Monthly Archives: September 2012

There Are No Cliques In Our Retirement Home – Yeah Right!

They could have called this “clique-town” for want of a name. Not only are there cliques, there are cross-cliques, double-cross cliques, triple-cross-cliques and who know what else. I paint, so I am in the painting clique. Our members gather in dark corners and whisper about the lack of light, the drab colors and the fact that he trees that we painted in spring are now looking tired and dusty after the long hot summer.

I am also a member of the chair exercise clique and while we don’t whisper to each other we can be seen flexing muscles when another member comes close. Then there is the coffee drinkers’ clique who meets most mornings in the lounge. We talk loudly and do our best to discourage non-members of our clique from taking up space in our territory. “He can’t sit there – he doesn’t even drink coffee!”

I haven’t researched all the cliques and potential cliques yet, but I’m sure there are over 90 and over 95 cliques. For all I know here may be an under 70 clique whose members have decided to enter old age a little early. It has been said that one should move to a retirement home early in order to get the full benefits that all the activities offer. “Don’t wait,” says the marketing manager, “until you are too old to enjoy our activities!”

The cooking and baking cliques are much in evidence and a walk down any one of the corridors gives one a strong idea of what’s on the stove. We stopped this morning to sample the aroma of bread being baked and increased speed as we passed what was probably a Russian window that opened onto some heavy cooking. Recipes are exchanged and compliments or annoyances are the results of recipe swaps in the cooking clique.

And then there are about 20 different bridge cliques…


Air-Conditioning Wars in the Retirement Home

After 3 months of searing heat we seniors at the retirement home are welcoming the one degree drop in the summer heat. More important is the drop in the humidity making life more bearable. It’s been 3 months of living in the air-conditioned building with the windows closed and the temperature set to ‘low’. This may sound trivial, but when you take into account that there are about 250 souls here, two-thirds women, and all between the ages of 75 and 100, you will understand the war that raged.

In the summer heat everything is, or was, air-conditioned. That includes the corridors, the elevators, the lounge, the dining room and all other public areas. The apartments are air-conditioned but inside one’s own apartment, one can choose how one wants to feel. It is not like that outside the apartments.

“I refuse to ride in that elevator and arrive at my floor frozen blue. I’ll take the stairs!” Marge. She lives on the 5th floor and the elevator ride, stopping at every floor, is about 30 seconds.

“I won’t eat in that dining room! The food’s ice cold!” Jessie, third floor.

“Never mind the dining room; have you tried a cup of iced coffee in that lounge? Impossible to drink the stuff!” Katie, fourth floor.

At the start of the summer it was a delight to walk along the air-conditioned corridors. Then someone, no names, decided the corridors were too cool, so she (it had to be a she) walked along five floors of corridors opening the windows and letting the hot air in and the cold air out. Management hit the roof at the waste of energy and money and promptly switched off the cool air in the corridors. From then on these superheated areas became a sort of sniper’s alley – you could see the seniors hobbling along them at incredible speeds to get out of the heat.

The air-conditioning season has ended in a draw. Us against them… I wonder if there will be heating in the winter?

Try the Retirement Home Diet – You’ll Never Forget It

It’s the latest diet fad among us seniors. We’ve all been through a hundred different diets in our long lives and now we have our very own – the “Over 70’s Special” diet, guaranteed to keep you remembering the good old days: this diet of one of Fatty Fish and Green Tea. The Fatty Fish will fill you with Omega 3 which will keep Dementia, Alzheimer’s and other unmentionable diseases away from your door, and Green Tea will fill you with antioxidants which will deal with many other problems such as rust.

This diet, fortified with a little garlic to keep other bugs away will also keep unwanted relatives, neighbors and pests away and allow you to age peacefully and gracefully. The Omega 3 will keep your brain cells well lubricated and nimble and the Green Tea, a powerful antioxidant will stop rust from attacking the metal parts of your memory cells. There are other important foods that we have on our “Over 70’s Special” diet: one is chocolate which I have been shouting about for years and another is red wine, another personal favorite. In addition we are all getting a bunch of vitamins and when no one is watching we sneak odd shots of single malt whiskey, one of the world’s great lubricants, to keep our joints in shape.

We ruefully remember some of the great meals in our past, the huge steaks and fries, the burning hot curries that set our insides on fire, the cholesterol packed goose liver savories and the chicken liver patés. Now for many of us it’s pay-back time, a world of no-salt, spice-less, fat-less, butter-less and taste-less fare. Fear not, the new “Over 70’s Special” diet, has been designed to save you, a diet of Fatty Fish and Green Tea to brighten your days and lengthen the evening of your life. Enjoy!

The Way We Were

Click on the link….,AAAAAjHM3KE~,ue6IyhgccnQfCR9niUq7SpiGuvtClfZX&bclid=0&bctid=1799012627001

What We Seniors Talk About In The Retirement Home

Seniors talk. A lot. In fact, you may say that this is our main occupation. Old age has finally brought us to a point in life where we are able to bring our full concentration to bear on our conversations. We are no longer troubled by such mundane matters as work, money and other unimportant issues. We can confine ourselves to the essential: food, drink, reading, reminiscing and the weather.

Walk over to any of the conversation groups in the lounge of this retirement home and you will findresidents furiously engaged in coffee and vital conversation. “I have tried cooking Spaghetti Bolognese with and without red wine. There is nothing to argue about. It must have red wine and lots of it. A couple of glasses inside the cook makes it taste better as well!”

“We drank 3 different varieties of single-malt scotch last night: Glenlivet, Mcallan and I can’t remember the third. You can’t compare them to blended scotch, even the expensive ones! It’s definitely worth paying the extra!”

“If we don’t get good rains this year we are doomed, I say! Poor rains mean poor crops, floury fruit and sour oranges. We need an average of at least 20 millimeters every month from now until April and then we’ll be okay!”

Seniors are great at reminiscing as well. We can discuss any battle of the Second World War and can recite long and accurate descriptions of minor and major incidents in world history from 1920 onwards. We remember the names and the dates as though it happened yesterday. “The August Revolution? Hell, I was standing right next to General What’s-his-name when that bullet went clean through his head!”

Seniors always talk with great self-confidence and are unshakeable in their opinions. You cannot argue with a senior. He knows everything and a whole lot more as well.

Wanted: Retirees. Fulltime Positions Only

A retiree’s work is never done

Retirement is a fulltime occupation. There are no holidays, no days off and no such thing as a sick day. It is a dedicated job covering 24 hours a day. Of those hours, 16 involve working flat out at being retired. The other 8 are devoted either to sleeping on the couch in front of the TV or trying desperately to fall asleep in bed. Most of the sleeping hours are devoted to short naps throughout the day.

The day-to-day business

I once overheard this conversation between 2 retirees: “So how’s it going? You keeping occupied? What did you do today?”

“I was at the bank today.”

“Got any arrangements for tomorrow?”

“I’m planning on going to the post office.”


“Wednesday is my day for blood tests at the MOH.”

The food of retirees

And that’s roughly how the retiree’s week goes. Busy, busy, busy. Another major consumer of retiree time is food and eating. We enjoy hanging out in the supermarkets, tasting and checking the goods here and there. You’ll find us testing the cheese, grapes and olives for quality. We also enjoy seeking out exotic recipes, none of which will be good for us or suitable for our digestive systems. We love eating – slowly, that is.

Social responsibility

All retirees have a responsibility to the community. That’s why you’ll find us down at the lake feeding the ducks, helping little children and little old ladies cross the busy streets, keeping the park benches warm and heckling the parking ticket officers.

International level

We meet often during the course of our days at the local coffee shops and discuss the state of the world, remember how it used to be in the good old days and wondering what it will take to get it back on the rails.

Finger Trouble in the Retirement Home

I walked in from the chair exercise session a few minutes ago breathless and aching and plopped down in front of the computer. According to the internet, there are 640 muscles in the human body. Would the very trim blonde chair-exercise instructor care to explain why I have 973 pains in my body at this moment? Can she tell me why I have a horrible click in the second joint of my third finger, the one she said we should exert maximum pressure on in the interest of fitness? And most important of all, what’s happened to the ‘G’ on my keyboard that produces a blank when I press on it with my index finger. This is important because I press on all the keys with my index finger.

After 6 months I still cannot believe the number of different exercises that can be performed while sitting in a chair and which cover all the muscles in the human body. I also cannot believe the amount of exertion that goes on that room at every session which lasts a crisp 40 minutes. Which exercise is it that makes me sweat?

The classes are full. This morning’s session included about 30 women and 5 men and everyone manages to do the exercises, some better than others. One thing is common: everyone looks pleased and relieved when the session ends with 2 minutes of lights out and slow breathing. Walkers are parked around the perimeter of the large room and caregivers are parked outside the room, no doubt extolling the physical prowess of their respective employers. All in all, a most satisfactory twice-weekly event.

Are You Sleeping Now That You’re A Senior?

So how’s the sleeping going? Not the morning, afternoon or evening nap in front of the TV set. Anyone can do that. All you have to do is lie down on the couch, switch on the TV, close your eyes and you’re asleep. No big deal. This is a senior’s specialty. A tot of whiskey or some other lubricant will make this sleep even smoother.

I’m asking you about the serious sleep, slumber, the one in the dark hours, the one where you really prepare yourself; the warm shower, the tooth brush and the pajamas. This is the sleep that is going to get you through to tomorrow, so you go to a lot of trouble to make sure it’s going to be a great one. You lie down, close your eyes and… nothing happens. For half an hour, then an hour and then two hours and by then you are pretty sure it’s not going to happen at all.

What is it with us and sleep? Why, after years and years of perfect sleeping are we now confronted by sleepless nights? According to numerous articles on the internet, the sleep problem is common among older people for a variety of reasons, none of which apply to me.

What do you do? Steve tells me he goes and sits in front of the computer. I reckon that will wake up any part of him that did manage to doze off. Sam says he switches on the TV. Another mistake, I think. Have you seen some of the stuff they show at 3am? It’s designed to keep you awake – all blood, bullets and sex. I read, hoping that I will hit a boring patch in the book that will send me off. Oh, blessed sleep, where art thou?

Grandchildren – The Seniors’ Downfall

Do you suffer from grandchildren, the little ones who sneer at you as they text their friends while asking you how come you don’t have a smart-phone? For you seniors, that means a mobile telephone such as an iPhone, a Galaxy, a Blackberry or one of the many others on the market. Which operating system are you using? Android or something else? Wasn’t an Android the animal that came swinging out of the trees in that Tarzan movie we saw at the Century movie house 70 years ago?

Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night, sweating from a nightmare. I am running doesn’t a street that is 79.5 years long. On one side technology is passing me, jeering and howling as they go. On the other side are grandchildren, shrieking with laughter at the old man trying to keep up but falling further and further behind with each step.

It doesn’t help that you went to college or university in the 50s, or that you ran a successful business or practice in your profession for 40 years. You are now hopelessly out of date and unable to hold an intelligent conversation with your 8 year old grandson who can re-program your old steam-operated first generation phone in seconds.

“What’s wrong with your phone, Pop?”

“It’s dead!”
“Pass it here, Pop, I’ll fix it.”

A split second later the phone is back in your hands and working perfectly. “You really should upgrade, Pop. You will even be able to text grandma with an iPhone!”

I cannot explain to him that grandma wouldn’t know where to look for the message.

Remember how we impressed our parents by reciting the names of the cars as they came around the corner? Man, we were good, up to date with the latest models. That, fellow seniors, is nothing compared to what these kids can do today. True they can’t do any arithmetic without a calculator in their hands, but maybe that’s not important anymore.

Old Age At Its Best

Russ and Sam, two friends, met in the park every day to feed the pigeons, watch the squirrels and discuss world problems.
One day Russ didn’t show up.

Sam didn’t think much about it and figured maybe he had a cold or something.
But after Russ hadn’t shown up for a week or so, Sam really got worried.
However, since the only time they ever got together was at the park, Sam didn’t know
where Russ lived, so he was unable to find out what had happened to him.
A month had passed, and Sam figured he had seen the last of Russ, but one day, Sam approached the park and lo and behold there sat Russ!
Sam was very excited and happy to see him and told him so.
Then he said, ‘For crying out loud Russ, what in the world happened to you?’
Russ replied, ‘I have been in jail.’
‘Jail!’ cried Sam. What in the world for?’
‘Well,’ Russ said, ‘you know Sue, that cute little blonde waitress at the coffee shop where I sometimes go?’

‘Yeah,’ said Sam, ‘I remember her. What about her?
‘Well, one day she filed rape charges against me; and, at 89 years old, I was so proud that when I got into court, I pleaded ‘guilty’.

‘The judge gave me 30 days for perjury.’