings. It takes a while to get around the block but it’s a wonderful journey.
Of course, we play board games too. Our current favorite is Monopoly. Mac always wants to be the banker. I always use the thimble as my playing piece and Gramps always wins. I don’t know how he does it.
One evening we watched “How To Train Your Dragon” in 3D. The best part was looking at each other in those glasses and laughing out loud. We had popcorn and everything. Lots of fun!
The next day we took Mac out in the boat. What a grand day that was! Perfect weather. Perfect water. Perfect company. We did some fishing – caught nothing but shrubs. We let Mac take the wheel with Gramps a couple times, which thrilled him to no end.
We all got wet and wind blown. We laughed. We talked a lot. And Gramps showed Mac the sonar depth finder. (It’s a guy thing)
The last morning, before our handoff to the other grandparents, was designated as “lazy day”, so Mac played electronic games to his hearts’s content. He laid on his bed giggling to himself.
He told me later, “I love my down time”.
Our three days with Mac were packed with fun, conversation, interaction, learning and love. I can’t wait until the next time. I’m already making plans.
Have you missed me, my Sweeties? I certainly have missed you the last two months!
Nine weeks ago, I went into the hospital for a simple surgery to cure a diagnosis of early colon cancer. It was supposed to be a quick, laparoscopic, no-frills surgery.
The surgery went fine, except I developed a blockage afterwards and required a second surgery four days later.
That would have been fine too, but some intestinal contents leaked out and I became septic. Now sepsis is a big deal and a very serious condition.
I know because it affected my heart rate, which went to 220 bpm. All this required conversion with medications and a move to Coronary ICU.
In the meantime, I also developed an abscess in my abdomen, necessitating the placement of a drain for about two weeks.
The two antibiotics I was receiving IV required the placement of a PICC line in my right arm. I was a mess!!!
By this time, I had been in the hospital for almost a month. I then was sent to Rehab for three weeks of IV antibiotics and Physical Therapy.
So what can be learned from an experience such as this? Many things, I realized. Some at the time. Some much later.
—Fighting the inevitable is non-productive and exhausting. Sometimes you just have to face the issue and go with it.
—Never discount the power of prayer. Allow others to pray for you and those caring for you.
—Strength comes from simply surviving.
—Maintaining a sense of gratitude helps. Saying “thank you” to everyone who does you a kindness keeps you in the right attitude.
—Allow others to give. It is a blessing to receive from others and this is the time to let them do it.
—True friends and family will step up to the challenge. I was never alone and never had to face any of my problems by myself. What a gift!!
—There is always a silver lining. I had to look long and hard for this one – but I lost 20 pounds! Now that’s good news!
—Perseverance pays off. Keeping a positive attitude helped me believe that everything would turn out alright.
—Things temporarily lost are twice as enjoyable when regained. Every yard more I can walk and every bit more sewing I can do is a joy to me and is worth every ounce of effort.
—Don’t mourn what is lost. Praise what is gained. I am cancer free! I am alive! I will be healthy again! I can ask for nothing more!!!!!!!
So a group of say about 28 women get together for four days. They each have a bag or two or three of fabric. What do you think can happen with that fabric in four days of sewing? Well it was pure magic, my Sweeties! Pure magic!
Look and see what the results are. And feel free to drool!
And so ended our four day quilt retreat. The quilts are the only part I can show you. I can’t show you how much we laughed or how much we talked or how much we cared about each other. I can’t show you the hugging, the touching, the sharing that went on.
The fabric is what draws us together, but the fellowship is what keeps us together. Quilting is the purpose but caring is the glue. A bag of fabric may be the reason we gather but true love is why we stay.
This is the eleventh year that four friends and Gramps and I have gone camping together for a long weekend in the spring. We have known each other for many years. In fact, one friend Ethel and I have known one another since the sixth grade. We have seen all the good, the bad and the ugly in each other many times over.
It started innocently enough with a group camping trip. We traded meals and that’s when we found out that Bill or Mr. Bill as we call him, was a master cast iron chef. He then became our breakfast guru.
Breakfast soon became a bacon lovers delight. Bacon does go with everything, you know! As in bacon and eggs, bacon and pancakes, bacon and ham, bacon and cheese, bacon and potatoes, bacon and . . . bacon. There are so many ways to eat bacon, as we discover each year.
Breakfasts lasted longer each year. First an hour, then two, now up to three hours including dessert. Yes, we have dessert for breakfast!
We have found that breakfast is so spectacular and lasts so long, what with all the courses and talking and more courses and more talking, that we usually don’t plan lunch anymore.
There is a mid afternoon snack. Something healthy, like brownies or cookies. Then a big dinner planned and served by one of us. It’s really just a big eat fest. Hence, the name – Camp Out, Pig Out. It has since been shortened to COPO.
Since Gramps and I are retired, we are the scouting party and arrive a couple of days early. We set up camp, get nearby sites for everyone and test the local sights and cuisine.
On Friday afternoon the other two couples arrive and set up their rigs. I always serve Friday night dinner because I have the time to cook while they are traveling.
This year we are having homemade grilled hamburgers (nothing better!), potato salad, fresh tomatoes, chips, guacamole and strawberry shortcake for dessert. Sound good?
On Saturday morning, of course, is a mega breakfast, Mr. Bill style. Bacon, bacon and more bacon. Yum! After this artery stopping meal, we usually divide up – men go fishing and/or boating, women go shopping.
In other words, the guys head to the nearest body of water, attach bits of fish/hot dog/bait/etc on the end of poles and sit for hours waiting and waiting. This activity is called fishing and men love to do it, talk about it, plan for it and buy equipment for it. Our men are no different.
Every year they go fishing. Every year they catch nothing. Every year they have a great time. Go figure!
The ladies, on the other hand, go shopping or sightseeing or both. We have been to antique stores, quilt shops, historic homes, museums, gardens, gift shops. And we have been successful every single time!
Oh yes, we have never come home empty handed. What glorious things we have found. What fabulous memories we have made. What fun we have had.
For several years now, Ethel has made matching T-shirts for the three of us ladies. One year as we were out shopping in our three identical shirts, I convinced a shop owner that we were triplets out for a day of fun. The other two were exploding trying to keep from laughing and I was having the time of my life.
Over the years, our COPOs have been varied. We have weathered rain, hail, scorching heat, wild fires and floods. We have had sick people, injured people and the forever healthy people. We have tried cooking all sorts of foods (except fish. We’ve never had fish!) and gone out for food.
One year our grandson Mac came with us to the annual COPO. It took about an hour for him to feel comfortable going in and out of everyone’s camper as if he lived there. Everyone became family to him about one minute later. He was fascinated with the super bacon breakfasts. And of course, because he is male, he went fishing with the boys. I’m not sure what he really did all day.
We gals brought treats for him from our shopping trip. It’d seemed only fair. He was nine and he had put up with the fishing thing all day.
Eleven years of these grand memories and here we are again! It’s Thursday night. Everyone will be here tomorrow. Saturday morning will be an eleventh breakfast extravaganza.
Then the guys and a fishing guide will hit the lake for a day of fishing. Maybe the guide will change the day’s outcome.
We ladies are going to a Quilt Show and maybe some antiquing. Whatever suits our fancy at the time.
Saturday evening will be dinner at Myra and Mike’s camper with the traveling tablecloth we use for every meal. Then we build a campfire and sit up late – maybe lil about 11:00 or so. Hey, we’re old!
Sunday am will find us back at Mr. Bill’s with the traveling tablecloth for super breakfast #2. What a way to end a COPO. Total PIGOUT!!!!
It’s Thursday night and I can’t wait. Hope it doesn’t end too soon.