Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The End Is Near

Our last month of summer vacation is always our last chance to actually relax. We purposely under-schedule August in the hopes of spending quiet family time together. But since nature abhors a vacuum, any space left open in the day automatically gets filled up with an event of some sort. This summer, to try something new, Lady Di took the kids up north to Grampa's lake to stay a few weeks. I, of course, would stay home and work which meant that at least one person in the family would have peace and quiet for a couple weeks.


But things don't move too fast at Gramma and Grampa's either. Most mornings found Sweet Pea sitting on Grampa's dock fishing. She would take a baggie of corn to use for bait and catch and re-catch sunfish. She always throws them back so I'm sure some of those sunnies are getting pretty fat and getting sore lips. SP has two fishing rods she is quite proud of. SP's cousin works at the local bait shop and gave her a good deal on a bright pink rod. It also has a reel that lights up when you spin it. When Grampa Ray saw all the fish she was catching with her new rod, he decided that she also needed a trolling rod for the boat. Somehow, he found a pink one of those to match. So now she has two really nice new pink fishing rods and is really getting some use out of them.



She also has discovered a passion for gardening. Grampa let's one of his neighbors use a spot on his land for a vegetable garden. So whenever Gene comes over to tend his plants, SP is tagging along at his heals and jibber-jabbering the whole time. She calls Gene her pea-pickin' buddy.

Here's SP's egg pealin' buddy.


Her brother is less interested in fishing or gardening or being outside. He will sit with her on the dock and help her with the net and getting the fish off the hook, but his patience doesn't last long. His idea of fun at Grampa's is watching the Twins play baseball while eating a bowl of ice cream. He also uses his time to play games on his 3DS and showing Grampa how to navigate his own computer.

Knowing N1S's interests, Lady Di broke her August scheduling rule and scheduled a Show Choir camp up by Gramma's house. So that makes three shows for N1S this summer. The camp in Bemidji had over 100 kids participating and they practiced three hours every morning for 1 week. This was something brand new for N1S and he didn't know anyone at the camp. Lady Di was a little apprehensive about dropping him off on the first day. "What if he gets lost? What if he doesn't make a friend? What if the kids are mean?"


We needn't have worried. He was excited after his first practice and said he had an awesome time.


LD asked, "Did you meet any new friends?"


"Yeah, but I don't know their names.", was his reply.


This is pretty standard procedure for N1S. He has learned a lot of friend social skills but he still has to work on remembering them at the time. We prompted him to remember by telling him to exchange email addresses with someone. He can usually recall anything related to computers.


At midweek the camp held a talent show for anyone who wanted to perform. With some encouragement from us, N1S consented to play a song on the piano. He said he did OK. There was one other piano player. He said the funny thing was that three entries performed Katy Perry's song Firework. He said by the time the third one came around everyone was pretty tired of Firework. On Thursday he found out that he and three others got picked to perform on Friday between their Show Choir songs.


I wasn't able to attend the show but LD, SP and both sets of grandparents were cheering him on. The talent show winners performed their songs for the first forty five minutes of the show. And even though there were four talent show 'winners' I know who was ranked as 'first winner'.


Then the entire show choir camp performed three songs. LD said that for around 1oo kids the choreography was pretty clean and everyone gave a sharp show. Of course we all know who was the sharpest and cleanest.


That night I called N1S to ask how the show went and to congratulate him. He said he had a lot of fun. I asked if he made any friends. He said not really. "I was just too busy practicing and I forgot." But apparently he did make one acquaintance. After the show one of the high school directors came over to him to congratulate him and they discussed something about N1S's Nintendo 3DS game. N1S then said, "Maybe I'll see you next summer." So I guess that means he wants to come back. It'll give him another chance to 'remember' to make a friend or two. And hopefully, they will be closer to his age.


We've reached the middle of August. The cicadas are buzzing the trees. School can't be that far away. In fact, I think I can see it on the horizon if I squint. Can we squeeze in anymore fun before Labor Day! We better hurry!

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I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.