Category Archives: Grandparents

Playhouse to Lighthouse

The tenth grandchild is coming in October! Can’t wait! Grandkids are great!

Last year I built a swing set for the grandkids, then a fire truck (you can read that here).

The boys had something, but JJ, daughters, daughter-in-laws, and even granddaughters said they wanted something for the girls, specifically, a playhouse. Playhouse foundation

~Challenge accepted.~

I drew up plans for a little 10’ x 10’ playhouse, bought the materials and started work.

It’s insulated, with lights, porch lights and a plug for a heater or fan powered by an extension cord.

Like everything that comes from your hands though, I know where I messed up.  I see my mistakes, things others, besides building professionals, may miss.                     img_0633

But I see them.

I shake it off.  Remind myself that the goal isn’t perfection, even if I want it.  Demanding perfection, whether in a playhouse or a child’s life and behavior, destroys the goal. Continue reading Playhouse to Lighthouse

Brahm’s Lullaby

In college I worked one summer at a funeral home.  Morbid? Maybe, but I wanted to be around the death process to understand, not fear it.

Sometimes though things, places, events — they change you, change the way you think, change the way you see and feel life.   That summer changed me, one night in particular.

I had two jobs that college summer.  As soon as I finished my maintenance job, I’d shower, put on my suit and rush to the 2nd job at the funeral home.

It was a visitation that night, just one body, with few visitors expected.  The funeral home owner told me he and his family were leaving town for a short trip, threw me the keys and told me to lock up after everyone left that night.

No one was there, so I went into the state room and was shocked to see the tiny casket.  Inside was a beautiful, eight month old baby girl.  Continue reading Brahm’s Lullaby

Little Rascal Soccer

Anticipation was high. All the mother’s anxiety was higher.

Water bottles? Check.  Halftime orange slices? Check.  After game snacks and juice boxes? Check.

Spectators set up lawn chairs battling for the best open places on the sidelines. This would be an epic contest, one replayed on family home movies for years to come.

Coaches were nervous. After all, their reputations were on the line. If their teams didn’t perform, well it would be obvious to everyone, and most importantly themselves, that they were failures as coaches, maybe even failures at life, like, forever!

The referee wanted to take control of the game of four-year olds in 4 vs. 4 game that doesn’t require World Cup refs.  It didn’t matter.  His nervous habit of rubbing his acne took the air out of his mystique. Plus, he was only thirteen, 5 feet tall and maybe 97 pounds.

The players weren’t stressed a bit.  Although two players had to go potty before the game. Probably just nervous energy.

Continue reading Little Rascal Soccer

Nightmare on Tahoe Street 😂

We jumped at the chance to help take care of three grandkids while their mom and dad did duties at a church camp retreat! It’s what grandparents do.

We jump in and help, you know? All for one, and one for all! Do it for the team!

Oh, did I mention it was at Lake Tahoe? In a cabin setting? Second story waterfront view? Alright. Well, SURE!  Happy, happy, happy to fly from Texas to help!!

Our job was to help entertain the three munchkins, ages 6, 4, and 2, even though they all answer “and a half” when asked their age.

Life is odd like that. By the time you’re my age, you round down. In fact, birthdays are now Pretend To Have Ten Fewer Candles on the Cake Day!  Besides, it saves the environment from candle pollution and the smoke detector doesn’t go off!

Anyway, at the retreat center, Janet and I discovered there was no adjoining door between the rooms. In fact, there were three queen size beds in our room….with only one bed in Mommy and Daddy’s room.

Uh, huh! That’s just stinkin’ parental brilliance right there! Why didn’t I think of that as a young parent?!
Continue reading Nightmare on Tahoe Street 😂

Dear Easton,

Dear Easton,

Welcome to the family!  Welcome to the world!  At six months old now, you’re learning all kinds of things!

Even before the gender reveal party, when your mama pitched a baseball to your daddy and he hit the ball that exploded blue, we were waiting on you!   You’ve been loved from the beginning!Janet and Easton (2)

There’s so much ahead of you!  You’ve already grown like a weed the last six months and now you stare in people’s eyes when they hold you and start smiling and laughing.  You’re even working on turning over!  Soon you’ll be doing all kinds of things!

It’s funny how it will all seem so extraordinarily slow to you, but so incredibly fast to the adults in your life!  In fact, the longest year of your life will be when you turn 15 and waiting on your driver’s license.  Then, it will seem like forever before you graduate from high school, become a legal adult and then turn 21.

Don’t begrudge those years, Easton.  They are full of fun, adventure, life and memories!

After you reach those milestones Easton, and every other one in life, time will start to fly by faster than you can possibly imagine! Continue reading Dear Easton,

Carl, The Species Confused Cat!

Carl knows better. I don’t know how he knows, but he knows.  Carl and I have a working relationship, but most of the work’s on my part.  Even how Carl got here was an arm-twisting escapade (read here.)  He does nothing, absolutely nothing!!

Really, the worthless feline folly should be dragging up mice, gophers or little dead snakes.  He doesn’t.  Half the time the flea bag is asleep flat on his back by the garage door. The other half he sits under a shade tree near the barbed wire fence watching the neighbor’s horses.

It’s a one-sided relationship! He can be totally out of sight, but if he hears his stainless steel feed bowl slide on the floor or the crinkle of the cat food bag, he comes running like he’s Lion King and I’m two days late.

I could live with it if every once in a while if he would do something for us, his “people”, as Carl likes to think, that would justify his meager existence.  As it is, I’m going to have to renegotiate a month to month deal, maybe charge him cat rent, something.

Trouble is, Carl doesn’t know his place!  In his messed up wheel of fortune mind, he’s Cat Sajack and I’m Vanna White! Continue reading Carl, The Species Confused Cat!

Fires of Life

Janet and I have eleven children between the two of us, and the count’s at 9 on grandchildren. We’re thinking there’s plenty more to come, especially since 5 of the kids aren’t married yet.

We bought a place last year that was right for family and grandchildren.  I built a standard wooden swing set from a hardware kit.  Easy peasy. But it needed more!

We looked at playground ideas and my imagination ran as wild as an East Texas roadrunner.

Then a blast from the past popped up on Pinterest, a firetruck.  I grew up around that!  My dad was a volunteer fireman for years, and two of those years I was the official “mascot” of the fire department. That’s pretty cool for an elementary age kid!

I knew about an old fire truck which had been sitting in a field rusting the last 22 years. I got permission and scavenged pieces and parts.  Continue reading Fires of Life

Nightmare at Bedtime

Our granddaughter, Claira, is 15 months old. She was spending the night with us, along with her brother and sister, ages 5 and 3.

Claira has a sweet, happy personality, but she’s also semi-strong willed.

She was all rainbows and unicorns! She even had them on her pajamas, but then it was…bedtime.  Claira had been laughing, cooing, and cawing until JJ (my wife Janet) and PawPaw (me) had the audacity to lay her down in the baby bed.

As JJ carefully laid her down, Claira immediately let it be known that she thought we were completely incompetent to try to put her down to go to sleep!

We talked softly to her, patted her back, patted her diapered bottom, rubbed her head, nothing at all made her happy.

She spit out her pacifier like it was a poisonous trick, pulled off the baby blanket, and screamed even louder when the door closed. We figured she’d quickly settle in for a long night of restful sleep.

Nope!

The unicorns turned red and grew multiple horns, and the rainbows became a Class 5 hurricane.  She started to wail, not whimper, not cry, wail.

Continue reading Nightmare at Bedtime

Carl, The Killer

Carl, the cat, did again.

A mama sparrow built a nest in the most unlikely place, in a flower arrangement hanging on our front door.  We didn’t even know a nest was there until I was going in the front door and the mama sparrow flew right at my face. That’ll make your ticker skip a beat!

I watched it several days and when the eggs hatched, she had a half a dozen naked chicks.  A few nights later, two of the grandkids spent the night with us and saw the now lightly feathered baby birds in the nest by porch light.

Carl, our big, orange, worthless cat must have been watching Mama fly back and forth. Or maybe he heard the chicks chirping, or figured out from the grandkid’s interest that there was something in that flower arrangement on the front door.

Regardless, the next morning my wife, Janet, heard the Mama sparrow feverishly chirping over and over.  She opened the front door with one of the grandsons in tow and the flowers were all on the porch by Carl.  All that was left of the baby birds was a little pile of bird feet and feathers while Carl scarfed down the last baby bird innards!  The grandson was horrified!! Continue reading Carl, The Killer

Where Your Story Starts


I told four of the grandsons, ages 3 to 5, a story before bed time.

I learned a long time ago, the hard way, you don’t tell a scary story to small boys, UNLESS you’re camping and you have to sleep in the same tent with them.  Then, any old ghost, alien or crazy wild flesh-eating bear story will scare the living bejeebers out of them.  Afterwards, you can go soundly to sleep in the tent while in silent terror they stare wide-eyed listening intently for any ghostly rattles, spaceships or bears creeping through the woods.

This wasn’t such a time, so story time was about four boys with names that rhymed with their own. They were just amazed how the names seemed so much like their own. 😉

The story was about a submarine adventure in the Gulf of Mexico. The four boys were looking for sunken pirate treasure.

Instead, they found a sunken K-Mart cargo ship full of copper forks, tambourines and a miniature cannon. Continue reading Where Your Story Starts