Saturday, July 23, 2005

Oh, Boys!

What a great week so far... Both Kev and I took this week off on vacation. We had planned to go camping (tent camping), but it has been so hot and muggy, we decided to bag that idea. Instead, we just stayed around home and did whatever the heck we wanted. It's been wonderful.

Wednesday afternoon, Sam and I went around and picked up 4 of his friends. Having five 10-year-old boys in my car at once was very entertaining. The boys get to talking and totally forget there's a parent in the vicinity. Entertaining and enlightening! I just love it when kids do that. What a great group of boys, too. I'm super pleased with Sam's choice of friends.

Kev had mowed the lawn and worked outside for just about every waking moment. That's his idea of a great vacation. He had set up the tent for the boys to sleep in (Sam's plan), and he had gotten out the bocce balls, set up the croquet set, put up the badminton net, and made sure the volleyball net was secure & ready to go. Sam didn't know he was going to do all that, and when we came up the driveway and Sam saw the badminton net all set up, & he got this great, big ol' smile on his face and looked at me. I said, "you have a great dad," and he said, "I know."

That afternoon, we took the boys swimming over to my sister's pool (a super nice in-ground pool). The boys LOVED it. They were all wrinkly by the time we convinced them to get out. We had a campfire that evening by the pond, and the boys (& Kev and later, Joycie), played touch football until they couldn't see the football any longer in the dark. Got them settled in the tent, where they lasted until about 3 am. Didn't think they'd go the whole night, and in fact, they were out there longer than I thought they'd be.

They got up around 9:30 am, and we all got around and headed into town. There's a pizza buffet in town that the kids like, so we went there for lunch. Don't think I'll ever get Kev in there again... the food isn't that good by his standards. I can hack it, once a year or so. I had to keep reminding him that it wasn't for him, it was for Sam. It's definitely a kid-oriented place. They have a small soft-serve ice cream buffet, too. And plenty of dessert pizzas. And a video arcade room. Boys were full and happy.

After lunch, the 8 of us, the 5 boys, Kev, Joycie & I, went to see the Egyptian exhibit at a small museum. The exhibit is on loan from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. There was provided a guided tour, and it was super. Learned a lot of interesting facts, which made seeing the items much more interesting. The boys were great, very well-behaved. They asked questions, sometimes silly questions that only 10-year-old boys may think to ask, but the group (for the most part) seemed happy to have the boys included. Our 5 boys were the only young people in our group of about 20 people, and I think almost all of the adults appreciated how well-behaved the boys were. I was very proud of them. After the tour, they went to look at some of the hands-on stuff that is a permanent feature of the museum, and they got a little loud for a bit there, but I threatened them heartily and they straightened right up. Good kids.

Sam and Kev delivered the boys all back to their homes, and Sam got home all happy and satisfied. He hugged and thanked me & his Dad so many times... he's still doing it every once in a while.

Before Sam and I went to pick all the boys up on Wednesday, we hit the dollar store in town and bought flashlights for each of the boys for the night in the tent. Black rubber flashlights with a large chrome piece on the handle. Shaped like a cartouche; I don't know what its purpose was, but it sure provided inspiration for me. I found a web site that would make a cartouche of your name, and I copied them out, printed them on card stock and made bookmarks for each of the boys. Then I got Kev to dig out his engraving tool set, and I engraved their names on the chrome piece of their flashlights... not very skillfully because those Egyptian hieroglyphics aren't easy to do! But the boys thought they were pretty cool.

It was a great time, one of the highlights of Sam's summer, that's for sure. But we discovered that 5 boys at once is difficult. Most of the games we had were set for only 4 people, and the other games, like volleyball, left it with uneven sides. Next time 3 friends only. Easier that way.

Yesterday was fun, too. I had 3 girlfriends over for the start of lunch and our first annual homes & gardens tour. We've talked about doing this for a couple of years, and finally got it planned. They all met here at our place, we had salad and a drink, then Joycie drove us to Carla's house. Carla & her husband have been renovating, putting on an addition to their home. Well, it's more like a palace now, as the addition is 4,000 sq. ft., which doubled the size of their home. Yes, it's big. It's not entirely finished, but it's beautiful. Carla has some great trees and flowers, too. Then we went to Debi's new home that her and her husband bought this year, where they've put in a gorgeous water garden. The pond is very large and has a 4-layer set of waterfalls and then another small waterfall at another location. The koi Debi has are large and beautiful, and the plants were awesome. Very beautiful. Makes me almost want to have one... but those ponds are so much work. Then we went to Renee's to see her beautiful water ponds (she has 3!) and gardens. Food and drinks at each home, and thank goodness Joycie was driving us! Finished up at our house with dessert (Better-Than-Sex cake, the chocolate version... yum) and coffee. Made plans to do it again next Summer.

And today, Sam and Kev are on their way to Comerica Park to watch the doubleheader Tiger games. Plans were to go to the evening game, all 4 of us, but Joycie and I just don't want to go... so the boys decided to do the doubleheader so they rushed around and got on the road. They probably won't make it to Detroit by 1 pm game time, but they won't miss much. I love watching Sam play baseball, but I can take or leave the Tigers. I'm looking forward to a nice quiet day, finishing the 5th Harry Potter book, so I can start the 6th one.

I never got around to reading the 5th one when it came out, so this week I started over with the 1st and am mostly through the 5th one now. Love these books! Joyce re-read the 4th and 5th recently, in preparation for the 6th, but she planned ahead and got all done with them before the 16th so she was set to go.

Joycie has plans to go to dinner and a movie with a friend, so I'll be home alone through the evening. I am looking forward to it! I don't get much time alone at home, so I enjoy those rare times when they happen. Just me and Harry Potter and hopefully one last piece of cake. Ahhh......

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