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Posts Tagged ‘seniors’

Yep, I’ve done it again – partied for a week.  This indulgence all started with my 80th birthday back in 2006. Some of you will remember a three-day party at a beach house near where I live.  It was such a smashing success that we can’t help but trying to replay it.

That year, on my actual birthday, we all dressed up and went to the Mendocino Hotel for a no host party. In other words, the whole event was Dutch Treat. Everybody bought their own drinks. Whenever anyone got hungry they ordered from an adequate bar menu and somebody brought it to their table. No getting ready for a party. No cleaning up after a party. Just being together.

So we did that again this year on my actual birthday, March 22nd. Since friends started arriving in town four days before that, and kept coming and going for days, the hotel gathering was very small but it was wonderful. I had TWO martinis, just to see if I could, and came home feeling that this really is the best way to “throw a party”.

I thought that that was it … but no.  When I went to work Thursday there was this gigantic cake (about 2 x 3 feet in actual size) and I learned that all the local Realtors had been invited to an Open House for ME. And on and on until Sunday night. Sunday afternoon I made my first appearance at a local bookstore and read from “Getting Lucky at Eighty” and then my buddy Michelle took me out to supper.

Monday I stayed home all day and slept.

Frankly, I was much happier being 84 than I am being 85. Silly as that sounds, I really mean it. Aren’t we wierd creatures though?  At 45 I felt sad that I was not who and where I wanted to be. By 60, I’d found me and took this “vow”. I will prefece every decision with: If I knew that I only had one year to live, would I do this?

I recommend that you adopt that habit no matter how old you are. It has saved me from all but two major decisions … when I forgot to ask my self the question .

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It’s that time of year again. It always makes me sick.

Every year on November 15 th a six-week-long window opens when older folks can change our current insurance plans. We have to do it before December 31st or IT’S TOO LATE.  (Sound a little like Big Brother?)  This year I think that’s actually pretty funny!

The greatest genius among us seniors has no idea what insurance we have already, leave alone what we’ll have by January 1. We’ve been manipulated, people. We’ve been led to believe that you HAVE to have Prescription Drug Insurance, for example. You don’t. It’s an option. It’s always been an option. (Big Brother?) If you don’t WANT it, call and cancel it, NOW.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty fed-up with a few insurance companies and all pharmaceutical companies having us by the “short hairs” as the crude saying goes. This is not what Medicare was supposed to be. My parents had the Medicare that was supposed to be.

They got sick; they went to the hospital; Medicare picked up the bill. Yes, ALL of the bill. No paperwork, no claims, no question.

How can we have come so far from that original Medicare plan? Well, I’m afraid that we’ve attracted some PARASITES along the way. There is no other word for the insurance companies and pharmaceuticals who are blackmailing the good ole U.S.A. and having their way with the senior citizens of America.

They say that these special interest groups are spending one and a half million dollars a month paying filibusterers in order to maintain their control over America. If that’s not the dreaded “Big Brother,” I don’t know what would be.

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I have to tell you that hunkering down around here is almost a joke compared to other places I’ve lived: Montana, Alaska, even Kansas and Oklahoma. More than anything else, a local storm warning around here makes me feel more grateful that I have been “delivered” to this mild climate for my golden years.

Our worst weather would be a winter rain storm, those only in the winter, and the worst of them would mean being without power for a few days. Three days without a shower does test your sense of humor. But it never gets too hot or too cold for comfort on the coast. Of course, there is wind. We’re right next to the Pacific Ocean.

For the most part though, we just hear of horrendous weather elsewhere and feel a little guilty that we have it so good. Today was a perfect example. Heavy storm warnings, so great that friends offered to pick me up and take me to their generator equipped home, I filled vessels with extra water (toilets don’t flush without power) and I’ve even known the stores to run out of bottled water.

This warning, once again, turned out to be the kind of rainfall you’d call a soaking rain. Gentle, occasional, not asking any more of us than to wait a few minutes to “take out the trash” or “make a dash for the post office.” Strange as it sounds, I swear that it usually rains at night on the coast. In fifteen years here, I have yet to get soaking wet … well, there was an exception.

I still practice real estate because I love it and I can’t quit. One day I showed property, two units in town, in a pouring rain. Both my client and I got soaked. That particular day did not offer the “breather” between downpours. No, no sale came out of that one. Very, very few property showings result in a sale. So you gotta love it. And I do.

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This is all so completely new to me and so out of my “territory,” I can’t believe that I’ve actually missed blogging for the last few days. But I have. And that’s that. I’ve been unreasonably busy at other things, mostly fun things, but also accomplishing a great deal.

For several years of my life, I came home to somebody to talk to, to share the day’s events with. That’s been missing in my life for decades now and somehow, crazy as it seems, being connected to the rest of humanity with this blog sort of replaces “someone to come home to.”

It’s OK to laugh or to think I’m weird. This is NOT what I expected from the  internet a few years ago when I toyed with the possibilities of this new “gadget” in my living room and where it might lead. It was quite evident to me, from the very beginning, that the internet held the possibility of bringing about “the brotherhood of man”, a method of connecting so easily that we would accidentally stumble upon the fact that we’re all more alike than we are different.

That it should happen this quickly and this easily comes as a complete surprise to me. It gives me one more reason, possible the best reason of all, to be grateful that I have been allowed to live this long and still be independent, resourceful and comfortable.

I hope the day will come when all of my fellow human beings will know what I mean by that.

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Every Tuesday evening the local bridge club meets for a friendly competition. It is competitive because duplicate bridge just is. It’s also a pretty good measure of your skill because other tables of players play the exact same hands that you play. A record is kept. My partner is one of those younger men in my life and we play to have fun, not to win. We’re always pretty much in the middle as to scores. I feel so lucky to have Gary for my partner. He’s really special.

Because I got there a little late last Tuesday night, I had to park all the way across the paved parking lot from the entrance.  When the game was over, it was dark and having to walk that expanse of black under-footing to get back to my car was a bit daunting.  I jokingly stood at the curb and called to my Sebring to come to me.

It got a couple of chuckles, but no car.  And then this lovely woman offered to go get my car and bring it to me.  She actually meant it and believe me, I didn’t hesitate for one moment to take her up on her offer.

For an independent ole girl like me who spent most of her life unable to ask for help, I always have to smile at how welcome help can be.  It’s one of the little treats that comes with being over eighty.  You can no longer deny that you could use a little help.  Sometimes more than a little help.

People like to help other people. How come I didn’t know that? How selfish of me to deny others the satisfaction of helping me all those years.

I don’t know about this karma thing, but I do have to ask myself,  “How come”? For example, do you think it’s possible that for every mile I walked faster than anybody else on the street, I now get to walk a mile at a snail’s pace–lagging behind everybody else? My mind is still way out front there, putting everybody else to shame, but my body rebels in such a way that I really can’t argue with it.

I’m sure that if they hadn’t slowed me down, I’d be dead by now.

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Nowhere is it written that you have to go to a doctor. It’s never been mandatory; it’s a choice that we make. People have lived to a ripe old age who have never been in a doctor’s office. I have to admit that for me, life would have ended at 30, at 50, and again at 76 except for a doctor’s intervention and immediate surgery.

But because it is my choice to go to a doctor in the first place, I wonder why I have the right to sue the doctor should he/she do a less than perfect job? Law suits are, after all, at the root of today’s exhorbitant medical costs. I knew a Japanese gardener who was married to a doctor. His entire earnings for all that hard work barely paid his wife’s malpractice insurance each month.

Maybe suing a doctor should be limited to getting a refund for  the actual expenses incurred instead of expecting to “never have to work another day.” Maybe it’s time for us all to start living a little more responsibly, to stop mistreating our bodies and looking to doctors to fix it.

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