My dad came a-visiting from the Deep North, along with my stepmum. They're great people, and it was wonderful for the kids to hang out with 'em for a while. Both of them, however, are busy folk. As in: constantly active.
Over the two weeks, Stepmama managed to clean most of the house within an inch of its life. I managed to draw the line at the study door, purely by virtue of increasing the chaos within my study to point where even I was appalled. (It's a little better now. I made a show of tidying it a bit every day...)
The cleaning and rearrangement was generally a very good thing. Natalie has a tendency to get 'stuff' for the kids, and let them accumulate it. And I don't have the heart to randomly throw out the sixty percent or so which is pure junk. So having Grandmum on hand to take charge was fine. I'm quite surprised, really -- the boys' room is pretty much tidy. They lost three garbage bags of beloved 'stuff', and not a single word has been said. Shows how often they used their 'stuff', I guess.
The Mau-Mau also has her own bedroom mural now. It's not quite as epic as the coral reef scene the boys got last time Grandmum came visiting... but the Mau-Mau didn't want epic. She wanted flowers, and a fairy, and that is precisely what she got. It's lovely, of course.
Meanwhile, my dad hit the gardens and grounds. Trees were pruned. Trees were outright lopped and removed. Piles of rocks were shifted. Sheds were tidied. Giant skip bins were dragged to new positions, as was the rotary hoe which we never use. (Point to note: this guy is sixty-seven, and has had three spinal vertebrae fused. Yes, I know -- our rotary hoe isn't particularly large. But he dragged it a good twenty metres over open, stony, grassy ground to its new position. I could do that, yes... but I'm damned if I know anyone else his age who could.)
He also cleaned and painted the trailer. Oh, and pulled out the old bathtub in the ground in the orchard, and filled the hole with rocks. Admittedly, he got some help from me on the bathtub. It was cast iron, and full of rainwater, so he wanted some extra muscle involved. But the bathtub is now down the hillside next to my greywater outflow tub, and as soon as my pumpkin vines have finished their activity for the year, I'll dig a trench, place the new tub - and have twice as much storage for my greywater, for gardening.
This was all on top of daytrips here and there, occasional movie nights, the return to school and ju-jitsu, etc. So... yes. The last two weeks have been a bit draining.
I bought a shredder, mind you. That was fun. It's electric. I turn garden clippings and moderate-sized branches into mulch with it. That's very useful, because it has allowed me to mulch the two mulberry trees I just planted. And the orange tree. And my fig trees. And I'm in the process of mulching the hell out of my herb garden. Given the amount of branches and clippings available to me, I may well be able to mulch the entire property, if the shredder doesn't die on me first.
Anyway, the Parentals took off this morning. It's a hot day, with strange winds and the distant threat of storms. I'm feeling very tired and lacklustre. The Elder Son has his best friend visiting overnight, so I'll cue them up in the Movie Zone later with 'Underdog', and enough popcorn.
As for me? I've got a lot of work and writing to catch up on. But at least I'll have a bit more time for it now, I hope.