I had the epiphany as I was pacing back and forth in front of the living room window, watching the current weather patterns. It was at that moment that I realized: I am becoming one of them. I had missed the warning signs in the things that have subconsciously slipped into my daily routine the last few days. Now that I look back on my time here in Redwing, I can see just how this slow yet steady transformation took place.
First of all, before I get into the details of this process, let me just recognize that the mere suggestion of moving into a retirement complex for two weeks should have been enough to make me say, "Oh, I better get some young fun in this weekend before I leave my Seventeen magazines (not that I have any anyways) and chick flicks (not that I watch them a whole lot) and the strapping young men (not that I see any on a regular basis) back at home." But no, I had no concerns at all.
I should have known, however, when I started talking to Nicky like he actually was one of my cousins. And as if that wasn't enough, I knew his walking route backward and forward. I could do it with my eyes closed by Sunday. I knew all of the stops at the third bench on the left, that last telephone pole on the right, and the bridge barrier on the way home, in addition to the few grassy patches that were just perfect for rolling around on. Heck, by the third day, I even knew all of Nicky's neighborhood friends: Coby, Charlie, Spot, Mabel, and Buddy. I knew their walking times too.
In case you were really curious, this is what my day looks like. After breakfast (consisting of fruit loops, orange juice, and a cup of tea) I do a little reading. I picked up a few Chicken Soup books from the thrift store because I used to love reading those cute little anecdotes that would make you laugh and cry at the same time (but of course I never cried). Next we got our exercise done: golf on the Wii - Grandad vs. me before Granny plays the winner. Lunch is followed by an Irish movie or two (and a cup of tea).
Don't get me wrong; I love Ireland, and I actually find these movies rather interesting, but they're not your typical-teenager past-time. Uncle Dan has been coming over for dinner, which provides a few good laughs around the table before yet another cup of tea. Granny hands me my Sudoku puzzle from the newspaper at eight o'clock while she does the Cryptogram and Grandad watches the weather channel to see if his predictions match up with the weatherman's. After my eighth cup of tea for the day and some good conversation, we hit the sack.
To some it may seem odd that I haven't been outside of the retirment complex for four days, or that I've taken up knitting at seventeen to pass the time of day, or that I haven't watched television in a week because I've been too busy watching movies like "The Quiet Man" (1952) and "Angel in My Pocket" (1969), but it's not bad. Sure, it may not seem normal when you look at the facts, but if you knew me, you'd know I am having the time of my life.
Seventeen magazines can't tell you how to raise a wonderful family and keep a good home. Chick flicks aren't as good as hearing the story about how your grandparents fell in love. And strapping young men will always be around, but Granny & Grandad might not. Nothing can replace the time I am having this week.
Today, Grandad and I went for a bike ride along the channel this afternoon. And Granny and I exchanged a skill for a skill; I taught her how to play cards and she taught me how to knit. Tomorrow I am hoping to learn how to paint. I am reading more than ever, but none of the books I am reading compare to listening to the stories of my grandparents lives.