Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Okay, I swear I am going to try to be a better blogger. It's not that I haven't had things going on interesting enough to post about. It's more like I have been too lazy to put my thoughts into words.
The most recent adventure in our family's lives was "Outdoor School." My daughter, Tess, her ex-husband and kids dad, Brian, and my oldest granddaughter, Athena, went to outdoor school for a week. Well, okay, it was just five days. Last year the fifth and sixth graders went, this year just the sixth graders.
Tess and I ran around like freaks trying to get food donations, and cooperation and assistance since she had, once again, volunteered to be the camp cook.
Last year there were 185 people. No one had arranged for a camp cook. None of the parents, who had volunteered to help serving meals wanted, nor were able, to cook for that many people. Tess, however took it all in stride and prepared food, 3 times a day, with very few supplies, and no spices. She is a spicy cook, so one afternoon she drove the gravel road about 15 miles round trip to get her herbs and spices and gallons and gallons of water and stuff to flavor it with. It's not that the camp doesn't have water, it's that the water is sulphur smelling, and kids just won't drink it.
This year she coordinated efforts with the people planning the camp and put together her list of proposed meals, looked at what they had already been promised, and figured out how many of this and how much of that would feed the 85 people for five days. I have no idea how she does it, but she is so good at cooking, food prep and menus I know she got that particular cooking gene from some alien somewhere. I would have fainted if it had been me in her place, or passed out from exhaustion and everyone would have starved to death. Not my girl, in fact this year the managers of the camp where it was held wanted to hire her to cook for some summer camps. The problem with that is she wouldn't see her girls, and summer is time for them to get the momma-time they miss out on during the school year.
While they were away at outdoor school, Tess's step-sister Kori and I were responsible for Cassie, my youngest granddaughter. She is 7 years old and in first grade, so it wasn't like we had her all day. However, Kori got her and her wheelchair to school each morning and delivered her to her classroom and left for work. I went at lunch time and catheterized her and made sure she was doing okay. I then went back when school got out to pick her up. For most people that would be a fairly easy task, for me (with a bad knee, hip, and back) it was a huge undertaking. Her classroom is quite a distance from the school entrance and the handicapped parking isn't exactly near the front door. The first day I got to her classroom just as they were starting their reading circle time, and Cassie wanted me to wait until the story was over. After about 20 minutes we finally took care of the things I was actually there for. When I picked her up after school I got her into her carseat, and one of the parents helped me get her wheelchair into the back of the Jeep. I headed off to work for a couple of hours with Cassie in tow. Fortunately I had arranged to have her with me, and the customers at the shop I work at were completely charmed by her sweet inquisitive manner. She sat at a table used by customers and staff, drew, colored and generally entertained people.
Needless to say the lifting and moving took a major toll on my back, knee and hip. I ended the week in the ER getting pain meds and spent the next week in bed, recliner and pain. This week is going better, but the strain on my back certainly was hard on me. I wouldn't trade the wonderful time we had together for anything, but I would like to be rid of the pain. The rest of the week when I picked her up we came back to my house and played, watched Mickey Mouse, and talked about all sorts of interesting things. She told me she had just found out she was Kori's niece. I asked her if she didn't know Kori was her aunt, but she said she knew that it was the niece part she had missed somehow. She has an amazing imagination and often tells me about the new idea she has for how she can fly, or what she can do to make her legs work so she can walk. She seems to accept her "disability" well most of the time, but conversations like that just break my heart.
Ending on a happy note is a good thing. Last week one of the days at school was pirate day. Tess always makes sure the girls have appropriate costumes for spirit week and other "themed" events. No one had told Tess it was pirate day and as she was wheeling Cassie into the school everyone was asking, "where's your costume, Cassie." As you can imagine Cassie was very upset and sad by the time she got to her classroom. She always is the center of attention and everyone looks to see what fascinating costumes she has. Tess promised her she would make her a pirate costume and be back really soon. So Tess called me as soon as she cleared the front door of the school and I got work on making her a "pirate" necklace. Tess frantically went through Cassie's clothes and finally settled on making her a pirate dress from one of the Christmas dresses (red check) and if you know Cassie you also know she is the pink princess and rarely wears any other color. Tess tattered the edges of the dress, both layers, and made her a vest from a T-shirt, found a sash, and boots. She then visited the nearby (I mean practically next door) Pirate Pastry Shop and bought her a pirate "do rag," an eye patch and a tattoo. She grabbed the Big Pirate Flag from Cassie's room and rushed back to the school. Needless to say her entire class gathered around her cheering for "Pirate Cassie" when she emerged from the bathroom in her new garb. The necklace I made using little purple skull beads and a skull key. Cassie told everyone it was the special key that opens all the pirate treasure chests. There was a special pirate assembly complete with people in costumes patterned after "Pirates of the Caribbean," and of course a treasure hunt (scavenger hunt style). The wonderful principal of the school was Cassie's escort. He whispered to Tess, "I know where all the things are hidden so she won't miss out on anything," and away they went gathering their loot.
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