Grandkids and hot summer days

It is just about 8:30 and although we are enjoying immensely the act of being calmly on the patio enjoying a cup of coffee, the peace is marred by the noise of gasoline powered devices meant to trim lawns.

I could complain, but is it worth it? Sometimes it is, but in this instance, I see a group of people who must originally have been from south of the border trying to make a living by doing lawns. They are hard workers and I can only imagine what they feel like at the end of the day being outside, working long hours in the sun for little pay, and not always being treated as the human beings they are. Our lawn guys are always blown away by the drinks we offer them: usually ice cold coke in the summer and coffee laced with lots of milk and sugar when it gets cold. I had a hard time convincing them that they can have it on our patio or even eat their lunches there.

I shall let it go.

It makes me wonder how ill the malbor is and whether or not he will feel well enough to complain. Yesterday, if he was out for an hour, that was a lot. We heard his labored breathing and grunt/cough as he tooled around his yard with his cart, oxygen tank, mask, and tools. At more than one point, around seven in the evening, he would be slamming things down on the ground, apparently angry about something.

We were exhausted after a full day, starting at six thirty AM and not ending until past seven with all four of the grandchildren. We only had two until past ten and then they left before five. The other two were with us as was their solo dad (mom is in Europe with students) for dinner. They had Uncle Mikey’s ‘soupy whoopy’ as we call it, delicious chicken broth laced with duck, and Hungarian alphabet noodles. All the grandkids ate like crazy all day long, as usual.

I managed to get in a few things here and there: I trimmed the black currant and gooseberries back. They were a mistake, next to the garage and apparently not enough sun, I am going to give them away. I changed out the filter for the aerator on the pond; the pond is as clear as it has been all season. I also harvested red currant; there still isn’t a whole lot, and I had to get through the raspberries to do that; they are growing like crazy. MK and I had a ton of things to do with the grandkids. The main fun of the day was digging in the small plot of land between our driveway and the fence, I helped dig (and removed more and more stones as there used to be marble stones in these beds) while they grabbed earthworms. They also had more play with chalk and water and in the small kiddy pools we have.

Ah, today is recovery day, tomorrow is a grandkid sleepover.

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The Black Lab in our family, Murphy

Murphy showed up in our lives a long time ago. I just went into my Google Photos where I have everything organized according to face, even our canine friends. Murphy came to us in 2012, a black Lab belonging to our son Richie and his wife Emily. Murphy is my first real time spent with a Lab and way back when, when he was a puppy and our oldest granddaughter was a baby. I remember fondly having the two of them in my lap as I took care of both of them.

Murphy is ultimately responsible for setting the dog bar in our family. Previous to Murphy, we had a Border collie, one that was not acclimated to life with other dogs. She was not overly fond of Murphy but soon she passed. We hadn’t planned on a new dog, but one arrived anyway, a furry bundle we now know of as Stewart. Stewart learned how to play with other dogs, but more importantly how to deal with small children, something Ali, our previous Border collie was not particularly good at. Thank you, Murphy.

Murphy’s sweet nature, in a big, black, sometimes bumbling body, set the bar high for how sweet a dog needs to be in order to be a Koerner dog. Okay, a bit of mischief here and there, but that is the current Koerner way for humans and dogs. Before the current Koerner dynasty, things were a bit more dour, a bit more serious, certainly not as loud, and maybe even prone to a downright Hungarian pessimistic and cynical view of life. We have taken that chemistry and added a carpe diem to it. I am not saying that we might not have our down moments, but we get over them more quickly than in the past, and part of it is due to the dogs that inhabit our world.

Murphy, to this day, still thinks he is my lap dog. Even recently, his close to one hundred pound body was lying all over me on the couch. He just cannot help himself and this borderline high blood pressure guy does well with a big black furball, unwilling to let me settle into getting out of medical line.

Everyone needs a Murphy Koerner in their lives.

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Chalk and rain barrels

Normally, when you think of chalk, you think of blackboards, sidewalks, and maybe even specially painted walls that are made for chalk. The latter is the case in the grandkids playhouse that has walls painted for just that situation.

The other day, the grandkids came up with a new use for chalk, with water. I don’t truly know why, but for whatever reason, putting chalk into water and putting it on the sidewalk, mixing colors, and just wetting the chalk was fun. To prove it, I have a bunch of pieces of multicolored chalk drying out as we speak, after a day of being used, out in the sun.

My rain barrels have become a favorite of the grandkids. I have three of them: one is used to provide water directly adjacent to the driveway, thus I have a long hose running from the back of the yard to that area. Recently, the grandkids found out about it and even the three year old figured out how to turn the water on and to use gravity to provide water that actually flows relatively well.

It ended up being used to fill small pails with water and then they added chunks of colored chalk to the pails. I don’t overly understand why this was so much fun, but it was. They also take water in the pails and water the plants, which is a win for me. This rain barrel situation provided them with many hours of fun as we watched from our spots on the patio.

When I set this up, I had no idea that his might be the ultimate usage of the rain barrels and their water. I wonder how many little ones have the concept of hoses, gravity, and turning on and off hoses that provide water. Needless to say, my grandkids do.

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An early grandkid morning

MK set the alarm for 6:00 AM and despite the fact that she left for the kids’ house, I got up anyway. I managed to make the bed, go downstairs, feed and walk the dog, and take my morning supplements. By around 8:00 AM, MK had returned with the youngest grandkids. I had made Cream of Wheat but that, which is a usual favorite, was a seemingly lackluster breakfast. Frankly, I think that the grandkids were too excited to be over.

Stewart’s pool was out and we quickly put out the other one, the one that has a central spout attached to the hose, which shoots water into the air and then falls back into the pool. It is clearly going to be a hot day in the neighborhood. By 9:00 AM we were making a lot of noise and I keep wondering if malbor is unhappy. The good thing is that he usually professes to love children, although these are the children he blew an airhorn at just a little over a year ago. I am so sorry I dissuaded the police from giving him a ticket.

Just around 9:30 AM, the cousins arrived. One of them, like me, has a cold. Luckily, that seems to be nary a problem. The heat is ramping up. Since I was using the outdoor water, I cleaned the recycling bin and intend to do the same with the garbage bin, which actually has much more need of cleaning. I have a lot of vinegar in the garage and intend to use that as my cleaning agent with a little Dawn.

The kids are having a great time, especially with Stewart’s favorite game, having them throw water at him. He jumps up and tries to catch it. It is a very silly game, but it could occupy kids and dog for hours.

Well, it is 10:00 and it seems like we have experienced a whole day of activities. Kids are drying off and we are on to the next activity.

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Al fresco again

It is perfect! The weather has obliged and the overpowering, heavy heat that was weighing us down has changed to cooler weather. Yet, it is still summerlike and the al fresco moments that we love have returned. Add into this that the malbor is apparently under the weather enough that he is only out for very limited times and when he is, is clearly hampered by his breathing to the point that he kind of barks as he does his strange version of landscaping. Before you know it, he retreats to the interior of his house.

The only issue we seem to have is the little biting insects that seem to plague our legs and feet as we sit at the patio table. I smashed one on my leg and we determined that it was a chigger. I have heard of them forever but I never truly understood what they actually were. Now I know.
The day is in the mid seventies and the humidity has gone down. It is wonderful.

Visiting us on a daily basis are the cardinals who regale us with their songs and the Monarch butterfly that visits our clematis, coral bells, and coneflowers. The hummingbird has also made his presence known and the toad keeps making appearances, looking fatter each time we see her. Her name is Molly, christened by one of our grandgirls and according to their research, she is a she.

The breeze is slightly cool. Oh, please stay this way.

I am hoping to get to the pool, wishing that my awful summer cold with its intense tickle to cough goes away. I have had enough of it as it is almost going on two weeks. I think MK has had even more of a hard time with it than I have as she listens to me hack in my tubercular fashion. I shouldn’t say that as my family has had its share of tuberculosis over the years, but luckily, not for some sixty years or so.

I am off to my book, the new one by Greg Iles: Cemetery Road. It is amazing.

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