My mom and I spent four perfect (really, they couldn't have been more perfect) days with my grandma in Salem. Our days unfolded as follows:
7:30 am Wake up and exercise. Grandma goes to the gym for her lap swim. I go for a run in the park where that giant oak tree (lovingly christined "Grandma Oak") stands in all of her splendorous oakiness.
8:00 am Return from run and crunch on grandma's high fiber cereal for breakfast. Toot unceasingly for the rest of the day.
9:00 am Shower. Wash hair with the Suave Seabreeze shampoo grandma keeps in her bathroom for such occasions. Set hair in the hot rollers while waiting for that darling Zac Efron to make his appearance on the TODAY show.
10:00 am Depending on the day, grandma, mom and I either visit a museum, go to a used bookstore or go shopping in old town Salem which still sports a little bit of that throwback mid-century charm. Driving to our destination, grandma will inevitably encounter some pothole, pedestrian or fellow driver who will frustrate her to the point of inciting a "Sugar foot!" or "Oh, critter!" I have to admit that grandma's choice of expletives is decidedly more endearing than mine. I should consider switching over.
11:30 am Out to lunch (because this is a special week and a plain sandwich at home just won't do.). We all order salads. Every day we order salads as part of our generational hobby of watching our weight.
1:00-3:00 pm R & R (Rest and Reading) time. This is my favorite part of the day probably because it reminds me most of kindergarten. This is the part of the day where we return to grandma's house after a very vigorous afternoon of shopping and lunching. We can take naps or sit together in the family room and read, but whatever we do it has to be respectful to quiet time. I read my Latin American art books, my mom reads The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and I can't remember what grandma is reading. She reads everything.
4:00 pm Walk. We walk through the neighborhood and through the park. We talk about my mom and her siblings when they were young. Mom and grandma laugh about the time my mom crashed the car at the drive through diner the day after she got her license and the time my otherwise very well mannered uncle got caught heckling old ladies on the street.
5:00 pm Dinner snacking. We're so tired from the day's relentless activity that none of us really feel like preparing dinner. So we just snack on pretzels and popcorn and tuna salad. As far as I'm concerned, dinner snacking is where it's at.
6:00 pm-10:00 pm Crime shows. There are about 79 crime shows in syndication right now. Grandma watches about 77 of these. CSI; True Crime Stories; Bones; Pink Furry Handcuffs. Maybe not that last one. The crime show portion of the evening is often punctuated by Facebooking time wherein grandma spies on all of her grandchildren via their FB pages.
10:00 pm Bedtime. I sleep on the pull-out bed in the office where the wooden Don Quixote figurine sits on the bookshelf and the black and white photo of my young, enlisted grandpa is tacked to the wall. I find it all very comforting.
You see, such loveliness really belongs in the domain of the retired. I've come up with a plan to be retired now and work when I'm older, committed to disproving the adage that youth is wasted on the young. I will not waste my youth on work when there are walks to be taken, naps to be enjoyed, books to be read, and endless crime shows to be watched. I can't help it: retirement looks GREAT on me.