The 70-Something Blog is now The 80-Something Blog. Stay tuned in ten years for The 90-Something Blog!

Two Questions

Now that I am a “seasoned” 80-year-old, I consider myself an “expert” on life in the 70’s.  It’s a transitional decade—going from full-time work to full-time what?  Trying on some things until you see what’s right for you.  Once you find your rhythm, life in the 70’s can be terrific.

The eighties are different.  For most of us, our lives have become somewhat limited.  No matter how much we exercise and eat right, our bodies are tired of being perfect.  We have less energy.  It takes longer to do everything, and we wonder how we did all those things before in addition to our job and family responsibilities.  

The other day, I had two questions for Peter.  1.  Do you look forward to every day?  2. Do you ever feel like your health is so compromised that you want to give up? 

His answer?

“Both”


Body Update

I used to give regular updates about the state of my 70-something body. I would report things like new wrinkles, more prominent veins, the flattening of my rear end and other imperfections.

Today my body is pretty stable.  My exercise regime is the same. I lift weights, stretch every day and walk whenever I can.  My weight doesn’t vary.  

What’s changed is that I don’t think about my body so much.  It’s partially because of the pandemic leading to my using no makeup and abandoning my “professional” clothes.

When I fell on the ice early in the pandemic, I knew I should do something about my bleeding lip, but I just kept on walking, and I have the scar to remind me.  A few weeks ago, I was late leaving home, and while rushing down our stairs, got a splinter from the wooden banister, and just kept on going.  Now I have an annoying bump on my thumb because I didn’t stop to remove the splinter.

It is a constant reminder that the body that has served me so well deserves a little more attention.


It Could Happen to You

PayPal texted me last week to check on a $499 iPad  purchase that had been charged to my account. They asked me to call and confirm the purchase. And I did call to inform them that I had made no such purchase.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t PayPal who had texted me, but some incredibly talented, experienced scammers.

I have recognized scam calls in the past. I never give my social security number over the phone and usually don’t even answer the phone if I don’t recognize the person calling.  But a text?  It fooled me.  And the offer to put the money back in my checking account? What was I thinking (or not thinking) to allow that?

When I met with the vice-president of our bank to close that account, he told me that this type of scam is growing by leaps and bounds, and many people have lost enormous amounts of money.  Fortunately, that didn’t happen to me.

I share this embarrassing episode so that maybe others won’t make a similar mistake.

Consider this a public service announcement.


Whatever Happened to March?

March is on its way out.  Which is OK with me.  March is an unreliable month.  On March 24, 2020, while walking with a friend, I slipped on a patch of ice and cut my lip.   But on March 24, 2021, it was 74 degrees. No ice anywhere.

March does have its pluses.  It gives us Daylight Savings Time with its hour more of daylight in the evening.   We see crocuses peeping out, and the daffodils lining the banks of the Charles River show promise.  We know that heavy winds and snow will happen in March in New England, but we also know that the snow will soon be gone. 

I’ll take all the Marches I can get.


The Clementine Contest

Following in the footsteps of “The One Fork Challenge,” “The Meatless September” and other Jeremy-created-contests, Sunday was his clementine/mandarin eating contest. The invitation read:

“I hereby challenge anyone on facebook to a socially distant and socially delicious real-time mandarin and/or clementine eating contest. Three-pound bag. Peel and eat. Fastest to show all-rind and a orange-free mouth is winner.”

Clementines are one of my favorite snacks, and partially because they are so easy to peel, I signed up. Zoom participants ranged from around age seven to age 80-something.  All had to show an unopened 3-lb bag before we started.

After about four mandarins, my eating pace slowed a bit.  I didn’t count as I peeled them, but when the winner (17-year-old-Leo) finished, I think I was about ten down, ten to go.  However, I did win in my age category.

And you know why.


My Silver Lining

Visiting Peter just once a week for 45 minutes has not been easy. Rehab staff bring him to me in a wheelchair, and in what seems like minutes, take him back to his room.  Of course, this is for Covid safety reasons, but it’s still hard.

However, in the past three weeks, both of our sons have come to visit.  They could only see Peter once, but I got them each all to myself.  Seth was working while here, but we had all of our meals together.  Jeremy was here for less than 48 hours, but we had two four-mile walks, looked at a shoe-box full of family pictures, and laughed a lot.  I agreed to join his new contest in which the winner will be the first to finish an unopened 3-lb bag of clementines during a Zoom meeting.

In this very hard year, every cloud has a silver lining. 


Birkenstocks

Birkenstocks, those wacky comfortable sandals, have been in my life forever.  They await me at the door whenever I come home.  I have no idea how many pairs I have purchased over the years.

On my closet shelves sit twenty shoe boxes filled with shoes I haven’t worn since the pandemic started. I wear my walking shoes or my “clogs” when I go out, my Birkies at home.

One day last week, I found myself in my car on the way to the grocery store wearing my Birkenstocks.  I rejected the idea of returning home and decided no one would notice that I forgot to put on my outside shoes.

In the grocery store, I was spending a long time in the birthday card aisle, and a woman seemed to be Covid-annoyed at my lingering.  She spoke to me. 

“Where did you get your shoes?” she asked.  “I can’t find them anywhere!”

 


Two More Days

On Tuesday, it will be two weeks since I had my second Covid vaccine.  I am grateful to feel protected. I am grateful to be able to be with friends and family who are also protected.  I am grateful that Seth recovered from Covid, including the return of his ability to taste.

There is much to look forward to as “normalcy” edges its way back into our lives.

But things will not be the same. So many lives lost, so many celebrations missed, so many hugs not given.  What is remarkable is that, thanks to Zoom, we have been able to “take” our classes, “see” friends and “attend” cultural events. 

The future lies ahead…it’s just a bit shorter.


$5.00

When I was a child, each of my mother’s five siblings would send me a check for $5.00 for my birthday.  I deposited the checks into my savings account.  Those birthday checks plus a couple of summer jobs while I was in college paid for a trip to Europe the summer after my junior year.

I thought about those checks the other day while searching for birthday cards for Peter and Jeremy.  I am particular about birthday cards, and I had to go to four stores before finding acceptable ones.

The cost for the two cards I bought was $13.98 plus tax. 

Remember when $5 covered a day in Europe?


Life is (Not) a Bowl of Cherries

Peter will be 91 years old on Wednesday.  A year ago, we had a wonderful party to honor him.  One couple didn’t come because they were worried about a new virus, now with us for over a year.  Many of our guests tell us that Peter’s celebration was the last social event they attended “live”.

In January, Peter broke his hip.  Since then, I have seen him five times.  I couldn't see him in the hospital.  I was permitted to see him once during the two weeks he spent in rehab.  Three days after he came home, he was back in the hospital with excruciating pain in his other leg. He is now back in another rehab for a couple of weeks.  Seth and I visited him briefly on Wednesday, but visits are permitted only once weekly.

Peter is working hard to regain his strength despite his worsening Parkinson’s.   And I am here for him.  But…

“Life is not a bowl of cherries.”