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

The Games People Play

I never liked board games very much, but I had to learn to play bridge at a young age because my parents and older brother needed a fourth.  I played Monopoly  and maybe even some Clue, but that was about it. 

It was the endless hours of Candy Land, a game for our very young children, that tried my patience and got me to go board-game-less for a long time.  We did play Trivial Pursuit when the kids got  older, but even that game didn’t move with us to D.C. a few years ago.

Earlier this month, when the Maryland kids were visiting, we pulled a dusty Scrabble game off the shelf.  Jeremy and Grady and I had a fun and serious game.  At one point, I was winning, but that didn’t last long. 

I attributed my loss to a lack of vowels.


Our Special Time

Nothing changed our life like the birth of our first child.  We had read everything there was to read in preparation, but until one experiences parenthood…

I am reminded of that “disruption” by how our life has changed in the last six months and especially in the three weeks that Peter has been home from rehab.  Perhaps the most dramatic change is the size of our “family”.  Two kind and capable Ugandan women (who neither know nor see each other) help me several hours of each day.  They know significantly more about caretaking than I do, but I am learning. Still, it’s an adjustment.

Peter and I have carved out “our” time.  Between noon and 4:00 p.m., it’s just the two of us.  We have lunch together, and perhaps both have an afternoon nap.  I am still able to climb onto his lap and hold him.  And for those moments, it’s like it always has been.

 


The Perfect Visit

 

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Last Monday at 2:00 p.m. our Maryland family, plus their dog Bucky stopped by on the way home from Vermont.  Peter hadn’t seen the kids and their mother since Thanksgiving 2019.

It was a whirlwind 18-hour-visit, including sleep-time.  The boys (17 and 14) are now both 6’3”.  Bucky, their rescue dog,  took over the sofa as if he were at home

Our main activities were eating and laughing.  There has not been so much love and joy in our apartment in months. 

It was perfect.

 


Expectations, Part II

Nine years ago, I wrote a blog post about expectations. I was working full time, visiting our young grandchildren in Maryland as often as possible, taking care of a house, and more.  I wrote then...

“So much of life is about expectations. Expect too much?  A sure road to disappointment.   Expect too little?  Achieve too little.  The trick is getting it right”.

Have my expectations come true?  Well, my exercise and healthy eating paid off because I am still here.  Peter had already been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and it continues to take a toll, but I expected that. I expected to hate retirement, but I’ve gotten used to it.  My work was a huge part of my life, but I am busy enough, and even with Peter’s recent stroke (which I did not expect)…

Life is good.


The Gift Basket

One afternoon last week, two friends in our condo building knocked on our door.  They were carrying a large wooden basket with a huge bow.  “This is all for you only,” they said.

My eyes filled with tears.

In the basket were cookies and cheeses and patés, all gluten-free of course, jars of honey and fig spread, some lemons and clementines, a fancy soap, an airplane-sized  bottle of cognac, and more.   

As I unloaded each item onto the kitchen counter, I kept saying “Oh, my God”.  I was like a six year-old on Christmas morning.  I stopped counting the number of items at thirty.

The kindness of people never ceases to amaze me.


Ghost Hikes

It’s been decades since I thought about the ghost hikes at summer camp.  On an unknown night, counselors would wake campers cabin by cabin long after “lights out”. The campers would walk single file along a just-made secret trail through the woods, not knowing what scary thing would happen next.  The date of the ghost hike was unknown, which added to the excitement.

My life right now is complicated.  After six months in rehab, Peter is home.  He needs a lot of care, so I need a “stable” of trustworthy, capable and kind home health care workers.  I’m in the process of building that. 

In addition, last month, we heard about a unit available in our condo building prior to its being listed for sale.  We love our rental unit, but at our age living lease-to-lease feels insecure.  We will own the other unit in a month.  That means organizing moving, changing addresses everywhere and general chaos.

I don’t know what's coming next.  It’s a bit like a ghost hike, but not as much fun.


Cinnamon Fire

Cinnamon Fire is a Jolly Rancher’s candy flavor that I missed (if it existed) when I was a child. 

On his recent visit home, Seth visited the mother of a best friend who "loves" him. He wanted to bring her some Atomic Fireball Candy that he had always enjoyed at her home in high school, but he couldn’t find it. Instead, he brought her Cinnamon Fire Jolly Rancher candy.

He brought the extra home for us. Peter (newly home from rehab), Seth and I ate piece after piece while glued to an episode of Mare of Easttown.  Feeling guilty since he is supposedly cutting down on sugar, Seth asked me to hide the dozen pieces of candy that were left.

Since I intended to continue enjoying them, I hid them in a corner behind our paper towel holder on the kitchen counter. When there were just three pieces left, I revealed their hiding place.

Seth had one.


Find a Dollar...Give a Dollar

The other day a good friend and I were walking along Brattle Street near Harvard Square. She stopped suddenly and reached down to pick up what turned out to be a folded dollar bill, probably dropped by someone “fishing” for coins for the nearby parking meter. I looked down and saw there was a penny too.  I picked that up.

I asked her what she would do with her “find”.  “Give it to someone else,” she replied.

Sure enough, while walking together the following day, without my noticing, she dropped the dollar somewhere.  When I asked her why the sheepish grin on her face, she replied, “Oh I just dropped the dollar from yesterday so someone else can have the pleasure of finding it.”

I kept the penny.


Mary Ellen, Part II

Mary Ellen’s Best of Household Hints (1976) was the subject of a blog post I wrote seven years ago.  At that time, I was about to get rid of the book because it was old and falling apart. In taking a quick look, however, I came upon a solution to a problem we had (getting paint off a newly varnished floor). It worked.

I decided to keep the book.

The other day I noticed it tucked away in a corner of a bookshelf. This time, I came across Mary Ellen’s method of getting ink stains out of fabric. I tried it on a sofa that had a ink stain from a pen separated from its cover.  It worked. 

I paid $3.95 for the book forty-five years ago.  It’s available at Amazon, now $61.79.


Me and a Beetle

I do my morning stretches near the floor-to-ceiling windows that line our balcony.  This morning as I glanced out the window, I saw a rather large beetle on his back frantically thrashing his legs and bobbing his head, desperately trying to turn over and get on with life. My plan was to finish my floor stretches and go out and turn him over with a broom.  Which I did. Except I was too late.  I waited for him to scurry off, but he didn’t move.  I regretted that I hadn't helped right away.

I went to get a plastic bag so I could bury him under some bushes in the garden.  That was the least I could do.  But when I returned, he was gone.  Was he just resting from his ordeal when I thought he was dead?  Or did a bird sweep down and grab him for breakfast.

I’ll never know