Saturday, February 28, 2009

Grandkids, single-parentness, and tools

Yesterday was a busy day leading to lots of pictures this morning.

The day started with the grandkids getting dropped off at 8 AM. Mrs Notthat then took Darci to preschool while Riley and I visited the backyard garden. He loves whacking things with the long bamboo sticks. As you can see, the garden is currently home to lots of weeds.

See that structure in the background? With the "door" leaning at a bad angle? We have used that to store bicycles and snow sleds for the last 12 years. I am determined to remove that thing this weekend so that I can expand the garden a bit. Tomorrow's storm may mean that the job takes several weekends, and no, I don't know where the stuff that is in it will go. But a bigger garden (even with the threatened water rationing) is calling to me.

These three snow pea plants are the only useful things in the garden right now. They are blooming and hopefully will soon give us some great snow peas. They are like candy - the only fresh vegetable that rivals homegrown tomatoes in their glory.

Mrs Notthat headed out on Friday with some friends to visit stunning (?) Solvang this weekend. This makes me a single parent (pizza and Pringles for breakfast!) and meant I had to watch the grandkids myself in the afternoon.

While packing the car, I laid down half the back seat to create a tunnel between the trunk and the back seat. Riley had a great time going back and forth. Here's the cool thing - if you look to the left side of Riley's head you can see a glow-in-the-dark trunk release handle. With no prompting, Riley figured out to yank on that thing to open the trunk. So it became exactly like a real-life game of whack-a-mole (without the whacking or moles) with Riley popping out of the back seat, giggling, then crawling back through to open the trunk and pop out there.

Once he tired of that, Riley started making fun of how dirty the Race Car has gotten.

Mrs. Notthat left, I picked up Darci from preschool, and all of us, including Idiot Dog Teddy and The Boy headed off to Bayfront Park to throw rocks in the water. The Boy's keen eyes noticed a lady bug that he is showing to Darci (look closely at his knuckle).

It was actually a reasonably nice day out there. There are still scattered mud puddles (much to the grandkids delight), but it was mostly fine walking.

Here we are on the shores of a salt ranch, competing for the best throwing rocks. The Boy headed off with IDT (who quickly bored of the splasing rocks). Riley spent the next 15 minutes calling out "Unca Jesse, where are you?"

We finally wandered into the inner area of the park where Darci tried to make friends with the geese. The closest she came was nearly making friends with geese poop, which was everywhere.

After many calls by Riley, The Boy turned up with IDT. I love how green this place is this time of year. Soon the grass that Darci is walking on will be up to her waist.

The place has lots of random rock piles to climb on.

The Boy and IDT waiting in the shade of the bathroom. WHM made the flaming hat that The Boy is wearing.

Once we got back from the park, we pushed the three plumeria trees out onto the deck (we had them in the house to save them from our killer frosts). The biggest of the trees, on the left side of the picture, managed to keep its leaves while the other two lost theirs. We added some dirt and planted carrot seeds around the bases of the trees. Riley wants the bigger shovel. Darci just wants to get dirty.

After this was done and we did some swinging it was time to come in and get ready for WHM to pick them up. One of the two grandkids was not impressed.

Finally, the grandkids were picked up and The Boy and I were off to go tool shopping. He has a long list of tools that are required for his automotive class. They helpfully supply part numbers from Snap-On Tools, but even with a student discount, these are the cost of a good economy car. So we headed to Sears and bought Craftsman tools - not the quality of Snap-On, but very useful and still with the lifetime warranty (assuming Sears doesn't crater in this economy).

There are still some more tools to get, but he now has most of what he needs. He's going to spend parts of today and tomorrow sorting these out, working out if a larger toolbox is needed, and trying to mark them in a way that they are less likely to walk away. (I suggested painting them pink, but he is leaning towards tasteful black stripes.)

And that was it. We ate dinner at the Valco food court (no, not the Popeyes Fried Chicken or Burger King, but the Hoffbrau with large brats and saurkraut). Tonight I'm hoping to grill up some steaks if the weather holds off.

This morning I start trying to find places to put the bikes and sleds.

That's it - move along...

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