A Special Friday!

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The weekend started for me on Friday.  I awoke early and prepared myself for the drive to San Jose.  I was planning to pick up Chris at 10:00 am and then we could do a little shopping before picking up Susan and Michael for a family lunch.  It really sucks when I confuse the time lines I am trying to work with.  I called my son Chris to inform him I was on my way. He was confused and said that he did not arrive in San Jose until 11:30 am.  I did not want to wait for over ninety minutes so I placed a call to my daughter Susan.  I explained what had happened and if possible could I arrive early and pick up her and my Grandson Michael.  She too was confused because it was her understanding that I was going to pick her and Michael up first and then we were going to pick up Chris.  I was wrong again.  The only thing I had right was that I left on the correct day.

I stopped at Susan’s house and she was ready.  Michael was at school but he was due to arrive home very soon.  It is the last day of parent teacher conferences so students are released early so the teachers have more time with parents.  We departed Susan’s home and headed to the mall.  Both Michael and I needed to be fitted for our tuxedos.  We entered the store and were soon measured, tested and finally fitted for our tuxes.  You sure need to answer lots of questions for a fitting.  They measure everything starting with your neck and ending with your foot.  The tailors’ take measuring very serious so kidding and joking was just not appreciated.  With this task completed we drove over to the Santa Clara train station just in time for the arrival of the train Chris had taken.

With Chris in the car we now drove to little Monica’s school.  We were going to pick her up just a little early and the five of us were then going to lunch.  It did not take long before little Monica was in the car and we were driving back to the mall first for lunch and then for some shopping.  The opinion of everyone in the car was that Dave and Busters was the place for lunch.  We parked and entered the restaurant, requesting a table for five.  We were seated and the menus arrived.  I so enjoy the pleasure that is displayed on the faces of young people as they select their choice of lunch.  I always thought it was because they were the ones to choose what they wanted.  I was wrong.  It is because they are not paying for lunch.

I enjoyed watching and hearing the talk around the lunch table.  Michael and Chris were talking about skateboarding, cameras, and school.  Monica was talking to her mother about school and homework. Susan was reminding me of some extra duties that were needed to be done when babysitting Monica for this weekend.  My partial family was happy and enjoying each other.  I was a happy and delighted man.

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The Birthday Lady

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Today I would like to tell you a little something about a woman who will be celebrating another one of her birthdays. Yes, today is her birthday! I have known this women from the time when she was just a little girl, passing through puberty, to her teenage years, then her life as a young adult, the dreadful middle age, and more! She has always been in my life and will always be in my heart. As a young girl she would play with me. She was a great person when it came to story fairy land. Taking us into a dark closet she would tell us stories about ferries, princes, and animals. I always wanted to go to fairy land and hear the stories from her. I remember all of her stories in fact I told those stories to my young daughters to help them fall asleep.

As a young girl entering puberty she would spend much more time with her girl friends than with me. It was at this time that we became a little less kind to each other. She always wanted to play with her girl friends and not with a young boy. In fact she stopped telling nice stories and instead introduced monster stories. The monster stories scared me and I no longer wanted to visit fairy land with her. Time passed quickly and the next thing I knew she was a teenager. She just loved to dance and the Dick Clark TV Show “American Bandstand” was her favorite. As is normal for young teenagers little siblings are just pains in the lives of teenagers. I do remember once, that I caught this teenager and her friend pretending that the polls in the back yard were boys. She and her girlfriend would run up to the poll saying how much they missed them and then they would pretend to kiss the poll. I did not see any fun in that game and I was glad she did not want to play with me anymore. During these years I was just as much a pain to her as she was to me.

She entered young adult hood after her teenage years and was soon married. She mothered three wonderful children and I was no longer the young pain in her neck. I was a great babysitter for her three boys. So our friendship blossomed anew. She was now a wife and mother of three. I not only helped with babysitting I would help her husband with tasks around the house. She was happy and the boys were filed with curiosity and wonder. I must admit that I felt honored that she allowed me to sit for her boys.

As in life change is always something that occurs. Her family was no different. Divorce separated her and her husband and she had to raise the boys by herself. I was a family man by this time so it was much more difficult to babysit for her. However with some help from the family she raised her boys into fine young men.

If you have not guessed by now, I will tell you who I am writing about. It is my sister Marianne! Yes I may joke and tease about her but I sure am proud of her. She is a wonderful sister and I was very lucky to be her brother

Happy Birthday to my sister Marianne!

Marize oats, Just think how old you will be next year at this time…

My Retirement Started

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Retirement for me was filled with questions and concerns. My main concern – what will I do? How will I fill the day? Will I become just one of the old men who shuffle their feet trying to get from point a, to point b?

At this point I should let you know that I am not a individual who likes to play games.  So any activity relating to a game was not on my list. I consider golf a game and so I do not golf.

The first week went ok with me spending time with my children and grandchildren. But to be honest visiting can only last so long. Spending time
with my girl was lots of fun but she worked and that left me alone for the day.  What was I to do with all this free time? I let my daughters know that I had some free time and I let my girls know that I had free time. They told others and soon the word spread. The next thing I know was that I was being asked to help in more ways than I had imagined. I became an available resource!

The next few weeks were filled with activities from my teenage years.  Babysitting became my number one requested task. This task was followed by something we all know as a “honey do”. “Picking something up” held the number three slot. Sitting in the grand number four position was “waiting for the man/woman”. The number five slot changed daily, so I just thought of it as my “do anything” list.

Babysitting is something that can mean much more than just being the adult around children.  I discovered that I was more than just qualified to sit for children.  I could sit for pets, homes, gardens, and plants.  I was surprised to learn about the importance of these items to their owners.  I will share some of these sitting events with you later in the blog.

I think everyone knows what a “honey do” can mean. From changing a burnt out light bulb, to watering the plants in the yard, everybody has been assigned a “honey do”.  We all are never exempt from being given a “honey do”.  “Honey do’s” changed for me when I found “the list” of my “honey do’s” waiting for me to get out of bed.  My honey was not just asking me to do something, she was just leaving me “the list” of “honey do’s”.

The joy of being asked to pick something up became an adventure.  I have picked up glasses, prescriptions, loafs of bread, US postage stamps, laundry and the list goes on and on.  The adventure was in trying to locate the correct optometrist, drug store, type of bread, post office, cleaners and other business establishments.  I have met many new people who have become friends just by picking something up.

Nothing is more exciting than waiting for someone else.  Yes I have waited for the cable person, appliance repair person, computer geek, plumber, delivery person and of course my luggage at the airport.  I cannot list every person or item that had me waiting for its arrival.
I am sure we all know the happiness we experience when the waiting is over.

My “do anything” list was just that.  If what I was being asked, attempting to complete, or just some task that needed to be worked, did not fit into any of the four main categories, then it fell into my item number five.  Hey John, do you want to go to Italy this year?  Have you ever
made creamed spinach?  Do you think it would be difficult to install a vanity in the bathroom?  I have a three day weekend coming up where
would you like to go?  I did notice that most of my “do anything” items started with a question.

I soon learned that my golden years could be filled to overflowing by just providing a service to anyone who requested my assistance.  I was sure that this was not the way I wanted to end my golden years.  I felt it was time for me to take charge and make my remaining years truly golden.