by R.L. Furse
Definition of ‘adjusted retired couples’ debated PDF E-mail

While I was scanning a daily newspaper the other morning, an article written by a family counselor caught my eye. The subject matter of the article covered the lifestyles of “adjusted” retired couples. I may have read between the lines a little bit, but it seemed most of the counselor’s comments were directed to the male household family member.

I wanted to make sure I was an “adjusted” member of those adjusted retired couples the author was talking about, so I continued reading. It became even more evident that if the goal of an adjusted retired couple was met, most of the “adjustments” had been made by the male spouse. Thus, my analysis indicated I had a lot of work to do and I better get going if I wanted to be a “well-adjusted” member of our household.

The article stressed when you retire and the wife is busy, both should share household duties at least a couple times a week. Now, the counselor-author wasn’t just talking about taking out the garbage. She was talking about those big chore duties such as cooking meals, cleaning windows and grocery shopping. Putting the newspaper aside, I decided I should test the betterhalf’s response to a couple of my ideas regarding chore duties.

I called to the betterhalf, who was in the other room and asked, “What do you think about me helping you in the kitchen prepare a few meals?”

That brought her into the room where I was sitting and I could tell by the puzzled look on her face she couldn’t believe what she just had heard coming from my lips. I also noticed the adjusted couple idea in a kitchen wasn’t going to be her cup of tea. She emphatically said, “I’m in charge in the kitchen and the only time I like to have you help in the kitchen is up at the Minnesota cabin where there is no automatic dishwasher.” Enough said.

I guess I’m back to my old duties of taking out the garbage on Thursday morning; cleaning the garage; running the snowblower; and doing minor home repairs.

And what about pursing that title of an “adjusted retired couple”? I would think being married for more than 54 years should qualify us as pretty “adjusted.”

Here are some excellent comments from a highly regarded teacher as she recently spoke before a large student audience. She said she reminded her students that in today’s world you can still be anything you want to be, but you have to prepare.

“You can achieve your dreams, but you must prepare for that achievement,” she added. She emphasized the road toward achievement can be challenging and cited, as an example, taking subjects such as chemistry in high school and college if you wanted to become a doctor. Her emphasis on preparation for achievement should not only be a message directed to students, but to serve us adults as well.

RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

Retired, but still living by a clock and deadlines PDF E-mail

It’s been a tough couple of weeks here on the homefront ever since the Huskers pulled off the miracle catch and win over Northwestern.

It was quite a catch and I watched every bit of it on TV. The only problem . . . the betterhalf and I were at the game and I persuaded the betterhalf to leave the stadium with just more than a minute left on the game clock so we could beat the traffic.

Yep, it’s been quite a couple of weeks, thanks particularly to those who called my loyal Husker fan-spouse via cellphone right after the catch asking her how she liked the win. Thanks to those callers from Chicago, Phoenix, Minnesota and various Nebraska locations, I’ve heard her repeat my name in vain many times since then. Compounding my problem are the delayed e-mail messages that continue to flow into the home computer and serve as a daily reminder, stirring her ire.

At first I attempted to justify leaving the game early by pointing out she was able to see the Huskers hold their opponent to a field goal when we passed by a tailgater’s TV. Then I noted when we arrived at the car she was able to listen to the radio describe the last four seconds of action. “And besides,” I said, “you’ve got the game taped on two TV sets at home so you can replay it and actually see it better than you would have at the stadium.”

I prefer to make no comment on her reaction.

I must remark I’ve never seen traffic so low after a ballgame as when we drove down O Street. I guess one could say the traffic matched our conversation the rest of the evening.
The past few days I have tried to figure out why I needed to leave any place early in order to beat the traffic. A retired guy should feel he has all the time in the world. Just take it easy and watch everyone else try to be at the head of the pack should be a retiree’s motto.

Unfortunately, I find myself still living by a clock and newspaper deadlines. Certain timetables for performing daily tasks are still commonplace in my lifestyle — no matter how mundane the activity. I wonder why I need to get up at 5 a.m. Why do I feel dogs at the Adopt-A-Pet shelter need to be outside by 7 a.m.? Why do I try to read two daily newspapers before noon? Why do I feel I must drive to Austin, Texas, in no more than 14 hours to visit grandsons and family?

And finally, why do I feel I must be in Lincoln at least three hours before kickoff of a Cornhusker football game, especially when I’m content on leaving the game early?
We’ve been told a boy goes four years to college because it takes that long to develop an all-American football player.

RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

What is the best leaf tool, trailer, bags or chainsaw? PDF E-mail

I just finished an early quick rake of the yard in an effort to eliminate a one-time major leaf cleanup of those “colorful’ fall leaves.
While raking I took a look around and then wondered where are those arborists that tell us we must plant more trees. The promoter who gave me those 10 seedlings following my donation to the Arbor Day Foundation 15 years ago was nowhere to be found.
A year ago I delivered 28 bags of leaves to the city landfill before I quit counting. This year I vowed to simplify my leaf-gathering efforts. No more attempting to dump leaves in a plastic bag that supposedly was advertised as easy fill. No more “sturdy” plastic bags that a twig can poke through. No more picking up a plastic bag only to have it split down the side. And no more having to return home with the empty used plastic bags after unloading leaves at the dump.
This year I am using the old noggin and just simply raking and dumping the leaves in my trusty little trailer. While I am still in the early stages of my leaf raking, I estimate about four trailer loads of leaves will take care of both the front and back yards. Of course I’ve taken into consideration the fact some leaves have already been blown across the street by a north wind and in a neighborly fashion I shared some leaves via east and west wind gusts with those residences adjacent to our home. Because Nebraska weather seems to change quickly, I could suffer from a great additional leaf dumping if the wind comes from the south and the tree-infested lots across the street.
Time will tell if my leaf-disposal plan for 2013 was a success. If not 2014 could include buying a chainsaw.
Halloween is over and now the question is: “How many of you had to buy additional candy because you ate the treats in those days before those little spooks and goblins rang your door bell?”
The better half has solved that problem. She refuses to buy her favorite candies for treats and purchases instead candies she is not fond of. Thus, no Snickers candy bars are give out at our door.
A local husband returned home after being diagnosed by the doctor as having a cracked rib. He presented his wife with a prescription signed by the doctor that prescribed “no household chores for a year.” After she read the prescription she turned to him and said, “You apparently forgot I have an appointment next week with the same doctor. I am sure you will feel differently about your doctor’s orders after I return home.”
With the conclusion of the World Series, baseball season is now officially over. A Texas reporter, noting the Houston Astros’ dismal season, brought up an interesting stat after the club posted one of the worst records in the club’s history.  The report jokingly stated the Astros were so bad that the Nielson TV rating for televised games was 0.0.
RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

Halloween costumes, acts of mischief change PDF E-mail

Halloween is just around the corner, and ghosts and goblins are about to arrive at our door.

Once the special night brought kids to the door wearing costumes made from the outcasts of Dad’s and Mom’s closets. Oversize and outdated garments were the standard dress for the evening. Now, costumes can easily wipe out one of those new $100 bills.

Costumes are not the only things that have changed over the generations. Acts of mischief in many cases have become more serious. Still, many of the actions of ghosts and goblins cause only minor inconvenience and in some cases even cause a smile from their victims.

We recall the morning after Halloween citizens in one Nebraska community were greeted by an outhouse at the downtown’s main street intersection. The mayor vowed the outhouse would remain there until the culprit or culprits returned to remove it. A week passed and the structure still remained. However, in the wee hours of night of the second week the local fire department was called to the scene to extinguish a fire that completely burned down the Halloween “monument.”

Pranks of moving trailers and equipment to different or unusual locations seemed to pass on from generation to generation. Farm equipment lots were the popular sites for such actions by those ghosts and goblins.

A grandpa recalled “when he was a kid” he participated in such a prank at a John Deere dealership. He related that in the black of night (which then was before midnight) his group was pushing a small trailer down the alley when one of the crew said that the trailer was really hard to push. The group didn’t recognize the unfamiliar voice, but soon discovered it was the owner of the John Deere dealership. The dealer laughed and told the youngsters it was easier to find his trailer and put it in a place that was towable, rather than searching the town for it the next day.

Much to the delight of some and the dismay of victims, egg tossing seemed to become popular on Halloween night. Generally the results meant a scrub down of a building or sidewalk the next morning.

One Aurora police officer, who undoubtedly in his youngun’ days and experienced in less troublesome Halloween pranks, used his keen eyes to nab an egg-tossing prankster.

The prankster was exiting a grocery store after the officer had been alerted to a recent egg toss. As the youngster exited the store the officer noticed a bulge in the front of the jacket he was wearing. During the conversation with the youth in the store’s parking lot, the boy denied any knowledge of such a deed. The officer smiled. He then took his nightstick and tapped the youngster’s bulging stomach area, reminding him of the consequences of egg tossing.

As the officer departed, he then noticed egg yolks begin dripping from under the prankster’s coat. Again the officer, as he left,  smiled and said, “Have a nice evening.”
A speech is like a wheel ­— the longer the spoke, the greater the tire.

RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

So many security codes & numbers, so little memory PDF E-mail

Hardly a day goes by when I don’t question myself by asking, “Am I losing my mind?”

It seems as I’ve grown older that self question comes up more frequently than just once a day. But a comment recently really got me thinking more deeply about this lost mind business and after a few more minutes of shallow pondering, I’ve come up with what I believe is the contribution to my mind loss.

The way I got it figured, figures are at the root of why I’m questioning myself. Now, when I mention figures, I’m not talking about those pleasant 36-24-36 figures. Instead, I’m concerned about the numbers, codes and passwords I’m required to retain in my mind just to be able to function in the lifestyle of today. Simply put, the old noggin is operating at over capacity.

Back in days of yore our security revolved around keys and padlocks that required very little memory, except where you might have mislaid the key. Businesses had heavy safes that held money, documents and other important records. Those safes generally had a simple combination the owner could remember and if he couldn’t, a slip of paper taped on the bottom of his office desk drawer would reveal that combination.

Our obsession with security began to grow, and soon padlocks with combinations followed and were used for securing bikes, school lockers and shed doors. Remembering more numbers became commonplace and has continued to grow generation after generation as more technology became a part of our lives.

Today, our mind is jumbled. We are expected to hold in our minds our Social Security number, pin numbers, license plate numbers, driver’s license numbers, house numbers, zip plus four numbers, door and garage door opener numbers as well as a host of password numbers or codes. No one cares how to spell your name, “Just give me your number,” is the common request today.

I understand there might be relief in sight for a guy like me. I’ve been told there are services available where you can file your passwords for a fee and the information is available only to you or those you designate. Another suggestion is to put your password for important personal data in your will that is held at your attorney’s office.

Of course the next question then becomes . . . will I be stable enough when the time comes to remember the name of the service or attorney that is the holder of such information?

I guess that will be the heirs’ and the government’s problem, not mine.

Here’s a simpler solution yet – live life to its fullest and leave nothing important enough or valuable enough to require the need for numbers or passwords.

RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

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