Tag Archives: senior

Attack Turkeys

Angry Birds!

With Thanksgiving only weeks away, turkeys have gone on the offensive: in Ocean County, New Jersey a large, angry mob of turkeys has started aggressively terrorizing a 55+ retirement community! While this seems to be the current epicenter of the hostilities, we can only wonder how long it will be before it spreads to other vulnerable sectors. My own elderly father lives in a similar community in Texas, naively thinking his biggest concern is whether they’ll run out of scotch during the resident happy hour, while at any moment, he could be under siege by wild, gobbling attackers!

I’d like to say I’m making this up, but as the hard-core, real-news journalist that I am <cough, snort>, I’m obligated to tell most of the truth as I see it. While the flock, led by a number of Tom’s weighing up to 25 pounds (without stuffing), has yet to put forth a spokesman (spokesbird?), it is assumed that these acts of aggression are a response to perceived turkey hate groups like AllRecipes.com and Butterball. Animal rights organizations, however, have yet to issue statements beyond the usual, “Don’t Eat Animals.”

According to first-hand witnesses in New Jersey, the turkey terrorists have been seen chasing down residents, which hardly seem like a fair fight when you consider turkeys can run 25-miles per hour while the average 55-year old woman can barely run faster than 4-miles per hour after coffee and a nap. The fiendish flock has also formed barricades against traffic and perched menacingly on rooftops to swoop down on the unsuspecting Medicare recipients.

MLB right-handed third baseman Todd Frazier has even put in a plea to the New Jersey governor to take action after his cars were attacked and his family members threatened. While it doesn’t seem that the National Guard or state militia have been activated, it was pointed out that state animal control cannot intervene with the rogue turkeys because they’re considered wildlife.

This is a food fight with the food fighting back. Therefore, it’s up to the locals to take matters into their own oven-mitted hands. Rise up, oh retirees! Preheat your ovens! Grab your pitchforks and basters and get ready to storm the ramparts! Show them you’re done talking turkey and put an end to the foul play!

Look for updates as they become available or when the red button pops up.

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And Then There Were None

Jean___Thomas2Mom and Tom2In just a few days, my tenure as a grade-school parent ends. Despite those times when we just weren’t sure if it would really happen, my youngest son will graduate from high school – We hope. Although, there is still time. Not until I actually hear his name called and the diploma put in his hand, will I breathe. That’s the same time his counselor will stop eating Valium like LifeSavers, the principal will stop considering a career change, and his first period teacher will look up and think, “Oh! That’s who that kid is. His face isn’t familiar.”

I’ve always said he is the child my parents wished upon me. This is the kid that would have qualified us for the elite Navy Seals special ops supreme command of Parenthood if such a thing existed. He has made us battle ready for any level of mischief, mishap, or outrageous improbability. While they say it takes a village to raise a child, I disagree. In this case, it takes a village, a fully functioning medical/surgical facility, an offshore bank, several high level negotiators, a contact at the United Nations, a building permit, and friends with “connections.”

Then just about the time I think I’m on the top of my parenthood game, he’s leaving. He never listened when I told him to clean the bathroom, wash denim separately, or mow the lawn. But when I told him to dream big and chase after it, he listened to that! I pushed him to take harder classes and do his homework on time. Of course, he never did that. But when I push him to be independent, smart and self-sufficient, he’s all over it. What the heck?!

So it seems I have worked myself out of a job — a job with rotten pay, long hours and amazing benefits. It’s a job I have loved more than anything else and one I must have done right. The last little bird in the nest is spreading huge, strong, powerful wings that will let him soar to places beyond what either of us could have dreamed.

And just as he did when he marched off to Kindergarten, he’s not looking back. If he did, he’d see the endless pride on my face and my heart in my hands. He’s going to be great! And I’ll be okay, too.

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So You Wanna Go to College

collegeThere are a lot of things you learn as the parent of a high school senior. Mostly you learn just how stupid you are, but that’s been building in varying degrees since the kid developed cognitive reasoning skills, right? Nothing, though, shows exactly how dumb you probably are quite like your child deciding to go to college. Who knew it requires a college degree just to fill out the college application?

(This is where I start sounding like my dad.) “Back in my day…” it wasn’t this complicated to apply for college. I filled out a paper form front and back in ink, then stapled a piece of notebook paper to it where I’d answered some random essay question. It was probably the same question that every Miss America winner answered for the past 40 years, and it required saying something about world peace, saving pandas, and the importance of dietary fiber.

Now you have to write seven short novelettes that deeply explore the workings of your subconscious mind, prove that you’ve mastered Chinese algebra, and demonstrate your capabilities for leading a Marine combat unit. Oh, and they must be written in the ancient Aramaic language and professionally bound and published.

Don’t wait until the last minute to start this process either. If your child is past the third grade, you’re behind. By that point, you need to be pushing little Johnny into professional sports and performance art. If your child has not solved the world’s dependence on fossil fuels by age 8, just know you’re in the college application loser pile. It’s not really an “early acceptance letter” unless the student receives it before the start of middle school. Naturally, your student has to have a 28.9 GPA on a 4.0 scale and be ranked in the top 0.00094 percentile of their graduating class. Never be afraid to administer some Tonya Harding tactics to move into medal contention if there’s ever any doubt. Then follow up with written recommendations from Gandhi, newly sainted Mother Teresa, and Harambe the Gorilla.

If I had to apply for college now with the way I looked when I graduated from high school then, I’m not even sure I would be accepted at Tulsa Typing School or the Iowa College for Deaf Musicians.  Let’s hope getting through college these days isn’t nearly as hard as just getting in.

(photo credit: explodingDog)

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And at my age…

old_lady-1So I had another birthday. It seems they come at me a little faster each year. I’m not complaining, because it’s better than not having them show up at all ever again. My dad is quick to point out that years are like toilet paper: the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes. I think I still have a few more squares left on my roll, but I’ll admit I’m no spring chicken. I’m not even sure I’m a summer chicken anymore, for that matter. Regardless, I am now at an age where there are a few things I just will no longer do.

I will no longer worry about my vanity. I’m not too proud to ask for my senior discount. Over 50? Oh yes, ma’am! Give me that additional 10% off. I was recently at a little community concert and asked for a senior ticket. The woman selling them squinted her eyes, tipped her head back to scrutinize me through her bifocals, and said it was only for those over 50. HA! I whipped out my driver’s license (it has a little piece of scotch tape folded over the end so I can get it out quickly – that’s what you do when you’re over 50) and told her to read it and weep. Or I could read it for her since it wasn’t in big print. Now give me the $3 off, sister!

I will no longer drive a vehicle that can accommodate two kids, their friends, their sports gear, enough groceries for a tribe of indigenous people, and has the option for video screens in the back. Not that I would ever have video screens in my mom-mobile anyway.  “Quit crying kiddies and look out the window. That’s called life out there.” I now drive something small and sporty with seat warmers and a sunroof. My youngest son cannot possibly fit in the back seat, and I’m okay with that. He can drive himself in my cast-off, video-free, mom-mobile because every teenager should drive the family car at some point in their life. It builds character. I drove a ’72 Pontiac Bonneville. It was two-tone: light blue and rust. I’m a better person for it.

I will no longer make friends based solely on my children’s activities. I’ve met great friends sitting on bleachers, but at this point, I want more than physical proximity and a shared hatred for team fundraisers. It’s what happens when you hit 50+. So, yeah, Happy Birthday to me!

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No Do-Overs

010In just a few shockingly short days, my oldest son will graduate from high school. It brings on a spin cycle of emotions and memories and moments when I’m not sure I can breathe. Throughout the run up to this major life event, I have learned a few key things that might be helpful to others who are in the same boat or see the boat pulling into the harbor in the next few years. If this is a been-there-done-that for you, see if you don’t back me up on this.

First of all, if you’ve never been involved in community theater, do that now. You’re going to have to learn to be an actor. For example, you’ll need to act like you’re not having your heart scooped out of your chest with a grapefruit spoon all the time – last school dance, last birthday at home, graduation ceremonies, college acceptance letters. You have to act convincingly like you’re really ok with this black hole vacancy that’s going to move in when your baby moves out.

Consider magician as your new career field. It’ll come in handy when you need to magically produce cash for prom, grad night parties, announcements, dorm deposits, tuition payments, and, oh by the way, “I outgrew my dress clothes last week” so throw in a new suit and shoes. Magician Mom will benefit from a little mind reading to know when this young adult is feeling more adult or a little too young for such a big world. Not to mention, you’re the one who will magically make all the details of this transition happen because your soon-to-be-graduate is far too caught up in finals, friends and fun.

Then, prepare to be baffled. I’m constantly baffled at how we went from chicken nuggets and nap time to charging off to conquer the world in just a few minutes. It was only minutes, right? And why is that as soon as they start becoming these really cool people that you actually want to be around, they leave? Why don’t they go off to college when they’re teething or colicky or in that horrible hormonal stage that renders them unrecognizable? Just when you’ve gotten them turned into great people, they move out.

Is it too late to rethink raising that baby into a strong, intelligent, independent young man who is ready to spread his wings and fly? Probably no do-overs at this point, huh? Then all I can do is hold my breath and watch him soar! Go get ’em. Jack!

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