Grandkids and Other Critters

Our grandson Quentin is here for his annual visit. His parents ship him down on Southwest Airlines. He flies on unaccompanied minor status: his parents take him to the gate at Las Vegas and we meet him at the gate in Tucson. This is the last year he’ll have to be escorted to and from the gates; next year he’ll be twelve and can fly as an adult (of course we’ll still do the gate thing … we’re not monsters!).

The drill is the same every summer: Quentin flies down and spends the end of June and the first part of July at our house. His parents drive down to spend the 4th of July weekend with us, then take Quentin with them when they drive home. We’ve been doing this since he was six or seven.

Every year I try to get Quentin interested in reading. Our first grandfather/grandson outing is always to the library, sometimes Barnes & Noble. He’ll read a bit when he’s here … if I nag him into doing it. I think it’s fair to describe my grandson as a reluctant reader. He’s grown up on TV cartoons, Disney movies, and computer games. I can’t generalize, because I don’t know that many eleven year olds, but I suspect reading is not as popular with his generation as it was with mine. I’m sure this crop of kids’ll grow up just fine, and the few among them who are book nerds will someday have steady careers correcting the rest of their generations’ spelling and grammar mistakes.

I took Quentin to the neighborhood library yesterday and showed him how to identify science-fiction books in the young adult section (they have a little atom symbol on the label). I’m hoping he’ll get hooked on SF, which so hooked me when I was a kid. He came home with two YA SF books and one collection of Tintin stories (which I’ll probably read myself).

We have a second hummingbird nest, this one on a storage hook way up in the rafters over the breezeway between the house and garage. There have been nests there before, but not for the past two years. I like to think this mother hummingbird is one of the chicks hatched in a nest on the other storage hook last year. Or maybe this year … they don’t live very long, so they must have to grow up in a hurry. This nest, being so high, is hard to get to and I don’t plan to risk my neck taking photos. Just the one:

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The new hummingbird nest

Sunday we invited some of Quentin’s Tucson friends over for a pool party. There’s always one kid you wish wasn’t in your pool … thankfully it wasn’t Quentin. He had a ball, and so did our two doggies, Schatzi and Maxie, who, even though they suffered in the heat, couldn’t tear themselves away from all the excitement. I wish they were water dogs, but they aren’t and wishing won’t make it so. They’ll go right up to the edge of the pool but they won’t go in. When it’s just me and things are quiet (no shouting, splashing kids), I’ll carry them into the water and hold them in my arms to cool them off, then let them swim to the ledge at the shallow end. I want them to know where to swim to should they ever fall in the pool, and they do seem to know the way.

But not Sunday, not with five screaming kids in the pool. Schatzi kept a close eye on the pool toys, and whenever one floated close to the edge she’d crane her neck down, almost to the point of toppling in, to grab it. I can’t resist posting critter photos, so here goes:

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Schatzi scores!

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Panting in the heat

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Chewie wants treats too

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The dinnertime truce


Ha, just realized I don’t have any good photos of Quentin yet, not from this visit. What a crap grandfather I am!

© 2014, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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