Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cleaning out Files and Finding Gems...

I read recently that 80% of the papers we file are never retrieved, so I'm trying to clean out 80% of ours!

I ran across a real gem in the "Retirement" file. A handwritten list I labeled "When You're Old". I made this list while visiting my in-laws, probably twenty years ago and probably with immature, impatient smoke coming out of my ears. Our three kids were little, as was my in-laws' home, and the walls seemed to be coming in on all of us. I vowed then that when our children had children, and they came for visits, some things would be different! Here are a few of the items I thought would be important 'when I was old', which is getting closer all the time...

#1 have air conditioning (I don't care if you live in North Dakota, it's hot everywhere in August and heat makes people grounchy.)

#2 have a fireplace with real wood logs

#3 have lots of beds with quilts, crisp sheets and feather pillows

#4 keep old bicycles around with a patch kit and an air pump

#5 have a pet for grandkids to enjoy - even if it's not a dog (did I really write that?)

#6 keep some old things around for them to go through and remember with their parents

#7 keep cards, games, etc.

#8 have a VCR and lots of movies (update with DVD player and Tivo)

#9 have cocoa and marshmallows on hand

#10 always have soda in the house

#11 remember kids LOVE pizza

#12 schedule one outing a day when visitors come

#13 give their family time away from you

#14 have lots of bathrooms

#15 have books, magazines and places to curl up and read

#16 dont' discuss the weather - it's boring to discuss the weather

#17 have croquet, volleyball, badmitton sets and horseshoes to set out

#18 bake cookies ahead or with them

#19 fix cool foods in the summer, not hot soups, etc.

#20 keep meals simple

#21 keep laundry supplies handy, including stain removers

#22 have kid cereal on hand, not just shredded wheat

#23 go to McDonalds once in awhile

#24 don't cook casseroles that will make parents fight with kids to eat them

#25 have a dishwasher!

#26 have more than one TV, one away from the place the adults gather

#27 don't discuss bowel habits

#28 stock up on TP, paper plates, napkins, etc. ahead of guests' arrival

#29 have a pool table or ping pong table for rainy days

#30 hire someone to keep up your yard when you get really old so grown kids don't have to do it when they come to visit

#31 keep your home in repair, even if you have to hire it done so grown kids don't worry over you being safe in your home.

#32 have a grill, ice cream maker, which can be used when they visit

#33 don't have twin beds as the only option for grown couples when they visit

I would add to that, after twenty years of looking back, and having friends and family come to visit:

#34 have air freshener in every bathroom, and a toilet bowl brush to swish out potties if need be
#35 do not cook cabbage or beans too regularly

#36 have locks on bedroom doors

#37 have a car available for visitors' use if they've flown in to see you

#38 don't be so busy caring for them that you don't enjoy time with them

#39 if grown kids live far enough away that they have to fly in to see you, try to set aside money to help with plane tickets.

#40 kiss every single one of them goodnight. Take time to be thankful they came for a visit. You'll soon be missing them again.


Betty said...

Love this list! Especially "Don´t discuss bowel movements" or the weather. I so agree!
Very important stuff here!

Karen said...

This is truly a gem. I would guess that 35 would be a result of 34, and 36 and 33 go together as well?

Kelly said...


This list is probbaly one of my favorite things you've shared with us! Reading this makes me wish to have been a fly on the wall during this visit:-)

I agree wholeheartedly with number 34... even when I had babies this was not a topic of choice for me.

Hope this list isn't included in the 80% of files being purged- this is definitely a keeper!

Barb said...

You know, this could be the sister post to the one I wrote over at Rocks In My Dryer Today. And we're sisters! What a coincidence! LOL

Your first list is something else. I've heard about these family visits in the past of course, but you just gave me a lot more information. This is all good - every single thing on both lists is just great advice!

And if I ever get so old that I think it's OK to discuss my bathroom habits with my kids and their families, I hope someone hits me in the head with a hammer.

Dana~Are We There Yet? said...

You are a full-on genius! LOVE this list. Thanks for sharing many things that I hope to be and do when I'm the grandma.

Ashley Griffin said...

this list is GREAT!!!! Not sure I could add anything!!! Except maybe not to turn the air up so much that it never comes on in the summer. Even though you are cold THE REST OF US ARE NOT!!!

Fonda said...

Since my first two grandchildren just turned one, I guess I should print this list and get busy! Loved it!

Deidre said...

I love this and I cannot believe you made this list so long ago. It's priceless.

Renee said...

Love it! It makes my head swirl a little about possibly making a list too! LOL! At the same time - I can feel your "pain" or "frustration" of the moment! And it makes me realize (perhaps again) - we have all been there!
Even though I've never met you, - I love your ability to be real and to cross the generational boundaries and see both sides! Great post!

Gretchen said...

I'm guffawing at the old "bowel movements"...I remember as a young speech therapist working at a rehab, I specialized in working with neurologically impaired patients--many of whom are geriatrics. I used to get so tired of asking, "How are you today?" only to be regaled with tales of, "Well, I haven't been able to go to the toilet...". Geez...I guess we're all about eating, eliminating and sleeping on both ends of our stay on the planet. Still...not great convo starter. Probably one of those things "I'll never do" until, of course, I do. :)

Also, my inlaws are kind people, just not my kind of people, so I laugh when you suggest that talking about the weather isn't a good subject. Sometimes that's all we have. Thankfully CO weather is changeable, or my THanksgiving would be terribly boring.

All this to say...I love, love, love this list.

Sarah said...

I'm adding two, Mom--don't have a house with death trap staircases. Of course, that eliminates both my house and yours (current, not lakehouse).

Better yet--have a guest house :)

Overwhelmed! said...

Bev, what a fun list! I'm already doing some of these things, does that mean I'm getting old? :)

So, I’m stopping by to let you know that I’m hosting the “Holiday Cooking, Blogger Style” recipe exchange again this year, coming up tomorrow. I hope you can join me and if you’re willing to help me spread the news, I’m offering a giveaway as well!

the voice of melody said...

Sounds like you've got it all covered Bev!

You had me at "bake cookies"... :)