One bad thing and one good thing happened Sunday. I’ll get the bad thing out of the way, though it’s hanging around in a bad way and not really getting out of the way. It has to do with the generator from hell.

Actually, a good thing didn’t happen and that’s the bad thing.

Early on, when we moved to island exurbia, we bought a generator. People told us the electricity goes out frequently on the island and we would need to have a generator. This is true.

The generator has never worked properly and has never done us much good. It destroyed our stereo when the electrician tested it.

The only thing we really need it for is to run the refrigerator enough to keep food from spoiling and to run the well pump so we can run water through the plumbing. We have a wind-up flashlight and a wind-up radio.

It argues with the refrigerator. Even when it’s working, I doubt it’s going to save the our food for us.

After the initial failures, I gave up on it. So the gas spoiled and the battery went dead. We had to haul it in to the dealer who got it working and said it is fine.

So we made vows to run it every month so the battery wouldn’t go dead and we would use up and replace the gas (and yes to all the sophisticated gasoline people, we are using gasoline preservative, also).

The story gets longer and more boring, so I won’t go into the details. Sunday we tried to give the generator its monthly workout and it wouldn’t start.

All I can say is that if some big serious disaster, like an earthquake or a tsunami or a terrorist attack occurs, and we are really dependent on the generator for our survival, we are really screwed.

Next: the good news

Random Granddaughter brought her little spade. After her nap, everyone went outside to the big pile of dirt. She shoveled several spadefuls into the wheelbarrow. Grandpa pushed the wheelbarrow down to the garden.

RG shoveled several spadefuls onto a seedbed Grandma is preparing. I took RG on a tour of this year’s garden, pointing out raspberries, boysenberries, blueberries, and tayberries. I also pointed out less interesting items such as onions, peas just breaking through the soil, and chard left over from last year.

I also showed her the Italian (prune) plum tree (not leafed yet), the crabapple tree proudly displaying leaves, the Spitzenberg tree with a few tentative leaves, and the new apple tree with four varieties grafted on to the trunk.

We then went for a walk to the mailbox. RG has fallen back into her “it’s too far” whining. “I’m going back to the house,” she threatened. Mommy said, “OK, we’re going to the mailbox.” RG disappeared down the driveway, clearly sulking and heading for a meltdown. Mommies and grandparents proceeded down the gravel road. After a while, we saw a little figure following us down the driveway. We slowed, and by the time she caught up with us she was having so much fun stomping in puddles in her boots she had forgotten to sulk in the joy of spashing.

When we got the mail box, she looked inside and found it empty. It was, as Mommy said, a “teachable moment” where RG learned that the mailman doesn’t even ring once on Sunday.

I will have to split my report about the barely extended family’s visit into several parts. Part of it, for security reasons, I will put in my private blog.

Random Granddaughter first took out the barn. She had a conversation with the sheep, who wished to move to a new location in the barn. RG, very accommodating to sheep, moved it the upper floor of the barn. The sheep said nothing, which I interpreted as expressing sheep content.

RG took out her box of wooden blocks that live at our house (under the couch). She took out the train that lives at our house (under the couch). She built a train station for the train. She took out her fire truck (that lives at her house but traveled on the ferry with her to the island). She expanded the station to have room for the fire engine.

I thought, RG needs a ferry. Then she can build a ferry station as well.

It was time for lunch. Everyone gathered around the table. Grandma put out a plate of crackers and cheese. (Grandma is playing it very safe in regard to food when RG comes to visit.) RG ate a couple of crackers. RG ate some cheese. [Grandma was impressed that she ate something else before first scarfing all the crackers.

Grandma served some tomato soup. She had not been planning to serve RG any tomato soup. Mama (Random Daughter) sitting next to RG, said to her, “Have some tomato soup.) RG said, “I don’t want any soup.” Mama said, “You like tomato soup. Eat a little.” Grandma provided RG with a small bowl of tomato soup. RG took two bites of tomato soup without any drama queen histrionics, and then returned to her crackers and cheese.

Grandma put some deviled eggs on the table. RG said, “I don’t want any eggs.” Mama urged her to take a bite. RG calmly took two bites of egg white. (Mommy later told us that RG likes egg whites, but not egg yolks, deviled or angelic.)

RG was obviously getting tired. She went upstairs for a nap. When she was upstairs, she discovered she was no longer tired. After various visits from Mama and Mommy she did fall asleep.

Mommy (Out of Law partner) explained her secret trick. “I have her close her eyes. I stroke her eyelids gently. She falls asleep.”

Next: RG shovels dirt and the secret dirt on Harvard rejects RG’s graduate school application (in secret blog).

I finally posted a message on my new secret, private blog, explaining the title, which I can’t tell you unless you are a member. The charter members got in free. Everyone else who wants to get in will have to 1) Pay me a membership fee (around a thousand dollars or so); and 2) Prove you are trustworthy and can be counted on to keep secrets.

Or, just talk me into letting you in.