Category Archives: Book Club

Ride on

Standard
Ride on

Today I spent a few hours driving a 94 year old man to do some errands. Sadly, he can no longer drive himself though his mind is still sharp, the body protests. I met Rob a couple of weeks ago. It was an interesting introduction, one of his daughters called me to ask about my services. I have a small business that fills in the gaps for people when life gets complicated. The daughter lives at least 1,000 miles away and was coming in to visit her parents. We talked a bit on the phone and within half an hour of ending our call her father called me (independently) to schedule a meeting. I let the daughter know and we decided that Rob would take the lead.

I always offer a free consultation for new clients. I like to meet the client I will be working with directly and any family members or caregivers that are involved with decision making. Sometimes my clients direct their own finances and decisions, other times a family member takes the lead. I take notes and observe, I try to read the situation without being overly intrusive.

I met with Rob his wife Laura and their daughter about a week ago. The daughter warned me that Laura is resistant to outside help, she told the last employee that she hated her. This resentment of caregivers is more common than you might think. It’s hard to live your entire adult life as an independent person and then have some stranger try to tell you what to do. I strive to find ways to empower my clients and ask them to steer the ship as much as possible. Laura was upset that the last helper was only available after 11am so I asked if she preferred a 9am or 10am start, she perked up. Everyone wants to be heard and validated, sometimes it’s a simple fix.

Today was my first time working for this family and I was tasked with running some errands with Rob. Rob is delightful, he has a smile like Dick Van Dyke and a kind soul. Our first stop was at a Quaker School that he co-founded in the 80’s. This school was created to offer an inclusive educational environment for children that have learning issues. When we came through the door, Rob was greeted with genuine affection and adoration. As we were walking to the front office Rob told me how he always wanted to skateboard down the halls which, he noted, have some peaks and valleys that could make the ride interesting.

Then I got to hear stories about some alumni and the positive impact my new friend had on their lives. It was overwhelming and I felt fortunate to be in his presence. Of course we were there to drop off a fruitcake because everyone over 90 is required by law to make no less than 27 fruitcakes each December. It was presented in a practical yet festive way. The treat was on a square holder (I suspect cardboard) which was covered in aluminum foil. The wreath shaped fruitcake was placed in a extra large Ziploc bag and attached to the base with festive red ribbon and holly. It was quite attractive and if I attempted such a presentation it would be a complete disaster.

Our next stop was at a feed store. I didn’t know feed stores existed until I moved to this somewhat rural area 15 years ago. We were there for two kinds of birdseed something with corn and black sunflower seeds. I have no working knowledge of birds or their seeds, I suspect I will become somewhat familiar, at least at filling the feeders. Once I filled the car with seed, we were on our way, this time to the post office.

The post office was in an old house that was converted from a general store. This building is on a minimum of it’s third life. It offered two ways to get to the door – traditional steps or a ramp. Rob decided to chance the stairs. I get nervous with new clients that have mobility issues using stairs fortunately, we made it without incident. We were there to check their post office box and to mail some…guess…yup, fruitcakes. After about 10 minutes we were on hour way back home.

In between errands Rob and I chatted in the car. He told me that he was only in the Navy for a year during World War II. He was discharged due to medical reasons, he had melanoma. For those unfamiliar, melanoma is the most lethal of skin cancers, he was 19 when he was diagnosed and treated. At 94, he has certainly exceeded longevity expectations. Rob mentioned that he is now the lone survivor from his high school class. I commented that it must be lonely to outlive most of your peers. He gave me a snort with a “you bet”.

When we got back home, his wife of nearly 70 years was preparing to host a book club which, is heavy into discussion and light on actual books. There was some interesting jockeying of cars in the short driveway that borders a busy road. I needed to drop off 50 pounds of bird seed, park their car and move my own vehicle. While we were parked in the driveway working out logistics, a friend offered to walk Rob to the door. I could tell he was uncomfortable with the offer and yet he smiled and made his way up the walkway with his friend. I suspect this family will find it’s way into my heart in no time.

 

 

The Badass & A ‘Fro Below

Standard
The Badass & A ‘Fro Below

Last night I was at a book club meeting with some friends. I think we all know that “book club” is code for over indulging in food and adult beverages in the suburbs. I partook in the food and limited beverages to water because I prefer to chew my calories. I am sworn to secrecy regarding my companions (not really, no one got sloppy). I will say I ate a hamster’s weight in bacon wrapped dates and I regret nothing, N-O-T-H-I-N-G.

The book we were discussing was Finding My Badass Self: A Year of Truths and Dares by Sherry Stanfa-Stanley. FindingMyBadassSelf  I met Sherry at the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Conference this past April and we hit it off. After the conference I contacted Sherry because I wanted to purchase 10 of her books. I turned the big ‘5-OH’ in June and I decided to give the books as a favor to the ladies who attended my birthday dinner. At that dinner a friend offered to host a book club to discuss it.

The book gave a description of Sherry’s experiences while ticking off an eclectic bucket list of things that pushed her out of her comfort zone. The tone of the book is friendly with a good amount of humor. It’s an interesting and fun read. I read the book in early May and one thing that stood out to me was the rhino situation. There are a few lines in the book that caught my attention (page 193 if you happen to have a copy):

(Sherry) “Oh! I think he’s going to pee!”

“Um, no,” Robin said. “See his equipment down there? This is similar to how we manually ejaculate him.”

I read that and I immediately had a stream of questions and thoughts. Here are some of them in no particular order:

Holy sh*t is this rhino getting happy endings as part of his care?

How often?

Is it always the same person or does this task get rotated? (and really which one is more disturbing; a rotating team of happy ending professionals or a single individual responsible for the “the job”? I’m still debating that. I’m leaning toward the one individual being worse because then it seems like an exclusive relationship, this bothers me. Is it consensual?)

Anyhow there were 52 unique and interesting experiences described in the book and this one was the one that haunted me. I may be a 12 year old boy trapped in the body of a midlife female.

Other topics carried over into things we had tried in our own life – one person jumped out of perfectly good airplanes several times (for fun, the weirdo). Others discussed being on nude beaches, eating in the dark, zip lines, sex shops (I told you it was a good book) and the “woes of waxing”.

I got a Brazilian wax once so I had some skin in the game on this one (wink for those that have experienced it). For the uninitiated, there is no amount of candle light, chanting monks and calming incense that can tame the horror of getting your lady bits waxed. Basically you are placed on a table with your legs pushed as close to your head as possible. The goal is to have your feet nestled beside your ears, easy peasy if you happen to be a double jointed acrobat, a ballerina or an expert level Yogi. Sadly I can not list any of those credentials on my resume.

I’m fairly bendy though so positioning was not the worst part. The worst part is having a Gyno light switched on while you are in that position and happen to be naked (or wearing a thong whose sole purpose is to help you pretend you have some modesty….insert maniacal laugh…you don’t, it’s all gone, it left with dignity.) Once the hospital-like floodlight is pointed toward your nether regions, a thin coat of hot (think lava) wax is applied to your most delicate areas – front to back. Then because that isn’t awful enough, tape is used to yank the wax and hair off (perhaps with some skin and 13% of your soul) At some point the technician will ask what your pruning preference is for the front of the house. The options range from geometric shapes to completely bald. I went with the landing strip option. A lightning bolt would have been cool sadly, I didn’t think of it until after and I never went back (that was 2007).

One of my friends who attended last night sent me a link to an article this morning which described a hairy situation. Apparently there is a feminist movement for growing out hair where in previous years the trends have been to shave or wax (down below, armpits, legs, anywhere). I replied with a big nope. Do what you want ladies, I’ll keep the ‘fro below to a crew cut.

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_bankjayphotto’>bankjayphotto / 123RF Stock Photo</a>