Authors: Fay Jacobs
Copyright Â© 2013 Fay Jacobs
All rights reserved.
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Bywater Books First Edition: October 2015
Time Fries!: Aging Gracelessly in Rehoboth Beach
was originally published by A&M Books, Rehoboth, DE in 2013
Cover designer: TreeHouse Studio
PO Box 3671
Ann Arbor MI 48106-3671
ISBN: 978-1-61294-078-6 (ebook)
To BJQ and the Usual Suspects, along with the two party boys who made much of this possible.
Table of Contents
As much as they say the sixties are the new forties, I'm not so sure.
Jamie Lee Curtis is constipated, Tommy Lee Jones has a reverse mortgage so he can stay home until he dies, and Quarterback Joe Theismann has no testosterone. Have you seen these commercials? How did this happen?
I just saw a t-shirt with a graphic in the shape of that little plastic gizmo we used to play 45 rpm records. The shirt said, “If you recognize this, you're a geezer.” Guilty. By association. Say, wasn't it The Associationâ¦or maybe the Beach Boysâ¦singing, “God Only Knows Where I'd Be Without You?” In the 60s it was about true love. Now it's God Only Knows where I'd be without you reminding me twelve times I've got a dentist appointment.
Most days I feel young, adventurous and bold, until I'm at the threshold of a room, wondering what I've come to retrieve. Last week I calmly put breakfast in the microwave, had coffee, left home, and returned hours later to a cold rubbery omelet I could use for a doggie chew toy. And at five bucks a gallon I'm crazed by the amount of gas I use just riding back to the house to see if I closed the garage door.
After years of boating in the sunshine I have a cataract. It can be removed, right? No. Some insurance company bozo tells me it isn't ripe yet. What am I a tomato? While I'm ripening, my eyesight is so bad I cannot see the chin hairs I'm sprouting.
Okay, and whatever you do, promise me you will never, ever put a magnifying mirror down on a flat surface, bend over and gaze into it. My God, gravity exacts its toll and I look like a Char Pei.
Have you been to an organ recital? You know, evenings where all your friends start reciting which of their bodily organs
are deteriorating. Who thought I'd ever spend more time talking about meniscus than money, polyps than politics, reflux than religion. We used to speculate about who was naughty, and might be into S&M and handcuffs. Now it's all about colon health and rotator cuffs.
Do you sinus wash? It's all the rage for avoiding germs and staying healthy. You take a little plastic pitcher with a watering can spout and siphon saline solution and warm water up your nose. Try it and you'll understand the horror of water boarding. I think I got the Dick Cheney model.
Which brings me to heart health. So far so good. But last week we were at a party where somebody at our table had a tiny oxygen meter he'd clip to his finger to test his oxygen level. Naturally, we all had to pass it around and see if we were still alive. E.T. Call Home. My god, I remember the days when we'd all pass around a nickel bag of weed; now we're passing an oxygen meter. Please don't tell Mick Jagger.
Or, for that matter, don't tell Gloria Vanderbilt how many times in the last six months I have gotten dressed in the morning only to discover, once out in natural light, I'm wearing black pants and a navy shirt. And don't get me started about clothing. Trying to find attractive age-appropriate garments is like trying to find a drag queen at NASCAR. All the fashionistas think they're doing a good thing by making trendy looking clothes in large sizes. Those huggy, midriff showing lacy things look great on Snooki and the Kardashians but trust me, nobody wants to see a baby boomer belly button.
And those commercials! For every advertised remedy, the side effects are a gazillion times the benefits. Am I alone here, not wanting to swallow something that warns “infections, some fatal, may occur?”
Which all goes to say that I'm feeling my age. Or am I? I'm so far past menopause I'm symptom free with not so much as a hot-flashback. I've stuck with the gym, continue to play lousy golf and feel pretty darn healthy. My friends are having civil unions left and right, many simultaneously celebrating 25 and
30 year anniversaries. We're all up on the dance floor, hands waving in the air, dancing to “I Will Survive” and “I Like the Night Life.”
What the dickens, it's the youngest times, it's the oldest times. I like it.
My mate and I upend our lives every decade or so. For new readers, I'll catch you up: In the 80s we bought a boat (a hole in the water into which you throw money); in the 90s we moved said vessel to Rehoboth Bay (Dewey Beach drunks and steel drums at 1 a.m. UGH!); at Millennium's dawn we moved ourselves full-time to Rehoboth (okay, so who needs a decent paying job anyway?); and now we are on the move and downwardly mobile once again. Ever financially imprudent, we now own a great big depreciating assetâa 27-foot recreational vehicle.
And while the land yacht lifestyle is fantastic, it has a learning curve. We're still in first grade.
Frankly, it's a good thing we took to RVing instantly, because on Day One, we had only 45 minutes of flight instruction before leaving Tampa, FL for the journey home in the Hindenburg. Amateurs, rev your engines.
My spouse drove fearlessly; me riding shotgun. We were lucky not to take out mailboxes and parked cars on both sides of the street as our blimp lumbered towards I-95. But within minutes, my mate had expertly judged the big rig's midsection, checked out the giant funhouse mirrors flanking the bus and learned to love the back-up camera. We set out at 8 a.m. and by noon we were maneuvering it like a Mini-Cooper, tooling down the road with the Schnauzers asleep in their beds on the floor.
Like a boat, it is prudent to secure all contents when underway. Braking for a red light sent a 2-lb bag of M&M Peanuts bouncing, then rolling into every crevice in the vehicle, immediately followed by occupied doggie beds sliding and twisting forward like Olympic curling stones. From now on, we batten the hatches and seat belt the dogs.
At our first campground they assigned us site
57, Kilimanjaro. With the left side of the camper listing to port, we broke out the wood chocks (
how much wood could a wood chock chock if aâ¦
), put them under the left side tires and backed up onto them. After several daring tries (“back up, no, go forward,
, you're not back far enough, oh, hell, now you've driven over the chockâ¦”) we were still caddywhompus but parked. When we went inside for martinis, it was a little like cocktails on the Titanic.
Upon our return we stopped at a local campground for a sewer hook-up. I was enlisted to stand with my foot holding down the hose while we emptied our tank. Once I was firmly in place my co-pilot ran, laughing, 50 yards away from the stench. Next time I will hold my breath as I hold my mate over the hole.
corollary to Lesson One
These RV newbies didn't have any idea how to stow our stuff. I bought closet organizers with little cubby holes for shoes, shirts and shorts. Every time we stopped the rig, gravity lurched the clothes forward and every night, we opened the cabinets to an avalanche. Our digs looked like a reality TV hoarder episode. Trolling Walmart for a solution, I bought a pair of old geezer suspenders, stretched them from top to bottom in the closet and kept our shorts and shirts tucked in. It's a look.
Before you unhook the car you've been towing behind the RV, engage the car's emergency brake. Kneecapping yourself is no way to start happy hour.
Make a pact: no yelling. Then buy walkie talkies so nobody else hears the inevitable yelling. And plan 45 minutes for disembarkationâdetaching, disengaging and otherwise undoing yourself from plugs, hoses and bung holes. With most couples there's the doer and one who watches the doer do. I just stand around holding the bag with the pins and chocks and pliers, etc. That's me, left holding the bag.
: Campsites, regardless of their marketing brochures go from the sublime to the ridiculous. One day we're nestled in a tree-canopied site overlooking a gorgeous rocky
ocean cove, then we're sleeping in a gravel-filled parking lot overlooking somebody's rusty double-wide. We've relaxed at quiet sites down by the old mill stream (literally) or atop mountains with wild turkeys running around. Then we wind up back to back, belly to belly with a hundred rigs in parks resembling Saturday morning on Route One. When somebody sneezes, you hear a dozen “Bless Yous.” Or, there are worse things you overhear, just sayin'.
GPS is not perfect, MapQuest often has its pants on fire. Once, as we searched for a campground we were pointed to a sign boasting camping/landfill. Houston, we have a problem! A night atop Mt. Trashmore is not my idea of luxury accommodations.
Boondoggling (staying someplace free, without electric, water or sewer) has its challenges. Walmart is a famous boondoggling site, as are some highway rest stops. But when we slept at the 24-hour Walmart, I couldn't sleep. People were shopping. I kept hearing car doors slam. I knew people were carrying purchases. No rest for the weary shopaholic. It was like being in detox. So much for boondoggling.
That which doesn't kill us makes us RVers.
From Chincoteague to Amish country, Maine to as far as Nova Scotia, we've had grand adventures so far. Besides, the bus can be an annex for overflow summer guests. And we never know when it might be prudent to get out of Dodge ahead of a hurricane or tourist flash mob.
With our load levelers, e-z hitches, clamps, coils, hoses, walkie talkies and thirsty gas tank (a hole in the highway into which you pour money?) we should probably have our heads examined. But here we are, planning the next excursion.
Closets wearing suspenders? Check!
Schnauzers seat-belted in? Check!
Wide loads secured in the wide load? Check!
Rollin', Rollin', Rollin', keep those doggies rollin'â¦