Important life lessons one can learn from having a couple of grandkids visit for a couple of weeks:
Lesson One: An 11-year-old and a 12-year-old, even ones who are enthusiastic about hiking, are likely to run out of steam two-thirds of the way up Harney Peak to such an extent that one of them is sure he's "gonna die." Yet those same kids, at the end of the steep six-mile trip up to the summit and back down, will have ample energy to spend an extra 45 minutes scrambling up, down, and over the rocks around Sylvan Lake.
Corollary to Lesson One: A tired child who is "gonna die" is not amused when his loving grandmother's response is, "Does that mean I can have your lunch?"
Lesson Two: If your ego is somewhat fragile, it is a mistake to get out the dominos and teach two very bright grandkids to play Mexican Train.
Lesson Three: A dart that hits a sliding glass door just right (or just wrong) will shatter it.
Corollary A to Lesson Three: A large flattened cardboard box is not as effective a backstop for a dartboard as it may seem.
Corollary B to Lesson Three: A non-dart playing grandmother who thinks a good place to set up the dart board is in front of the patio door would do well to get a second opinion.
Corollary C to Lesson Three: Dart-shattered safety glass doesn't immediately fall out of its frame, but it makes ominous crinkling noises for at least half an hour.
Corollary D to Lesson Three: It takes a lot of masking tape to secure a large piece of heavy plastic over a broken sliding glass door.
Corollary E to Lesson Three: The estimate from the glass repair shop for replacing the glass in a door is enough to make a frugal grandmother wish she had suggested playing poker instead of darts.
Corollary F to Lesson Three: Breaking the shattered safety glass out of the door frame by tapping it with a screwdriver handle is sort of fun—but when you figure the per-minute cost, it's very expensive entertainment.
Corollary G to Lesson Three: When a friend who hears about the broken glass says, "It could have been worse—at least it wasn't an eye," she is absolutely right.
Lesson Four: If the kids want to come back next summer, they'll be welcomed with open arms, homemade cinnamon rolls, and plans for new hikes. Oddly enough, however, the dart board will have mysteriously disappeared.