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Thursday, November 18, 2021

 LET'S GO TO THE DOCTOR - MORE RETIREMENT FUN!

One benefit of retirement is that you have extra time for medical tests. You may believe that there will be extra time for sleeping longer in the mornings or lingering over cheesecake at lunchtime, but this is not true. You have to be up early to get to your medical tests before the doctor has time to fall two hours behind in his schedule, thereby throwing off your afternoon nap plans.


One thing doctors are concerned with is measuring things, such as your blood pressure, which goes up because you have to drive on the highway to get to the doctor’s office, and your weight, which goes up because you reward yourself with doughnuts for taking such good care of your health that you go to the doctor All. The. Time.

Before you retired you probably made many fun plans to travel and to have lunch with your friends. This will not happen because the warranty will expire on your body a week after retirement and you will spend all your time at the doctor learning about replacement parts as if you’re an old Chevy. Also, your friends are at work and get inexplicably cranky if you ask them to go to lunch at ten so you can get home for your nap.

Sleeping is important in retirement because you have to make up for 40 years of waking up at ten minutes until dawn and thinking, “Is it Friday yet?” and pining for retirement because you don’t know yet about the doctor visits and medical tests. The one time you can’t sleep in retirement is when the doctor sends you for a sleep test and your eyes stay wide open for eight hours because you’re in a strange bed, hooked up to 100,000 wires, and are busy wondering what sort of noises they’ll hear when you’re asleep.

Then they tell you to relax.

That’s a good time to take your blood pressure.


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

 JOBS WHERE I WOULD GET FIRED THE FIRST DAY

(With many, many thanks to the people who excel at them.)

1.     Waitress (Server )  The first time someone threw a napkin on the floor, I would pop them with my tray and give them the “If we want to have a nice place to live, we clean up our messes“ speech. Then I would take away their phone and dessert privileges.

2.     Truck driver. I would stop at every rest station. It would take me a week to deliver a load to the next town. Also, I can’t reach the pedals.

3.     Bounty hunter for identity thieves and computer hackers. Unnecessary roughness. With a smile.

4.     House painter. Aversion to heights. Houses would have a band of paint that circled the house, reaching 5 feet, two inches above the ground. Also, I'm likely to paint ornamental shrubbery, potty-bound house pets, and random passersby.

5.     Caterer. Eating is my jam. I love jam. And all the stuffed mushrooms would disappear along with the icing from the birthday cupcakes.

6.     Welder. Fire. Seriously.

7.     Speech therapist. Not that I have a Southern accent, but can you imagine learning to pronounce words from someone who requires five syllables just to say yes? And six to say no.

8.    Fashion designer. My idea of haute couture is a shirt that will button across the chest and not ride up to show belly overlap. Also bunny slippers with ears that exceed two inches in height.

9.    Pet trainer. To me a 100 pound pit bull is a lap dog that just needs more leg room.

10. Teacher. See number 1. Also, I'm cranky if I skip naptime.


Wednesday, November 3, 2021

JUST HIT SEND


Many thanks to The Writers College for showcasing my work. My Just Hit Send group helped me send stories and essays out into the world for many years. That group turned the Enter key from terrifying to terrific!

Monday, October 25, 2021

HEALTH AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT



One of the activities I enjoy most about retirement is taking pills. I never had time to go to the doctor before, but now I see doctors for body parts I didn’t even know I had. They gave me pills and then gave me more pills to cure the ailments caused by the first pills. I saw a commercial for one of my prescriptions on TV. They said it could cause certain side effects such as death, but not to stop taking it without my doctor’s permission. I have a feeling my doctor’s brother-in-law is an undertaker.

Also, I graduated from Physical Therapy this week. When it first started, I didn’t want to go, but then I found out it was really gym class where you don’t have to wear an unflattering outfit or run laps, and your insurance pays for it. If high school had been like this, I would have lettered in track.

My PT instructor gave me a yellow elastic band for resistance training. I wrote “Police Lines Do Not Cross” on it and hung it on the vacuum cleaner.

At Physical Therapy I got to play tennis inside in the air conditioning while standing in front of a chair in case I wanted to sit down. My therapist brought me ice water and chased the ball whenever I missed it.

I’m ready for Wimbledon and she lost twenty-five pounds.


Monday, October 18, 2021

 

Weathered

 


In the Spring and Fall, seasons in the South change not only day to day, but sometimes hour to hour. It’s not unusual to find someone sporting a sweat-wicking tank top under their Let It Snow Christmas sweater.

Wondering if I should grab my jacket when I went outside, I asked my living room meteorologist, Bill, if it was raining. He whipped out his cell phone and in seconds I knew the temperature and average rainfall in London, Alberta, and Sydney. He threw in the humidity and air quality for free, but noted that I need to sign up for updates concerning UV index and wind direction.

He was sitting beside the front door.

“Just open the door and peek outside.”

He looked at me like a newborn robin looks at mama just before she coughs up the worm.

“I’m not going to build an ark. I just want to snip some rosemary for my sauce.”

He consulted his phone.

I slipped on my jacket and strolled outside. It’s not that it was hot and dry, but the moisture in my skin evaporated immediately, giving me the jaunty air of a body with a shrunken head and dusty dirt clods  for eyes. It must have been a fetching site, because the neighbor called Emergency Services for the Kool-Aid Man.

I snipped several sprigs of rosemary and felt my way back into the house, making a mental note to add my house number to the door in Braille.

“Don’t forget to work on the gutters this week,” I quipped as I staggered past Bill’s chair.

He clicked out of his weather app and headed toward the door.

“And don’t forget your coat.”

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

 



The Twelve Steps (Give or Take a Few) of Retirement

1.     Everyone will perish without you

2.     Everyone won’t.

3.     You’ll die, simply die because they won’t.

4.     It will be okay.

5.     You sit on the porch to watch other people go to work.

6.     You sit on the porch because you’re not going to work.

7.     You decide to cook homemade meals from scratch every day.

8.     You rediscover the Crock Pot so you can go back to bed every day.

9.     You order Chinese takeout and wear something without stains to pick it up.

10.You order pizza delivery wearing your bathrobe.

11.You find yourself wearing work clothes as play clothes.

12.You order play clothes off the Internet.

13.You discover that takeout food has made the new clothes shrink.

14.You do a sit up.

15.You discover the danger in doing floor exercises and pull yourself up using a chair.

16.You decide that exercise is dangerous and could involve your health insurance.

17.You shouldn’t put yourself in danger because everyone will perish without you.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

The Legacy


As far as legacies go, my tastes lie with something simple, like a check. Or stock. Or heirloom china. Unfortunately Mama wasn’t the heirloom china type. What I got when she departed for the peaceful place where mothers don’t have to cook, clean, or say, “If I told you once, I told you a million times,” was not the inheritance I assumed was my birthright. What she left me was the very thing I was the least qualified to handle. Wisdom.

Giving me a lapful of life lessons is like tossing me a copy of the Atkins diet and a size six sheath dress and telling me the party starts at seven. You may as well shove the plans for building a biplane into my arms and tell me to be in Paris by midnight. When it comes to legacies, it’s best to just go ahead and hand me a gold bar.

Now that I’m in the stage of life where good advice usually involves a recipe loaded with fiber, I realize that what Mama left me was a handbook for life. Thanks to the seeds my mom planted in the rocky garden of my mind over the years, I’ve sailed through many of the stormy seas of life without having to evacuate to life boats. Turns out Mom knew best all along. Here are Mama’s Rules to Live By—along with some of my own observations for those who, like me, have trouble following directions.

1. There is something to love in every person. However, there are some people who hide that something really well. Actually, Mama just said that first part. I learned the second part from my sister.

2. If you rip a page out of your brother’s comic book, he can rip a page out of yours. This is a mother of four’s version of The Golden Rule. I learned to treat friends, family, and their possessions with respect. And I’ll never know what happened to Archie and Jughead that day at Riverdale High.

3. Give a child two cookies; one for each hand. This is a smart idea because it keeps the child busy for twice as long, diverts him from "helping" with your biscuit dough and prevents you from having to walk every morning for a week to work off two cookies that you would have eaten to relieve stress if your child had two hands free to plunge into the dog's food.

4. Don’t honk your horn at anybody. At first I assumed this was Mama’s version of traveling etiquette, but now I realize that she understood road rage long before anyone held up traffic trying to read road signs through the wrong part of skinny designer bifocals.

5. Always have a skill you can fall back on. By this, I know now that she meant a skill that will continue to be of service to the Community of Man. Unfortunately the skill I chose was typing, which caused typewriters to immediately become extinct.

6. If you’re not tall enough to see out the car window, sit on a pillow. Improvise. Adapt. Overcome. Even the Marines agree with her.

7. If something particularly unpleasant is happening to you, there’s probably a lesson involved. Wade through a puddle or two on the linoleum and you’ll remember to let the new puppy out. You’ll also remember to buy a mop.

8. Don’t sell things you can give away. That might not make sense in an e-Bay world, but knowing that someone who needs it will have a warm coat for the winter goes a long way toward offsetting the thrill of bagging $1.50 for your old hula lamp in an online auction.

9. Play to win. Unless that gets in the way of playing for fun. When playing Scrabble with an elderly woman who can’t see past her elbow, give her a break if she thinks she drew five blanks. Come to think of it, that’s how Mom always won at Scrabble, so there’s probably an extra lesson tucked in there.

10. Always take time to watch the birds at the birdfeeder. Time spent with nature is a peace of mind investment. And last winter, a tiny chickadee who muscled his way through a crowd of rowdy cardinals to have lunch gave me some great ideas for handling the next family reunion. And the big project due at work.

11. Don’t worry, it’ll get worse. This was my mom’s slogan. When I was three and ran to her with a skinned knee, she said it. She was right. I broke my arm. When I was thirty-three and getting divorced, she said it again. And soon my kids became teenagers. But by then, I had it figured out. If things can get worse, the problems that seem overpowering right now aren’t the end of the world. Things can also get better. So if teaching two teenaged boys to drive and adding them to my insurance is the worst life has to offer, I can handle it.

But I sure wouldn’t turn down a check.