Cause And Effect

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Some things are better left alone. That might sound defeatist but there are just times when one must leave well enough alone.

Here are a few examples concerning older people:

  • If you ask for a different medication, you may suffer worse side effects.
  • If you send out appliances to be fixed, you will find yourself without them for possibly long periods of time.
  • If you wait around for perfect weather conditions, you will be spending a lot more time stuck inside.
  • If you wait for others to do things for you that you’re capable of doing yourself, you will lose your independence at an alarming rate.

Most aging Americans today refuse to let their limitations rule their lives. Instead, they find ways around their disabilities and power ahead. I hope my generation has as much moxy and determination as theirs. It’s to their credit (those that are thriving) that they’ve defied the odds and entered into a new world of technology and hope!

 

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A Perfect Marriage

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A man and a woman had been married for 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other, except that the little old woman had a shoebox in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.

For all of these years, he had never thought about the box but, one day, the little old woman got sick and the doctor said she would not recover.

In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoebox and took it to his wife’s bedside.

She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found 2 crocheted dolls and a stack of money totalling $95,000.

He asked her about the contents. “When we were to be married, my grandmother told me the secret to a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll.”

The little old man was so moved he had to fight back the tears. Only 2 precious dolls were in the box. She had only been mad at him 2 times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness.

“Honey,” he said, “that explains the dolls but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?”

“Oh,” she said, “that’s the money I made from selling the dolls!”*

*Author Unknown

Waiting For Godot

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We are always waiting for something – a check to arrive in the mail; a parking spot to materialize; a job to magically fall in our lap. We sometimes spend more hours waiting for things to happen than we do actually living our lives.

Here is a small sample of a daily ‘self-induced’ holding pattern:

  • Waiting to take the perfect selfie
  • Waiting to win the lottery
  • Waiting for Ed McMahon to show up on the doorstep (well, maybe 30 years ago)
  • Waiting for Godot 

You might laugh at the absurdity of listing the well-known play but, really, isn’t that what we all do? We have our ideas and our opinions but most of us never act on them – deciding, rather, to just discuss them, over and over again, with anyone and everyone who is unfortunate enough to be within earshot.

With all the tragedy going on in the world today, we offer prayers, we speak the names of the victims, we color our monuments with their flags but, really, we do nothing. The truth of the matter is, no matter how upbeat or positive we try to be, we’re always just waiting for that other shoe to drop!

Ready Or Not

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“Ready or not, here I come…,” we shouted as children playing Hide and Go Seek. And, not surprisingly, we always found our playmates. “Are you ready, yet?” we asked our own children when we were running late to an appointment. “Let’s Go” and “Chop Chop,” I often, and as kindly as possible, say to my parents when I know they would rather just stay home but they’ve got places to go and things to do.

With 24 hours in a day, you’d think that we would have plenty of time… we rush to work, we rush getting dressed up to go to events and we even rush so that we don’t end up having to rush. Time is a funny thing. We think we have so much of it when we’re young so we’re always late. Then we want time to slow down because things were so much easier when we had nothing BUT time.

“Youth is wasted on the young.” Wouldn’t it be great to have known then what you know now that you’re older and more experienced? Sadly, all of that knowledge and wisdom comes too late to be able to really enjoy it – as our younger selves could.

They say you’re never quite ready for marriage or children. There isn’t necessarily a perfect time in our lives for such life-altering events. But we do our best whether or not we’re truly ready!

 

The Perfect Combination

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Certain foods just seem to go together – Burger and fries; Mac and cheese; Chips and dip. The same can be said for some of our activities – A movie and popcorn; A ballgame and hot dogs; A concert and wine/beer. 

You might partake in any of these on a special occasion or even on a daily basis but… is one person’s perfect combo meal another’s as well?

I have some favorites that may or may not appeal to anyone else:

  • Salmon, brown rice and steamed broccoli 
  • Grilled Swiss cheese and avocado
  • Chocolate brownie with mint chip ice cream and hot fudge 

My Dad prefers:

  • Salisbury Steak and mashed potatoes
  • Meat loaf and mashed potatoes
  • Hamburger and mashed potatoes 

Maybe our palates are set as children – depending on such things as: if you grew up during the Depression or if you bought daily school lunches. Who knows? But as long as your health isn’t affected and it makes you happy… To each, his/her own!

 

Quit While Ahead

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Ever since my Mom realized that I could tape her programs for her, she now happily goes to bed at a more reasonable hour. Because of football and baseball games running overtime on prime time tv channels, her favorite shows are oftentimes delayed by thirty to sixty minutes.

The problem is, now that I’ve made her life easier, I’ve simultaneously made mine more difficult. As many times as I’ve shown her how to operate the remote (and also written out perfectly clear instructions), she still insists that I do it for her. And, because the tv’s ‘guide’ only lists shows on the hour and half-hour, these tapings usually run ‘part-way’ through two consecutive programs. That makes it even more complicated.

So, while I constantly try to find new ways to improve my parents’ quality of life, I inevitably discover even more ways to complicate mine!

 

Sell By Date

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Whenever I look in the refrigerator and see something that I’m pretty sure belongs in the garbage can, I know it’s time to call the expert on all things date-challenged… my Dad.

Somehow, he has this uncanny talent for distinguishing between freshness and over-ripeness. Sure, I can see mold on a strawberry or on a loaf of bread. And I don’t even need to smell the milk once I see it curdled on top. But it’s the ambiguous items I have trouble with.

I tend to rely on terms such as:

  • Expiration Date
  • Sell By Date
  • Best If Used By Date

But, as my ‘advisor’ has advised me on many occasions, canned foods and boxed foods have different freshness standards. Stale cereal, for instance, won’t harm you but it might not be the crunchy consistency you desire. And I remember all the people stocking up on canned beans and tuna during the days preceding the millennium. Would those foods still be edible today?

I will always have my suspicions and will continue to throw out perfectly good food (like millions of others) because, “why take the chance?” That said, on any given day, you can still find me pulling out all the milks in the store till I get to the latest date at the back and I wouldn’t hesitate to bring back any moldy food (even if I’ve already eaten some of it) for a full refund!

The Paper Chase

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As many of you have undoubtedly tried, at one time or another, I have learned to forge my parents’ signatures. Now, before anyone gets all uppity and tells me this isn’t exactly legal, I have been asked by both my parents to perfect their signatures. Mom wants me to do it because our signatures are similar and, this way, I don’t need to drag her around with me to pick up her meds or to deposit her checks.

In Dad’s case, he just can’t see well enough to get his signature to land in the correct spot. When I’ve taken him to the bank, I have to point to the area where his signature is required. However, between the time I get his pen to the paper and he actually begins writing, he always manages to move his hand. Banks frown on signatures that end up outside the ‘write-in-this-area-only’ section.

And when it comes time to signing your name at the pharmacy counter, it’s very difficult for a sight-challenged person to write with those ridiculous pens that are attached to the machine – especially the ones with the invisible signatures.

When Dad asked me a while back to take him to buy Mom a Mothers Day card, I had to first pick out the card, then buy it (nothing says love like a card from the dollar store) and, when it came time to signing it, Dad insisted he could do that much by himself. So I let him. The end result was a card signed upside down. But we didn’t tell him that. Because we love him.

So here’s my tip when facing the inevitable paper chase:

To save both time and stress, learn to compromise and remember –  it’s the thought that counts!

Musical Dining Chairs

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Last night I was having a conversation with my Mom at the dining table. I happened to sit down on ‘Dad’s’ chair because it was the closest one (and unoccupied at that particular moment). I had barely begun speaking when my Dad approached and asked me why I was sitting in ‘his’ chair.

“Because,” was my very grown-up answer. An answer, mind you, that my kids had given me countless times when they were younger. A perfectly ‘non-answer’… An answer telling me exactly nothing… Not even close to an answer and certainly not a complete sentence or even a complete thought.

But I digress.

My point, and I do have one, is that I wouldn’t purposely take his chair. Nor would I be particularly upset about getting up out of his chair… Except for the fact that, no sooner had I gotten myself up and moved to another chair, he didn’t even sit down. Not in his chair, not in my chair, not a green chair, not a blue chair (sorry, couldn’t help myself).

Well, he did sit down but not in the aforementioned chair. He took the chair on the other side of the table and turned it sideways so he could see and hear the tv from less than a foot away. So why exactly did I need to get up?

I guess it’s something we never really outgrow – that need to call things our own. We don’t like to share our toys with other kids when we’re toddlers or what we did at school that day with our parents when we’re teens. We hate sharing our feelings with our significant others when we’re dating/married and definitely won’t share our self-assigned dining chair with anyone, at anytime or for any reason. Just… because!