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Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

Dear People of a Certain Age,

My dad used to say, “Old age ain’t no place for sissies.” Later I found out he pinched* that from Bette Davis.

Anyway, I’d reply, “Yeah, yeah,” and go on about my business.

So now I’m old(ish), and I see.

Except sometimes I can’t see without my glasses.

And that’s new.

Eddie calls this my sexy librarian look. What does he know? He’s old(ish) too.

Let me hear an “Amen” on these other surefire signs of aging:

  • The mind says, “Yes!,” but the body says, “Not so fast.”
  • You agree to events in the moment, and then are thrilled when there is a reason you can’t go:

Yes, I’d love to go to your cousin’s friend’s yard party, but (insert name of first family member you see) just isn’t feeling well.

  • What used to be a punishment as a kid — “Go straight to your room, young lady; you’ll be going to bed early!” — sounds like a perfect night.
  • When you do go out, you lose your mind. It’s like you have to make up for months of the above. At least you get to talk about “that time when … ” After all:

Bad decisions make good stories.

  • You wake up at 3 a.m. No reason. And that’s your ass, because you can’t go back to sleep.
  • Your friends text at 6:30 and 7 in the morning, and you’re not even mad. You’re up. You get mad at the ones who text at 10 p.m.
  • You have (or have thought about) beginning a sentence with the words, “Kids today … ” I swear to God I called some student a crazy whippersnapper Friday when he nearly hit me in his Mustang. (In my head, I called him this. I’m not quite into audible “Get off my lawn!” territory.)
  • Songs suddenly hit a nerve. Take, for example, the lyrics from “Live Tomorrow” by my new favorite band, Jesse’s Divide.

    Work today, work tomorrow.
    Before you know it, you’re 83
    Living life inside a memory.

    Work today, live tomorrow.
    Before you know it, you’re 63
    And living life was just a memory.

    That’s not depressing at all. I’m not crying. You’re crying.

  • No more catcalls on the street. That could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your ego/past/tolerance level.
  • The top thatch is thinning a tick (or a ton maybe). This is not my problem, though. Mine has gotten thicker. Downside: shedding (i.e., clogged drains, hairballs in corners, strands all over everyone’s clothing all the time). Gideon reports:

Somehow I found one of your hairs in my notebook!

  • Waistline creep. Large fries from McDonald’s now cut down to just one you steal from your kid and eat like a squirrel with an acorn. (Or is this just me?)
  • You may think you are young and hip but your pop culture references say old and outdated. Actual conversation from mere days ago:

Me, opening the classroom door: I have so many keys, I feel like Schneider from ‘One Day at a Time.’ (looking at student next to me) Uh oh. I guess that doesn’t mean anything to you.
Student: Oh I get most of your references. I watch Nick at Nite and other throwback channels.
Me, aging 10 more years instantly: Ouch (said internally where it’s dark and sad).

  • All of a sudden, parts of your body start speaking to you in an unpleasant tone of voice. I woke up the other morning, and my hip was barking at me. Why? I don’t know.
  • You see someone old and unattractive in a window and realize it’s your reflection. Rude.
  • Gray hairs appear in new places seemingly overnight.
  • If you have dry skin, like I do, then you suddenly are spending your retirement savings on various potions to beat the lines and crepiness into submission. If you have oily skin, you are good to glow (literally and figuratively).

  • For women: There’s a vast wasteland between Forever 21 and Coldwater Creek.
  • For men: Don’t complain to me. You age and get “distinguished.” Never a shortage of women of all ages who are interested. (Two old ladies felt up Eddie in the grocery store this week. He now has a #metoo story.) Women? Sorry. You’re just old. Suck it up, Buttercup. (Yet it still beats the alternative of NOT getting to age.)

In just a few short years, I think I’ll be the living version of Maxine. Horrifying.

Send a cryo pod, STAT.

Laughing to keep from crying,
Beth the Aged

 

* Yep. I’m still British.

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Dear Helicopter Parents:

I’m going to have to ask you to stand down. Before you get your knickers in a twist*, know that I know you: I too am a member of Gen X. Like you, I was raised by Baby Boomers who never knew where I was until the streetlights came on.

(Or when Chris Marosy’s dad rang the dinner bell in the Marosys’ front yard, whichever came first.)

Stop checking your child’s calendar, Snap and Insta for a hot second and listen to me.

What happened to you?

You know good and well that we didn’t have play dates or Pinterest-inspired birthday parties or gender-reveal parties or baby wipe warmers or organic food. (We ate Chef Boyardee ravioli out of the can, FFS!)

You know what else we didn’t have?

  • Car seats or (many times) seat belts. We just rolled around in the back of cars, putting on shows with our feet in the back window.
  • Hand sanitizer. We barely washed our hands.
  • Awards unless we came in first place. Not first? Loser.
  • Remote controls. We got up to change the channel on the TV. Only four channels; not much of a workout.
  • Cable, Netflix, Hulu, etc. See above.
  • A ride to the corner store. We walked our asses there to get our fix of Bubble Yum, Atomic Fire Balls, Bottle Caps and candy cigarettes.
  • A choice when it came to chores, the food on our plates, sitting quietly at events (no tablets or smartphones to keep us occupied).
  • Parental supervision. We were latchkey kids. We were babysitting by age 10 (sometimes earlier). The only goal was to keep the kids alive until their parents came home.
  • Words of encouragement. “Good job” not typically in a Boomer’s vocabulary.
  • Attention. Not even for injuries. That is, unless a bone was sticking out of the skin. Then we might get a Band-Aid.
  • Timeouts. We got the belt if we were acting up. Or, in my case, a whack with a flyswatter.

I’m not saying all this was great, but I am saying that we all turned out fine. We are suspicious of authority, skeptical of everything, but fine.

Our kids will be fine too. You DO NOT need to hover — I promise. We made mistakes, and we learned from them. You are making it harder for them to be adults by doing everything for them.

These are things you’ve said to me or around me (names changed to protect them like you want):

  • “Kyle is having trouble making his morning class. Can you go to his room in the mornings and wake him up?”
  • “Madison needs to learn to advocate for herself.” (Yet you come to every meeting and interrupt her when she tries to speak up.)
  • “Who will be doing Dylan’s laundry in the dorms?”

I heard a story about a dad who came to his son’s job interview. The kid did not get the job. Of course.

Poor kids.

It’s not their fault. You made them this way.

I would have DIED if my parents had talked to any of my professors or college staff. You would have too.

My parents showed up at college twice:

  • To move me in.
  • To see me graduate.

That’s it.

Times have changed. I get it. And I know there are positives to being more involved in your child’s life (like maybe fewer snatchings, less drug use, a feeling of being more connected — loved even).

I’m just asking you to back off — just a bit — when little Connor goes to college.

All of us who work at universities will thank you.

And that means you will have more free time to take up new hobbies like:

  • Finally watching “Game of Thrones.”
  • Exercising (that stomach isn’t going to flatten itself).
  • Day drinking.
  • Napping.
  • Both of the above in that order.

Thank you, from the bottom of my after-school-special-loving heart.
Beth

* I’m British now. Didn’t I tell you?

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EPISODE 3: Rated PG-13 for Near Nudity and Coarse Language

EXT. APARTMENT COMPLEX POOL – LATE AFTERNOON

Two groups of six HARDBODIES each have taken over two corners of the pool. The scent of testosterone is more pungent than chlorine. TWO OTHER COUPLES lounge at the other corners. Each couple basks in the Atlanta sun, oiled up like Thanksgiving turkeys.


DOMINIC and GIDEON and THEIR LESS-SWOLLEN-AND-RASHY MOTHER enter the pool area. They are joined by FATHER, no less a hardbody than the 12 mentioned above. However, the appearance of MOTHER and FATHER in the pool area raises the median age by at least 15 years.

MOTHER and FATHER survey the pool area with dismay. BLINDINGLY WHITE MOTHER needs shade.* They head to the covered area with the plush furniture. DOMINIC and GIDEON are reluctant to get in the water with so many people there (i.e., potential victims for which they will get in trouble for splashing). They sit on the plush furniture and contemplate their next moves.

HARDBODY GROUP NO. 1 starts talking about leaving to go to dinner.

FRATTY GUY NO. 1
I’m down for whatever.

HAIR-TOSSING GIRL NO. 1
We should eat. They are expecting us there by 7.

FRATTY GUY NO. 1
I’m down for whatever.

HAIR-TOSSING GIRL NO. 2
I could eat. Should we go get pizza?

FRATTY GUY NO. 1
I’m down for whatever.

HARDBODY GROUP NO. 1 exits.

Conversation amount and volume increase within HARDBODY GROUP NO. 2 out of earshot of MOTHER. They exit.

DOMINIC and GIDEON jump into the pool. FATHER goes to work out (of course). MOTHER sips her beer and pretends to read about TRUMP in The New Yorker (but really just looks at the cartoons).

SPLASHING commences.

MOTHER spots BASTED TURKEY LADY NO. 1 looking around the pool as if to say, “Where are these children’s parents?” She murmurs disapproval to BASTED TURKEY MAN NO. 1. MOTHER sits calmly waiting for THE BASTEDS NO. 1 to see her. BASTED LADY finally does. Her pinched, angry face relaxes slightly.

TWO RUBENESQUE WOMEN carrying large floats, a massive bag of Outback takeout, and an also-oversized speaker enter the pool area. They commence eating. After their meal, they remove their cover-ups to get into the pool. RUBENS NO. 1 is wearing a bathing suit with a keyhole cleavage opening in the front. There is at least a foot of cleavage.

SMALLER-BREASTED MOTHER wonders if she is breaking a rule by not being busty in the pool area, as large teats appear to be the norm.

FATHER returns from his alone time in the gym.

Despite the fact that music already is playing over the speakers in the pool area, RUBENS NO. 2 begins to play loud hip-hop music on her speaker.

MUSIC
F— them! F— her! The b—- can s— my d—! (and similar).

FATHER and MOTHER look at each other in alarm. Such language is to be heard in the privacy of the home via the many action movies they like to watch as a family. It certainly cannot be heard out in the wild. They are outraged. FATHER and MOTHER give the RUBENS TWINS pointed looks. RUBENS NO. 1 notices their distress and nudges RUBENS NO. 2, who changes the song.

MOTHER and FATHER run out of beer in the cooler. MOTHER decides it is time to go make dinner.

She exits.

Moments later, FATHER, DOMINIC and GIDEON exit.

(END OF SCENE)

 

*EXTREMELY PALE MOTHER visited the Dominican Republic last year on a cruise. She put on 50 SPF, a one-piece bathing suit plus hat and cover-up. She stayed in the shade of a building all day and STILL got burned. On her stomach. True story.

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EPISODE 2: Respect My Authoritah

EXT. APARTMENT COMPLEX POOL – LATE AFTERNOON

STRANGE WOMAN lounges by the pool, barely paying attention to her two daughters, who appear to be around six and eight years old. The earbuds she is wearing indicate she is listening to music.

DOMINIC and GIDEON and THEIR STILL-UNHAPPY-IN-HER-BATHING-SUIT MOTHER WHO IS BEGINNING TO WONDER IF SHE HAS A HORRIBLE DISEASE THAT IS CAUSING HER TO HAVE CONSISTENTLY SWOLLEN ANKLES AND A WEIRD ARM RASH enter the pool.

DOMINIC
Let’s play Friday the 13th! I’ll be Jason.

GIDEON
OK.

DOMINIC (to girls in the pool)
Do you want to play?

GIRL NO. 1
OK.

GIRL NO. 2 (apparently named Jo Jo) ignores DOMINIC.

GIRL NO. 1
Jo Jo!

STRANGE WOMAN
Jo Jo!

JO JO
OK.

SPLASHING commences.

MOTHER tries to read a magazine in the lounge chair across the pool from STRANGE WOMAN. MOTHER is unable to read said magazine because STRANGE WOMAN is dancing in her chair and singing along with her music. STRANGE WOMAN is not a gifted vocalist.

A MAN IN A TOO-TIGHT BUTTON-DOWN SHIRT enters the pool area, pulling a wagon filled with THREE SMALL BOYS. His LARGE-BOSOMED WIFE follows. They position themselves directly across the shallow area from MOTHER.

DOMINIC (to BOY NO. 1, the oldest)
Do you want to play?

BOY NO. 1
No. I can’t.

The WAGON BOYS play together in the shallow end in front of MOTHER. There’s plenty of whining with no response from their parents.

A MAN and a WOMAN carrying the largest pool floats sold on the open market enter the pool area. They set up camp at the far end of the pool to MOTHER’s left.

STUFFED SHIRT stands up and begins walking around the pool area while playing on his phone. MOTHER sips her thermos full of cider and watches SHIRT track a pacing circuit in front of her. Her blood boils as he repeatedly walks within one foot of the end of her lounge chair. ANGRY MOTHER marvels at the fact that there is an entire pool area, but SHIRT feels the need to be all up in her grill. BOSOM strikes up a conversation with WANNABE MARIAH CAREY while SHIRT continues to pace.

MOTHER runs out of both patience and cider.

MOTHER (to DOMINIC and GIDEON)
Let’s go.

They exit.

(END OF SCENE)

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Dear Readers,

Part of the joy of living in an apartment complex (even temporarily) is taking advantage of the pool.

Enjoy these missives from our adventures.

Love and kisses,
Beth

EPISODE 1: Is this Sun City?

EXT. COMPLEX POOL – LATE AFTERNOON

Two elderly women tan their already leathery bodies on lounge chairs. A girl of about six years old plays with a pool noodle in the shallow end.

DOMINIC and GIDEON and THEIR STURDY MOTHER WHO IS NOT HAPPY IN HER BATHING SUIT (OR SKIN, FOR THAT MATTER) enter the pool.

DOMINIC
Let’s play Friday the 13th! I’ll be Jason.

GIDEON
OK.

SPLASHING commences. MOTHER drifts close to ELDERLY WOMAN NO. 1.

MOTHER
Is there a hot tub?

MOTHER emphasizes “tub” as in the SNL The Love-ahs sketch with Rachel Dratch and Will Ferrell. ELDERLY WOMAN NO. 1 does not appear to notice the affectation.

ELDERLY WOMAN NO. 1
No.

ELDERLY WOMAN NO. 2 has been listening to the exchange. She chimes in from the other side of the pool.

ELDERLY WOMAN NO. 2
There should be!

MOTHER nods. She drifts to the pool steps, exits the pool, and parks herself in the lounge chair with her thermos full of beer.

DOMINIC and GIDEON continue their game for another hour while MOTHER texts her friend BRIAN about PRINCE CARL of SWEDEN and SEBASTIAN BEAUPIERRE THEROUX. (Another scene for another day.)

Eventually, the three exit the pool area.

(END OF SCENE)

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How healthy are you? How willing are you to do the things you need to do to be healthy? Let’s find out!

You are diabetic. It’s time for lunch. What do you eat?
a. A healthy meal featuring protein, fruits and vegetables.
b. Ice cream, baby!

But wait, you have a sore on your toe that won’t heal. The diabetes is obviously affecting your circulation. Now what do you eat for lunch?
a. A healthy meal featuring protein, fruits and vegetables, and then go for a brisk walk around the block.
b. Still ice cream. And also onion rings. (Get off your back!)

You go to the doctor for a routine visit, and he tells you that you are now permanently blind in your left eye. You are:
a. Dismayed. You just thought it was a side effect of one of your many medications.
b. Surprised. You had no idea you couldn’t see out of your left eye.

You have to go to the bathroom. You just had a mini stroke, so you need a little help. What do you do?
a. Wait until someone brings the pee jug to you.
b. Open up your gown and let it go like you are Manneken-Pis.

You are (clearly) having issues with your bladder. The doctor installs a catheter. When do you ask for it to be removed?
a. As soon as possible because CATHETER!
b. Never. It just makes peeing easier.

Your leg is wet. Your catheter tube has come unattached. Do you notice?
a. Yes. Um … pee!
b. No.

Despite physical therapy at the nursing home after your mini stroke, you can’t walk without assistance. To be honest, you have trouble doing anything without help. When do you ask to be released from the nursing home?
a. Not until you can walk and manage tasks on your own.
b. Immediately. Watching TV all day is better from the lift chair. Who cares about the risk of falling?

Once home, your physical therapist tells you not to use the lift chair to help sit and stand. You need to build strength in your legs. What do you do?
a. Listen to her. She knows what she is doing.
b. Tell everyone that she changed her mind. The lift chair is totally fine.

Scoring:
Mostly or all As: Congratulations! You are doing what you need to do to be as healthy as possible. Your family must be so happy!
Mostly Bs: You need to take better care of yourself. Think about how your health issues are affecting your family.
All Bs: Dad?

 

 

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Dear Family:

Many have asked how my father is doing after his recent “mini” stroke that necessitated a trip to the hospital and then a care facility. Many of you also have asked how I’m doing, as it’s no secret my relationship with my incredibly stubborn father has been strained over the past couple of years. Usually, I’m good with words. When it comes to him, though, words fail me.

Hence, I will describe what has happened/is happening using photos of bad taxidermy.

We visit Dad for Christmas. He says he wants me to look into assisted living places near us (as opposed to where he is, which is four hours away).

We visit Dad for Christmas. He says he wants me to look into assisted-living places near us (as opposed to where he is, which is four hours away).

 

After I took a day off of work to take tours of assisted living places, Dad calls to tell me, "Nevermind." He has decided to stay in his house with my stepmother.

After I took a day off of work to take tours of assisted-living places, Dad calls to tell me, “Nevermind.” He has decided to stay in his house with Kat (his wife).

 

Dad called. He had what he thinks is a stroke.

A few days later, Dad calls. He had what he thinks is a stroke.

 

We visit. He's fine. He will remain in the hospital for a while and receive physical therapy. He needs physical therapy. Everyone is happy.

We visit. He’s fine. He will remain in the hospital for a while and receive physical therapy. He needs physical therapy. Everyone is happy.

 

He tells us he is fine. He says we should start cleaning out his garage as he may have to sell the house to pay for full-time care.

He tells us he is doing great but that we should start cleaning out his garage as he may have to sell the house to pay for full-time care.

 

We spend an entire day cleaning out 1/3 of his garage. We took two truckloads of crap to the dump and three truckloads of stuff to the Salvation Army.

We spend an entire day cleaning out 1/3 of his garage. We took two truckloads of crap to the dump and three truckloads of stuff to the Salvation Army.

 

A couple of weeks later, I go back up to visit him in the nursing facility to have a chat with him and the therapist about next steps. Kat yells at me for cleaning out Dad's garage when I should have been sitting vigil next to him the entire weekend we spent doing what he told us to do.

A couple of weeks later, I go back up to the nursing facility to have a chat with him and the therapist about next steps. Kat yells at me for cleaning out Dad’s garage when I should have been sitting vigil next to him the entire weekend we spent doing what he told us to do.

 

According to Dad's legal papers, I share power of attorney with Kat. We have to agree on any decisions regarding his care. We do not agree.

According to Dad’s legal papers, I share power of attorney with Kat. We have to agree on any decisions regarding his care. We do not agree.

 

Dad is supposed to be released this week. There is no plan for in-home care. Kat is not speaking to me. Dad rotates among three main states: confused, angry, depressed. Only once in a while is he the dad I remember.

Dad is supposed to be released this week. There is no plan for in-home care. Kat is not speaking to me. Dad rotates among three main states: confused, angry and depressed. Only once in a while is he the person I remember.

 

I do not know what will happen next.

I do not know what will happen next.

If you are praying people, pray for him. Pray for me. Like the taxidermy pictured above, it’s not good.

Stay tuned,
Beth

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