Archive for July, 2011

Grandsons second last day

Pat asked me to take care of the kids today as she was having ladies from her club for the afternoon.  We had to leave early because she needed 2 hours to return the house to the condition we had before the evil boys arrived.  Apparently they like to touch walls and drop things on the floor.  I cannot imagine our kids doing that in the old days.

So I had the boys for hours.  A great thing about being a grandfather is you can spend money to entertain grandchildren.  I tried to drag out the early part of the day with a visit to the library, but that lasted about 5 minutes.  If it had been James at that age (early teenage) it could have stretched an hour.

So we went off to a fancy mini putt at Miracle Beach.  Let me give you a hint, never pick a fancy Mini Putt near a major holiday beach.  Everyone who has kids bored by the beach is picking an alternative so they over charge and it is crowded. 

I, of course, won the round.  Apparently the concept of letting the little kids win, is lost at the next generation level.  Surprisingly Mason with his weird backhand swings, achieved early success with bounces off the sides for pars.  Bryndon was frustrated trying carefully to line up putts but was making double pars and declared that putting was all luck.   Granted over the years I pretty much thought that same thing myself.

Then we headed over to the Go Carts which is at the local race track.  Bryndon and Chandler had a double race and I took Mason on my cart for one race (10 laps about 20 minutes) . 

At the track they also feature a Big Wheels Truck ride where they take riders (in small seats mounted in the back of what would be the bed of a pickup out into 24 acres over jumps and hills)  I did not want to do it but after the go carts the older boys begged to try, and then convinced Mason to sign on.  A great ride through the woods for 20 minutes jumping over bumps slogging through bush. 

A better ride than you would ever have a Disney, but Mason was screaming to stop throughout.  A bit of a mistake on my part to agree to the ride as I could have easily have sat in the stands with Mason and left the boys to go on the adventure.

Then we went off to wade in the Puntlege river.  There are parts of the river where it runs over rapids with flat rocks.  Water can  be anything from 2 inches deep to 6 feet.  Pat and I spent a lot of money to do something like this in Jamaica and it was not as nice as an experience as we can get free locally.  I had to drag the boys out as I needed to get home (by then 4:30) to hand them over to Pat. 

I have not had an afternoon nap since they arrived, but to be truthful, have not had as much fun.  Still I will look forward to handing them back to the parents where I expect they will say, why can’t you spend money to entertain us. 

Fortunately the grand daughters show up next and they will only ask for our personal time and not for exotic activities (I wish)


Horne Lake Caves

Yesterday was a real treat.  Pat and I took the boys to join the church youth group on a guided tour of the the Horne Lake Caves.  This is not one of those cave walks with paved walkways and lots of of flourescent lights, this is real cave experience where you have to crawl or crouch through most of it and climb slippery rocks to sqeeze into tight gaps.

We arrived a couple of hours early to join the youth group in a picnic.  After a few minutes of shyness the boys joined freely into the games and activities.  I was exhausted just watching them.  Then we moved on to the cave park where we were outfitted in helmets with lights.  We had been told to dress warmly in long pant and long sleeves with gloves.

We then hiked up a steep hill for half and hour and down into a narrow ravine to the entrance.  The guide showed us how to squeeze into a 2 foot by 2 foot hole then turn drop our feet onto a ladder rung and clamour down 20 feet in the pitch dark.  2 more hours of crawling and squeezing through the caves with only the light from our helmets.  Cold and humid with a few beautiful scenes of Stalactites but very tight quarters

The boys loved it.  Pat and I were a little more creaky on some of the squeezing through tight spots and crawling on a down sloping creek bed while avoiding crashing our heads on the rocks.  A wonderful day. 

Grandsons Day 7

Bryndon beat me at badminton tonight 15 – 13  Apparently a 15 year old that plays badminton at school is proud of beating his 63 year old grandfather.  Over the last few days we have been playing but Bryndon finally learned the the lesson for victory, MAKE THE OLD MAN RUN.  I hope he is proud. 

Took the older boys down to the workshop today to build a birdhouse.  We used material that we had gathered on one of our beach walks a few days ago.  The boys were less interested in the detail of the design and layout but loved to use the power tools. 

I started with a safety check, where the first aid kit was and where the tourniquet material could be found. 

The Chop Saw was a big hit but not as thrilling as the power nailer.  We managed to finish a birdhouse, but like the little red hen, the chicks disappeared when it came time to clean the shop. 

While I finished up and swept the shop, Chandler started to shoot his next movie.  Some sort of James Bond flick that needed Bryndon in my Tuxedo and scenes shot with him driving my Little Red.  I even had a brief role as James Bond’s boss which I did with a British accent until  Chandler mentioned that he assumed James Bond was an American CIA operative.  After a couple of deep breaths (frustration over the lack of appreciation of one of my favourite heros) I offered to reshoot the scenes with an American accent. 

Chandler said never mind, after which I finally realized he is not the next Stephen Spielberg, he is the next Ed Wood.

Tomorrow we take them caving and will see if we can lose them underground.   

Jack Layton

I realize this is the time for the next update on the grandson’s visit.  Actually a kind of of quiet day for us.  Bryndon and Chandler did not arise from their beds until 11 am.  I took them to the club to hit a few golf balls.  Bryndon has turned out to have some good shots.  Chandler, less so but with great swings. 

In the afternoon we went off looking for wind up on Forbidden Plateau so we could fly kites. However the weather remains calm and sunny (not that we are complaining) so we stopped off on the Puntledge river on the way back so they could go wading in the rapids.  Everything worked out Ok until Mason fell into one of the holes in the riverbed and got drenched.  Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me as that would have been the perfect picture.

But this blog is not about the kids. 

Saw the news tonight about cancer coming back for Jack Layton.  In his interview where he temporarily gave up his position in the NDP and in parliament, he looked like hell.  Reminds me of the visit we had to Art last summer when he still had hope.  Face pulled back onto his skull like a starving person.

I never voted for Jack nor did I support his party, but I did admire the man and loved his role as the moral conscience of parliament.  A sad day for Canada.  I hope he does succeed in fighting the cancer, but looking at him I do not think that will happen.

Grandsons Day 5

You may have seen that obnoxious ad on TV where the mother and father are dropping their kids off with the grandmother.  They tell the kids not to run around, not to get grandmother excited. Then the door opens and the grandmother is so over hyped by drugs she says she can chase the kids around on hide and go seek and does a twirl to chase them.  Apparently the ad is for legally available drugs for seniors, but you wonder after she tires out and the kids are still running around, and  her drug wore off was she still the same???

That is just a story and nothing to do with our situation with our grandsons dropped off.  Granted our grand kids are perfect (Chandler is standing next to me at this moment) 

Last night the boys decided to sleep under the stars.  So big fat air mattresses and warm sleeping bags and turning off the deer sprayer, kind of worked out.  Good part was that they were awake before 9 am and we could head downtown Courtenay to see the classic car gathering.  The downtown of Courtenay was closed off and 300 vehicles parked for public viewing.  Lots of 1956 chevys and cars from 1928 through until new Vipers.  Apparently there are a lot of old coots on the Island that can afford to spend a fortune on updating  their cars. 

It was a perfect day so after the car visit we went off to spend the afternoon at Miracle beach.  Very crowded as it was the first beach day of the year. 

Back home for BBQ ribs and the boys chasing each other in the gathering darkness along the golf course.  I think they are enjoying the holiday so far since they do not spend the evenings watching TV or playing their many hand held video games. 

Check the piture of Bryndon and Chandler coming in from rafting with the mountains in the background.  Not sure if the picture shows but it was a beautiful afternoon.  Confirms our decision to move out here. 


Grand sons Day 4

Is it only day 4?  Seems like a week

Fortunately the boys slept even later this morning which allowed me to get some gardening done.  Grandma Pat took care of the many exotic breakfast requirements that they required.  I wonder if they are catered with French Toast and Saskatoon pancakes and cereal every morning at home.

In preparation for their visit we augmented our backyard game tools with a full Badminton setup.  It turns out that Bryndon plays badminton at school and declared himself as a super player.  He was playing his cousins and beat them (no laying back)  Then he challenge me, his overweight, aged, grandfather for a one on one game.  Little did he know that I was very good at Badminton 50 years ago.

I was up 8  nothing and Bryndon was shocked.  Went inside to change into shorts and tee shirt because he thought that it was the clothes.  When he came back he learned the valuable lesson, make the fat old guy run instead of trading slams.  Pat and the other boys were cheering for me.  I eventually won 15 – 12 and if it had gone on another 10 minutes I would have died, BUT I BEAT A 15 YEAR OLD at badminton.  He immediately challenged me to anothe game, but I took the arrogant position that he must earn his right to play me again (and I need a couple of days of rest)

This afternoon we went of to Seal Bay to look for driftwood for a new bird house.  The weather is great for walks (about 21 deg) but not yet beach weather so for the hike through a park and down the beach it was great.  Found lots of material.

This is the weekend for the classic car rally in town (at least 300 vehicles) so (late saturday evening) we are heading off to see cars that the boys will think are ancient but, in fact, are works of art.

Big day tomorrow (Sunday) as it appears it will be warm enough to spend a day at the beach.  Should not be a shock but this has been the coolest spring and summer in recorded history for our area.

Grandsons Day 3

An even later start today as I went to the fitness club, had breakfast, read the paper, did yardwork and the boys were still not alive.  So I started their day with a little ‘Ride of the Valkeries’ followed by the usual ‘Good Morning’ (by Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly)  Cranked to the max on the stereo system.   

Of course that is followed by making me make pancakes and french toast. 

Due to the late start we did not get into a beach run but I did take Bryn and Chan up to Saratoga Speedway for an hour of Go Carting.  Apparently they had never been on go carts before but they took to it naturally.  They were in two races that took most of an hour and they both did very well.  

In any event I am a brief hero with them for taking them.  Not such a hero that either one volunteered to mow the lawn when we got back, but not bad.  I suspect I will have to take them again next week as that is all they could talk about.

In the evening we made BBQ pizza and then they got back to the movie filming.  In case you think this is another production like the Super 8 movie check the picture of the cast. 

Good day and I am again beat and heading to bed.



Day 2 of Grandson’s Visit

After a late start (boy these kids sleep in a long time) we were off to discover the Forestry industry.  There is a 100 acre discovery park near Duncan that features lots of equipment and examples of the history of the forestry business on the Island.  Hundreds of old machines as well as educational displays on types of trees and techniques for chopping them down.

Not sure if the boys picked up much education but they had a great time climbing over all the machines and riding the train.

We then headed to a Saskatoon Berry farm nearby where you can pick our own.  I thought I might make a little money farming the boys out as local berry harvesters.  Apparently there is no inherent picking talent in them.  They seemed to have fun but spent much of the time eating the crop or throwing the berries at each other.  Mason was the best of the bunch (although not the speediest)  taking care to only pick the ripest berries.  In the end we ended up with 16 litres of berries so lots of pies to come. 

Picking Saskatoon berries at the farm is totally different than picking in the wild back in Saskatchewan.  The land is flat, the bushes are loaded and you do not have to compete with animals and mosquitos

We arrived home for a late dinner of chicken wings.  I mistakenly thought 8 lbs of wings would do us but you should see the way the boys suck these down even with my Frank’s super hot sauce.  Then as the darkness came down the eventual gathering outside to shoot another of Chandler’s inevitable movies  I think this is about alien zombies, but what would I know I was only the camera man.   I wonder if this is how Spielberg got started. 

Grand Sons

Our 3 grand sons flew in tonight.  We will be hosting them for 10 days I think.

First part worked out OK, feeding them as they did not have supper before coming.   Nothing like little carnivores (well aside from Mason) to occupy a few minutes.  But then came the evening.  How do you keep animals entertained.  It is like having 3 over-energized dogs (and a cat) 

We started off letting them play their own music on the Sonos.  I did not know I had this weird stuff in my inventory, and I suspect the three boys are deaf as the music must be played at top volume, with them all running around like dervishes. 

I suggested that as it is getting near 10 pm their time they might be tired and want to go to bed, but that suggestion was met with hysterical laughter.  I suspect our children have unloaded something that we are about to discover on us.

I remember my children being polite and well behaved and going to bed early every night and calling me sir.  But then Pat tells me I am suffering from early dementia so that might be wishful memories.

Going to be an adventure.  I will let you all know if I survive.

Miata Oregon Trip

Pat and I joined our friends on another Miata road trip, this one called Discover Oregon.

Drove down to Victoria and took the ferry to Port Angeles in Washington.  Stayed at a resort casino near Sheldon (when you travel in US NW you stay at casino resorts on reservations because you get great hotel rooms at reasonable rates provided you gamble a little bit (in our case $10)

Then on to Silverton Oregon where we joined 80 other Miata (MX5) cars for a weekend of drives and party.  The day we arrived was great with lots of sunshine and warm, but Oregon is having the same problem we are having this summer.  Normally from June 1 until Labour Day we have nothing but sunshine and no rain, but like the rest of North America this year is different.  1 day in 7 of sunshine with the rest overcast and cool.  Granted this saves a fortune on air conditioning, but not what we signed on for.

A beautiful area in Oregon with rolling hills covered in trees and fields filled with flower gardens and wine grapes. 

So the Saturday at Silverton, when we are supposed to have our group drives with the tops down, was pouring rain with intermittent breaks.  Great drive but scenic drives through the mountains where you cannot see the mountains and the top is up, is not the same.  We stopped at a Buffalo ranch and got to see animals up close (and taste Buffalo jerky) but not the same.  In the afternoon the sun did come out and we were able put the tops down for awhile. 

Pat and I broke from the group to find one of the last covered bridges in the area.  Quiet small road so Pat jumped out to take a picture. 

Great party Saturday night and then we drove home.  Not the best Miata drive but still a good time. And the bridge was very nice