Living Retired — ‘Cast of Characters’
By Gary Chalk
The wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round — but ONLY IF the driver knows how to start the friggin’ engine! Here is what I mean…
Jan and I returned last week from a cruise from Montreal down the St. Lawrence River, around Newfoundland and the Maritime provinces to Boston.
In Quebec City we boarded a bus excursion to Montmorency Falls and rode a cable car to the top to view the water crashing down to the St. Lawrence River. That is when we discovered the bus driver was, well, wet behind his ears. He appeared disengaged, without a worry in the world. I whispered to Jan that I was naming him ‘Mr. Who Cares.’
“Gary, that isn’t nice; besides you should not talk behind his back.”
“Jan, when you are riding a bus you are always talking behind the drivers back!”
The tour guide was a pleasant middle-aged woman. “Good morning everyone. We are about to depart. Is anyone else hot? I’ll get our driver to turn on the air conditioning.” She frantically waved her clipboard to fan her face. The name I gave this middle-aged woman was ‘Mrs. … Read the rest here
Living Retired — ‘Please Leave a Message’
By Gary Chalk
It all began awhile ago when I asked Jan to call me on our home phone.
“Gary, why would I call our home phone to talk with you when I am in our house, and you are standing right beside me?”
“Dear, I changed our voicemail message on our landline phone and I’d like you to listen to it.”
Jan shrugged, shook her shoulders, and called.
“Hi. You have reached Jan and Gary. Please listen carefully as many of our extensions have recently changed.”
That’s as far as Jan got. She slammed the receiver down mumbling something about, “Gary we don’t have any telephone extensions so for the life of me how can they change?”
I explained that it seems whenever I make a telephone call I get a recorded message that says their extensions have changed. “Jan, I am trying to make us sound like we are keeping up with the times when people call us. Callers expect to hear the extensions have changed.”
Back to the drawing board…
“Jan, I have recorded a different voicemail message. Maybe you will like this one better.”
When Jan called the telephone … Read the rest here
Living Retired — ‘120/80’
By Gary Chalk
I am a believer in preventative medicine. I have the complete collection of Suzanne Somers healthy living books. (I have actually read parts of them, but certainly looked at all the photographs.)
At the grocery store I keep up with all the latest food fads by reading the magazine covers standing in line at the checkout. Oprah is often prominently featured in these magazines. One issue she is showing how to lose weight and drop three dress sizes, another month telling readers to just be happy at whatever you weigh and your current dress size. Just saying…
My diet consists of mostly healthy foods such as sodium-reduced bacon, no salt-added tomato soup, 50% less sugar ice cream, and 48% less fat Swiss cheese slices. I eat Jan’s homemade rhubarb pie without the top crust, and I scrape the chocolate icing off my breakfast Pop Tarts. Oh, and I order nachos with light sour cream, and I drink Bud Light.
So, with my emphasis on personal health, I had a surprise when I went to the doctor for my annual checkup. It began while I was still in the waiting … Read the rest here
Living Retired — ‘The Pee Factor’
By Gary Chalk.
This weeks Living Retired column is titled ‘The Pee Factor.’ It should resonate with mature men — and for that matter, guys like me.
‘The Pee Factor’ is a three-prong problem that affects baby boomer men who, as we grow older, are known to:
1) pee more frequently,
2) after peeing forget to pull their pants zipper up, and,
3) forget to put the toilet lid down.
So, in other words ‘The Pee Factor’ is about the ups and downs of guys growing older!
Let’s address the first matter: the problem of the plethora of pee-ers. It is common knowledge that as men age, we tend to have to go to the bathroom more often.
“Jan I am quickly going to go to the bathroom one more time before we head over to Lew and Susans.”
“Didn’t you go when you got changed?”
“Yes, but that was ten minutes ago.”
Ten minutes later…
“Gary, we’d better turn the car around and go back home. I want to be sure I unplugged my curling iron.”
“Okay. I’ll also try to pee again.
The second issue with ‘The Pee … Read the rest here
Living Retired — ‘Hot Water’
By Gary Chalk.
Almost midnight. That is when Jan and I finally stumbled into our home. We had been crammed onboard an Air Canada plane for an 8-hour flight from Amsterdam — a flight that was delayed for 9-hours before it even took off. I dropped the luggage on the floor. We were bagged.
Jan and I have a routine when we return from vacation. Before you can say, ‘Samsonite three-piece carry-on set’ I drop the luggage inside the door and dash down to the basement to turn the water back on. While I do this, Jan answers the phone call from our security monitoring system demanding, “Identify yourself immediately. The police have been summoned.”
I yelled up from the basement, “Jan, tell them to have the police bring some hot water when they come.”
Jan called down from the top of the stairs, “I couldn’t hear you. You said something about telling the police we are in some kind of hot water?”
“I don’t know yet if we are in hot water, Dear. What I do know is we don’t have any hot water. I hope the other passengers on our plane aren’t in … Read the rest here
Living Retired — ‘Geiranger Norway’
By Gary Chalk
I am alone. But I am not lonely.
As I write, I am not lost for words. But I do struggle trying to find the right words. Norway affects me this way.
I am sitting at an outdoor cafe. It is lunchtime and I am sandwiched between magnificent mountains and a fabulous fjord. This corner of paradise is perhaps 500 feet from fjord to mountainside.
I am surrounded not by large television screens blasting todays ‘Breaking News’, but rather real Norway nature: people quietly kayaking; speeding in rigid inflatable boats; and hiking mountainside trails adjacent to tumbling waterfalls. Some couples rent tiny 2-person ‘talking cars’ — imagine a Smart car but driver and passenger seated one in front of each other. Plug in your iPhone for navigation and away you go exploring!
Jan is on an afternoon visit to Herdal Farm — Norway’s longest operating farm (350 years) high up in the mountains. Travelling Eagle Road her bus will maneuver 11 hairpin turns — stopping for photo ops, and Gravol tastings! She will pass through snow patches to reach the farm fields of apricots and goats. There, everyone will savour fresh goat … Read the rest here