As 2017 winds to a close, it’s time to get a little retrospective. Let’s start with the important stuff. I’m typing this on my wife’s twelve-inch MacBook, and since I’m a two-finger typist, six of my fingers keep hitting the screen. My thumbs are still trying to figure out the touchpad. To avoid banging errant digits into the screen, I’ve affected a typing position that resembles British royalty at high tea, which makes me feel a bit dandy.

           This past year has had other changes besides my typing style, changes for both Mrs. G. and myself. Her dad passed away on January 7th, which gave both of us, but mostly her, a lot with which to deal. Here’s my advice for anyone over sixty with adult kids: Do your kids a favor. Throw out your crap now, and if you’re not sure if it’s crap, well, there’s a ninety-five percent chance most of it is.

           There was that, plus some windstorm damage and a shoulder replacement for me, but hey — we made it through another one, so with that said, here’s what else happened.

           I’ve kicked flossing to the curb and gotten a WaterPik. That’s big news. I’ve also discovered the joy of two-day shipping with Amazon Prime. I’ve found socks and shoes that fit my size fourteen feet and a telescoping snow broom that will allow me to clear snow off my truck without having to use the garage push broom and a ladder. It’s amazing. A friendly employee of the U.S. Postal Service delivered the snow broom, on a Sunday, less than thirty-six hours after I ordered it. Total cost: Nine bucks, which was well worth it to avoid driving down the road with my truck looking like a frosted cupcake.

           2017 has been a year where I can finally answer the question: Hey, what do you do with your retired self? Answer: Write a little and take a lot of pictures, both of which are hobbies I always loved but never had time to explore. It does take a little practice to settle into retirement, but the key here is not getting bored. If I want to take the afternoon and sit around and read, I can, or if I want to bundle up and go for a two-hour hike with a camera and a few snack bars, I can do that too. It’s fun. Not that work wasn’t, but it’s called work for a reason.

           So far, I’ve avoided the retirement pitfall of hanging around McDonald’s and nursing free coffee refills for three hours with other retirees, so that’s something in the plus column. When I run into my retired friends, we always ask the same thing of one another: So, do you miss work? Then we both fall on the floor in raucous laughter and stay there until someone pushes over a chair so we can get up off the floor. Then we start playing Go Fish, only with joint or organ replacements.

           Overall though, it’s usually wise to avoid talking with people about ongoing health ailments. A good friend will ask if everything is OK, and then the other good friend will lie and say yes, and then you talk about football or the weather as men have done for thousands of years and only talk about your ailments if they are funny.

           This is also the year we’ve had a covfefe and Twittery President, and the Internet has exploded with opinions. See the above philosophy on talking about health issues and apply those to politics. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a politician who drops by Dunkin’ Donuts in the morning and says to a table of disgruntled Americans, “You know, those are all good ideas. I’m going to take your thoughts to my friends in Congress and by week’s end, taxes will be lower, health insurance will be affordable and kale will be illegal.”

           Oh, and here’s something else I learned only yesterday. The same woman’s purse can be had in eleven colors and each of them is locked up, but a woman can’t see if the purse fits unless a salesclerk wearing yoga pants from Lululemon Kids and is deeply involved in a Snapchat conversation, unlocks all eleven purses and the woman tries them on while her husband wears out a fully charged phone battery searching for ways to fake a heart attack while trying to figure out why a purse needs be tried on at all, let alone in different colors. Not naming names here.

           Other big news of late, judging from morning TV, are commercials for law firms with phone numbers like 999-9999, telling us that we all need to sue somebody because nothing on Earth is our fault. These commercials tell people who are home in the morning that they could have Morgellons Disease or Alice in Wonderland syndrome or maybe even Le Pétomane syndrome and that they should sue somebody for millions of dollars, five times what the IN-surance companies said they should get. Then these same people go to Tim Hortons and complain about insurance rates with other people who watch morning TV.

           In the end, 2017 has been the usual combination of challenges and fun. Some years are weighted more one way than the other, but that’s life, right? We plug along, and once in awhile, we go shopping with our wives even if it’s not our most favorite thing to do because they do a thousand things for us for which we never thank them. We should be relieved they still want us around them at this point.

           Our 2018 is already filled with appointments, ideas, and plans. I even bought tickets to a concert that doesn’t happen until June. I haven’t been to a concert in … I don’t even know. I like music but I don’t like concerts, so it’s been awhile. When I told Mrs. G., she asked what time the concert was. I said 8:00. We both looked at each other, did the math, and figured we’d be out until at least midnight. The room got quiet for a second, since anything past 10:00 is a late night these days, but what the heck. These two crazy kids are going out.


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