Sunday, December 27, 2009

"It's Complicated"

The answer to “What do Jewish people do on Christmas” is usually “Go to the movies and eat Chinese food.”

I can’t disagree. It’s become a tradition – like turkey on Thanksgiving. My Mah Jongg group has been doing it for years – although for the past several years we go to someone’s home after the movie because the local Chinese restaurants are too crowded – and not just with fellow Jews. (They’re the only restaurants open in this area.)

Anyway – now that you have the background, let me share my story. To insure that no one sees the movie before the 25th, we gals pick one to see a month ahead of time. Hubby asked me several weeks ago if we did, and I answered, “It’s Complicated.”

On the morning of the 25th, he repeated the question. I couldn’t figure out why he forgot because we’d seen the coming attractions. Since we’ve both had too many senior moments lately, instead of saying my usual “you don’t listen to me,” I responded, “It’s Complicated.”

“We’re meeting everyone in a few hours,” he growled. “Don’t you think by now you should know what movie we’re going to see?”

I would like to say my story ends here, but it didn’t. When I shared it with friends on the way to the theater, one said, “Well it is hard for us to pick one none of us saw.”

The only thing funnier than Hubby’s and my friend’s response was the movie itself.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Spooky Voices

The other day I was in the kitchen, with the windows closed, yet I still heard the faint sound of a siren. I went to the front window and saw no vehicles. I returned to the kitchen – in the middle of my house - only to hear the noise again. The siren was intermittent – almost like the noise from a kid’s friction truck – you know the kind you want to step on, but don’t - only there are no kids living in Seniorville. I ignored it, assuming it came from outside of my development, and I heard it because it was abnormally loud. I finished in the kitchen, and went into my office – the one I share with Hubby. The siren sounded as I passed Hubby’s computer.

“A new warning system about email’s that might have a virus attached,” Hubby explained when he came home, “and I haven’t installed it in yours yet.”

Not sure if I want it. Flashing signs work fine for me.

The next day, I was home alone when I heard a strange man’s voice coming from somewhere in my house. Nothing was turned on – no radio – no TV – nothing. All the windows and terrace doors were closed. Still I know a human’s voice when I hear it. Was my new house haunted, and was that why we got such a good deal? I looked out all the windows only to see rabbits nibbling on my flowers. Bravely, I searched each room, with my phone in hand. ready to call 911. The voice was getting louder, but this time I could hear the siren also. I headed for my office. Along with the siren, Hubby’s computer’s robotic voice was shouting “virus alert.”

“They improved the original,” Hubby surmised. “I guess too many people didn’t realize the reason the siren was coming from the computer.”

I wondered how many complaints the anti-virus program designers will get from police because people not sitting at their computers will think there are intruders in their homes and call 911.

The next night, unexplained voices once again spooked me.

“Was that guy calling us?” Hubby asked when we passed a crowd of people in the parking lot.

“That voice was too loud,” our friends in the rear seat said, “It sounded almost as if it was in the car.”

We drove a few more feet. Then, a voice from my glove compartment called out, “Turn right in 200 feet.”

I still haven’t figured out who turned my GPS on after I returned it to the glove compartment. I would never do anything as stupid as forgetting to turn it off when I put it away.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Trashy Gifts

If you get a thank you note that is a bit too vague – no reference to the gift – not even a hint – I think I know why. If you are one of those who bought a gift card, put it in the envelope, and then instead of giving the gift to the honoree, you did the new “in” thing, chances are the gift is somewhere in Mt. Trashmore.

The new “in thng" is to put cash equivalent gifts in gift bags. Instead of handing the envelope directly to a human or placing it in a basket specifically for cash gifts as was done in “my day,” the envelope is now buried in colorful tissue paper, stuffed into a coordinating colorful bag and tied with ribbon. Mind you, the bag weights the same as a feather. In fact, it is so light, some people just might think it was empty.

A conversation after the party might be,

She: I saw the Smiths come in with a gift. I don’t see it here.
He: We didn’t unwrap a box from them.
She: It was on the table where they were sitting – not with the other gifts.
He: All that was on that table was trash. I tossed it in the dumpster.
She: (Voice cracking) Was there a bag with ribbons on the handle?
He: Sure, it was empty. I tossed it with the other gift-wrap.

So, if you get a thank you saying, “Thank you for your thoughtful gift. We’re glad you could join us,” don’t think the recipient doesn’t know how to write detailed thank yous. If you gave a check, and it never cleared, and you received that kind of note – call. Chances are the recipient couldn’t get to the trash before it was collected and wrote the generic note because they were too embarrassed to call you. If you gave a gift card – oh well – the store got an unintended gift from you.

As for me, I’m not using gift bags anymore – unless the gift weights a ton.

Monday, December 7, 2009

To Catch a Cheat

To the best of my recollection, I can think of no female politician who the press has exposed for having an illicit affair. And, even though I can think of one or two female celebs making headlines for infidelity, the ratio of men to women celebs caught being naughty is probably a zilllion to one, with the females being the latter.

Now I am not naive enough to think women politicians and/or celebs are saints when it comes to keeping their marriage vows. I just think they are far superior when it comes to covering their tracks, and NO I AM NOT SPEAKING FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. Women learn the art of successful deception early in our lives and men don’t. Obviously, the gals who cheat don’t leave visible tracks like charges to hotels, love letters in deleted emails that are easily retrievable, or text messages that any suspicious person or reporter can tract. In most homes, women are in charge of the cleaning and many are trained in their early years, so they tend to be better at cleaning up messes. (I know this is an old, chauvinistic view). And, if the wife pays the bills and hubby charges something in Victoria’s Secret, unless she was the recipient of the gift, well, the rest is obvious. All these male politicians and celebs that have been caught cheating during the last few years clearly are skilled only in their field of work and that is it. I will also assume – which is dangerous – that they leave their dirty clothes around the house and dishes in the sink, so they never learned how to clean up their own dirt.

The trait of deception superiority shows itself early in life. Ask a four-year-old boy a question he doesn’t know the answer to, he’ll look at his shoes or shrug. A girl will change the topic. “Do you want to hear me sing the Alphabet song?” (Honestly, I saw this in a teacher training film.)

By middle school, girls carry a change of clothing in a paper bag or stuffed in their backpacks. They head for the girls’ room before the day begins and again at the end of the day. This way they can change into the outfits their parents warned them not to wear to school. “Well I didn’t wear it to school,” my niece told my sister when she was caught.

This week, I learned how even we grandmas cover our tracks. My friend’s husband and married children have told her that her grandkids have enough toys to last ten life times. They explicitly asked her not to buy any more “junk.” After the warning, she was in a toy store shopping for a baby gift and fell in love with new toys for her own toddler grandkids. Like me, one of her major weaknesses is toys for grandkids. Needless to say, she bought the new toys. “I came home, tore off the wrap, and mixed the new toys in with the old ones in the toy box. I put the wrap through the shredder, mixed it in with the wet garbage, and then tied up the bag. When the grandkids came, no one realized the toy box had new additions,” she told me. “And I thoroughly enjoyed watching the babies play with the new toys!”

I would not say it is safe to assume my friend pays the bills in her home. I would say it’s a sure bet. To Catch a Cheat

Monday, November 30, 2009

Reservations Mandatory - Take III

If I think of the things in my lifetime that I once considered safe but now know are harmful, high on my list would be the sugary soda I drank in lieu of water and milk, (Dad was a soda man), the cigarette smoking that lasted until I neared 30, and the hormones I took for more years than needed. True, the soda wasn’t as potentially dangerous as the other two, but I am on my third set of caps and have more root canals than anyone I know.

Well, the other day I read about a possible new addition to the list of reversal of opinion products: granite countertops. It seems there is radon in granite. Supposedly, there is not enough to do harm, but, nevertheless, it is there. The fancier the granite, the more of the toxic gas.

Not one salesperson volunteered this information to us when we remodeled our kitchen, and when Hubby and I recently went to look at new model homes to get decorating ideas, not one kitchen or bath had granite. In its place was glass. I had never seen glass as thick as butcher block, and it was pretty. In fact I liked it better than granite. (Actually I am not a fan of granite because what other people love about it, I hate: you can’t see the dirt, especially coffee and gravy spills.)

Anyway – a few days ago, after reading Sherry North’s blog in the Miami Herald about the granite I wondered if that was the reason the fancy new models we looked at didn’t have a drop of granite in them and shared this with Hubby. He sat silently for a while, obviously thinking about his answer. Finally, he said, “Are you trying to tell me you can’t cook in your kitchen anymore?”

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Let It All Hang Out

For various reasons, too many people can’t accept the inevitable aging process. Some don’t want to appear “old,” while others refuse to admit their true age. Me, I am grateful for each year given to me, and much to the chagrin of some of my friends, shout my age for all to hear. Fear of appearing old has led to the development of many highly lucrative industries, beginning with cosmetics and onto plastic surgery and Botox.

Since moving into a seniorville – a place with a high population of age hiders and altered appearances - I have developed ways to discover if a person is truly as young as he or she looks or maintains. Discovering the truth makes me feel as if I guessed the correct number of jellybeans in a jar. It’s fun. One trick is to sneak the ages of their kids or grandkids into a conversation with a person who looks like they belong in a college dorm, not a seniorville. Many of these folks who won’t admit to their age will readily show pictures of grandkids or brag about their kids and grandkids accomplishments. One gal I met a few weeks ago talked of visiting her grandkids in college. Despite her wrinkle-free face and neck, I knew she wasn’t the spring chicken her face indicated.

Today during my early morning two-mile trek around the walking trail in my seniorville, I discovered a new reliable way to tell if a person’s face isn’t the one mother nature bestowed on her/him. One lady, whose face was as smooth as a balloon, gave me the new, true test – look at the bare legs. No matter how much botox or surgery she had above her shoulders, her thigh skin was sagging towards her knees. She may have facially looked like she was forty, but with each step towards me, the truth was hanging low for all her fellow walkers to see.

Best of all, now I think I know what Joan Rivers meant when she said she has had Botox everywhere possible. If any of you have seen Joan in gym shorts recently, let me know if I’m right.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Reservations Preferred - Take II

In the middle of our weekly Mah Jongg game, one of the players asked our hostess what the blue gook was on her shoe. She removed her shoe – a brand new adorable red sandal – and held it up for all of us to inspect. “Gum,” she announced, much to her chagrin.

I told her to use nail polish remover. Another person nixed my idea because it probably would remove the color. The idea of using a sharp razor was mentioned and immediately discarded because it might scratch the leather. Finally, someone said to put it in the freezer. “Take it out tonight and you’ll be able to peel it off easily.”

She put it in the freezer, and we continued to play. The next night her husband asked what was for dinner. “I had no time to cook today so take a frozen dinner from the freezer,” was her innocent answer.

You can guess the rest – like him holding up a frozen shoe and wanting to know how it would taste when defrosted in the micro, and would she suggest he add ketchup or mustard when it was done, etc.

The end comment was the best. “If this is the best recipe your Mah Jongg group has, no wonder y’all like to eat in restaurants so much.”

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Decoratingly Challenged

Light bulbs set in the super high ceilings and super high plant shelves that adorn the 12 to infinity high walls of some homes are good for the economy. They have actually created new jobs. All 6 foot one and shrinking of Hubby never needed anything more than a stepladder to change our highest bulbs before we moved into our new home. “You need a 12-foot ladder,” a neighbor advised when looking at our ceilings.

Hubby paled. He doesn't climb anything above a step stool. Never. Ever.

“There’s a contraption,” another neighbor said. “It kind of looks like a telescopic toilet bowl plunger that grasps the bulb and then you twist. Nothing to it.”

With Hubby’s hand tremor and my lack of anything even remotely resembling eye-hand coordination, I visualized the bulbs smashed on my floor.

“Call my bulb man,” a friend suggested. “He has a route and changes all my bulbs once a year – that way the most I’ll ever have is one bad bulb by the time he comes.”

A new industry has been born. Yesteryear’s milkman has become today’s bulbman.

Another industry that is a direct result of high plant shelves - that were not designed for real plants because they are virtually impossible to water - is the manufacturing of oversized bric-a-brac to adorn the shelves. Normal-sized collectables - plates – vases – figurines - that were good enough for my mother and grandmother’s curio shelves and breakfronts just don’t cut it on shelves that are sky-level, not eye-level. Instead, people put platters and bowls from the Green Giant’s own china, urns big enough to hold a dinosaurs’ remains, as well as flower filled bike baskets, doll carriages, and huge containers on the shelves.

Some folks are original and put their real lifetime collectables – clocks, big dolls, or even hats – along the shelves – as long as they are visible from below. One friend has every 8 x 10-school and special occasion picture ever taken of her kids and grandkids framed and perched like birds on the perimeter of her dining room shelves. I feel like I’m inside a yearbook when I dine in her home.

Hubby likes the idea of collectables. The major problem is neither of us are collectors with one exception. In one corner of our garage stand the crutches I used when I broke my foot. Next to them is the walker Hubby was given after his knee surgery. In a carton close by are the two different black boots – one knee high, the other mid calf – that I wore when I broke my foot. Now we have to decide if we put them on our plant shelves how they would look with artificial greenery wrapped around them. We know they can be seen from below, but we’re not sure if they go with our decor. They’re the wrong color.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Facebook:Take II

Beware: Reconnecting with those from your past on Facebook has the potential for unexpected expenses, and not reconnecting with them can do severe damage to your self-image. With respect to your pocketbook, if you are planning a big, expensive party take note: unless your bank account rivals Donald Trump, be careful of reconnecting with too many or all those long distant and/or out of sight, out of mind friends and relatives from your past who once were on your invitation lists and expected to come. If you reestablish contacts with these folks who you have on your “invited, never respond yes list” or “delete them, we haven’t seen them in years list,” some of them may expect an invite and even worse, show up. As I said, if money is unlimited, keep on searching and reconnecting.

Now to the negative self-image issue. Since I am no longer planning catered affairs, this is the problem that affects me. Not one long lost friend from high school or college has contacted me since I joined Facebook. I was active in my high school sorority and college house plans. My photo albums are filled with pictures with long forgotten people and me having fun. So how come none of the gals in pictures from my ancient past has recognized my name and attempted to contact me? And how come I don’t have the slightest desire to contact any of them? Is it for fear of rejection or that none of us really remember each other?

The answer is debatable, but in the meantime, I will enjoy the postings from those I know, continue to reconnect with those long lost friends and relatives that I remember and care about enough to want to reconnect, and be grateful I’m not making anymore weddings or other parties where I need to cut down my list.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Crumbless Floors

There are people who only permit eating and drinking in their home at the kitchen table. From birth on, their children only eat in one room. Crumbs can only be found under the kitchen table, and, on rare occasions, the dining room table. Then there are those like my family. We treat any table as an extension of the kitchen table and any room as an extension of the kitchen. The former group never has to replace sofas, carpet, or have grout cleaned. When their children were in the throw food on the floor stage, they had plastic under the highchair. Their house is always spic and span. They climb into a crumb free bed each night. After 20 years, their couches are out of style, but in brand new condition.

Unlike them, my electric broom is in constant use in every room. If not, the ants will invade my home and invite all their fellow crawlers for a feast. My couches never last long enough to go out of style. It’s cheaper to buy new ones than have them recovered because of all the stains. I gave up on leather ones when I stabbed one with a knitting needle and couldn’t get it repaired. Clear plastic slipcovers worked for my Mom, but my generation ridiculed them so much we wouldn’t dare use them.

The two philosophies conflict when they live in a development like mine with common elements – a.k.a. – the recreation facilities. The neat freaks won out when the rules were written, and I’m told some of the nibblers have a tough time being good. Last week, I sat down, paper coffee cup in hand, at the table where I was to play Mah Jongg. “Get a cover fast,” a new friend said and quickly explained the rule against eating and drinking from uncovered cups in the card room. “The tattletale’s here and she’ll head to the office if she sees you with that cup.”

Office? Was I back in school? I decided against pursuing my line of thinking out loud. These women hardly knew me, and I didn’t want to get a negative reputation. Also, although not my style, the rule made sense. We were playing on carpeted floors – a floor covering necessary to keep the noise level down. Coffee spills are deadly and with so many people playing cards, Mah Jongg or whatever in one-room, accidents were likely to happen. Obviously, if each player made a tiny spill, the carpet would need to be replaced frequently. Food stains – especially squished chocolates, do permanent damage. Even though I rarely spill coffee, I didn’t want to take a chance. I went into the cafe and took a cover for the cup I had purchased minutes before. When I returned, I glanced around the room filled with seniors who were playing games and wondered which one was the tattletale and exactly to whom she would squeal.

By late afternoon, I still didn’t discover who she was and no longer cared because I made a more important discovery. About 50 people played cards or Mah Jongg in a card room for over five hours. When they left, the floor was spotless. The only thing the maintenance crew needed to do was slide the chairs neatly under the table. Since each group brings their own tabletop cover, even the tables were spotless.

“How was your game?” Hubby asked when I came home. He was sitting on our brand-new beige couch munching on pretzels. A cup of chocolate diet soda was resting on the new glass coffee table. I walked over to him, and instead of giving him a peck on his forehead, I took the pretzels and soda and moved them into the kitchen, setting them on the table.” We need to talk about new rules for this house,” I said.

Do you think two leopards can change spots after 47 years?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Nursing Hubby

In my day, when I had to make a career choice, only those women who had guts stepped out of the box and did something different like study law or engineering. The majority of us that had the privilege to go college majored in either education or nursing.

Every now and then I am reminded why I selected teaching, and the last few days have been one of those reminders. I am a disaster as a nurse. Nursing TLC is not in my genes. I also detest the site of anything that has to do with injecting a needle into the human body. Watching an IV needle be inserted or removed sends shivers through my body and the site of blood causes me to dry heave. I was blessed with two sons that rarely skinned a knee. Their specialty was anaphylactic reactions or severe asthmatic attacks – neither which involve blood. Although far more deadly than scraped knees, I could handle their illnesses.

Hubby had meniscus surgery on his right knee this past week. The patient survived the hospital end of the deal. My lack of TLC skills kicked in when I had to help him into the car for the trip home. He had to sit in the rear seat of the car, both legs resting on the seat, and his back to the door. Hubby is a head taller than I am. Getting him into the rear seat without bending his leg is something that had to be done, but we were not sure how. My clumsy attempts almost sent us to the emergency entrance, so once his butt was on the seat, Hubby decided to complete the task by himself. When he felt comfortable, I started the car and headed home. I made a sharp turn out of the driveway, and Hubby screamed. “Watch out for that truck!”

I slammed my foot on the break, looked, and saw no truck. One glance in the rear view mirror told me he had to still be under the effects of anesthesia. He was looking straight ahead – out of the side window. He quickly realized his error, but still his complaints continued all the way home. “Drive slower,” he demanded from the rear. “Every time you switch lanes the handle jams my back.”

“There’s a minimum speed,” I reminded him as we headed north on I-95.

When we parked in our driveway, he decided it would be safer if he inched his way out of the car than have me assist him. No argument from me. After a few minutes and not too many groans, he was standing sort of erect, leaning on his walker. He headed towards the house, me the mailbox. “Can’t you at least walk next to me in case I fall?” he asked.

“If you fall on me, who’ll take care of you?” Not even a smile came to his face.

Once inside, my lack of physical therapist skills continued to sabotage Hubby’s recovery. So far, every time I have had to do anything – change the ice water in the ice pack wrapped around his knee, take off the ace bandage and then rewrap it, help him stand up or sit down – he manages to scream “!#%@ can’t you see what you’re doing?”

Today, when I tried to help him dry his feet after he showered, I accidently bumped his knee with my elbow. Instead of !#%@, he simply said, “Thank goodness you never wanted to be a nurse.”

Sunday, October 4, 2009

You're Getting Even Older When . . .

A few weeks ago, I realized my Florida son was more than his usual two inches taller than I was – way more. I looked down to see if he was wearing new sneakers with extra lifts in them. I shuddered when I realized he was wearing his usual worn down sneakers. At 39, he is not growing in height. There could be only one explanation for the fact I was looking up – way up – to my son. I have moved up another notch on the morphing to Mama ladder.

This shrinking is probably the true reason my clothes are becoming tighter when my weight is the same: I am condensing! How low I will go is unknown. My mother went from being two inches shorter than me to a head lower by the time she reached 90.

Hubby had his rude awakening to the fact that this unavoidable aging process is happening to him also during our recent visit to our Atlanta family. He always stood two inches above our Atlanta son, but now stands eye-to-eye. Up until that moment I thought the reason Hubby switched to a 32 inseam instead of the 34 he was until last year is that jeans made abroad weren’t measured properly.

I’ve yet to read in any of the usual email jokes about “you know you are getting old when” a reference to the inevitable shrinking, but they do refer to the sagging. They also don’t talk much about gray hair. At my age, I’m used to my male peers being gray or white. Heck, even some of my “girlfriends” have thrown in the towel and let it go natural. (Gray is a problem I never will have – in my family you turn from black/brown to a charcoal blackish/gray mixed with a drop of normal gray – my hair is the real thing.)

Anyway – back to the topic - last week it hit me during religious services that most of my friends kids – excuse me – sons – were either gray or bald and our grandkids are closer to college age than preschool.

As I glanced around the room, spotting my friends’ pot bellies, flabby arms, and crow’s eyes on their adult children, the idea for this blog came to me. I’ve yet to receive a “You Know You’re Getting EVEN Older When” list. So, let me be the one to start it.

1. You’re clothes are getting tight and you’re not gaining weight.
2. Your daughter dyes her hair to hide gray.
3. Your grandchild applies for a driver’s license.
4. Your daughter and/or daughter-in-law are having hot flashes.
5. Policemen look the same age as your grandchildren.

Anyone else have any other add-ons please feel free to do so and past the list on!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tech Frustrations, Take Three

I am really lucky. My Florida D-I-L is a computer maven, and she is willing to come when I cry for help. Her husband – my younger son - told me it was okay to download Internet Explorer 8. “It works better.” Famous last words. Ever since I did that, my D-I-L has made two trips to my house to undo the damage that the download has done. My new rule is never mess with a functioning computer program that this senior citizen is using without hassle. It seems Internet 8 is not compatible with many programs I use such as Word, My Space, Blogger, etc and without the aide of my D-I-L, I still could not cut and paste my blog onto My Space or Blogspot.

The computer techs at My Space could not help me find all the missing comments people made on my blog, but my DIL found them. She has the patience of a saint, a skill necessary to be a computer maven. She actually reads directions carefully and then follows them without taking short cuts – another helpful skill when fixing things. Even better, she understood the secret language the computer geeks a.k.a tech support people at My Space were telling me in their auto response. Their latest unhelpful letter was different from their usual one where they tell me to clean my computer. (I take this as a personal insult. It is clean. I dust it and use alcohol wipes on the keys. Hubby is in charge of cleaning the cookies. He gets rid of them often because, according to what My Space techs usually write me, my computer is diabetic and can’t tolerate them. My husband detoxes our computers at least once a week with various spy-searching programs. Cookies, I am usually told by My Space are the root of all-evil. I am beginning to think having a cookie in my computer is responsible for every problem that occurs on My Space.)

However, when the blog comments disappeared into cyberspace, this time My Space said it had something to do with I think the word is caches. To me Cache is an expensive dress store with clothes designed for anorexic females. Fortunately, my Florida DIL knew what they were talking about and immediately corrected the problem. And like magic, my readers comments appeared! After she left yesterday, I tried to open something on a new web site. My computer told me Adobe is not responding to my requests and I need a special disk to reinstall it. Now, I have to wait until my D-I-L has another free day to come and find where Adobe is hiding in my hard drive.

I have one question for all of you that don’t have free computer mavens a stone’s throw away. Is it possible to ever figure out how to fix these messes by yourself, or do you choose between food and functioning computers?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hot Time in Old Town

There was a hot time in old town last weekend. My development – a.k.a. active senior community – had a Margaritaville dance. Our social hall was decorated to resemble the Keys and margaritas were handed to each of us as we entered – which helped loosen-up what normally is a very reserved, prim and proper group.

The DJ played just enough slow music to keep Hubby up and moving for half the evening. Our social director planned contests for the ladies, but, alas, not the wet t-shirt ones that Key West is known for. Not even the free booze was enough to tempt the gals of this community to partake in that kind of contest. Instead, we had a Best Key West Outfit contest. Let me tell you, during the parade around the room some of these women proved they still could do a wicked shimmy. I watched one with envy. If I shook my upper torso as she did, Hubby would have had to rush me to the nearest chiropractor.

The nicest entertainment of the evening for me – and others who admitted it – was watching evidence that new love – be it at 16 or 66 – is always a joy to view. Two neighbors, who had become engaged that evening, had many eyes on them while they snuggled during a romantic slow dance. I asked Hubby why we didn’t dance that way anymore. He studied the couple and then whispered to me, “Because my hands don’t need to be warmed.”

I laughed and was relieved that he didn’t tell me that my rear was too wide for him to reach around, or that my pants were too tight for him to easily slide his hands into my back pockets.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tight Squeeze

Trying to hang family pictures, awards, and a collection of maps was the greatest challenge I’ve had since the move. You see, they once occupied the walls of a long hallway and two bedrooms and my challenge was to get them all into the walls of a 10 x 12 foot office that I share with my husband. Unlike our old house, these ceilings are the high ones, so I did have equivalent wall space – it’s just that Hubby didn’t expect me to literally use all of it. While I was nailing away, he was insisting I was making his office look like a cave decorated with floor to ceiling paintings. I pointed out that there were two desks and two computers in our office. By the time I was done, we compromised. The space directly over his computer was an “eye resting area” – not a picture for him to see - just a plain bone colored wall as he wanted.

I’ve always had one unwritten rule for hanging pictures and mirrors in highly visible spots: make sure I like what I’ll see since I’ll see it a lot. I intentionally hung a picture of a skinny me facing my desk and placed another one of skinny me with my grandkids on my desk. I have literally taken off 3 pounds since I unpacked and hung our pictures a few days ago. Every time I’m tempted to get up from my desk and head to the kitchen to stuff my mouth, no matter which way I turn, I am confronted by images of a slender me. Until now, I never thought of pictures as diet motivators, but obviously, they work for me.

The unofficial rule for family pictures is not to display them in your formal living room – unless you are the descendant of famous people like George and Martha Washington and have their portrait to hang over your mantel. I think a decorator who had an ugly family or infamous relatives and didn’t want them on display came up with this rule.

There is another unofficial rule someone told me about today for family pictures in the bedroom. Only put up pictures of relatives who never upset you. If you stare into the face of a loved one that has just upset you, you might not have sweet dreams. Hmmm. That eliminates anyone over 21, including Hubby and yours truly. It leaves only my grandkids and their dog.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Facebook: Delete Home Phones

I have an idea of how of how the Facebook, Twitting, and Texting generation can save money: they should take out their telephone. They don’t need anything other than their iPhones. When I call my sons’ home, either they can’t find the telephone so they can’t answer it, or they’re too busy with their over committed lives to take a moment to say, “Hello.” I assume they realize that if there father or I were ill, I would leave a message.

It is obvious they feel they have more control of their time if they email me news or post it on Facebook. For the first time in my life, I can truly understand the joke about senior parents telling their kids over the phone that they were getting divorced. (The joke predates iPhones and caller ID.) Their kids immediately dropped everything to come and fix the problem. When they left, their old Papa said to their aged Mama, “Okay, I thought of how to get them here this time. Next month, you think of a way.”

This morning I called one son’s home. No one answered. Then I went to my computer to do some work. Within the span of half an hour, I received one email from their home and there were two postings from two different residents in the house on Facebook. I know because I checked to make sure my children were alive and well – after all, they were out of their house before nine on a Saturday morning, which is unusual for them.

Maybe next time they call and ask what is doing, Hubby and I should give one-word answers and make sure we get off the phone in less than 30 seconds – the time it takes to post on Facebook or write an email. Perhaps once they realize we won’t take up that much time of their very busy lives, they will actually use the phone to communicate with us again.

Years ago, teachers learned that the attention span for a great lesson was seven minutes – the average time between commercials on television. Now senior citizens must learn that our conversations must be limited to no more than 30 seconds if we want to actually hear the younger generation’s voices. I guess it is a problem in the classroom also. Getting kids to write quality work with more than 150 characters is probably a challenge also – especially if spelling counts.

I wanted to end this with a texting short hand comment related to the blog, but all I know is r u :) 2day i hope u r and I’m not even sure that I “spelled” that right.

Monday, August 3, 2009

No Need to Phone :(

“My daughter told me your son is in Tennessee with his family,” my sister-in-law told me over the phone yesterday.

Since my son is addicted to a Blackberry and not a phone, I realized my niece must have read his Facebook “wall” and told her mother. I do have a Facebook account, but have never invited anyone I know to befriend me. However, I decided it was time. It didn’t take long to figure out I just needed to input his name and high school to bring up his page. Then I requested he approve me as a friend. He must be “on” 24/7 because he immediately accepted my friendship, which brought me to his page and then “wall.”

Instantly, the diary of his week’s vacation as well as a link to all of his pictures, complete with comments appeared on my computer screen. I felt as if I was with all of them. I repeated the process with his teenaged son and got the same results. Wow! Now I have a way to know not only what was going on in my son and grandson’s lives, but also what their friends had to say to them. Eavesdropping has become socially acceptable!

No wonder so many of their generation don’t feel the need to call friends and relatives they don’t see daily. All those who care about them need to do is read their status reports on Facebook or twitter or tweet or whatever. Only one sentence is needed to keep all their friends and relatives abreast of their current joys or frustrations and that is so much more efficient than four or five phone calls everyday. What a wonderful idea for the over-committed generation!

When done reading their walls, an old “guilt” sentence popped into my head. Knowing if I posted it on his wall he would have justification to delete me as a friend – even at my age I run the risk of embarrassing him in front of his peers - so I sent him an email and requested it be read with a heavy Yiddish/New York accent. “Ya got time to write all this and no time to call your parents?”

He didn’t call right away. He waited an hour.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Computer Swallowed Grandma

I never cut and paste or even send jokes on but this one is worth it!

The computer swallowed grandma.
Yes, honestly its true!
She pressed 'control' and 'enter'
And disappeared from view.
It devoured her completely,
The thought just makes me squirm.
She must have caught a virus
Or been eaten by a worm.
I've searched through the recycle bin
And files of every kind;
I've even used the Internet,
But nothing did I find.
In desperation, I asked Jeeves
My searches to refine.
The reply from him was negative,
Not a thing was found 'online.
'So, if inside your 'Inbox,'
My Grandma you should see,
Please 'Copy,''Scan' and 'Paste' herAnd send her back to me.
This is a tribute to all the Grandmas
who have been fearless and . .. . .
Learned to use the Computer......
WE are the greatest!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

It's All in a Name, Or Is It?

When I started to write blogs and send essays to newspapers, for many personal reasons I desired anonymity – and still do. Hence, the use of a pen last name for me and an invented nickname for my husband. However, a hot discussion has come up today about the use of “Hubby” for my other half. During the last several years, I noticed many writers were using it, albeit my generation never did. I wanted to be up to date in my vocabulary and adopted it.

After reading my first blogs, my husband’s much older sister called me and told me the word irritated her so much that she found she could not read the anecdotes. “My brother is not the “Hubby” type she insisted. He sounds like a henpecked wimp, and he’s not.” Since lately she has begun to complain about everything, I ignored her criticism.

Today the discussion took on another turn. My blog readers Hubby’s age – and he is a few years older than me – just a few – don’t like the word. Women, near my kids’ age and younger, use it or don’t object to it. This is a predicament. Characters’ names are important, even in a humorous book. I am almost ready to send in my manuscript –or self-publish – and need to decide ASAP. Being a true Gemini, I can’t decide. All day I’ve been craving chocolate worried that the use of the name “Hubby” could cause my book to be rejected by editors or readers.

Since it involves his public image, I decided to ask my husband of 47 years what he thought. He looked up from his newspaper and gave me the standard cliché that has been used by every husband and/or hubby for generations. “I don’t care what you call me, as long as you don’t call me late for dinner.”

Now I turn to my readers, what do you think of the word “Hubby?” Is it demeaning, endearing, or irrelevant? I hope you are not Gemini’s like me!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Welcome Wagon

A dear friend moved to a brand new, adult community around the same time Hubby and I moved into a ten-year old, “seniorville.” So far, the main difference between buying a resale and buying in a new community is the way your neighbors greet you. Most of her neighbors were unpacking just like her, so she wasn’t flooded with high-caloric, home-baked goods as Hubby and I were. Therefore, if you want to keep your weight down, it is better to buy a new house in a new community.

Hubby’s a potential diabetic, watches himself 24/7, and has never understood my total lack of will power. He goes ballistic over my habit of putting left over desserts in the garbage disposal when company leaves. By now, he knows that if I don’t toss it, it will end up on my butt, so he no longer hits the ceiling when I get rid of the sweets.

However, I felt guilty about throwing out the homemade goods that were meant to welcome us to our new community – not that the gift givers would ever know it. Thus, you know who devoured the cakes one sliver at a time. Needless to say, the few pounds I lost while packing have returned. I have vowed if and when anyone new moves onto my block, I will greet them with a fresh veggie platter and diet dip.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Decorating Disaster

When we were first married, Hubby and I shopped for our furniture together. It was quickly obvious to me that we had different taste. We compromised on all choices. I was a new bride and enjoyed the experience of having my new husband take part in the decorating of our home. As each individual piece of furniture arrived, I was anything but ecstatic. Our living room was a hodgepodge of colors and styles that did not jell. Even the word "eclectic" was not suitable. My mother told me it was my fault. “What do men know about decorating?” she asked. “Besides, they forget what they picked two minutes after you leave the store.”

“The salesperson was a man,” I said.

“So? See what a mess he made of it. Men just know how to sell. Do you know any man that can match his socks to his pants?”

I could not argue with her on that point. My father wore white socks with everything and I was already coordinating my husband’s clothes.

Every time I vacuumed, I didn’t care if something was nicked. Silently, when my oversized aunt sat on the sofa, I hoped it would collapse. I fanaticized about painting the wood on the buffet a color I liked.

When we moved to Florida 35 years ago, a new friend gave me great advice. “The person who cleans is the one who must love the furniture. If not, you’ll get no pride when you finish your house work.” I listened and left Hubby home while I shopped for new living room furniture. He was busy starting a new business and was visibly relieved when I only consulted him when I was down to two or three choices that I loved. This time the finished product was one I adored.

Then we moved a few months ago, and my perfect furnishings looked vey imperfect in my new surroundings. Since you know who has time on his hands, guess who is shopping with me for new furniture. It has been almost 50 years since we last did this, and do you know what? NOTHING has changed. Hubby still has strong opinions on what we need and where we should buy, and I am compromising my views or just giving in as I did years ago – with the same results. The new items are arriving and instead of being ecstatic, I am down in the dumps.

I told him I have no choice but to change our house rules unless he lets me make the decisions on all the rest of the things we need. Since he loves everything we are getting, he will have to take over the dusting and vacuuming (my jobs), and I will take care of the outside – his responsibility. I love the gardens and the flowers that surround our retirement paradise, especially since our development’s fees include all ourside maintenance.

Hubby told me to go back to shopping solo and let him know when I’m down to two choices. He knows a good deal – when it comes to maintaining our home.


Friday, June 26, 2009

It's What You Make of It

Some people are afraid to retire because they fear the highlight of their day will be doctor’s visits. Now that both Hubby and I are retired, I can testify that it is not true. The highlight of our day is when we find our car in a parking lot. However, doctors’ visits are definitely on the list of things we and many other retirees do that helps fill the hours of the day. Believe me it is not by choice. I am beginning to think that some doctors believe old folks love the decorations in their offices so much they permit patients to sit there from one to three hours in order to have time to fully enjoy each masterpiece. Sometimes I wonder if the doctors have an “interest” in the sellers of the artwork on their office walls and that is the real reason they have us sitting for so long. Are they really subjecting their patients to subliminal advertising for the mass produced artwork that adorns the office walls? If they are, it works. Many people – including me – have similar scenes hanging in our home to the artwork in the examining rooms.

I know all the excuses for the wait, and since the doctors I see do spend time with me, I don’t complain. I’ve learned to pack snack for Hubby and me so our blood sugar doesn’t drop and cause dizzy spells. Because of normal aging health problems, doctors’ visits are now a frequent activity in our daily schedule. But, because we are retired, when we leave the doctor’s office, we don’t have to head to work for the rest of the day. Instead, we can head to play at whatever we feel like doing!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

If the Shoe Doesn't Fit

Besides deciding what color to paint the wall, the other decisions that are causing me stress since we moved to Senior Paradise are what to wear when I meet the neighbors. I am one of those people that need to feel I “fit in” to the dress code of the evening. If everyone shows in kakis and Hubby and I are wearing jeans, I will feel ill at ease.

The other night, we were invited to attend a social event in the clubhouse of our complex. We opted for kaki casual. Shoes for Hubby were no problem, but for me it was a major clamity. Since the carton containing most of my casual shoes has not been unpacked, my choice was limited. I opted for a pair of backless, low heels that were in easy reach. I usually only wear them if I know I will be sitting all evening. As soon as I entered the room, my eyes fixated on the women’s shoes: stylish sandals with cushioned soles – not a pinched toe in the room.

I wobbled to my table, my armed locked in my husband’s for balance. While we watched the show, I felt relieved to finally be in a paradise where if the shoe doesn’t fit, I no longer have to wear it!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Moving Snafus

Our move to Senior Utopia would have been perfect if it wasn’t for modern technology. First, we had to cancel our move because the bank that lent the buyers of our old home wired the money to the wrong title company. It took two days to discover where a few hundred thousand was hiding. Fortunately, the closing of our new home was dependant on the closing of our old home – something our son, the lawyer, insisted. “Unless you want to own two homes, you better make sure you have that clause in your contract.”

Tis wise to have the advice of wise lawyers when dealing with banks today.

The banks played more games even after they rewired the money. When the money finally arrived three days later, the title company hand delivered a check to the title company of our new home to make sure the money didn’t get held up again and cause us to have to cancel our move the second time.

Other than the usual decisions that drive me to eat – picking out paint colors and window coverings – the only big snag we have is with Comcast. We used Comcast for email in our other home and incorrectly ASSumed that our email addresses would make the trip with us. We were even told that by a Comcast employee whose name we foolishly never wrote down. Unfortunately, that is not true and this week Comcast informed us it could take up to 90 days to find our emails in cyberspace, send them to me, and have my email working again with my usual email names. Did anyone ever think it would take modern technology more time to transfer emails than the Pony Express needed to go from coast to coast????????


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

To Keep or Not to Keep

I usually insist Hubby is the only pack rat in this house, but since we began packing, I am forced to admit to myself that I, too, am a bit of a saver of junk. Our reasons are quite different. My other half saves things he thinks have value. I save for sentimental reasons. We took our fine china and stem ware out of the cabinets and began to pack it. As I began to slip each dish into the foam packing envelopes, the chips on certain items -dinner plates, a soup bowl, and on a few glasses of the stemware my parents gave me - haunted me. There was also a chip on the spout of a Wedgewood pitcher my favorite aunt gave me. The damage has been there for years, but sentimental me could not simply trash the items. I never use them, but can’t bare to part with them. I still remember the joy of unwrapping them when they were new.

When you move, you pay by weight, so do I finally let go of the past, or do I pay to move stuff that has no use? I shared my dilemma with my cousin. He told me to either dump the worthless stuff or buy another plot to take it with me. It put everything in prospective. The broken items went into trash.

My adult children have been helping us pack. My daughter-in-law also forced me to confront my pack rat tendencies. Yesterday, as we were weeding through the bottom of my China cabinet, we discovered hidden treasures that have value on eBay but no buyers. As I stared at these sentimental treasures that I have no use for she said, “Either you get rid of them now or I donate them to charity when we move you into the Assisted Living in ten years.”

I hope it is more than ten years, but boy did that motivate me to add things to the rummage pile like the hand made beaded flowers that are ugly as sin but my mother had made for me or the chaffing dishes I haven’t used in 30 years.

Moving day is in less than two weeks. Hopefully, in a month from now I will be able to post again regularly. At least unpacking will be easier than packing. Everything should have a purpose. Then again, maybe Hubby found a way to sneak into one of the cartons the old 33’s or some of the old cameras he still insists have value. I have truly sworn off moving anything that has no value or use - except my size 8 dresses.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Busy Day in Bureaucrat Land

Busy Day in Bureaucrat Land

Hubby’s and my passports need to be renewed. I called the number in the phone book and a robotic voice answered. I still find it weird speaking to a robot, but I did. Supposedly, if the computer understood my accent, I should get the renewal forms on an unknown date. This is not good enough because we may need our passports in the very near future. Someone told me that the post office handles passport renewals. Since on all previous attempts, no human ever answered the phone at our local post office, Hubby and I drove there. A clerk said they did not have the forms and directed us to the main post office – 20 miles away – to get the forms. After waiting on line there, a very nice person pointed to a display. “It’s the purple one,” she said. “You do renewals by yourself via the mail. This line is for new passports.”

Why every post office doesn’t carry the renewal applications remains a mystery.

With the forms neatly tucked into our manila envelope along with our new pictures and old passports, Hubby and I then headed to our local police station for our next errand. For complicated reasons, Hubby needs to legally switch his middle and first names. To do this, he needs to be finger printed. To our amazement, our local police station no longer does finger printing. I wondered what they did when they arrested people but refrained from asking. The clerk sent us to a sub-station several miles away. We got there to discover they aren’t allowed to do finger-printing for name changes. She told us we had to go cross-town – near the main post office – to a special office that handles finger printing for people that want their name changed. She said there was no logical reason, but “them’s the rules.”

By then it was almost dinnertime. Hubby and I realized we had shared another “welcome to life as a retiree” moment. We spent the entire day in the car doing errands and accomplished virtually nothing. Oh well, at least we have what to do tomorrow. Hopefully, after he gets the finger printing taken care of, the local courthouse clerk will not tell us we need to go to D.C. to deliver the forms – or back to the Bronx where he was born.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Big Decisions

My blogs will be sporadic for the next few months. My brain and time are focused on two major issues. Thankfully neither one is a matter of life nor death, but they are the kind that drive me to eat. Our home of 35 years has sold, we hope. In today’s market, until the sellers leave the closing table with a check in hand, nothing is a done deal. Still, Hubby and I must be positive, and pack. We have four weeks to go, and it is time. We also still have not finalized on the home we hope to buy.

Today we decided to start with the front bedroom This means opening dresser drawers that were once my sons’, but since he moved out years ago, they’ve become receptacles for goodies long forgotten. The same is true for the closet. “What are these old 33’s doing here?” I asked Hubby this morning.

“I want them. They’re collectors’ albums,” he said.

“Where are we going to keep them?” I asked.

“Get rid of some of your stuff, too,” he retorted.

“My junk is valuable, unlike yours,” I quipped.

Books I want, he says are silly, and the ones he wants, he hasn’t looked at in years. I thought we would need two cartons for photo albums, and we ended up needing seven. Friends who have done this “downsizing” move warned me to use small cartons so we can pick them up. We thought the cartons were small, but still could barely lift them.

My granddaughter asked me to please pack the stuffed animals and the blocks. “My brother still plays with them – and the riding toys.”

That’s what I get for asking. I really thought she’d tell me they were all too old for little kids’ toys.

After four hours, I opened a cabinet I thought was empty. It was stuffed with envelopes of duplicate pictures, pictures from cruises, and drawings my kids and grandkids made for us. I knew I had several choices. Go through them and dump what should be dumped, put them in a carton as is, or quit for the day. Since I am now typing this, you know what I decided.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Cocktail Hour at COSTCO

Today Hubby and I officially became full-fledged, stereotype, seniors. We were out on errands all afternoon – our last stop being COSTCO – right before the dinner hour. I usually shop in COSTCO early afternoon or at night, so I was not aware that late afternoon was “Cocktail Hour.” Occasionally I see samples when I shop in the early afternoon, but never to the extent that they had them that time of the day.

It was almost as if from the time I entered the store until it was time to check out, a different course of a 7-course menu was along my usual path. From cheese on crackers, nuts, a tiny taste of lasagna, goodies were everywhere. Best of all was the whole-wheat breaded tilapia. (It was so good, we went back for seconds, then thirds, and finally brought two packages to take home.)

Hubby was disappointed there were no samples in the wine section. “After all, what’s a good cocktail hour without wine?” he asked.

Someone overheard him. “There may not be wine, but the dessert makes up for it,” she said and pointed to a lady doling out samples of chocolate.

As we loaded our car, I started to laugh. “Do you remember how years ago we made fun of my parents and their friends who only ate at the early-bird specials?”

He nodded.

Well, it’s not even five and we’ve already eaten.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Pork Free

It’s hard to write funny when you have a lot of toxicity going on in your life. Thankfully, everyone has their health, but otherwise tensions are piling up. Indirectly I can blame everything on the politics in Washington.

Without playing the blame game – and there is plenty to go around – my husband is virtually unemployed. He is a property appraiser, and, needless to say, his business has gone into heart failure. Thus, he is home, and instead of appraising homes, he is appraising my every move.

We are trying to sell our home of 35 years and move into what we call an adult sleep away camp a.k.a. over 55 development. However, since the banks are not lending to anyone, nothing is selling. If banks are not lending to people even with squeaky-clean credit, (if they need money for a mortgage or bridge loan), no one can buy or sell.

And what is Washington doing to fix the mess? Let’s see, the Democrats are trying to find people who paid their taxes to be in the cabinet and the Republicans are consulting Joe the Plumber, who is not a plumber, as to how to fix the country.

Since both parties claim they don't want pork in any stimulus package, but in actuality only want their own recipes – the Republicans liked BBQ pork and the Dems like it sweet and sour – I have a suggestion to get rid of all the pork, regardless of recipes. Many Jews refrain from eating pork. Kosher Jews insist on their meat being Kosher. They have a Rabbi supervise preparations to make sure, among other things, nothing such as pork contaminates it. Perhaps Congress can hire a Rabbi to supervise the stimulus package. Then it will be pork-free and everyone in the US will be able to eat it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Who's Calling? Should It Matter?

My husband doesn’t answer our home phone unless he is positive I am physically unable to do so, meaning I am not home. He insists it is never for him, so why should he disrupt what he is doing to answer the phone – even if all he is doing is sleeping and watching television – something he mastered years ago. I know he is multitasking because if I turn off the TV, he immediately tells me to turn it back on.

Anyway, if I am physically unable to pick up the phone and he recognizes the caller, he will pick up the phone and hand it to me. Heaven forbid he should say “Hello.” However, if the caller ID only flashes a number or, even worse, “unknown name, unknown number,” he will turn and ask me, “Who is it?”

By the time I explain that I am not clairvoyant, either our machine picks up or the caller hangs up. The latter really infuriates me because then I never know if the “unknown name , unknown caller” was someone intending to bestow a million dollars on me because I answered my phone. The only phone calls Hubby answers ASAP are those on his cell phone. He says that if it is his phone, the call is for him.

The other day I had friends over for our weekly game of Mah Jongg. Hubby was in his home office. Our phone rang. There is an extension on his desk. I assumed he would answer it. He did not. My friends and I laughed at how our husbands all dislike answering the phone. Is it because when they worked, their secretaries censored their calls? Do they think of their wives as their secretaries?

Anyway, I found a solution to my problem. Now when I am busy, I use call forwarding and forward our home phone calls to his cell phone.