There are some who start their retirement long before they stop working. -Robert Half

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Day 2.

Last night it snommed 5 inches, thus I got another snom day! (I like to call snow, "snom" because one time we had little African children from the African Children's Choir stay at our house and it snowed when they were there and they had never seen it before and they wrote us a thank you note that said: "We had fun playing in the snom.")
I was watching Kelly and Regis this morning and Papa came in and asked me:
Papa: Are you having a relaxing day?
Julie: Yes, are you?
Papa: Yes. I have a lot of relaxing days.
We didn't have oatmeal for breakfast this morning. Instead we had hard-boiled eggs. I didn't want one because I don't really like eggs (it's a texture thing...), but Papa made me try one. He always makes me try things, even if I've had them before. It wasn't good, but I forced myself to eat it in the same way Papa forces himself to eat oatmeal. At breakfast, Papa said he was going to go shovel the walk. Grammy told him he isn't and she is going to go shovel. I told them that neither of them are shoveling, and I'll do it because I'm the strongest. Then, Papa told me he is the strongest and started flexing his muscles. Then I told him that I can do 30 push-ups and I go to rehab every day, then he told me that maybe I should go now so he can have a little free time.
Anyway, Grammy kept telling us that she is going to shovel, and we kept telling her no, because:
1) She already hurt her shoulder this year from picking apples to make applebutter at church

It ended up Papa and me out there shoveling a path for the mailman (Papa really likes his mail). We shoveled a path all the way down the driveway and then shoveled some space so we could get cars out of the garage. Papa decided that he wanted to get his car out of the garage immediately, so he pulls it out and backs down the driveway with ease. Then, he tried to get it back up the drive way and he just spun his tires and slid right back down into the street. He tried this several times, each time whipping around the driveway even faster and pressing the pedal harder so his tires spun even more. It was really scary. I could see bad things happening, but Papa just kept on spinning. Finally, he got the car inside the garage and told me I could go inside and he's just going to tidy up the driveway a little bit. So I went inside, and when I looked out the window, there he was, sliding around the driveway again in his huge rear-wheel drive Lincoln. I told Grammy what he was doing and she said: "I hate that car. We never should have bought it. It has rear-wheel drive and can't drive in the snow. As soon as one of us dies, we're getting rid of it!" According to Papa, that will be at least 8 years.
For dinner, we had pheasant. One of Papa's friends shot a pheasant and gave it to us. Grammy and him told me it was a $100 pheasant because that is how much it cost his friend to go hunting. Grammy found a recipe so we made it into a casserole. We also added some chicken to it so that we would have a little more meat (pheasants are small...). Anyway, we cooked it and served it and Papa couldn't tell what was pheasant and what was chicken, so he would take out each piece of meat and show it to Grammy and me so we could tell him what he is eating. During dinner he asked me:
Papa: Did you eat your hard-boiled egg this morning?
Julie: Yes.
Papa: Did you like it?
Julie: No. I don't like eggs. I just ate it anyway though, kind of like how you eat oatmeal even though you don't like it.
Papa: I know how that goes. Oatmeal makes me sickly. Whenever I eat it, I feel nauseated.
Grammy: That is all in your head!
Papa: No, I feel ill to my stomach. Really nauseated.
Grammy: No you don't, it is in your head. Stop thinking about that and you won't feel sick.
Papa: This casserole makes me feel the same way. Nauseous. I like some of the things in it, like the rice, water chestnuts and mushrooms, but I don't know about this meat.
Julie: Yeah, I don't know about it either.
Grammy: It all tastes like chicken to me. I don't know why pheasant is so expensive at restaurants!
Papa: Are we going to have another course this meal? Like dessert?
Julie: Well, are you sure you're not too nauseous?
Papa: I'll have some carrot cake to even things out in there.

Yeah, it turns out we're not really fans of pheasant. But we are fans of carrot cake.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Papa's Tooth.

Papa went to the dentist twice yesterday. He went in the morning and then had to go back to get a tooth pulled in the afternoon. Grammy was telling me this story and she said they went in and numbed his mouth, and just pulled it right out. She said it had really good, strong roots and Papa was really happy with that because it affirms his idea he is going to live a lot longer. When I got home from work, Papa came up to me with a flashlight and told me to look at where he got a tooth pulled. I think he is really proud of it. He told me his face is still numb, so I asked him if he is going to slobber during dinner, because that would be embarrassing. He laughed and said he wasn't sure, but he'll try his best not to.
At breakfast this morning, Papa was talking about his tooth and how much better his mouth feels now. He said that he would have had to get a crown on it, but he thinks the tooth was infected so he's glad they pulled it. "I have to think about the long run, like when I'm 90." Grammy laughed and said "That's right, you've got 10 more years." Papa responded: "Well I have 10 more healthy years, until things start getting bad. Then I start declining."
In conclusion, he is glad he got his tooth pulled.
Last night before dinner, Papa told me he really wants me to make some cookies. So, I asked him what kind and he said, "Peanut butter. Wait, those might be too crunchy since I just got my tooth pulled. My face is still a little numb. I think I want a carrot cake. I saw a picture in a magazine and it looked really good." And he decided he was going to go to the grocery store (in the sleet) and get some. Grammy told him she wanted to make one from scratch because she doesn't think a boxed carrot cake sounds very good. So, Papa went and got us carrots and Grammy and I made a homemade carrot cake, and it was darn good. We weren't going to eat any, but when we tried to go to rehab to exercise, it was too icy outside so we couldn't drive and we decided to eat cake instead.

Snow Days.

Now that I'm back in a high school, I get snow days! And since I live in rural Missouri, I get a lot of snow days! It is awesome. Papa thinks it is really funny when I get snow days and he'll just talk to me all day about how I'm getting paid to be at home and if I'm having a relaxing day. Snow days are the BEST! One of my high schools has this automated phone call that calls us at 5:30am when there is going to be a snow day, so I don't even have to get out of bed to check the news. It rocks.
Anyway, when I have snow days, I get to eat breakfast with Grammy and Papa. This morning, Papa made oatmeal for breakfast. I said "I thought you don't eat oatmeal" and he told me he hates it but he makes himself eat it anyway. So, while we were sitting there eating our oats, Papa says:
Papa: I would really like some blueberry muffins. You should make some today.
Julie: Maybe I'll have another snow day tomorrow and I can make them for breakfast.
Papa: I think you should make them today. Then I can just microwave one in the morning for breakfast, you see?
Julie: What brand of muffins do you want?
Papa: That kind in the small packet. And I want you to add some real blueberries to the bottom.
Papa goes to the kitchen to get the packet of muffin mix he wants
Grammy: I don't like that kind. Why don't you just buy Krusteaz? (Grammy loves Krusteaz mixes. I think it is because they were developed by some stay-at-home moms who were tired of making things from scratch, though Grammy makes everything from scratch.)
Papa: I like this brand. It is blueberry cheesecake. I've made it before and they're good.
Grammy: You might as well eat a piece of carrot cake. It is probably healthier. It has carrots and raisins and pecans in it at least.
Papa: Maybe I will. How long do the muffins take to cook?
Julie: 17 minutes. Do you want me to make them now?
Papa: Yes. You better go preheat the bottom oven.
I walk into the kitchen and start getting down a bowl to mix the batter in.
Papa: I like that other bowl. Use that clear one, it's better.
I put the bowl I had down and reach for a clear bowl, but it is the wrong one so I look in the other pantry and pick one up, but Papa tells me it is the wrong one. Finally, I find the right bowl.
Papa: Are you using milk or water?
Julie: Milk. Do you want me to use water?
Papa: No no no.
I mix the batter together and go to get a muffin pan.
Papa: Which pan did you get? Did you get the dark pan?
Julie: No, I got the shiny pan.
Papa: The dark pan is better.
Grammy: All the pans are the same. The dark pan is too big.
Julie: Do you want muffin liners or do you want me to grease the pan?
Papa: Use some Crisco.
I go to the pantry and get the Crisco spray.
Papa: Not the spray, I like it better when you use the solid and spread it in the pan.
Grammy: That is not very good for you. The spray is much healthier!
Papa: I think the other makes it crispier, but use the spray, I don't care.
I go to the freezer to get the blueberries.
Papa: Don't use those blueberries, use the ones in the fridge.
Julie: How many blueberries do you want in each muffin?
Papa: 6.
Julie: Are you going to count them while your eating?
Papa: (laughs) You can put a little more than 6 in if you want.
Julie: Good, I put more than 6 in some of them. Do you want cinnamon sugar on top of them?
Papa: Let me see it. Yes, a little bit. Get a spoon and sprinkle it on top.
I start spooning the batter into the muffin pan.
Papa: You might want to get a spatula. So you can get it all out.
Julie: Ok, good idea, Papa.

17 minutes later....

Julie: Papa! Your muffins are done! Aren't you excited?!
Papa: Yes, did they stick in there? Because they never stick when I wipe the Crisco in there.
Julie: Nope, they are coming out perfectly.
Papa: I see some blueberry stuck in there.
Grammy: Blueberries always stick.
We sit down to eat the muffins (aka breakfast dessert)
Papa: These are good muffins. I think that crunchy stuff on top really makes them good.
Grammy: That's because it is just sugar.

Man, snow days are the BEST!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dinner Conversation 3: My Car.

My car has some problems. I bought it used with 116,000 miles for $2500, but I've probably had to put about $2500 more into it for repairs and upkeep. I like my car, I really do, but I do not like how sometimes it won't start or how it shakes violently when I stop at stoplights. My sister named it Snow______. This means that we alter the name to fit the season. For example, it has the prefix "Snow" because it is white, and for each holiday we change the second word: Snow-pumpkin, Snow-turkey, Snow-easter egg etc. Weird, I know.
Papa likes to hear about car problems so he can think of what could be wrong. When I first moved in, I told him that my car shakes and makes a squealing noise, so he went out and looked at it and then came back inside and told me I'm driving his car to work so he can take mine to Neil, the mechanic. The only mechanic that Papa trusts. In the world.
Anyway, after he took it in, my car was gone for 3 weeks. I have no idea what they were doing to it that could take so long. I guess they had to order some pieces or something and then Papa told them to take their time so they could make sure they fixed everything.
I got it back and it worked fine (honestly, I couldn't tell a difference), but Papa said he could tell it ran better. He must know something I don't know.
Papa always makes me report to him how my car is doing. He also asks me a lot if I've checked my oil, and the bummer about this is I can't lie because he always has checked it and knows how high it is. Unfortunate.
Recently, my car has done this really fun thing where I try to start it and it won't start. Awesome. Sometimes, I've had to sit there and turn the key upwards of 10 times before it would finally start. Usually it started after a few tries, but I was always worried that it won't and I'll be stuck somewhere. I love it when this happens because since I live in rural Missouri, most people know about cars, so I'm sure they just sit/stand there and watch me, thinking "Stupid city girl. Can't even start her car. I bet she doesn't even know how to check the oil." So, I told Papa about this problem and he NEVER BELIEVED ME BECAUSE IT NEVER HAPPENED WHEN HE WENT TO TRY IT. Annoying. So we took it in numerous times, but they could never find anything wrong with it, so just sent it back home. One day, after being stuck at WalMart for 20 minutes trying to get the engine to turn, I finally had to call Grammy for help. It was then that I realized that Papa was at WalMart at that very moment, which shouldn't surprise me because he goes about 4 times a day. Grammy and I think he just likes to go and sit down there in the little food area. So Grammy and I walked around through WalMart looking for him and I told him that my car wouldn't start. This is where everything gets worse: Papa goes out to see if the car will start and IT STARTS! I was so mad. I drove home screaming and crying and cursing my car, vowing to get a new one.
After this incident, Papa took my car back in to see Neil. This time, Neil decided to clean the engine, and I guess that means that he flushes out all the bad stuff that accumulates when driving and it makes lots of black smoke. Neil said that my car was one of the top 10 dirtiest cars he has ever cleaned. Papa thinks that is really funny. He said that when they cleaned it, he could see the smoke all the way over at McDonald's (surprise, surprise, Papa was at McDonald's...) which is about 2 miles away. Everytime we talk about it, he just laughes and says "Top 10." After this cleansing session, however, I haven't had any problems with my car starting. Neil said that people who drive really slowly have dirtier engines than fast drivers, so I told Papa I have no idea why my engine was so dirty! His should be dirtier than mine!
Papa says I drive too fast. I don't. I drive the speed limit, or sometimes a little over. He says that there is no need to drive faster than 55 mph. I told him I have the need for speed and that requires me to drive faster than 55 mph. Driving with Papa is very leisurely. It consists of people passing you on 2-lane highways, lots of braking and reading. I always bring a book because it takes a long time to get places and I need something to do. This has helped me immensely on my quest to conquer the Classics.
In conclusion, Papa says that cars are the worst investment and I shouldn't get a new one until I'm out of graduate school. I'm not sure if Snow-Valentine will make it 2 more's hoping!


If you're from Missouri, you know that every fall, there is basically an infestation of ladybugs. I'm not sure if they are real ladybugs, because they are yellowish, but we'll just say they are. When the weather starts getting cooler, it is not uncommon to find ladybugs covering your ceilings or dead and crunching under your footsteps. I think this is a new problem, however, because I don't remember it happening when I was younger. Probably global warming. Poor earth...
Anyway, the ladybugs don't really bother me, but my sister and Grammy really freak out about them. When my older brother and I were gone to college, my sis got to move up to the big room in the attic, complete with a walk-in closet and personal bathroom. This must have been the year the ladybugs started invading because I remember her complaining constantly about the ladybugs. She hates them. She says they smell bad.
Grammy hates them, too. One day at dinner, we were sitting there watching the ladybugs fly around the lights and Grammy said:
"All my friends say they are harmless, but I swear they bite me"
And then she sat there and glared at them.
Papa doesn't believe that they bite and he told her that, but she won't change her mind. She also gets really mad about gnats. One time she got a forward with all these tricks to fix any problem you have, and it told her to put out dishes of apple cider vinegar to kill the gnats; they like the smell and then they drown and meet their deaths.
That forward also said that if you put a dryer sheet in your pocket when you go outside, you won't get bit by mosquitoes. One day I tried it, but I'm not sure if it worked because I already had a lot of mosquito bites. Grammy told me I have to rub the dryer sheet all over my skin first. Grammy doesn't like dryer sheets, though, because another forward she got said that someone's dryer burnt up and set the house on fire because of the residue from dryer sheets. Apparently the filter was full of the dryer sheet gunk and it caused a fire.
Grammy hangs all of the laundry on the line outside, or in the basement if it is rainy/cold/really hot etc. When we lived in Colorado, we lived in Suburbia. Apparently, our community was regulated so you could only use certain colors of paint on your house and you had to check before you built anything and you couldn't have tree houses (I'm still a little bitter about that one...) Well, one time Grammy came out to visit and did her laundry and hung all of her underwear on the line in the backyard and some of our neighbors called the Suburb Cops, or whatever they are, and they called us and told us Grammy had to take her underwear off of the line or we would be fined. Isn't that insane? Grammy is good at laundry. Whenever I lived alone and did my own laundry, I would just throw everything in together and pour some soap in. Grammy seperates everything, washes them, dries them a little bit, hangs them on the line, and then irons them. Maybe she'll motivate me to at least sort my clothes...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Free Time.

Though Papa doesn't think he has enough free time, I feel like I'm drowning in it. Because of this, I have picked up a few new hobbies.

Bell Choir: I joined the bell choir at church (mainly because I can't say no when people ask me to do things, but also because I needed more things to do...). I play the F's and G's, which happen to be the easiest notes to play and good thing because I'm not very good. I have to really concentrate on the music and for some reason I always stick my tongue out while I'm playing. I guess that means I'm concentrating hard? I've tried to keep it in, but when I do, I mess up. Grammy comes to bells (or "belles" as it is hand-written on all of our music), too, except she doesn't ring, she babysits the two kids of one of the ringers. Grammy calls them her babies and looks forward to Wednesday evenings all week. Whenever we get to the church, Grammy stops at the front door and says "I'm going to wait for my babies, you go ahead." She needs some great-grandchildren...I'll have to pass that message along to my older brother.

Guitar: I learned how to play the guitar. My dad got me a guitar for my birthday so I've been practicing and I'm pretty good now. However, I can't play lots of the chords because my fingers are just too dang small. Sometimes I look down at my hands and think: "Those hands don't fit my body or age. I think those hands should be on a child. I have child hands." Anyway, my child hands can't play any sort of B or F# or any chord that spans more than 3 frets. I also have a lot of trouble with the F. My little brother said I just need to practice stretching my fingers more, but I'm telling you, they won't stretch. I've also written some songs, but they all kind of sound alike because of the fact that I can only reach certain chords. Oh well, I'm not planning on becoming a super star and even if I do, I definitely won't be commended on my guitar-playing skills. That's ok. I'm still learning.

The Classics: After reading the Twilight series, I decided I should start reading books that were of a higher quality and highly regarded by literary experts (not that Twilight wasn't good, but I wouldn't call it a literary masterpiece...). Thus, I began my voyage through the Classics. I started with Wuthering Heights because I remember liking it from high school, and it turns out, I still like it. It is a great book that analyzes the characteristics of very different (but at the same time, very similar) characters. After that, I went to the local library and checked out The Stranger which documents the thoughts and strange actions of a man who commits murder. From there, I read All's Quiet on the Western Front which was an excellent book that increased my dislike for war and what it does to all the people involved. Right now, I've started The Beautiful and Damned which I knew nothing about and simply bought because Barnes and Noble was having a "Buy 2, Get one free" sale and my friend I was with told me to get it. He told me "It has to be good because it is about the 20's and everything was better and fancier and richer in the 20's." Turns out, it is really good. Next, I'm going to read Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave because it is my little brother's favorite book.

Quilting: Grammy had an old quilt top in the basement that she said I could have, so now I'm learning how to quilt. I didn't realize how much you had to do to make a quilt:
1) Fix the quilt top if there are any seams ripped.
2) Watch Grammy go back and double check to make sure you got all the rips.
3) Stretch out the top and trace your quilting pattern onto it. Make sure all the tracings are spaced evenly, especially if you are Grammy because Grammy makes all things perfect.
4) Watch Grammy go back and fix the lines that aren't perfect.
5) Measure the quilt so that you know how big to cut the batting and backing.
6) Watch Grammy re-measure to make sure it is perfect.
7) Cut the backing and batting. Grammy is watching to make sure it is perfect.
8) Set up the quilt rack. Make sure everything is perfect.
9) Watch Grammy come and adjust the quilt rack.
10) Pin the backing onto the quilt rack, then the batting, then the top.
11) Watch Grammy check the quilt and re-adjust some pins.
12) Start sewing along the traced lines. My stitches are big and I'm pretty fast, but Grammy's are perfect.
This is the step we are currently on. Grammy and I will sit in the basement and quilt while listening to classic rock.

Exercising: Grammy and I go to rehab every night to exercise. I run for 30 minutes and then lift and Grammy does her 1 lb. weights and some resistance exercises and then bikes or walks on the treadmill. We're so healthy. Papa won't come...he doesn't need to, he's going to live 10 more years anyway.

My Job.

So, after I graduated from college, I decided that I want to do something that will make a difference in the world we live in. I considered the Peace Corps and Teach for America, but I finally ended up working for the Missouri College Advising Corps (MCAC).
MCAC is the Missouri branch of the National College Advising Corps (NCAC). This is a grant-funded program that places recent college graduates into rural and inner-city high schools and community colleges to help make access to information about college easier to obtain.
The NCAC was originally funded by a grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation whose goal is to help young people of exceptional promise reach their full potential through education. This is the first year that Missouri has participated in the program and as of now, there are nine college advisors serving at seven different high schools and 3 community colleges across the state. This is us:

This job is very rewarding in all aspects except the monetary aspect. Isn't that always the case? There must be a job out there that actually pays a good salary to make a difference in the community and society, right? I'm still looking...
Anyway, I do love my job. Especially the students. Here are a few more students and experiences worth mentioning:
1) My very first day of work, one of my schools was having a schedule crisis. This year the school switched to an internet-based system for the grades and student information and because of this switch, a majority of the students' schedules were lost and the one counselor at the school had to figure them all out again. Anyway, because of this, the counselor's office was constantly filled with students sitting around waiting for their schedules, which gave me a great opportunity to meet them. On particular student, we'll call him J, was especially talkative. He is an Anime kid, so that should give you an idea of what he is like. When I asked him what he wants to do after high school, he told me he wants to go to MSU and then transfer to Japan and become and anime artist, which apparently has a name and that name is a Manga. He continued to show me all of his artwork that he had already done and talked constantly about his girlfriend, who he referred to as "Kitty." He also told me that last year, he got kicked out of school and put into the alternative school for bringing a Samurai sword to school and he didn't know why because he wasn't going to hurt anyone with it. He just wanted to show it to someone.
The moral of the story: Samurai swords are not allowed in high schools.

2) One day I was trying to call financial aid to ask them a question about the FAFSA, so I dialed the number and entered my long distance code and this is what I heard:
"Hey cutie, so I hear you're looking for a good time..."
At which point I slammed the phone back onto the receiver. Unfortunately, the financial aid number is 1 number away from a sex hotline. The worst part is that I didn't even catch on for a while. I just thought: "Wow, that is really weird that the Financial Aid hotline calls the caller "Cutie..."
The moral of the story: Make sure you punch the right numbers when dialing financial aid.

3) At the homecoming dance in the fall some of the teachers and I chaperoned. (I hated dances in high school, but this was great because I didn't have to dress up). Anyway, I was helping with the drinks so I would fill up cups with ice and hand them to students. Toward the middle of the dance, one student came up and was talking to me while I handed drinks out to the other students. He is kind of awkward, so after a little while he was just standing there bouncing on the balls of his feet until he looked at me and asked: "Can I buy you a drink?" I just started laughing because 1) the drinks were free and 2) I was serving them. I kind of feel bad for laughing in his face, but I couldn't help it.
The moral of the story: If you're a student, don't try to "buy" drinks for your teachers and if you're a teacher, try not to laugh in your students' face when they do try.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Grammy's Potions.

Grammy has lots of secret potions and magical remedies for any ailment or problem you might have. I only know some of the ingredients in them, but I'll do my best:

1) Snuff (noun and verb): This potion cures congestion.
Ingredients: Water, Baking Powder, Kosher or Sea Salt (amounts unknown)
Directions: Pour Snuff onto a washcloth. Hold washcloth to nose and sniff the potion. This process is referred to as snuffing.

2) Spiced Sick Tea (noun): This potion helps when you're sick with anything. Any sickness you have will be cured by this magical tea.
Ingredients: 1 bag of tea (your choice, but we use chamomile), 1 cinnamon stick, 5 whole cloves, 1 Tblsp orange juice, 1 Tblsp honey
Directions: Put tea, cinnamon stick and cloves into mug and fill 3/4 full with hot water. Let the potion steep for 5 minutes. Take everything out and add orange juice and honey. You should feel cured within 15 minutes.

3) Grammy's Secret Stain Remover (noun): This potion gets any stain out of anything. It is better than Shout.
Ingredients: I have no earthly idea, but I bet it involves vinegar. Grammy swears by vinegar. She washes all of our clothes in soap and vinegar because she says that soap alone leaves residue on your clothes. Also, in the summer after you are outside, she makes you come in and wipe yourself down with vinegar because it gets rid of the bug bites.
Directions: Spray onto your stain. Rub together until it is out. Wash.

4) Vick's on your feet (verb): Grammy got a forward from one of her friends on her email stating that putting Vick's on your feet when you're congested will clear up your congestion. Apparently when you put garlic on your feet, you can taste it in 20 minutes, so that is how they discovered this. I don't really know why they were putting garlic on their feet in the first place, but whatever.
Ingredients: Vick's, a pair of socks
Directions: Apply Vick's to feet and put on socks. Breathe freely.

5) Salt Water (noun): Grammy didn't invent this, but she makes everyone do it if they have a sore throat.
Ingredients: Salt, Water
Directions: Mix salt and water. Gargle and spit. Poof! You're healed!

*this post will be continually updated when I remember other potions Grammy uses*

Papa's Animals.

Papa has many animal friends. Every day, he goes out and give his animals the leftovers from our meals. After each meal, he takes the scraps and puts them in a dog bowl and then at the end of the day, he takes them out to his friends. One time, on an especially cold night, Grammy told him he could wait until the morning to take food to his animals. This is how the conversation went:
Grammy: You could put that in the dish and take it out in the morning.
Papa: I could, but I'm not going to. My animals are out there hungry right now.
Julie: And I'm sure they won't survive without you.
Papa: I know. I'd have to go out tomorrow and tell them that Gramma thought they could wait until the morning.
One morning, Grammy made an oatmeal concoction. She added something to it and it made the oatmeal really gummy. Papa told her that his animals won't eat that, but she made him take it outside anyway. The animals won't eat it and Papa reminds Grammy of that every evening. He tells her "You know, your oatmeal is still out there. The crows won't even eat it and they usually like oatmeal." Grammy just laughs. I think Papa always brings this up because he hates oatmeal. Grammy's father ate oatmeal every day and he lived into his 90's, so now Grammy eats it a lot and tries to get Papa to eat it, but he won't. Sometimes he puts it in his bowl, but only eats a bite and then gets a pastry of some sort. Grammy and Papa have a pastry at every breakfast. It is called the breakfast dessert. Even when we have HUGE meals with french toast, bacon, sausage, fruit, and coffee, toward the end of breakfast, without fail, Papa will go to the kitchen and bring out the breakfast dessert.
Papa isn't worried about his health, though, because his doctor told him that he has at least 10 more years to live. He always reminds us that he has 10 more years; whenever Grammy and I go excercise or eat healthy food, Papa just tells us he has 10 more years. It is kind of morbid that he predicts his death, but it is even more morbid that he predicts Grammy's death. He says Grammy has 8 more years. He says he'll need a few years for himself. Grammy says it is because he wants 2 years of free time where he doesn't have to help at church and can eat out for every meal.
Papa also has a dog friend that lives across the street. Every time the dog is outside, Papa goes over and gives him a dog treat. He used to do this on his nightly bike ride. When it was warm outside, Papa would bike around town every night. He goes really slow and stops to talk to everyone outside. He also knows where all the best gardens in town are. Usually he goes to McDonald's and gets an ice cream cone before he comes home. It is very leisurely. Whenever it was rainy or cold or when it started getting dark earlier, Grammy told Papa he shouldn't go biking, but he just told her not to worry about it and went biking.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


So yesterday when I got home from work, I asked Papa if he got any email today. He told me that I got a message on his account and Grammy wouldn't let him read it because that would be like opening my postal mail, but he could read the subject line and saw that I got in MU. I told him that it wasn't for me, I sent it and he should go read it. I knew that would happen.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dinner Conversation 2: MU.

When Papa isn't talking about money, his dinner conversation topic of choice is MU. Papa LOVES Mizzou. He thinks it is the best college in the entire country (not that it is a bad college at is a very good college, but not the best). When my older brother went to Harvard for undergrad, Papa was disappointed in him because it wasn't Mizzou. When my mom was young, Papa simply signed her and my uncles up for college at MU and told them that is where they are going. I think that ever since my siblings and I were born, Papa has been trying to get us to MU. My sister and I ended up there, which, I think, definitely makes us the favorite grandchildren.
I always tell Papa I'm his favorite grandchild and he tells me he doesn't have favorites. I know the truth though, and the facts are these:
1) I'm a granddaughter, and since he only has 2 granddaughters, it ups my score
2) I went to MU
3) I worked 3 jobs through college and made money (this takes us back to Papa's love of money)
4) I live with him
He has finally settled on calling me his favorite oldest granddaughter.
Anyway, I recently submitted my applications for master's in Public Health programs. When Papa heard that I was thinking about going back to school, he was against it because he doesn't want me to go into debt right now when the economy is so bad. However, things changed when he heard I was applying to MU. After this, he thought grad school was an excellent idea. I told him I was applying to many different grad schools and he told me that wasn't necessary because I am going to MU. I told him I'm still applying to other schools because maybe I want to go somewhere new and maybe I won't get into MU. At this point, Papa told me that if I didn't get into MU, he would go up to Columbia and talk to them..."After all the money I've put into that school, I'll make sure they let you in."
Last week, I got home from work and Papa came into the kitchen and handed me a piece of paper with a name and contact information on it. Apparently, he called MU and talked to the graduate admissions while I was at work. From what I gather, Papa tried to check on the status of my application, but the admissions rep said that she couldn't tell him because of FERPA, so he got her contact information and said he would have me call her. One of my favorite things about this is that Grammy had no idea Papa called...she was just as surprised as I was. Anyway, I called the lady back and I told her my name and she was like "So, I talked to your grandpa this morning..."
Everytime I talk about going to a school other than MU, Papa tells me that I should go to MU because it is better than the others I applied to. Currently, he is trying to bribe me to go to Mizzou this fall...
Today I found out that I was admitted to MU, so I forwarded the email to Papa. I can't wait to see what he says when I get home. Unless he doesn't read the email. Whenever I send him email, it shows that "Julie Brunner" sent it, but he thinks that means it is for me, so he'll come and tell me that I got some email on his account (like, because we share a mailing address now, I must start getting email on his account, too.) Then I tell him that it isn't for me, it is from me and he makes me come down and read it with him. It kind of defeats the purpose of me sending it to him.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Some of My Students.

I've talked quite a bit about my retirement, but not much about my job. I am a College Advisor with the Missouri College Advising Corps at two small rural high schools in the middle of Missouri. MCAC aims to place recent college graduates into rural and inner-city high schools to help with access to information about college and help with the processes. So here is a little summary of my favorite experiences:
1) One of my auto tech students comes to see me at least 3 times every week. Sometimes we talk about college and other times he talks about cars (a language I am not very fluent in...). I told him I need a new car so for a few months, he would come in every day with a different car he thought I would like. Turns out I don't get paid enough to get a new car. Thus, I resorted to asking questions about repairing my current car. One day I was really proud of myself because I remembered to get my oil changed so I told him and he goes: "WHAT!? You don't change your own oil in your car?! You actually take it to a place to get it changed?!" and I said: "Yes. I do." He proceeded to explain to me that jacking up my white Chevy Malibu, removing filters, and replacing oils (while being careful not to burn the flesh from my hands) was simple and it is stupid to take it to the shop. I told him that isn't simple and I'm going to continue taking it in. I like how I had no idea people changed their own oil and he had no idea people took their cars to the shop to get their oil changed. Sometimes I really think I'm in a different world.
2) One of my students applied to MU and REALLY wanted to go there. Like she had no other choices for schools, so I was praying that she got in so that her hopes weren't crushed. Anyway, she submitted her application in October and from October to January, she came into my office almost every day to call MU to see if she was admitted. FINALLY, on January 9, she came down to my office and told me to pull up the website and she was admitted! She then started running up and down the halls telling everyone she saw and crying tears of joy.
3) I have a student that has pretty low grades and he was really bummed because he didn't think he was going to get into a 4-year school and would have to go to a 2-year, which he didn't want to do. I told him that we're going to apply to any school he wants and once he gets his ACT score back, we'll decide what is reasonable. When ACT scores were sent out, he came running into my office and told me to step away from the computer and close my eyes, and when I opened them, he was beaming up at me with his score of 24 shining from the computer behind him. He then told me: "Now I can go to a college I want to go to!"
4) My office at one of my schools is right across from the band closet, so every day at 2:17, the students come up to get there instruments. This is the time that I call "The Bombardment" because on their way to get their horns, tons of students pile into my office and all start talking to me at the same time. It is very overwhelming and I just end up sitting and smiling and laughing, pretending like I am comprehending what they are all saying to me. The other exciting thing about sitting by the band room is that I get to hear the band practice, which gives me a little excitement.
5) There are three foreign exchange students at one of my schools and they are hilarious. One day, the school was having a blood drive and the German student came up to me in the hall joking: "They won't let me give blood! They don't want my dirty German blood!" Apparently, he'd been running up and down the halls yelling this all morning.He then tried to pursuade me to give blood so that I could get him a piece of pizza.

I know everything.

I know where everything is in the house. I don't know why or how, but I'm just good at observing and remembering my surroundings (maybe I'll put this on my resume...). Sometimes Papa will get candy or some new body wash or something and he'll ask me: "Did you see what I bought at WalMart today?" And I respond: "Yeah, you got [some new bodywash/candy/other]; I know everything, remember?" He remembers.
One time my little brother and his friend, Luke, went to Grammy and Papa's for a weekend last summer. This was the summer that Papa discovered body wash. One morning, Papa asked Logan and Luke if they knew anything about body wash. I'm pretty sure they just laughed, but Papa then went into a description of how to use body wash:
"First you take the pouf and get it wet, then you put a quarter-sized amount of body wash on the pouf and lather it up, you see this body wash makes a really good lather, and then you wash yourself." He has taught many people how body wash works, so if you have any confusion on the matter, I know the man with the answers.
My grandparents have lived in the same house for my entire life. The kids always use the shower in the basement (Papa's shower). When I moved in last August, Papa took me to the basement bathroom and asked me if I knew how to use the shower. I told him I've been showering there my entire life. Then he took me to the doorknob and asked me if I knew how to lock the door. I told him I've been using this bathroom my entire life. He then proceeded to show me how the lock turns, and then he had me practice locking and unlocking the door.
Another time he taught me how to eat a grapefruit by cutting it into segments. He's also taught me how to check the sticker in my car to see when I need an oil change, how to cut a lemon for our water, how to cook bacon in the broiler, how to cut a thin slice of bread, how to change the channel on the TV, how to use a letter opener and how to set the timer on the oven.
But Papa's not the only one who teaches things in this house. I teach Papa a lot about technology. I've taught him how to turn his DVD player on, how to check his voicemails, how to put his pictures from his digital camera onto the computer, and how to make bookmarks in his browser so he and Grammy can read my brother's and my uncle's blogs. My favorite part of playing teacher is that whenever I'm teaching Papa something, Grammy is right behind us with her little pad of paper and pencil taking notes on everything I say so they don't forget. There are notes on how to operate technological appliances all over the house.
Another favorite thing about Grammy's note-taking is that there are no "normal" pens in the entire house. I use the word "normal" loosely because what is a "normal" pen anyway? The pens at Grammy and Papa's, however, are far from normal. I think they are all at least 25 years old. They are either really heavy metal or those weird pens that look like pencils. One day I went through the house to see if there was a regular Bic pen lying around, AND THERE WASN'T! Every single pen in the house is old. It's amazing.

Dinner Conversation 1: Money.

Papa loves money. A lot. And he loves talking about it.
I don't really care about money. I should (I guess), but I don't. And I hate talking about it.
My sister is convinced that his garden doesn't grow vegetables (he gets those at the Farmer's Market), but grows money and every Fall he goes out and harvests his money trees. Papa tells us we should all go into a room by ourselves with our money, throw it into the air and roll around in it. My cousins are convinced that Papa actually goes to the bank and gets lots of $1 bills then throws it all up in the air so he can dance around and feel the money float down around him.

Papa really wants to see how much money I have in my bank account, but I won't let him. Every night at dinner, he asks me how much money I've saved and if he can see my online account and every night I tell him "I don't like to talk about money and I'm not giving you my password." He then resorts to snooping through my mail, though in a round-about way. Since I'm not home during the day, Papa always puts my mail on my bed. If there is a check stub or a credit card bill in the mail, however, Papa will ask me: "Did you see your mail on the bed? I think there was something important in there" at which time I tell him "I don't like to talk about money and I'm not giving you my password." The other day, he told me:
Papa: I see you got some mail.
Julie: Yeah, it was just a newsletter.
Papa: From your credit union?
Julie: Yeah.
Papa: I thought about opening it, but I decided not to.
Grammy: You better not open her mail!
Papa: I didn't. It would have caused problems. Grammy would have been mad at me.
Julie: Thanks, Grammy.

He can sit for hours watching the stock market channels. I don't know how he does it. It truly is a skill. At Christmastime, Papa got a Christmas card from his broker in Jefferson City and he couldn't read his signature. This was also around the time that Madoff ran off with all that money, so Papa was already wary of stock brokers. Anyway, he was so upset about Madoff and the fact that he couldn't read his broker's signature that he started exclaiming that he is going to get a new broker and he's never really liked this guy and he can't read his signature and he wants a female broker because they are nicer and more trustworthy. I don't know how he went from "Look at the Christmas card I got from my broker" to "I'm switching to a female broker because she's more trustworthy and I bet I could read her signature."
Papa is pretty sneaky when it comes to figuring out how much money people have. When he and Grammy got their social security checks in the mail, he "accidently" picked up Grammy's to open and read, but Grammy caught him. After he looked at his own, he asked Grammy if she wanted to look at his so she took it from him and he told her since she is looking at his he wants to look at hers. He likes to know things.

Monday, January 12, 2009


I really want a dog, but I'm not allowed to have one. Papa said that if I got one I better start looking for a new place to live. He says I don't have time and he would be the one taking care of it all day, which is probably true. The other day, we were watching TV and this really cute commercial came on with lots of dogs sticking their heads out the windows of cars. I asked Papa:
Julie: Don't you want one of those?!
Papa: What?
Julie: A puppy!
Papa: Is that what that is?! What's he doing with his head out of the window?! He's going to get something in his eyes!

It's useless. He'll never let me get a dog. So, since I can't have a dog, I spend my time wishing I had one and thinking of names for my future pooch. I've finally decided on a name and that name is Clancy (after our Friday night dinner spot and my favorite restaurant in all of the world).
On Fridays, Clancy's Pub in Rosebud, Missouri has the BEST fish and chips special in the universe, and I'm not even exaggerating. One bite of this fish and your life will never be the same. It comes with a choice of fries, homemade potato chips, onion rings or a baked potato and tastes like heaven in a basket. Like most of our frequented restaurants, the waitress knows us and our orders, so once we sit down we already have our drinks.
This is when Papa and I bond over a cold one and Grammy jokes with the other people in the restaurant about how Papa is leading her granddaughter astray. I love this pub because everyone is so happy and content here (probably because of the combination of amazing fish and cold beer) and even though we eat dinner at 5pm, it is still crowded with people. Some restaurants we go to at 5pm are deserted and remind me that I'm retired, but not Clancy's. It makes me feel young again.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The new TV.

Around the time of the Olympics, Papa decided that the TV wasn't big enough and he was going to go down to WalMart and buy a new one. A bigger and better one. On the day he bought the TV he probably went to WalMart 5 times (granted, he does go to WalMart about 3 times on a regular day). By the time he actually decided that he was going to buy it, it was 9:30 pm (aka my bedtime). Lying in bed, I hear him calling my name from the hallway, so I get up and ask him what is wrong. He tells me we're going to WalMart to buy a TV. I get dressed and Grammy, Papa and I take a family trip to my favorite place in the world. Now, another thing about Papa is he does whatever he wants. If he doesn't like a table at a restaurant, he tells the waitress he's moving. If he wants to go biking in the rain, he tells Grammy and me not to worry about it. Yesterday, Grammy and I asked him if he would like to start eating healthy for the new year. He told us that it would be fine to start eating healthier, but he might have to take some trips to McDonald's to fill himself up.
Anyway, when we got to WalMart, we walked back to the electronics department and found an employee to help us. Papa showed Grammy the TV he wanted to buy and Grammy said that the black around the screen was too shiny, but Papa said he's buying it. Papa then told the man working that he wanted to go into the back room and look at the TV's in their boxes. So we did. We went into the back storage warehouse and Papa picked out the TV he wanted. Then we bought it and went home. End of story.
Or so I thought. The time is now 10:30 pm and I'm in bed again, but not for long. Soon I hear Papa calling my name from the hall once again. He wants to set his TV up now. This means we have to take the old one away, follow the directions on the new one to attach the base and set it up on the cabinet. Then, Papa is in the basement finding the cable cord and I'm on the first floor yelling down to him that the cable doesn't reach. Most people would wait until the next day to get a new cable cord. Not Papa.
One more trip to WalMart later and Papa has the cord. The time is now 11:30 pm and I'm once again in bed and once again I hear the call from the hallway. Finally, after some electrician work, we have the cable set up and Grammy tells Papa he's not allowed to wake me up anymore.
This TV is big. And loud. My room is on the opposite side of the wall that the TV is on, which doesn't really matter, right? Wrong. It turns out the walls are really thin, so when 9:30 rolls around, I crawl into bed with the voice of Bloomburg echoing through my wall, so I have to go tell Papa to turn it down. At this point, I stand in my room and Papa starts turning the volume down until it is at a volume I can sleep to:
Papa: How's that?
Me: Too loud.
Papa: (turns it down a little) How's that?
Me: Still too loud.
Papa: (turns it down some more) How about now?
Me: A little lower, Papa.
Papa: (turns it down again) Is this good? It is at volume number 21.
Me: Ok. That's good.
This is all done using our outside voices since he can't hear me with the TV so loud. Sometimes we get Grammy in the middle so she can relay what I say.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The News Hour with Jim Lehrer

Papa loves Jim Lehrer. We eat dinner at six, so every night we learn about the twisted and destructive paths our country and world are taking, though amidst the drama is always that little shimmer of sunshine. Sometimes, we start with the volume so low we all end up leaning closer to the television before we realize no one can hear it. Other times, it echo's from the rooftops. My least favorite time to watch the News Hour was during the election. Though, I think Fox News was our channel of choice at the time.
My grandparents are Republicans. Through and through. I'm an independent, though if I told you my beliefs you'd probably categorize me as a Democrat. During the election, I basically just learned not to talk about anything political. Papa would print me off all of these anti-Obama, pro-McCain forwards he got through his email and place them at my breakfast seat. You know, the ones that say Obama is an Arab (like it matters...not all Arabs are bad) or made jabs at Democratic ideas. However many times I told him, I think he still must have thought that I didn't like McCain. I like McCain! I like Obama! I think our country and world just need change. Of any kind, though preferably a change for the better.
One thing I have noticed about Jim Lehrer and his News Hour is that women guests are only interviewed by women newscasters, but men and women newscasters interview men. It is very confusing to me, and I'm still trying to figure out if it is simply coincidental.
A happier time in our dining entertainment came with the Olympics. This gave us something exciting to watch that required no bad-mouthing or falsified forwards. Once again, Grammy cheered for everyone, though she cheered extra hard for Michael Phelps. Grammy and Papa would stay up all night watching Michael set records while I slept, preparing myself for my 6am alarm.
I know Papa naps a lot during the day, but sometimes I wonder how much Grammy actually sleeps. Maybe it is because I'm not around when she wakes up, but she stays up extremely late and it makes me wonder if she really is invincible.

Bingo at the Lion's Club.

Tuesday means Bingo night at the Lion's Club. We don't play bingo, but we do sometimes do those little pull tab Lotto tickets. We go for the food and socializing. Papa works on these nights as one of the Bingo monitors, which means he walks around and sells pull tab Lotto tickets and Bingo games. Bingo is intense, I tell you what. People have an array of brightly colored dotters and carry them in special Bingo dotter bags and play about 9 games at once. Intense.
Grammy and I are usually late for dinner because it is earlier than our usual dinner time, so the only special that is left by the time we get there is usually the fish sandwich, or occasionally a hot dog. So that is what we get. So far we've been lucky and have gotten the strawberry pie every time.
Papa wants to quit the Lion's Club because he doesn't think he has enough free time. No one in my family knows what he is talking about because the only obligations he has are Lion's Club and occasional meetings at the VFW. He has started this thing where he "Withdraws" from the rest of the world. To do this, he sits and folds his arms across his chest and looks down. I usually associate this pose with his desire to have more unnecessary free time. Grammy won't let him quit the Lion's Club, though.
He also wants Grammy to quit things. Granted, Grammy does do a lot, but she likes to do a lot. I've never seen Grammy really relax, unless you count the 20 minute naps she allows herself once a day. Papa really wants Grammy to stop volunteering for things at church. I'm really not sure if the church would survive if Grammy stopped volunteering for things, though. She tends to the garden, serves as a greeter, decorates and undecorates for Christmas, bakes pies for every event, organizes the apple butter production, traces and helps quilt all the quilts for the annual quilt auction, organizes and sets up for the annual quilt auction, and babysits during bell choir practice. My grammy is a superhero.
Papa wants Grammy to quit things because he always has to help do everything. That must be where all his free time goes.

Basketball games.

Tonight, Grammy and I went to a Cuba Wildcats basketball game. Cuba won. Go Wildcats!
Grammy LOVES basketball games. My favorite thing about watching basketball with Grammy is that she cheers for both teams. If MU is playing, however, she cheers more for MU than the other team. During every 3-point shot and every free-throw that the opposing team shoots during Mizzou games, Grammy wiggles her fingers in the air and whispers "I'm gonna put a hex on you." So now, my whole family looks like a bunch of witch doctors when we watch basketball together.
The moon was really bright tonight, which always leads Grammy into her story about how she wishes she would have studied Astronomy. It goes a little something like this:
"I always wanted to study astronomy. My friend Tom at Penn State studied astronomy in school. He was a brain. This was when I lived in that house*. But you have to do all these mathematical calculations about where the constellations will be on such-and-such date, and that just wasn't for me."

*In college, Grammy was a dietetics major and, being in the family and consumer sciences, she had to take a class where she lived with 8 girls for a semester. Throughout the semester, the girls had to take different roles in the house, for example: head chef, assistant chef, cleaning, taking care of the house baby. Yes, there was a house baby. Apparently, each semester, this "class" would get a baby from the orphanage and take care of it. Grammy says it would be completely illegal now, but I guess everything flew in the 40's. Once the semester was over, the baby would be returned to the orphanage and the next class would get a new baby. Oh how the times have changed...

Anyway, these high school basketball players sure do fall a lot! It seems like they were rolling on the ground more than they were actually up and playing. I remember going to watch my little brother's basketball games when he was younger and watching the boys on his team roll around crying on the floor if they got bumped or fouled. I guess that is where all this dramatic rolling comes from.
I also decided that I would make a good sport coach (not to brag or anything). Personally, I don't think screaming at your team from the sidelines really helps them play better. It seems like every head coach paces up and down the court hollering at the players for a straight hour and a half. Maybe if the players weren't so scared of getting yelled at or pulled from they court, they would play better. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Sunday Outings.

Now. I will expand on the many activities in my life.

Every Sunday after church, we go out to eat in a neighboring town. The only restaurant that is open on Sunday in Owensville is the Chinese restaurant, and we only eat there as a last resort (not that it is really that bad, but I'm not usually in the mood for cheap, over-fried food.) Thus, our options lie outside town, and more specifically, in Rosebud, Rolla or, on our particularly adventurous Sunday afternoons, Jefferson City.
Our most frequent choice is Kline's for many reasons:
1. It is only 5 minutes away
2. We always see people we know there
3. We already know what we're going to order before we even walk through the door
4. We like the waitress. She is really spunky and already knows what we're going to order
5. The food is good

Occasionally we will venture the hour drive to Rolla to eat at Zino's. Usually this outing is saved for special occasions because of the drive, but Papa sure loves the Sunday prime rib special they have. I never know what to get here because I don't really like meat, especially when it is still bleeding. Usually I end up with the some sort of pasta, which Papa frowns upon because it is usually not a special. If you have ever met my grandpa, you'll know he has interesting perceptions and ideas about food.
For one, he frowns upon people who don't order "the special" at restaurants because he says it isn't going to be as good. Every time my little brother goes out to eat with us, he orders chicken strips and every time Papa tries to convince him to get the fried chicken special and every time my brother still gets the chicken strips.
Papa also has this little saying that he brings up at every meal; he always asks us: "Do you eat to live or live to eat?" The best part of this common conversation is Papa's confusion about which he follows. He claims that he "eats to live," but sometimes he'll say that he "lives to eat" at which point Grammy and I will laugh and remind him that at the last meal he "ate to live."
Papa also buys food based on price. If something costs more, then it has to be better. When we are eating something particularly expensive, he always tells me that I should really like it because it cost a lot.
Ok, back to lunch at Zino's. Once we're finished, we always go to Lowe's, so we can check things out. Sometimes I sit in the car and read because Lowe's is one of my least favorite places to be. I don't know why, but I always get really angry when I have to go to Lowe's. It must be something about the immense concrete floors and shelves 12 times my size. After Lowe's, we go to the Rolla Recycling Center. This, for Grammy, is the highlight of the trip. The center is divided into different sections for the different plastics and glasses, so we divide and conquer. Grammy and Papa divide the plastics amongst the many sections and I take the glass. The glass is the most exciting thing to recycle (not that everything else about recycling isn't exciting) because you get to throw the glass into its section and watch it shatter. Plus, the excitement is exemplified by 1,000,000 because since Rolla is a college town, the glass section is already filled with empty beer bottles, so your one glass mayonnaise jar can create a domino effect, sending beer bottles into the air to shatter once more.

Lunch in Jefferson City seems least exciting, but it means I get to see my parents and my little brother. Either my parents cook a massive feast or we go eat at Red Lobster. We love those cheesy biscuits.

One week.

One thing I'm learning about being retired is that I already have my entire week planned out for me. Every day I wake up and know exactly what is going to happen today and tomorrow and three weeks from now. It goes a little bit like this:

Monday: Wake up. Make lunch and eat breakfast with the food that Grammy puts out in the kitchen for me. Go to work. Come home. Read a book. Make dinner with Papa. Eat dinner while watching The News Hour with Jim Lehrer. Go to rehab and exercise (rehab=physical rehabilitation center=gym). Come home. Play guitar. Go to bed.

Tuesday: Wake up. Make lunch and eat breakfast with the food that Grammy puts out in the kitchen for me. Go to work. Come home. Read a book. Go to Bingo at the Lion's club where we all get the special: a fried fish sandwich, coleslaw, and a piece of strawberry pie. Go home. Go to rehab. Come home. Play guitar. Go to bed.

Wednesday: Wake up. Make lunch and eat breakfast with the food that Grammy puts out in the kitchen for me. Go to work. Come home early because Wednesdays are early out days (I know! Every single Wednesday!). Read a book. Go to bell choir practice. Come home. Make dinner with Papa. Eat dinner while watching The News Hour with Jim Lehrer. Go to rehab. Come home. Play guitar. Go to bed.

Thursday: Wake up. Make lunch and eat breakfast with the food that Grammy puts out in the kitchen for me. Go to work. Come home. Read a book. Make dinner with Papa (unless it is VFW night, and then me and Grammy go to Subway). Eat dinner while watching The News Hour with Jim Lehrer. Go to rehab. Come home. Play guitar. Go to bed.

Friday: Wake up. Make lunch and eat breakfast with the food that Grammy puts out in the kitchen for me. Go to work. Come home. Read a book. Drive to Rosebud for dinner at Clancy's Bar. We all get the special: fried catfish and a potato (Grammy gets a baked potato, Papa gets onion rings, and I get french fries) and Papa and I get a beer (Papa gets a Bud Light and I get a Smithwick's). Drive home (I drive because Grammy thinks Papa is under the influence). Watch a Turner Classic Movie. Go to bed.

Saturday: Wake up. Make brunch with Grammy (usually french toast, eggs, regular toast, fruit, tea and coffee, and the breakfast dessert which is some sort of pastry.) Gorge ourselves on this unhealthy breakfast. The afternoon usually consists of naps, books, quilting and Turner Classic Movies. We don't eat again until dinner because of the uncomfortable fullness resulting from our first meal. Make dinner with Papa. Eat dinner. Watch a Turner Classic Movie. Go to bed.

Sunday: Wake up. Drink coffee. Go to church. Talk to everyone at church. Go to Rosebud for dinner at Kline's. We all get one of the specials: Grammy gets the grilled trout, Papa gets the beef tips, and I get the BBQ pork sandwich. Drive home. The afternoon usually consists of naps, books, quilting, and Turner Classic Movies. Make dinner with Papa. Eat dinner. Play guitar. Go to bed.

Sometimes we go to Zino's in Rolla for lunch on Sundays. Papa likes the prime rib there. After Zino's we go to Lowe's and then go to the recycling plant.

And then I do it all again.

The life I lead...

Currently, I live a simple life with my grandparents in rural Missouri. This blog documents my retirement as well as my low-paying job and my decision to help people as opposed to making any money in my life.