You Win Some; You Lose Some

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available by clicking here Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

stamp-photo

We’ve just come through a grueling, national election. I won’t even attempt to grapple with people’s feelings if their chosen side didn’t win. Some are taking it in stride while others are out demonstrating. They are angry, down, refusing to accept it, and unable to move on. That can be extrapolated to everyday life.

How do you handle it when things don’t go right? If you’re like me, it bums you out. You try to reason with yourself, but somehow the rest of the day just sucks. I experienced two events within the past year, both involving my car, that are illustrations:

My Example 1:

The first time I ventured into “the city” near my new home in the suburbs, I got involved in rush hour traffic and was forced onto a toll bridge not even knowing it was a bridge. Where I had lived all my life before my recent move, we didn’t have toll roads or bridges.

I didn’t know where I was nor how to get off. I cruised along in the outer lane, ignoring the booths several lanes to the left with all the cars lined up which I noticed out of the corner of my eye. After all, my lane was doing fine. Three miles later, I was able to turn around and return without incident.

That night, my son explained to me what had happened. I was on a bridge driving solo in the car pool lane and hadn’t paid the toll. I could expect a ticket in the mail.  Bummer!

“I’ll go to court and fight it.”

“Yeah, sure, Mom.”

We did a little role playing:

Me: “Your honor, I’m new to this area and I didn’t know I was on a bridge and that I was supposed to pay.”

My son as the judge: “Ignorance of the law is no excuse, madam.”

Me: “Have some mercy, your honor. I’m just a sweet, little old lady (I become sweet and old in situations like this.)”

My son as the judge: “Just pay the fine and learn a lesson. NEXT.”

My Example 2:

Earlier this year, I hit, or should I say tapped, the car, or should I say pickup truck, in front of me while coming to a stop at a red light. Who knows how or why I did it? All I know is that I felt a thud and looked up to see myself flush with the vehicle ahead.

The driver and his passenger both got out and walked toward me. I got out to meet them. I knew it was going to go badly when the driver wagged his finger at me as though I was a wayward child.

My car had just two small chipped areas in the paint on the front bumper about three feet apart. His back bumper was twisted upward in the middle with my paint transfer far to each side of that area. He, of course, insisted the damage had not been there before, and that my car bumper must have forced each side of his bumper to move toward the center. Did I mention that my bumper is plastic and his is metal?

The driver appeared to be approximately late-fifties and in good condition. His well-built, muscular passenger appeared to be in his twenties. Their pickup truck had one of those tool boxes stretching across the truck bed from one side to the other. I concluded that they performed labor of some sort and were in good physical condition. I was not hurt, and they were talking and walking around with gusto which suggested to me that they, too, were not hurt. Silly me!

Jumping forward, my insurance company bought their stories that their vehicle bumper damage was caused by my car, and that both the driver and passenger were injured. Over my protestations, they paid the two men a total of $11,000 for their injuries and paid for the damaged bumper on their  truck. It was cheaper to pay the nuisance value of the claim than to fight it in court. That is how insurance companies function. The fallout to me is that I lost my good driver discount.

Ah, yes, you win some and you lose some. The above are just two small examples of the latter. When things like that happen, the only salvation is to focus on the former. Thank God, we do win some. Let’s be grateful for that. They could all be losers, you know.

 ***

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

I Am Not an Aquarian!

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available at Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

my-shoesI was on my way from my car to a store last week when I noticed a woman walking next to me in the parking lot. She pointed to my shoes and said, “Oh, you have those new arch support tennis shoes. I saw them on television.”

“Oh no, these are quite old. They’re nothing special.”

“Yeah, those are the ones. They’ve got arches built into them.”

I went on to explain, “Well, I wear orthotics, so I don’t depend on arches in the shoes even if there are any.”

“Yeah, they have great arch supports, and they have those little springs in them,” she insisted.

“No, I don’t think they have any springs in them.”

That’s when she torpedoed me with, “Geez, you must be an Aquarian. You argue about everything.”

I could feel my temper rising. I wanted her to know that I am not an Aquarian. I wanted to argue about the fact that I do not argue about everything.

The whole thing suddenly became silly. Was I going to get into a cat fight over my old tennis shoes? This was a total stranger who obviously had her own agenda. I did not start talking to her; she started talking to me. She was convinced that she was right about her assessment of my shoes, and nothing was going to change her mind. She, also, knew she was right about my being an argumentative type, apparently like those born between January 20 and February 18, who, she was certain, argue about everything. She failed to see her own role in our escalating discussion. I’m guessing that this was not a new situation for her.

I know very little about the Signs of the Zodiac including my own which happens to be Capricorn if anyone is interested. I don’t believe that what month, day, time, moon phase, etc. during which you were born has anything to do with your personality. I, also, don’t believe that all those of the Aquarian persuasion argue about everything. I’m sure there are nice, pleasant Aquarians and not so nice ones as there are for every other Zodiac sign.

The point here is: What do you do when you find yourself in a situation where a stranger manages to insult you within five minutes of meeting them?  There is not an easy answer. You feel your face flush and you want to defend yourself.

Try to step back and realize how ridiculous the whole thing is. You’re not going to dissuade your attacker from their conviction. Why waste your time and energy trying to do so? The best course of action is to concede the point graciously and get away ASAP. You know you’re right, and it doesn’t matter whether they know it or not, especially if you’re an Aquarian.

 ***

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Respecting the Priorities of Others

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available at Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

lampshades We all have our priorities. Why can’t lampshades be someone’s? I met that someone recently when I was shopping for the item in question.

I was wandering through a local shopping mall and strolled into a store that sold exclusively lamps and lampshades. The threshold tripped the bell in back whereupon a man I presumed to be the store owner emerged and asked the standard shopkeeper question: May I help you? I explained that I was looking for shades for a few table lamps. That was his cue.

The man proceeded to educate me about lampshades and their importance in my life, a subject about which I had given very little thought. He made it clear that he was an expert in the field and, according to him, choosing the proper lampshade “is the most important decision you’ll have to make.” I never knew that, and I pondered over it for the appropriate period of time to satisfy him.

Together, we surveyed the store’s offerings as my host explained each shade’s details to me. One had to consider proportion, material, light emitted or blocked, price, color, and more. However, I had made a grave error. I had not brought my shadeless lamps with me for a proper fitting. I was embarrassed by my error and begged forgiveness. He succumbed, but only after I agreed to bring said objects the next time I came looking for their toppings.

After my guide told me he had been in the lampshade business for over thirty years, I understood his perspective. We all think that what we are doing is the most important, urgent, relevant pursuit there is. Although someone else’s passion may be totally different than ours, and even something that seems silly to us, can we not respect other points of view? After all, it may be something they have spent decades pursuing and perfecting, and who are we to decide that it has little or no relevance?

I’ve always treated lampshades as simply decorative filters for the lights I need in my home. However, to this man they were his field of expertise, just as doctors, lawyers, etc. have theirs, and it was refreshing to see him taking pride in his work. Lampshades were the vehicle to put food on his table and provide shelter from the elements. What’s wrong with that?

Perhaps we can respect differences of opinion, priority, or emphasis even though we don’t adopt them as our own? Although my focus in life is not lampshades, or least it didn’t used to be, who’s to say that what I deem most important needs to be so for others? Let’s accept, appreciate, and acknowledge that lampshades et al may be compelling and significant in the life of another? It makes bumping up against each other in a crowded society just a bit easier.

***

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

8 Comments

Filed under aging gracefully, Uncategorized

Don’t Squander Your Complaint Quota

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available at Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

two-girls

Complaining—ah, we all love to do it.  Some do it very little, and others more so. Then, there are those who have honed it to an art form. They seem to complain frequently and obsessively. This constant default position can render their targets weary, ditsy, spaced out, and generally down.

It’s hard to confront the expert complainers about their behavior, because their logical comeback is, “well, you complain, too.” How do you get it across that it is a matter of degree, and who sets the rules on where the line has been crossed? That’s a tough one. Who am I to say that my amount of complaining is correct but yours is not?

To solve this conundrum, I’ve developed a philosophy that works for me; feel free to use it.  It goes like this: we are all born with a given amount of complaints available to us, sort of like a woman is born with a given amount of eggs that she ovulates monthly until they are used up. Some people spread out their allotment of complaints over their lifetime while others use them up long before the inevitable final bell.

Once you deplete your allotment of complaints, you cannot complain anymore. If you try to do so, those of us on the receiving end are justified in simply walking away, hanging up the phone, or otherwise ignoring you. You may get mad, posture, yell and scream, profess you don’t understand, and all other manner of push back, but that’s it—no more complaints from you.

So folks, and especially the serial complainers, guard, hoard, and care for your allotment of complaints. It is not infinite.

***

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/astrid/14570404716/”>AstridWestvang</a&gt; via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/photos/people-images/”>VisualHunt</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>CC BY-NC-ND</a>

7 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Drama Kings and Queens

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available at Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

king-queen-cardsDo you have someone in your life who is a drama king or queen?  Are you one? You know the type. They always seem to have a crisis, event, happening, etc. that is the most urgent, horrible, fantastic, important (add your own adjective) thing in the world. If their current focus is on solving their problem du jour, preferably with your help, angst, time and attention, once it is over, a new one usually pops up. What’s going on?

Everyone wants attention; it is normal. We take steps to achieve it such as talking about interesting things, excelling at something, etc. However, many people with drama king/queen traits hunger for attention and never seem to get enough to satisfy them. To that end, they have figured out how well it works to be hyper-vigilant about a multitude of matters. The logical segue, of course, is to make a big deal about the goings-on in their life to anyone who will listen and jump into the fray. They are drawn to those who will play the game. Their approach can be to an individual or group and often starts with openings such as: “I really need your advice on this,” or “Let me tell you what happened to me today (yesterday, last night, week, year, century, etc).”

Are you tired of being sucked into this type of interaction? If so, how do you protect yourself from the ravages of being on the receiving end of someone else’s hyped-up drama? It’s hard, especially if that someone is significant in your life such as a spouse, child, parent, co-worker, boss, etc. However, playing the co-dependent doesn’t help them or you.

Here is one approach: when the next performance starts and becomes too much to bear, make an excuse to get out of their presence. Feel free to use the following phrases and add to them:

  1.  “Excuse me, but I have to go to the bathroom.”  (Positioning yourself as having weak bladder and/or bowel control is a convenient deflector.)
  2. “Oh, I have to rush off now to get to my appointment with my doctor (dentist, therapist, dog groomer, astrologer, guru, your service professional of choice).”

Remember, it’s only fun being a drama king/queen if you have an audience.

***

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Learning the Ropes

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available at Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Subway Train

This is a continuation of my three previous blogs about moving from my house of forty-five years:

In my new life, I am striving to drive an automobile less often. Having previously lived in Los Angeles since childhood, I drove my car everywhere. Yes, there is public transportation available there, but because of that city’s greater distances and its being a commuter way of life, the majority of people drive. I’m sick of driving, of fighting rush hour traffic, of the stress of trying not to kill myself or others as I speed along, a lone driver leaving a carbon footprint that could be shared by many as a gentler impact on our stressed planet. So, yes, I’m learning to use public transportation.

I braved the local subway yesterday for the first time armed with my senior pass. Even applying for it was one of many in a very long list of new learning curves. I entered the train, positioned myself directly in front of the map on the wall, and compared it with the plans I had sketched out before beginning the undertaking. As the train stopped at each station, I peeked out of the open door and read the station sign to be sure I was where I thought I was. No one else was doing so. They all seemed comfortable with where they were located in space.

What a strange experience sharing a car with multitudes, most engrossed with their IT devices. I saw young professional types dressed in power suits presumably on their way to important business activities. I saw backpack wearers, some with predictable bicycles which they leaned against a railing installed for such gear. I saw mothers with their children, twosomes or threesomes engaged in chitchat, and homeless or almost homeless.

Mass public transportation seems to have its own protocol and mores, just like most activities. I was fascinated by a woman who entered the car wearing a spaghetti strap, camisole shirt. She seated herself, opened her purse, pulled out a small jar, and balanced it on her knee. Then, using a fingertip, she scooped out a dab of the glop it contained and applied it to one armpit, switched hands, and did the same to the other one. All this was accomplished without missing a beat of her ongoing cellphone conversation. And to think I’ve always been timid about putting on lipstick with strangers nearby.

Once I realized that it was acceptable to groom oneself on public transportation, I took out the only thing I had to compete with her: a nail file. For the rest of the trip, I gave myself a manicure sans nail polish. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t have to obey the hands-free rule. Next time I ride the metro, I might just arrive in my pajamas tugging my daytime garb along in a rolling suitcase. I’m sure it won’t faze the other passengers as I change my clothes since most of them have their heads buried in their cell phones anyway.

***

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/53255320@N07/4920904305/”>16:9clue</a&gt; via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com”>Visual hunt</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>CC BY</a>

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Settling In

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lectures on this subject are titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available at http://Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Leaning agnst Moving Van 7-'16

This is a continuation of my two previous blogs about moving from my house of forty-five years:

I arrived at my new, empty condo and settled down for the night on a mat on the floor which I’d brought tied to the top of my car. To put a positive spin on a bleak experience, I chose to view it as camping out complete with dinner by flashlight.

The moving van arrived with my furniture the next day. Aside from some minor damage to a few things, most of my belongings were intact.

It’s strange to accept that this is my new home and not just a vacation rental—temporary digs until returning to my real life. It’s strange to realize that there are new people living in my old house now. They are cooking in my kitchen, showering in my bathroom, storing their possessions in my closets, and generally displacing me. Will my old house remember me and all the years I spent painting her, repairing her, gentling her as she broke down?  We aged together, my old house and I, our parts wearing out and needing fixing.

My condo is becoming a home. It’s an adjustment, but I’m slowly personalizing it. I’ve installed my own furniture, tchotchkes, and even some beloved plants which accompanied me in my car, gently covered to shade them from the harsh sun. Pictures and other touches brought from my former life to make me feel comfortable are coming out of boxes. Oh, the boxes—daunting as they stare at me, tease me. They are slowly disappearing as I tackle them, sift through their contents I so carefully packed, rediscover my possessions, and make decisions where to install them.

I’m arranging, rearranging, and learning how things work. There are so many decisions to make—big ones, small ones, and all sizes in between. Where’s the light switch? Okay, I found it. Now, how do I turn it on? In my new abode, the refrigerator opens on the opposite side from my old one. My kitchen sink is a double like before, but the garbage disposal is on the right, not on the left—grrrr. I concentrate hard on everything; nothing comes automatically—tiring, very tiring. I need a vacation from decision making.

There are lots of problems to solve: the toilet that leaks when flushed, the air conditioning that doesn’t properly condition the air to name a few. Yes, my home warranty covers them.  But, it still means I have to figure out who to call, be there for an appointment, live with the problem until the problem solver arrives, etc. I remind myself that they are only bumps in the road—first world problems as I’ve blogged about before.

My son mentioned how unsettling it felt when he called my old telephone number, the only land line he ever knew for me, to find a mechanical voice referral to another number. I’ve spent hours on that new phone calling all the enterprises that define my life: credit card companies, insurance companies, utilities, my HMO, and on and on, to inform them of this major, traumatic change in my life and to give them my new address. Oddly, they were only interested in the latter.

I’m making almost daily trips to such establishments as Target; Bed, Bath and Beyond; hardware stores and the like to purchase anew the things I left behind and, of course, now need.

Deer from my Condo

On the flip side, I love my new condo; it’s everything I wanted. Deer and wild turkeys stroll through my backyard from time to time, and I watch them from my office window. I can’t get enough of that.

Wild turkey w chick 7-'16

Wild Turkey & Chick

My son  came over with his tools to help me set up a few things. This is the first time I have lived close to him since he left for college twenty-five years ago. He’s coming over again next weekend to do  more and just generally hang out. He’ll bring over his wife and children soon so everyone can see grandma’s new place.

My neighbor stopped over a few days ago to introduce herself and bring me a box of candy and a sweet note. Friends I made when I rented for a few months in this community last year to try it on for size have reached out to me and are eager to reconnect.  It makes me feel welcome, like coming home again—back in a comfort zone.

I have downsized and aim for a slower, less stressful life. I love it here and don’t regret my move. Yes, this was the right decision for me. It’s hard to admit when something has run its course. We hang on, hoping to return to a time of contentment, refusing to admit that “you can’t go home again.” Change is frightening, but we must forge on when life gets stale. It’s calming and soothing when you know you’ve gotten it right.

***

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

 

 

 

 

10 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized