Tuesday, April 29, 2008
A Weekend with Longtime Family Friends
The adventures for this week's stay at Paint Creek Cottage began as we prepared and packed for our stay. After last week's adventure mowing all two acres of the grounds with a push mower whose self-propelled mode is broken I called upon the MacGyver of small engines Kenny Ferrance to examine the garden tractor that Bruce and Fayanne had given us several years ago.
Kenny worked his magic with a tooth pick and a piece of gum and our garden tractor started once again. This left us with the next small challenge, how to get the garden tractor down to PCC?
Dad suggested that we call Ryan and ask to borrow his trailer. We did, and Ryan graciously agreed to allow us to make use of his trailer. Dad and I picked up the trailer, brought it back to our house, and loaded the garden tractor only to realize that the hitch was not sitting on the ball of my truck correctly and after an hour's worth of effort we abandon the idea of the trailer and decided it would be best to get the garden tractor in the bed of my pickup truck. So the two of us armed with ramps successfully placed the garden tractor into the bed of my pickup truck.
Meanwhile, as Dad and I fought with the garden tractor my wife was busy attempting to return my aunt's dog. My aunt was scheduled to return from the hospital after two weeks of recovery postsurgery and Carrie arrived at her house only to find the front door locked. I placed several phone calls asking those close to my aunt if they might have a front door key all of whom were unable to locate one. Enter our good friends Mac and Gayle who "dogsat" Shutterbug until my aunt returned later that evening.
In all of the prelaunch drama it was decided it would be best if Carrie and my mom took off ahead of dad and I so they could swing by the Grimshaw family farm and pick up Eli on their way to PCC.
We all made it to the cottage successfully and enjoyed a quaint evening sans music. With the challenges we faced as we prepared to head for the cottage both Carrie and I overlooked packing the sound system. WHAT A MISTAKE! In the prior weekends we'd recognize how much we enjoyed listening to great music, but did not realize what an essential part of a successful PCC weekend music has become.
Dad participated in what has become another ritual at PCC when he read Elijah a bedtime story. I am hopeful we will do much more reading at the PCC as routines become more established and preparations become easier.
Saturday morning began with a bit of country CSI. I had noticed a very large colony of what I thought were bees of some kind in a hillside next to the garage. Mom called Master Gardener Faye Mahaffey. She suggested that we get some good photographs of the entrances and of the insects themselves. Dad jumped out with his cell phone camera and we were able to determine that they were some kind of hornet.
Carrie was concerned that they might have been a variety of bumblebee that we should take great care to try to preserve. Unfortunately we are not able to preserve the bumblebee count in Ohio, but fortunately we were able to begin an immediate termination plan - Operation "Kill the little flying ^#*&(*$."
I tried to take advantage of a small window a sunshine that Saturday morning provided us by mowing with the new garden tractor. However, as fate would have it, the carburetor of our garden tractor is a bit gummed up. Eli took advantage of a stationary tractor and had an absolute blast imagining himself mowing our lawn.
Paul and Joyce arrived midmorning bringing new energy, smiles, stories, jokes, and most importantly, photographs of the new grandchild. Early in their arrival it was clear that too much time had passed since we had seen them last.
It did not take long for the friendship between Joyce and Eli to rekindle. Joyce has a spirit to which children are attracted much like a moth to the flame - It is ever so warm and ever so bright. "Aunt Joyce" even allowed Eli to play with her MP3 player. Eli is most happy when he has some form of technology in his hands.
In the mid-afternoon we were joined by Mac and Gayle who too came bearing photographs of the grandchild. What a cool thing it is to swap great stories of the next generation.
The Saundersi, McKibbensi and Mullinsi spent the afternoon over a lively game of dominoes while the Peelle family spent time doing chores about PCC. I mowed, while Carrie did more than a year's worth of windows, and Eli attended to some gardening.