Completed ProjectAs grandparents, we hit the mark this weekend. While our son and his wife flew east to West Point to spend the holiday weekend with our only granddaughter and her fiancé, we hung out with his three youngest sons, Pete, 13, Scott 15, and Tim 16. And Scott had an agenda. He wanted his grampa to help him build a bench for his bedroom. And he wanted me to help him sew a green twill cover for a foam cushion to top the bench. And if that wasn’t enough for the weekend, he wanted a make a pillowcase to compliment the covered cushion.

I’m not accustomed to cooking for three teenage boys any more. Especially in an unfamiliar kitchen. And especially not on an electric stove. Peter, who is home schooled, was an invaluable help coaching me as well as locating all the cooking items I needed to make heart-shaped cut out cookies for Valentines. The beloved cookies lasted less than twenty-four hours. Even managed to get dinner on the table in a timely fashion, figure out the unfamiliar dishwasher and microwave, and use the left-overs creatively – even making baked meatballs from scratch! Definitely felt like I hit the culinary benchmark even if I was a bit rusty.

All the while the garage was a swirl in sawdust. Scott and Grandpa were busy making a pine plywood bench for his bedroom. Measuring, re-measuring, using a chop saw, drilling angled screw holes, applying wood filler, sanding, sanding, sanding. The morning was filled with woodworking. And before you knew it the bench was complete except for the final coat of sealer. Then the project shifted to the “sewing room.” We calculated and cut the twill fabric and Scott set about sewing the fabric together for the covered cushion. Truly the hardest part of the project was wrestling and fitting the completed cover onto the foam pad. Having already sewn a pillowcase for his sister at Thanksgiving, Scott zipped through the companion pillowcase in no time at all. Since he’d worked long and hard all day long to complete these three projects. it was not surprising that Scott was one bushed boy by the time we went to the movies at seven. There were bets among his brothers as to whether he’d make it through the movie or fall asleep. 

It was a regular benchmark kinda weekend with the kiddos – full of laughter, learning new skills, honing some old ones, and best of all…love.

If you’ve shared a benchmark experience with others, what was it? What about it set new standards of…excellence? …joy? …fun? ….fill in the blank…

PS – Sorry to have missed last week’s post. I have a new computer and 99% of it was installed as hoped for. The other 1%? Not so much. I’m still dealing with some email contact/address issues. My anxiety level is much better this week after such a great time with some of the grands.

8 comments to Benchmark

  • Totally love this post! My grands love to get in my sewing room and experiment with all my equipment and supplies. You’re helping them develop life skills and make wonderful memories. Bravi!

  • sharron luft

    All of my sewing tools and scraps are safely locked away in a small, rolling set of drawers, and I only go to them when I must. BUT – my art studio is a different story. My greatgrands, Rylee and Cole, have their own drawers full of colored markers and pencils, paint pots and brushes, scissors, glue sticks, stacks of paper and their own “fermenting trays”. We each have a stool at the drawing table. The three of us spend many hours creating pictures while we visit. The kids tell me about their time at school, their upsets, and their wishes for the snack they know will come eventually. When we have finished an art piece, we hang it on my large bulletin board and admire our work. Our time together is a blessing to me and I believe it is for them too, whether they know it or not.I hope someday they will.

  • Janet Rogers

    I have a “Magic Cupboard” for our grands. In years past I filled it with odds & ends of art projects. Now that they are teens, their desires for crafts are more specific. I need to clean that space out. As for cooking on an electric stove – I had 32 yrs of it in Montana and I really hated it!! We moved to Sandpoint, ID and yep, an electric stove. But a miracle happened and we got natural gas piped to our hill top abode. There was a stampede to Coeur ‘d Alene to buy a gas stove. I am finally a happy cook again! Now that I am 100 lbs thinner and Gary is working at the weight loss thing, I cook less but, at least, I don’t burn everything. Electric stoves just don’t pack it!

  • I had a benchmark event today. We invited a current mission co-worker to Taiwan for lunch today, and included two other “ole hands.” Pete and I had been such co-workers ourselves there 1962-65 so we had lots to talk about. With a new spurt of energy I decided to cook Chinese: ground pork dumplings and hot/sour soup. I had forgotten how much chopping this entailed, and I had not mastered the food processor our daughter and niece had given me. So it was hard work for Pete and me, and the dumplings fell apart in the boiling water. But I saw many delicious recipes in my ancient and crumbling Chinese cookbook which my husband and I have determined to try —- me, who hates to cook — it may have been a turning point!

  • Barbara

    I enjoyed your story. You’re great grandparents.

  • Judy

    THIS IS AWESOME!!! Thanks for taking the boys so my parents could come visit. 🙂

  • you are all so blessed
    we live in south africa
    with our four grandchildren in
    usa and australia
    we meet infrequently and skype a little
    no real contact at all
    just enjoy!

  • Norma

    I found a way to deal with covers on foam pillows. Wrap a dry cleaner bag around the foam pillow so it is an open ended cover. The cloth cover slides easily over the dry cleaner bag and then you just pull the bag out and your done.

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