How about this heat? You might reply, “What do you expect? It’s summer!” I realize it’s hot in the summer, but remember when the nights were always cool? That made the morning endurable for completing a variety of tasks and the afternoon available to hide from the swelter. Even when I plan ahead with fans pulling in cool air from midnight until dawn and the swamp cooler kicked in by 10am, it is soon scorching.

Last week I had our four grandchildren here. Not only did the experience reiterate the value of planning for rising temperatures, it also reminded me of the exhaustion that accompanies busy kids: Charlie, 4, Ellie, 6, Brynley, 7, and Dayne, 9 and three dogs. They are good kids, too, which means my temper stayed cool in spite of the glaring sun as we engaged in many undertakings. With a hearty breakfast downed - OK, I confess that that “heartiness” included sugary, flavored cereal with mango or apple juice – our first daily adventure led us to the Community Garden, Splash Pad, nearby playground, and Fitness Park. The kids took over my CG garden watering routine. I’m not sure what they loved the most: examining plants as they grow, watering each other, or picking out and squishing squash bugs. 

Then on to the Whitworth Rec. Complex. How nice to receive an icy sprinkle from the numerous pad features before racing around to the slides, crossbars, and swings as well as a quick workout on the side. The shaded picnic area is delightful, especially for Grandma as she avoided the intense sun and I hope another one can be added in the near future. Maybe your club, organization, or faith group would like to address this issue.

A quick trip home for lunch (slightly more nutritious with ever-popular peanut butter, jelly, and milk), we grabbed swimsuits and goggles for an excursion to the pool. The hours are limited but with my schedule in hand, I knew that 1pm struck a golden time for fun. The older grandkids are excellent swimmers and the 4-year old is approaching. All of them loved yelling “Grandma!”, “Grandma!” “Grandma!” “Grandma!” in quick succession before leaping in. A speedy pivot drew them out to repeat the jumping action to physical collapse – mine, that is. Whether I swam with them or observed from the sidelines, their busyness affected me!

After swimming, lathering then rinsing off meant the bath-of-the-day had been completed, so we headed home for a snack and movie, and for Grandma, a chance to catch up on clothes washing, meal prep, and so forth. The dogs had snoozed in our absence and so were ready for pestering each afternoon. Kathmandu, our new German shorthair, excitedly hopped kid to kid, licking, nipping, snuggling, and then darting off with a shoe to chew or an unguarded granola bar to munch. The kids liked preparing dinner – Boboli pizza is a hit as each one puts on a favorite topping on their selected pizza area. They are also professionals at wiener wraps and pasta with fruit as a side dish.

With the pool closed on Friday, we adjusted our agenda and followed Dayne’s request to visit the Humboldt County Museum. He lives in Elko but had heard tales of the museum so off we went. What artful displays (you can never go wrong with a mammoth!) and wonderfully appointed outbuildings and vehicle exhibits! The kids were amused plus they received salt water taffy and an activity book when we left – good for future entertainment. We also seized this open moment to bowl. With bumpers in place, the kids rolled balls for a few hours, hitting an occasional strike or spare, and watching scores add up. And then, of course, a beverage and French fries added excellent taste to the endeavor.

I cannot imagine anything more rewarding than having these four all to myself while their parents fished for tuna out of San Diego. The adults scored big as did Grandma with her brood. When they packed and left on Saturday, our home a disaster of miscellaneous bric-a-brac, grew still and silent. I mopped floors and washed sheets, dusted and cleaned, rearranged and returned to skipped yardwork and jogging. I felt glad to have things in order again, but sad to have the active throng gone. After a settled in my rocker (a Grandma sort of pursuit) with a book in hand, fatigue enveloped me. Good times can be brutal!