Category Archives: Humorous Column

Caught in the wringer

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It was that time of year again. The time of year where I think of peaceful, restful, happy scenes like the one pictured…and make my annual appointment for a physical.

I don’t think there is a human being alive who doesn’t recognize the importance of an annual checkup of our physical health. Nor is there a human being alive who doesn’t wish with all their soul they can avoid it. But, if we are dutiful, we call for an appointment and think happy thoughts about peaceful places that are nowhere near a medical facility.

I don’t know why it’s so difficult. Perhaps it’s the attractive gown they give you to wear while they check you out. Nothing makes one feel as vulnerable as a gown the texture of a dishtowel, covered in faded designs, which is completely open down the back. Then you get to sit on a table covered in paper, which tends to stick to the portion of your anatomy that isn’t covered by the gown.

They begin with ten thousand questions, personal enough that you wouldn’t normally discuss them with a comparative stranger–Do you feel like hurting yourself? Can you count to ten? Can you follow my finger with your eyes?–you know the drill. And as much as I enjoy answering questions about my suicidal tendencies and the state of my bowels, I enjoy being poked and prodded even less.

Of course, they also sit you down and drain enough blood to make you wonder if they are working for Dracula, and then they squeeze your arm into a blood pressure cup as though they plan to remove the appendage by force–“Your blood pressure seems to be elevated, could it be that we have your arm strapped into an air-pressurized garrote that is shutting off the blood supply to everything above the shoulder?”

They save the real treat for last, however. Nothing that any exam provides for a woman is quite as delightful as the rigors of the mammogram. The late great humorist Erma Bombeck once said that for a woman to prepare herself for a mammogram, she must stand at the refrigerator door and slam it repeatedly on that most delicate part of the female anatomy, the breast.

I would never argue with my favorite writer, but I would have to say that Erma may have understated it. A mammogram is the real test of human endurance and there is no way to prepare for having the breast sandwiched between two plastic plates and squashed like bread dough under a rolling pin.

I’m always fascinated by the care and precision taken by the radiologist who conducts the test. While they have you in that machine, reluctant to move for fear of twisting off something crucial, they have all the precision and finesse of the photographer who took your wedding photos.

“Now, stand with your right arm up and your left shoulder dropped down. Put your chin on the top of the machine–that’s right, just stretch a little. Turn your body towards the machine and point your feet out to the left.”

And while you are standing there with your most delicate body part squashed into the merciless machine, your head impossibly high and your feet turned at an angle away from the body, they make the most ridiculous statement of all, “This will be easier if you just relax.” Once the picture is taken, they say, “Don’t move, I just want to check it.” This is a useless statement–until they release my breast from the machine, I’m not going to be going anywhere! I’ll just stand there, trying to visualize my happy place, but actually thinking about all the horror stories I’ve heard about things accidentally caught in those old wringer washers!

My physical is over for this year, and while I pick on the medical community, I truly do appreciate all they do to try and keep the human physiology in top operating form. All the same, it will take some hours of meditation on my calm and peaceful happy place before I set myself up for next year’s examination!

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A pass on the password

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My computer has finally gone too far. While this is not a picture of my computer, it captures the essence of my computer’s attitude (yes, my computer has an attitude). My computer is a nasty, smugly grinning monster who only knows three words: What’s the password?

For a person whose memory vaguely resembles a Swiss cheese, remembering passwords can be a real problem for me. Sometimes, I can remember passwords and account numbers and how to do math in my head. On other days–most days, I panic if someone asks for my birthdate!

Since the beginning of the password craze, I have had difficulty. What should I use for a password? I tried the standard my mother’s maiden name or my favorite Disney character, but apparently my mother’s maiden name is too easy to guess and too many people chose Cinderella! At one point, I was so frustrated, I even tried a profane word and received a morals lecture from a computer program!

Once we’ve actually come up with passwords, we’re not supposed to write them down! Right, I’m going to remember a password that is a mixture of numbers, upper and lower case letters and symbols in a random order. Is it the # before LJm2? or did some computer app force me to update it to something even more bizarre?

Don’t write them down, the computer experts (my children) say; someone might break into your house and find them. So, I tried to be inventive. I put them on sticky notes and put them under my good dishware in the china cupboard. I broke my best bowl because I was having trouble reading the password upside down and typing it in to my computer. So, I tried writing it on the inside of a meat paper wrapping in the freezer: Roy made hamburgers one night and there went the wrapping paper. Okay, so I need to remember them.

I solved this by not turning off my computer until some random article in a magazine guilted me into giving the computer a break and allowing for updates. I turned it off. Guess what? It needed passwords to turn back on! I remembered some of them; others, it let me change. The ones that really stymied me were mostly ones that my children helped me set up. So I sent out a frantic call: They’ve locked me out of Netflix, what is the password? I received a GIF of Jean Luc Picard shaking his head and holding his forehead.

Now, my children are usually very helpful. My daughters patiently go over the instructions time after time, but I can always tell they are impatient with their old mother – “No Mom, just press the button once; we don’t double click any more.” My older daughter and her husband are both slightly scoffing and the younger daughter bites her tongue a lot, I know. The most helpful of them all is my younger son-in-law. He’s truly a whiz and he does so much, but he has this look he gets when he’s trying to help me, that makes me suspect that he’s secretly screaming on the inside.

So, I’ve come up with a surefire method with passwords: I use one for everything and I’m going to share it with you now. My password for everything from now on is, I take a pass on passwords! Oh, but don’t tell anyone, okay? My daughters said it’s not good to give those passwords out! Thanks!

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The fly fixation

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In a field out there somewhere, there is a convocation of flies, having their end of summer conference. There are a lot them, floating around, fat, lazy and ready to make their winter plans.

The meeting will be called to order by Hal, a huge, experienced horsefly who has dodged many a flyswatter over the summer and has earned the respect of the rest of them by flying directly onto the potato salad at the Smiths’ barbecue and living to tell the tale!

But he has something more serious on his mind now than hysterical picnic-goers. “Men,” he begins solemnly and then catches the eye of some disgruntled females, “very well, fellow flies,” he amends, “it is time to get serious about where we are going to outlast the winter.”

“It’s useless,” moans Freida, a tattered fly who has seen more than her share of disappointed moments on the garbage pile. “I have all but shredded my wings trying to make it through some of these screens people put up on their windows. I can’t find a way inside.”

“Even if we can, those humans with flyswatters are cruel and relentless,” adds Harold, one of the smaller, more irritating flies whose specialty is flitting in people’s faces. “There is no place safe for a decent fly to hang out, either inside or out.”

“On the contrary,” Hal holds up a conciliatory wing, demanding the attention of the others. “I and my team have been doing extensive research and we have a place where we will be safe and well-fed for months to come.”

“Where!” exclaimed the other flies in excitement.

“It’s simple: the Fauth household. There are always holes in the screens because they have a cat, so entry is no problem.”

“A cat!” Freida screamed. “But they can be even worse than humans.”

“Not this cat,” Hal sneered. “It’s fat and lazy and doesn’t do a whole lot that requires work. She won’t bother us.”

“What about the humans,” Harold questioned, hope of flying into more human eyes growing in his breast. “Won’t they have flyswatters?”

“Oh, the best,” Hal responds. “But they can’t hit the broad side of a barn with them. We couldn’t be safer and I’m told it’s highly entertaining to watch them running around, slamming the flyswatters on counters and walls and ceiling without doing any damage to us at all.”

“I’ve heard about that place,” Freida said excitedly, then she sobered. “Oh, but I did hear that the Enderson hatchling was killed there. They must not always miss.”

“The Enderson fly was lost there,” Hal said somberly, “but he was young and cocky. He stayed too long on that Fauth woman’s foot, believing she couldn’t get him and unfortunately, she got lucky. But that’s the only one she’s taken out all year. This is the place, my fellow flies.”

“Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s get to the Fauth household!” Harold yelled, leading the way for the swarm to follow.

And that’s how it happened that my house has been invaded. I can only assume that it is a deliberate invasion because I can’t imagine any other way that every fly for a thousand miles has suddenly descended on my house. I hope the rest of you are having a fly-free week because they have definitely fixated on me!

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Clutter Creation

I always admire those people who are organized and neat. The people who have a place for everything and who put their things in their proper places after each use.

I admire these people, but under no circumstances will I ever become one. I have clutter in every corner of my house, from my bedroom closet, whose floor never sees the light of day…or the closet light, for that matter, all the way to the junk drawer in the kitchen that can only be closed by holding down the clutter inside and shoving hard with a hip (I have a permanent dent in my hip from this and I regularly slam my fingers in with the clutter, but that’s better than cleaning it.)

The worst clutter comes, however, to the table beside my chair. This table is where I put everything I might need in an evening’s entertainment. I regard it as a skill and a talent to find a way to put everything necessary on the table so that I don’t have to move at all once I have settled in for the evening.

It requires art and skill to get everything on this extremely small table. I must have my cold drink, which always sits on a coaster that is slightly tilted because it is sitting on embroidery thread and envelopes.

The embroidery thread takes up a great deal of the table right now as that is my current project. This is much better than when I am working with yarn and plastic canvas; however, right now the embroidery thread is wrapped around everything on the table and pulling it together in a jumbled mess, bringing scissors and used spoons and bobby pins into an awkward embrace.

Used dishes, empty wrappers from granola bars (okay, they are candy bars, but granola sounds better), and flyswatters are scattered around the edges of the table, hanging onto the few empty spots as thought their lives depend on it. If you figure that there are still some technology items that have to reside on the table as well, it means that my laptop and the remotes for television, DVD player, air conditioner, etc., are all sitting on top of the jangled mess beneath.

Of course, on top of that will be any books I am currently reading and that means that if I sleepily drop the book on top of the remotes or the laptop, I can set off a chain reaction which turns on the television, cranks up the volume and sends out some random e-mails, all with one blow.

My table reminds me vividly of my father’s workbench, which I remember as a child resembling a tool collection which had suffered a nuclear explosion. My father could always walk up to that jangle of hammers, grease guns and electrical appliances and choose exactly what he needed. My cousin, dismayed by the clutter, cleaned and organized it for him one summer and it was a year before my father could find things again.

That is my table. As long as I don’t clean or straighten it, I can unerringly locate the scissors under the envelopes and empty cans or that last cough drop tucked into a corner and sheltered by the computer. I shudder to think where I would look for that latch-hook that I never use or the scraps of paper that I can’t throw away because I might use them for notes, if I clean that table.

So, I simply tell myself that the table is my clutter creation….or maybe it’s just the clutter I created, but it works for me!

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My brief criminal career at “B and E”

There’s a beautiful house sitting on top of a hill on my regular route through the area. (It’s not the picture above, that’s just one from the internet to set the tone.) The house I am admiring went up several years ago and every time I pass it, I wonder about it…what it looks like inside, what the view is like.

I won’t be investigating that anytime soon, however, and it’s because it always brings back memories of my brief career as a criminal “B and E” man; I believe they call it–breaking and entering.

There was a house I admired a great deal when I lived up along the Missouri River some years ago. It also was a house on a hill; a big place that I just knew had a commanding view of the river and the bluffs beyond. I drove by that house and my mouth watered, thinking what it must look like inside, and then with a sigh, I would turn towards my little house with the tiny bedrooms and the commanding view of the neighbor’s trash racks. Ah, well, such is life.

Then the day came when I received a writing assignment to interview a person I didn’t know. I was to interview her at her home. I was given the address and since these were the days before GPS, I had to rely on somewhat more vague directions and my own abysmal navigating skills. “It’s a big house, sitting up on a hill east of town…you really can’t miss it. It’s the only white house on the north side of the road,” were my boss’s instructions.

Now, I want you to know that I really did listen to those instructions, but all I really heard was “big white house on the hill over the river.” Well, of course I couldn’t miss it…hadn’t I been admiring it for years???? I could not believe my luck. The story I needed to do wasn’t that exciting, but I was finally going to see inside the house on the hill. My excitement knew no bounds.

Although a set of detailed instructions was drawn out for me, I just crammed them in the camera bag without looking at them. I knew where the house was, obviously. I drove the rather complicated side road that led up to the front door, already admiring the view from outside and prepared to gush over the whole place when I finally got to meet my interviewee.

I knocked at the door and while I don’t know what I actually heard, I expected to hear, “Come in,” so that’s apparently what I thought I heard. Turning the door knob, I found the door unlocked and I went in. Walking down a long hallway, I emerged into an astonishing great room with windows all along the wall which faced the river. I had been right; it was beautiful! I stepped to the windows, with my back to the room and just drank in the sight.

I was on the verge of pulling out my camera, when a very brusque male voice behind me demanded, “What are you doing in my house?”

I turned around in some consternation: my interviewee was supposed to be an elderly woman. The man who stood in the doorway to another hallway was middle-aged and wearing a short robe and a very hostile expression.

Confused, I stammered, “I’m sorry. I am here to talk to”…and I gave the lady’s name.

“This isn’t her house,” he said, outraged. “She lives over there, on the north side of the road.” The north side. Oh, yeah, it was the north side I was supposed to go to; I remember now and of course, this was the south side, which meant that I….had broken and entered this understandably cranky man’s house. I was standing there, admiring the house and view after having illegally entered the premises!

A friend I told this story to said I should have tried to bluff my way through–“Yes, I’m conducting a survey. How do you feel having your home invaded while you were in the shower? You don’t like it? Okay…that’s one negative response.”

I was not that cool, however. I mumbled some sort of apology, stumbled back down the hall I had entered through and ran for my car before the man decided to call the police. I made it to the NORTH side of the road and conducted my interview with the sweet lady there who lived in a much less impressive house without a panoramic view and then I had to go back to work and explain to my boss that I might very shortly be arrested for breaking and entering.

Fortunately, everyone seemed to realize that it was a careless error on my part, but it has taught me a little bit about being so single-minded that I miss all the little clues that should maybe tell me I’m on the wrong path.

That’s why I’ll never see the inside of the beautiful house on the hill this time. My brief career as a “breaking and entering” criminal has dampened my enthusiasm for house touring. I’m better off if I just admire it from the road!

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Vocabulary quiz from hell

Or-Confessions of a twentieth century teacher teaching in a twenty-first century pandemic!

I am here to confess that I am about to commit a murder. The object of my slaughterous intentions is named Priscilla. Before anyone calls the police, Priscilla is the name I was forced to give my computer, because otherwise the students in my classroom thought I was yelling at them when I was actually venting it all on the technological bane of my existence.

I don’t ask much as a teacher, just some books, paper, pencil, maybe a blackboard? But over the years, it has slowly crept up on me that in order for this 20th century girl to survive in education, I have to learn something about those little impassive, Vulcan-like mazes with a keyboard and an attitude!

Very well; I sit through the computer training sessions, I listen to the techno-jargon, I scream a little inside, and eventually I learn enough about the current program to get by. And then do you know what happens? You guessed it! Some enterprising young mathematical and cyber wiz pipes up with, “Oh, you know how to do that? That’s obsolete; we have something much better now.”

Then, without so much as consulting me, a pandemic showed up. Can you believe it? It happened solely to make my life miserable, I’m sure. But it has forced a great deal of what a teacher does to go “remote.” “Remote teaching” is another term for “move over you 20th century dinosaur, there’s a new cyber-sheriff in town.” I took a computer class on remote classrooms and I learned about My Drives and One Drives and Google Drives and push button communication and scheduling meetings and posting assignments until I don’t know my Microsoft Teams from my Zooms…whatever happened to Skype, by the way? I understood Skype!

And that brings us to the vocabulary quiz from hell. I discovered that I could actually construct a multiple choice quiz on my online classroom and I was delighted…once I learned how to use it. Once the test was done, I was assured that it had automatically saved to My Drive. Then, I scheduled it to be posted for administration on Wednesday. It posted immediately.

NO, NO, NO Priscilla! I don’t want the kids to see it now! I want to schedule it for later! Where is the delete? Which button? Someplace is a delete! Ten minutes later, I finally hit delete, so it was no longer posted.

No problem, right? I can go to My Drive, where it’s saved and try to schedule it…not post it. Except I went to My Drive, and there was nothing there but a couple of empty files. No vocabulary test.

I wasn’t too unhappy; I probably inadvertently deleted it altogether. It happens, so hey, I re-wrote the multiple choice vocabulary quiz and tried again. I hit the button. NO NO NO, Priscilla! I wanted to schedule it, not post it now! I took another ten minutes to try and figure out a delete that didn’t wipe it out. I was unsuccessful, so another vocabulary quiz was sent into cyber-oblivion.

By the third test, my multiple choice answers were beginning to suffer. Option C: Who cares?, Option D: Priscilla sucks! I tried a third time to schedule and this time, nothing happened. Oh well, this one was saved in My Drive, I’ll go on. I put together some other quizzes and finally caught on to how I should schedule them to post later. Perfect! I’ll just go to my drive and get it and schedule it.

My drive did not have the Vocabulary Quiz from Hell. I don’t know exactly where it is, but I do know that I kind of hope it went back where it obviously came from. This 20th century teacher has taken My Drive on a trip around the bend! But only after I have murdered Priscilla!

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Staycations are stay-sucky

School began for me this week. The official end of another summer and as the kids trooped into the classroom, all decked out in their masks, thank goodness, the inevitable first question cropped up, “What did you do with your summer vacation Mrs. Fauth?”

This presented a problem, because usually I have some travel stories for them or some big parties or celebrations, etc. What could I tell them about this year’s vacation? “Well, children, mostly I stayed home and sprayed my groceries with bleach water.” I can’t tell them that, right?

They call it a “staycation.” This is a pleasant euphemism for, “I had no where to go, or no money to travel, or too much work to do, so I dressed it up by pretending that I wanted to stay home.”

I, of course, was helped in making the decision for a “staycation” this year by a little event called the pandemic. This did not stop everyone from traveling, but it did stop me because of my basic aversion to Covid 19. So, since cowardice was my guide, I was forced to find something positive about staying home all summer. I’m still looking!

What I discovered is that when you sit in your house for basically five months, you begin to have delusions. These delusions are that you think you have way more ambition and talent than you actually have. I kept walking down to the basement (my daily exercise) and eventually I got the bright idea to paint the floors. They had become so scratched! So, I dragged everything out of the rooms, rolled all of the floors with the special paint, and dragged everything back…thereby re-scratching all the spots that I had previously painted to hide the original scratches. My ambition is over it, now.

Judging from my back after that event, I soon became aware that this lovely little staycation might just kill me! After a week of sitting in a chair, convincing myself that I deserved a break and the chance to watch every episode of “Merlin” at once, I was beginning to try to jab flies with a fork (in lieu of King Arthur’s sword) and I decided I had better move on to something else, or else lose what mind I have left.

I organized all my pictures and that gave me a brilliant idea. I would catalog and journal about all of the previous vacations we had taken! After all, if I couldn’t go on a vacation, I could enjoy all the past ones, right? Unfortunately, the past ones have been so many, that they tend to run together and I never was very good with years, anyway. So after four fights with Roy over when we did what and what we saw when we were there, I abandoned the vacation memories book as the fast track to divorce. And just so you know, we DID go to Manassas Battlefield first on our vacation THREE years ago, I don’t care what Roy says!

I started wearing my souvenir Manassas Battlefield cap just to irritate him and that was the entertainment for a week on my staycation. Then I needed to do something else. What to do…what to do. I did spend a lot of time doing gardening. After several weeks of pulling weeds and leaving dirty handprints all over myself while I battled the mosquitoes, I finally remembered why it is that I don’t do gardening! Next year, there will be a nice crop of grass planted in the garden, and I will score some tomatoes where every self-respecting, garden-hating individual does—at the Farmer’s Market!

By now, I think you get that my little staycation has not been a rousing success. Just because we call it a stay-cation that doesn’t conjure pictures of sandy beaches and lovely mountain roads. For me, it will always mean the summer I stayed in my house and contemplated which wall to climb today. In short, I learned this summer that staycations suck!

So, when the fifth student into the room this week piped up with, “What did you do this summer, Mrs. Fauth?”, there was only one thing for me to say: “I stayed home and sprayed my groceries with bleach water.” She gave a little sigh and said, “Yeah, me too!”

Looking forward to next year and possibly a VACATION!

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Up from the down

I’ve made the difficult decision to disinherit my older daughter this week. And really, it’s not fair, because she was only trying to help. But after three weeks of me with my new exercise trampoline, she sent me a link to an exercise program I can use for my trampoline. And I’m like, “There’s a routine to this? I thought I was just supposed to jump up and come back down!!!”

I really blame the internet more, though. I was looking for a good cardio activity for myself and after rejecting the selections of ballroom dancing and sumo wrestling, I found some wonderful material having to do with the cardio benefits of a trampoline. That sounded like fun…after all, how could you go wrong with a trampoline? Well, I’m glad you asked!

In the first place, the best cardio workout I’ve had so far was the day it arrived and I realized that “some assembly required” meant trying to string together about fifty bars, wires, legs, nuts, bolts and little plastic covers that weren’t quite big enough to stretch over the sharp edges. That little four-hour experience not only got my blood pumping and my fingers blistered, it also allowed my eyes to sting shut under a flood of pure body sweat and my profane vocabulary to reach a new level of perfection, honed by my utter frustration!

Eventually, I got the whole thing together in a reasonably upright position and then it was time to read the little booklet that came with it on the things you could do with it. I figured I just stand on it and bounce up and down, but the pictures on the front of the pamphlet told me I was in trouble. The main picture showed a woman in living color and tight red spandex jumping so high on the trampoline that she achieved a spectacular splits high above the bar that I used to keep me upright while I went up and down an inch or two!

For a couple of weeks I went down and climbed on the trampoline and bounced up and down a little, enjoying the way my washer and dryer and freezer seemed to float into mid-air with each jump. I was consoled by reminding myself that it takes time to get good on a trampoline and besides, my knee hurt sometimes so I couldn’t jump too hard, plus watching my appliances go up and down as I jumped made me a little nauseated.

Then my grandsons came for a visit. They were enchanted by the trampoline! Those energetic little beans could jump for hours and within an extremely short time, they were achieving jumps that I couldn’t even dream of. The final straw came when I went downstairs to observe my older grandson jumping on the trampoline, kicking up his heels between bounces, all the while unwrapping and eating an ice-pop he found in the freezer! So much for slow as she goes; the boy had beaten his old grandmother by a country mile..or rather, bounce.

I’m still trying with the trampoline, measuring my progress in ups and downs and all the little hazards in between. I’m not sure what it does for my cardio, but it’s a great little time-waster when I should be doing laundry or cooking a meal.

And that brings us back to my daughter. She thought it would be helpful if she sent me some suggestions for exercise routines on the trampoline. She didn’t realize that I wanted to live in my little up and down world, convincing myself that five minutes a day bouncing only high enough for my feet to lose contact minutely from the canvas was all I wanted. Nevertheless, she is disinherited. I don’t want you to worry about this, though. My fortune consists of a couple of twenty-dollar-bills stuffed in an old soup can and buried somewhere in the back yard, so she’s really not missing much. My fortunes tend to go up and down as well!

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Grandpa’s Job

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I believe I’ve already discussed the responsibilities of a grandmother when her grandchildren are visiting. Well, this week, the second time the boys have visited this summer, I put a little research into the grandfather in this equation. And I made a few discoveries along the way.,,

When the boys visit, towels, underwear, swimwear and socks melt away as though they don’t exist. Grandpa jumped into the shower and came out, dripping wet, eyes full of soap and exclaimed, ” Where are the towels on my towel rack?”

“The boys needed a towel to dry off after playing in the hose,” I said. “The towels are in the dryer.”

“They needed all the towels?” was his incredulous response as he stood in an ever-increasing puddle of water.

“Well, the dog and the cat needed towels too, didn’t they?” I answered. “There will be towels coming out of the wash in an hour or two.”

“Why didn’t you wash towels sooner?” he grumbled, attempting to dry himself on the bathroom rug and a dirty t-shirt. Apparently, it is not Grandpa’s job to do laundry.

He wandered through the house, kicking pieces of cardboard, tape, pipecleaners and tissue paper aside as he walked. “Don’t you think maybe the house should be cleaned?”

“With three days of the visit still left, are you mad?” I said, closing the cap on the glue and picking up the freezie wrappers from the counter. “It will just reappear if I put it away.”

“I really think you could keep it a little better under control,” he said, sitting down and rising quickly as he made contact with a collection of legos left in his chair. I gained from that conversation that cleaning the house of children’s chaos is not Grandpa’s job either.

“I could really go for some fancy salads and maybe a cheesecake,” he said, coming into the kitchen.

“Tough, we’re having hotdogs and mac and cheese,” I said, blowing the hair out of my eyes and I balanced the chips, pickles and ketchup on the way to the table.

“I don’t think you should feed me that stuff, just because it’s easy and the boys like it,” he said, attempting to make a hotdog look edible by drowning it in mustard. Cooking is also not Grandpa’s job, then. So just what is it?

This question was answered when I stepped out the door tonight. I tripped over the bikes and wagons in the front yard, skirted around the balls and bats and kites in the side yard and followed the sound of the shrieking into the back yard, where two boys had teamed up to totally drench Grandpa in a spirited water balloon fight. Then I remember, oh yeah, Grandpa’s job is not to cook, clean or do laundry. Grandpa’s job is to have fun! I sense an inequity in the genders here, but it isn’t likely to change. Grandma really sucks at water balloon fights!

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Aging gracefully

I have been writing columns, blogs, stories, etc., since I was 32 years old. I started when my younger daughter was born when I was hired as a sports writer for the Mobridge Tribune. If you are done laughing now, I will admit that as a sports writer I wasn’t too savvy. I had a lot of trouble telling a fish story from a football stat, but nonetheless, I wrote sports for a year.

After that, they moved me into features and editorials, and I was a little better at that. It was a long road for me, but the thing that always remained the same was that I wrote an article every week that entirely featured my big mouth and whatever I chose to comment on that week. For me, that was a dream job!

Because I am now…a great many years older than 32, I recently started cataloging the many thousands of editorials which began as Fauth’s Fumbles and evolved into Wells’ Wisdom and went online as Drops in the Well.

These articles are like a personal history of my life over the past thirty years. I feel like Captain Kirk on Star Trek: Captain’s Log, Stardate 6-26-88..today, I turned another year older and deeper in debt. Film at eleven.

There is something a little unnerving about reading your life’s story; complaining at age 33 about how old I was getting (someone should have slapped my very young and ignorant face), reliving the moments in my daughters’ lives from potty-training to prom debacles–they loved that, I can tell you! Then, there is my husband, a very private man, who frequently locks himself in the bathroom to read my column, hoping there is nothing in there about him!

I remember the day he chopped a whole in the basement floor to put in a sump hole. He was standing in a basement closet, in about two inches of water, holding a sledge hammer and drenched in a thick layer of concrete-thickened filthy water, when he looked up at me and pointed the sledge hammer in my direction and said, “Whatever happens, don’t write about this in your column.”

I didn’t know if the hammer was a threat, but I never wrote about the incident…oh, except for now. It’s all right, though, because he can’t carry the computer in the bathroom, so he’ll never know…and don’t you tell him!

I’m not sure there is a real point to this, except for the observation that we all grow older; we live our lives day by day and mostly we just try to get through. It’s only as we get further along that we look back and realize, just like George Bailey, that life is actually pretty wonderful…in spite of potty training, prom drama and flooded basements.

As for the aging gracefully, I don’t really know what that means. But it sure sounds like something I’d like to think I’m doing…clear back from when I was 32, and all written down in black and white. Computer, end Captain’s Log, Stardate 7-31-2020.

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