Advice Worth Taking

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I find it amazing that the very people (our parents and grandparents) who taught us life lessons can be so hypocritical when it comes to the ‘new’ generation.

I was taught:

  • No sleeping together before marriage
  • Marriage before children
  • Go to college and then get a job
  • No car till you can afford gas and insurance

Now, my parents (I have no living grandparents) allow their grandkids to do pretty much whatever they want. There are suddenly no more rules or restrictions and they even help finance some of these questionable choices.

What’s a modern parent to do… Is turnabout fair play? Perhaps that dreaded nursing home is starting to look a bit more tempting! 😉

 

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Short Term Paranoia

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As a small child I remember thinking the ‘old guy’ that always sat at his window, looking outside to make sure no one stepped on his perfectly manicured lawn, was a bit creepy. In his defense, neighborhood kids did make it a point to purposely throw balls onto his lawn and (before we were taught to pick up after our dogs) dogs regularly used his front lawn as their own public pooper-scooper.

Since living back with my parents I’ve noticed that they, too, spend an awful lot of time sitting in front of THEIR window. They watch for the mailman (they don’t get much more than medical bills); the meals-on-wheels delivery man (with whom they’re on a first name basis); the UPS truck (when I tell them I’m expecting a package but it probably won’t arrive for weeks); and their grandkids (as if wishing for it will actually make it happen).

I realize they have little to look forward to on a daily basis but it seems a bit paranoid of them to watch out for, say, impending snow when only an inch or two is predicted and they have nowhere to go in it anyway. But I suppose it does make the days go by faster and maybe, in their minds, it might even make them feel more a part of their surroundings now that they spend so much of their time indoors.

As I think back on that ‘old guy’ next door and remember how my Dad used to call him a busybody and a cranky old man, it feels as if time has come full circle only now it’s my Dad who has earned the title of ‘crotchety-old-dude.’

But, if truth be told and years of hard living give you some street cred, he’s truly earned it!

The Name Game

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Ever notice how the more time you spend with people, the more you start to think like them? We all have those moments when we can’t remember what we were going to say or do. Some call them senior moments and some (more colorfully) call them brain farts. But we all have them at one time or another – some more frequently than others and some who flat out deny their very existence.

Living with my parents is sometimes like living in prehistoric times. I’ve come to realize that the remote control is a clicker, a CD is a tape, the cell phone is a ringer, the printer is a copier and the DVR is a recorder. It’s not that these ‘alternate’ names are confusing. It’s fairly easy to tell what my parents are referring to most of the time – especially when they… point.

It’s when the parentals are at a total loss for words yet they expect you to read their minds, nonetheless, that you become somewhat frazzled and impatient. It can go from one extreme to the other:

1) The Dangerous Chair – a comfortable chair that, once sat on, makes an octogenarian fall immediately asleep. This covers every chair in the home from the most comfortable recliner to the hardest, metal folding chair.

2) Squeaky thingy – this can be anything from the upstairs neighbors walking around on parquet floors to a door that needs oiling.

3) Ice box – an old fashioned name for a refrigerator/freezer.

4) Who-ja-ma-bob – again, could be a razor, an alarm, the doorbell, the tv… anything whose name doesn’t immediately register.

5) Thingamajig – see above.

And don’t even get me started on proper names. Whether it’s trying to remember a person’s name from the past, a character or actor’s real name from tv or even their only daughter’s name (I usually come in at about 5 or 6 down on the list – after my brother, my grandparents, their grandkids), I’ve gotten so used to it that I’ll basically answer to any of the above… especially if it’s for something really good that I didn’t even do!

Summer Survival Guide

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Summertime… and the livin’ is easy. Oh, Mr. Gershwin sure had it right. That’s how I remember my childhood summers – playing outside in the warm sunshine till it was time to come in for dinner; eating dripping ice cream cones before they melted down my arm; and going to ball games where the sounds and smells were like coming home.

Huh… funny how times change.

Now, as I sit inside my air-conditioned home, I can hear the visiting grandkids of our neighbors running around outside, screaming and having fun. And then I hear my Dad’s voice – yelling at them to be quiet from the comfort of his lounge chair in the living room (“bratty kids”“why can’t you go play somewhere else?”).

Later on, when the sun starts to set, we go out on our terrace to relax and breathe in the cooling air. I look over at my Dad and see him not sitting still but, rather, swatting away at the pollen endlessly blowing from the trees and the bees that have moved on from the flowers to our private domain.

When we finally surrender to the natural order of summer and come inside to watch the ball game on tv, we’re barely into the first inning when I hear Dad yelling at the screen (“you moron” – “I coulda caught that ball” – “are you blind?”).

Ahhh, the sounds of summer. The only thing missing is the smell of stale beer and sauerkraut.

And if you listen really hard, you can almost hear yourself thinking, “how many weeks till fall…?!”