Friday, September 5, 2008

My "Grand-Sons" in life and on vacation

9/3/08 Chatterbox Betty Kaiser Hey, grandparents! Congratulations! This Sunday is your day to shine. Grandkids are truly wonderful and today I’m going to introduce you to my pride and joy. There was a time when I didn’t think that I would ever be a grandmother. Long after college and marriage, our grown kids were busy finishing up grad schools, launching careers and (mostly) having fun. In fact, when I finally mustered the courage to mention the ‘grandchild’ word, I distinctly remember them smirking as if to say, “Don’t hold your breath.” That’s when their father and I decided to move from the city to the country and fulfill our dream of opening a bed and breakfast inn. We bought a “money pit” property and kept throwing ourselves into it until it was ready. We opened for business and thought we were settled. You know what happened next, don’t you? One winter’s day in 1990, our daughter and son-in-law flew up to Oregon and announced that Kathy was pregnant! We were ecstatic! Finally, a grandchild. The announcement triggered a flurry of buying sprees and trips to California for baby showers. We marveled at Kathy’s ‘beach-ball belly’ and wondered whether the baby was a boy or a girl. I was not-so-secretly hoping for a girl. Paul Daniel Linman was born Sept. 16, 1990. All thoughts of girls went out the window at the first sight of his adorable face. And it’s a good thing because over the next 12 years, four more grandsons made their appearance. When it was all over there were five boys and nary a girl among them. But who cares? These guys are more fun than a barrel of monkeys partly due to the influence of their bachelor Uncle Jeff. He is their musical mentor and leader in overall craziness. Our son John and Betsy Kaiser’s boys are into sports like their dad. Count them in for anything that involves throwing a ball or riding a horse! Joshua is only 5 but he throws a ball much better than his grandmother! Robby is an enviable brainiac athlete and J.D. plays the guitar in a band and is the horseman in the family. Again, like their dad, Kathy and Tim Linman’s boys are all about speed and the great outdoors. Can you spell NASCAR? Both of them can give you more stats on their favorite drivers than you’ll ever want to know. Paul is an honors student, a high school track team star and an Eagle Scout. Matthew studies trumpet and guitar from Uncle Jeff, plays football and is on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout. Spending time with these boys is like taking a happiness pill. I think that’s why they are called “Grand Sons.” They have energy to burn, find joy in the moment, are loving, both silly and serious, positive thinkers, don’t hold grudges and — they’re not our responsibility! This summer we all got together for what I called the planes, trains, boats and busses trip. We all started as tourists in Seattle and ate the best pizza in the world at Zeek’s near the Space Needle. Then we whale watched around the San Juans, relaxed at Friday Harbor and finished with fireworks at Butchart Garden in Victoria B.C. Sure there were a few glitches along the way but only one trip to the emergency hospital! I consider any journey successful if everyone is still speaking, limbs aren’t broken and no one gets food poisoning. But what did the guys think? Paul, 17, loved the trip but it was hard to compare to flying an airplane! He got the flying bug as a little guy when United Airlines pilots would let him sit in the cockpit. This summer his parents gave him a gift certificate for flying lessons. He said that being 3000 feet off the ground in a tiny plane doesn’t bother him at all and calls flying exhilarating. And yes, he’d like to be a pilot or maybe a forest ranger or a firefighter. Matthew, 14, is a pretty cool kid of few words. He liked the San Juan Islands because they were so calm and relaxing. This from a guy who wants to be a Highway Patrolman! J.D., 13, voted for the fabulous choreographed fireworks at Butchart Gardens as being the highlight of the trip. But we couldn’t talk long because he was off to swim practice and training for an Oct. triathlon. That should come in handy if he does decide to be a Navy Seal. Robby, 10, can talk non-stop and loved everything about the trip from killer whales to eating at Milestones Grill in Victoria. It ranked right up there with being chosen to play on the Templeton minor league All-Star team where he helped his team make it to the semi-finals. He got 3 hits, was on base 6 times and was only hit by the ball once. Ouch! Is it any surprise that he wants to be a marine biologist or a professional baseball player? Josh, 5, was super excited to see an Orca whale breach right in front of us on our whale watching trip. He was sure it happened just for him! This pint size dynamo wants to be a drummer in a rock band or an owner of a restaurant. I’ll bet he changes his mind. On Grandparent’s Day and every day, I am honored to be the grandmother of such great kids. Guys, always remember that your grandfather and I love you because YTB (you’re the best)! P.S. This month both Papa Chuck and Paul are celebrating milestone birthdays. Paul, the kid who opened the grandson door to joy is a high school senior and turns 18 on Sept. 16. On Sept. 1 Chuck (a different kind of senior) turned the big 7-0! Happy birthday gentlemen and have a wonderful year! Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart. Contact her at 942-1317 or via e-mail —

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