It's good to be back home. When we were in Fairbanks the fireweed had gone to seed and the leaves were already starting to turn color. I am not yet ready for fall. Back home the fireweed is not yet at the top so we still have a little summer left. The weather forecast predicts the next four days will be sunny. I am hoping to take advantage of this time to complete some home improvement projects.
Our biggest project this summer is what I call "the rock quarry". We are replacing the rocks under our deck which are there for drainage and weed control. But they have been there for over 20 years and so much dirt has settled among the rocks that they were growing strawberries and weeds. Tomorrow a dump truck will arrive with a new batch of drainage rock which we will put over the existing rocks, one wheelbarrow at a time. I have also been trying to simplify my flower beds and the plan is to cover the ground between my plants with weed blocker and mulch so the beds are more manageable.
While we were in Fairbanks the chickweed went crazy in my vegetable garden. My radishes should have been harvested already and now they are the size of racquetballs! Some of the broccoli has flowered and a few of the rainbow chards are going to seed! I need to start harvesting my kale and chard and freezing what we cannot eat right now.
The rest of the week is devoted to getting ready for school. We picked up school supplies today. Part of getting ready for school also included getting all three children their second Varicella (chicken pox) vaccine. I had all summer to do it but waited until the 11th hour. So at 5pm we headed to town for the mass dispensing of the varicella vaccine clinic. The public health nurses anticipated there would be so many of us last minute parents that the clinic was held at our local Elk's Lodge.
The Elks Lodge is a multipurpose facility that hosts everything from spaghetti feed fundraisers to the high school prom. So when I told the boys we were going to the Elk's Lodge for their shots, Riley asked if it was going to be a party. I said it will be a chicken pox vaccine sort of party. Then Chris asked if there would be food there. I said I didn't think so and he was rather peeved.
When we arrived there was no where to park and a long line had already formed outside the door. It was a rather festive atmosphere, waving to friends we had not seen lately. Some children appeared somewhat apprehensive but overall, it was pretty laid back. Inside there were stations set up for registration, screening, administering the shot and checking out. Every public health nurse, school nurse and retired nurse had showed up to volunteer. There were other community members and even volunteer firefighters and EMTs there!
At first I was upset because I could not find the boys' vaccine records. Then I was irritated with myself for not having made an appointment for shots earlier in the summer so I wouldn't have to stand in this long line with all the other procrastinators. Then I felt guilty because I did not think to volunteer to help with the mass dispensing. I had planned to give the kids shots myself but our clinic's freezer broke down and we had to return all the vaccines to the state. Therefor, the public health clinic was the only place the kids could get their vaccines. But there were so many volunteers and the whole thing was so well organized that everyone left in good spirits.
I think having it done that way may have decreased anxiety for many children. There was very little crying going on. Most of the boys wanted to appear tough and pretended that it didn't hurt. Chris was still irked that there was no food. Riley suggested that next time they have someone walking around making balloon animals. But not a clown. We both agreed that clowns are kind of creepy. I had bribed my kids with candy and noticed another child in line clutching a brand new car still in it's box. Afterwards Riley asked if Bradley could spend the night. First I said "No, we have to get on a school schedule". Two seconds later I said "Oh sure, you all just got shots!". Bradley's mom said "Boy, you sure caved in fast!". Like I said, I'm not quite ready for summer to be over.
It's not over until the fireweed is at the top.