Full House

Well, Mother’s summer house is chock full of people this weekend. My brother arrived with his family early this morning and combined with my offspring there are 6 kids running through the house having a blast and 6 adults trying to talk amongst themselves and keep some semblance of order.

After a big breakfast we all put on bathing suits and grabbed our beach stuff and it took four boatloads full of people to get everyone over to the island. The weather was perfect all day – warm and a slight breeze. We spend hours combing the sand for sharks teeth and sea shells, and Mother had packed two coolers with sandwiches, chips, cookies and soft drinks, so we had a feast on the blankets while we waved at all the other boats zipping by.

When everyone had enough sun we started sending boatloads back to the house. Now we’re in the middle of fixing hot dogs and burgers on the grill while the kids are down on the dock trying to net a few crabs and sharing stories. It’s been a really nice day for all of us and its great to have the families together.

Mother’s Guest Rooms

We arrived at Mother’s late last night after the long drive and I have to admit that I paid little attention to where the kids ended up sleeping. I know they went to the guest rooms upstairs, but they settled in quickly and were sound asleep without much nagging or prodding from the adults.

Beginning the Stanley Cup Finals Tonight

So it’s no surprise to me that the Stanly Cup Finals will be a fight between the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins. I called it before Christmas. Detroit gets home ice for the first game, which is on TV tonight.

The family has been put on notice that I am not available to them during these playoff games. I have a TV in the bedroom and a cooler for beer on ice, corndogs ready to zap in the microwave, and Ruffles with green onion dip.

The rest of the household can do what they want about dinner and games or TV shows tonight, but I will be in the bedroom, in the LazyBoy, with the door closed during the pregame show and the entire time the puck is on the ice.

Road Games

When we take the family on a long driving trip we have a variety of games to play together to help pass the time and to keep the kids from getting bored and restless.

One game that we invented involves reading the license plates of cars that we pass by to make poker hands. All you need is a notepad and pencil and a cup of pennies. Each person gets a turn at claiming a license plate – he can claim the next one we drive by or if he doesn’t want that one he can pass his turn and the next person has the choice of claiming that one or the next one. Once a license plate is claimed, you make your best poker hand from the letters and numbers on that plate and then you discard the unwanted numbers so you can draw more from the next and final round of claiming plates. Once you get your second plate you fill out your poker hand and either bet pennies on it (with a 10 cent maximum bet) or fold. Winner of the “hand” gets the cup with the pennies.

Unofficial Start of Summer

One of my favorite holidays has always been Memorial Day, which in many parts of the country not only honors our veterans but also signifies the unofficial start of summer.

In our house, Memorial Day means taking the kids to a parade and then at least one full day on the water. which water was the question, as we were fortunate to have many water choices, with bountiful lakes and rivers close by and the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean just a short drive away.

The past couple years we’ve chosen to join my parents at their home on the river. Their summer house has plenty of extra beds and linens, and the boat dock has a variety of boats, from a kayak to a ski boat to a john boat to a sailboat. And this year my brother towed his 30′ cruiser to the public ramp and put it in for the guys to go fishing on Sunday.

Knowing that he was coming with the cruiser, I bought a special gift for him – or rather, his boat. I remember last year how we had taken the cruiser down the river one weekend and just slept on it over night with the intention of waking early and throwing in the fishing lines at daybreak. Well, it was a great plan but when we woke there was so much fog that we couldn’t see anything for hours and to be honest it was downright frightening to be out on the open water unable to see more than a foot or two in front of the boat.