Grandparents Learning New Ropes

What the heck is that?!

A constant question from today’s Grandparents as they struggle to learn the “new ropes” for today’s babies. I certainly expected some things to change in 30 years time, but it now seems everything we did back then is considered ancient practice.

Take the swaddle; what used to be a small blanket turned to create a triangle at the top, is now a specially designed straight jacket-like contraption. There’s more areas of Velcro to connect than NASA’s space suits. Took me 15 exhaustive tries to apply it right. Once I got it on, if an arm popped out too bad, it stayed out.

Babies also now sleep with piped in white noise from a little noise making machine. We used to do this by running vacuum cleaners, just saying. Their sleeping environment must also be free of bumper pads, blankets, and the cute little teddy bear their Grandma bought. Not that I’m holding a grudge…

Of course, that’s after you cover the “Five S’s”, another new invention for putting babies to sleep. It means swaddle, side, shush, sway, suck. Clever, right? My husband shushhhed and held a bottle with a specially engineered nipple, while I maintained a swaying, side swaddle to get our grandson to sleep one night. We felt like a circus act. After 45 minutes we gave up, sat in the rocker, stuck a knuckle in his mouth, and tried the song from our camp counselor days that worked with our kids…he conked right out. Shushhhh, don’t tell.

Tummy Time is also new for those of us that had their babies in the 80’s. Since today’s little loves are not allowed to sleep on their stomachs, parents have to build time into the day to give the back of their head a break. It’s best if babies lay on something with educational pictures on it, this way if they catch a glimpse they can learn something.

Today’s babies are given an opportunity to learn something 24/7.

I’m not sure what the $25.00 rubber giraffe teaches them, but every baby must now have one. This giraffe is so popular that it’s widely recognized by just it’s first name, like Oprah or Ellen.

For diaper changes there’s a new device called the “Bum Brush”. I know, I know, what the heck is that?! Don’t worry, it’s not how it sounds. It’s a little, rubber spatula type gadget to apply the white, sticky diaper cream instead of using your fingers.

Being a team player I tried it, and it did indeed keep my fingers clean. But then the Bum Brush slipped out of my hand and fell to the floor smearing diaper cream down my shirt, pants and shoes on it’s way. Count this as my notice; I quit Team Bum Brush!

The walkers don’t walk, the cups don’t spill, and playpens are now big snap together squares with colorful, interactive activities on each one. It’s, of course, placed on top of something educational. When I laid inside it with my granddaughter and looked up, I imagined this is what Alice In Wonderland must feel like.

I will say, this generation has nailed the bootie falling off the foot issue. They’ve come up with one that wraps around the baby’s ankle, more Velcro, and it really does stay on. Genius! Kudos guys!

I was, however, able to share some wisdom that I’m confident will never be obsolete. Such as; the baby will stop crying eventually, and you’ll hardly ever know why they cried or why they stopped.

So there…

Cleaning FOR the Cleaning Lady?!

I can’t meet you for dinner tonight, Rosie comes tomorrow.

Rosie comes in once a month to whip our place into shape. She’s wonderful, however, the night before she comes I’m up to my elbows getting the house ready for her. Not really cleaning, that’s overstating it, more like touching-up.

Some people think that’s nuts. Why would you do that? The obvious answer is; I have to get things out of the way so she can reach the dirt. The harder to understand answer is; I don’t want her to think I’m a slob.

It’s a little like having company. I have a standard level of clean I strive for when I’m entertaining, and a standard level of dirty I aim for with Rosie.

For instance, when our toilets rival the condition of the porta potties on the Town Green during the Apple Harvest Festival, I must intervene. I touch them up to get them to a respectful level of dirty.

If the microwave looks like a science project gone wrong, I wipe it down…but just a little.

If it’s been a couple weeks since I de-haired the bathroom where I do my hair, a quick swipe makes it look like it’s only been a couple days.

I’m pretty sure Rosie expects me to touch-up between her visits.

When she first started I had to find a place to put everything, and I mean everything. What an operation that was! Even things I already had a place for got bumped to another place if something fit better there. This went on and on.

Things I use everyday I just hid.

I wonder if Rosie realizes how hard I work for her. Anyway, there was still the guilt of having someone clean my house. This I had to work through.

First I would organize closets and drawers, or do laundry while she cleaned. That way I looked like I was pitching in, although I seemed to keep getting in her way.

Then I tried writing. This way I looked much too busy with the Blog to clean my own house. Still she’d ask me to lift my feet to vacuum.

At last I got over the guilt, and now I go shopping. When I thought about all those years of cleaning the house, while raising three kids, it was an easy conclusion to come by. Also, turns out it’s awkward watching someone clean your house. So I leave it all to Rosie assured that I left the house at the perfect level of dirty.

It’s a real feeling of accomplishment…

Remodeling the Remodel…

Face it, it’s old…

Even though it feels like you just did it, you haven’t. When you’ve been in your house for 24 years like we have, things you remodeled early on are now shot.

Those 10-20 year warranties sounded like forever at the time. Like we’d never have to give it another thought. Well, we tossed them in the shred pile, because they’re shot, too. Now we’re looking at new 10-20 year warranties trying NOT to think how old we’ll be when they expire.

This year we’re attacking the three season porch, that used to be a screened porch. See, remodeling a remodel. These projects really are like waging a war on you house. Battling through the decision making process, multiple trips to the building supply store, and the “oops”…there’s always an “oops”. It takes a detailed combat plan to get through it all.

At least I don’t agonize over decisions for home projects like I used to. Simply because I’ve lost all tolerance for building supply stores. Every isle smells like wood, fertilizer or bolts, and I walk out feeling like someone sprinkled me with saw dust. They’re big, noisy, and I always end up in the path of the beeping, flashing cart guy.

I pick something, mull it over for 10 minutes, then head for the door. Unfortunately, my husband loves these stores, and has to do a comprehensive surveillance of every isle in case he needs something he didn’t realize. I kill time at the decorating magazine rack in the front of the store where the beeping, flashing cart guy hardly ever goes.

That is why it’s much better when I can talk my DIY husband into hiring someone to do the job. Not that it’s easy having workers running all over the house, creating a 2 inch layer of dust, and letting flies in. At least the inevitable “oops” is on them, along with the building supply store trips.

We’ve run the gamut on hired contractors. From the young carpet installers that blared loud music while they worked, to the old timer that was quiet, had rusty tools and insisted on drinking from our garden hose.

At first my husband would offer them a couple beers. Then one got too chatty and things came out crooked, so he stopped doing that. I then started making them cookies, but when one plopped down at my table and poured out his girlfriend problems, I stopped doing that.

We learned…

Did you know they don’t use tape measures anymore?

Nope, the last guy showed up with a digital laser measuring device and made jokes, bad jokes, while shooting his laser around. That would not have happened with a tape measure. He had no idea what-so-ever what it would cost, even though he spends all day, every day doing this job. He said a price will be calculated back at the office.

Evidently that’s where they house the Wizard of Contractor Oz.

It’s amazing how you can rationalize a quote higher than you expected when you’re sick and tired of thinking and talking about a project.

SOLD!!!

Face it, it’s old and been ages since you remodeled…remodel it!

Lets Get “Outta Here”!

How do we do that again?

My suitcases are sitting on the bed waiting to be packed. It’s been so long. Just think, being somewhere else for a whole week.

How will that feel?

Sleeping in a different bed without the flannel sheets that I’ve become so used to. Using an unfamiliar shower with who knows what kind of water pressure. It’s been nothing but my shower for over a year now with completely predictable water pressure, and controls I can set with my eyes closed.

How will I adjust?

Oh, and my couch. I’ve been in the same spot, on the same couch for over a year. In fact, I’ve been in the same family room, in the same spot, on the same couch. Wrapped in my favorite Sherpa blanket, I watch TV and write every night. I’m definitely packing my Sherpa.

How could I not?

Then there’s my routine. I haven’t missed the six o’clock nightly news in eons. I pop up my TV table, and Lester enlightens me on the happenings of the day during dinner. Will the lake house get it? Otherwise…

How will I keep up?

Anyway, we’re off…

What’s this I feel?

Anxiety? Euphoria? Both? There’s such a fine line. I might be possessed. I suddenly want to see and do everything! Look, the Maine Visitor’s Center, let’s stop. A scenic overlook, I want to look. A roadside vegetable stand, lets check it out. Oh, oh, oh, a little County Store, please, please, pleeease?

What has come over me?

Things I never cared about when traveling have become extraordinarily interesting to me. Even the Rest Stops seemed fun. I spent five minutes studying the vending machine.

What a crazy phenomenon.

By the time I got to the lake house, my year long quarantine habits were furthest from my mind. The six o’clock news…what’s news? My binge series…who cares?

The strange shower was exhilarating, and the couch was comfortable from every spot. Not that I sat on it long. Instead, I began to rejoin life. Kayaking, hiking, visiting small towns and most importantly, spending time with family.

What did I say to that?

I said, “leave my Sherpa blanket in the car”!

AND

What a miraculous gift to be able to get “Outta Here”.

Pic taken while kayaking on Hancock Pond, Maine with a view of the White Mountains.

Hey, That’s My Face Cream!

Do you know how much that stuff costs? More than those high-end shoes on your feet, and I mean before the coupon! So please stop using it for your chapped hands and peeling sunburn.

I’ve had that discussion with my family several times recently. If you told me 10 years ago that I’d be squandering this much money away on face creams, I would have thought you were crazy.

But when they promise to address precisely what I see in the mirror every morning, what choice do I have?

I look at it as an obligation. Like taking care of an aging relative who can’t stand up on their own any more. As my face collapses into crows feet, forehead creases and upper lip puckers, I need to support it with the best anti-aging creams money can buy. It’s only right.

It all started with an invitation to a home party for face creams. I was taken back at first. I wondered if my name came to mind immediately, or was I just invited to boost the numbers. No one wants to be on the “A” list for a face cream party. Do you think they commented boy, she really needs this before sending the invite?

Anyway, I went.

Holy crows feet! There was table after table of face creams and lotions, each one bragging about how they’ll bring your skin back to the youthful glow of a thirty year old. For the price it should be twenty year old. I looked to the consultant, Rosie, who claimed she was far from thirty, to see if she supported these claims. I have to admit, she had a glow for sure and there wasn’t a crease to be found, BUT when I asked her for proof of age she flatly refused.

Made me suspicious…

But I learned things.

Like the importance of putting face creams on in the right order. Turns out I have greatly underestimated how much they rely on each other to work. Rosie said you should never leave one out, and I mean never, and if I check auto-refill on my order form it will prevent that disastrous scenario from ever happening.

Better yet, if I provided my e-mail to receive hourly notifications on special offers, I would become a Valued Member and save 5% off my monthly face bill.

Dragging myself away from the cheeseball, I tried out everything in the “7 Step Essential Regimen Set”.

  • An exfoliator (essentially sandy water)
  • A cleanser (my normal soap in a foam)
  • A toner (smelled like mouthwash)
  • A night and a day moisturizer, depending (evidentially, there’s a difference))
  • A wrinkle repair serum (um – egg whites?)
  • A plumper (cleverly puffs out repaired wrinkles)
  • There was also an anti-stress cream that, honestly, I think Rosie made up.

Suspicion increased…

The good news is that all harmful chemicals have been removed from this line of skincare. Rosie seemed to think this was a reasonable explanation for why it’s so expensive. I felt it begged the question; why wouldn’t having less things in it make it cheaper to make, hence buy? I could see a flush in Rosie’s flawless cheeks, and a bead of sweat surfaced on her perfectly, smooth forehead.

Suspicion personified…

One woman did buy the entire “7 Step Essential Regimen Set”, but I think she was a plant. When I did the math, I figured I could buy 2 pairs of shoes every month for the same cost, and they wouldn’t wash away everyday. The math drove a hard bargain, so I compromised.

I bought some, two exactly. I saw the disappointment in Rosie’s eyes as she watched her own plans to buy shoes slip away. She then had me sign a waiver acknowledging that I was fully aware of my jeopardizing the effectiveness of the two products I purchased. It was fine, I had already picked out my shoes for the month.

As it turns out, I’m starting to see a difference in my skin. It seems the 2 creams I bought are picking up the load of their missing counterparts, ORRRR, is the can’t ever leave one out theory a scam?!

Sooooo suspicious…

Now where do I hide them from my family?!?!

Entertaining the Grandkids

I don’t know what gets into me.

I wasn’t this much fun raising our kids, which they like to remind me about. But they’re right. I mostly left them to their own devices to find fun. There was no time while raising them and keeping the house a float. For the grandkids it’s different. I am the fun, my husband, too.

It’s showtime for Grammy and Papa the second we appear on the set.

Scene One

Scene one begins with Grammy and Papa waving wildly in the driveway, while calling the grandkid’s names like crazed fans at the backstage door.

You’d think it was decades since we saw them, not 6 days. If it was longer there would be gifts involved. When it’s our grandson that lives further away, it’s us bursting through the door knocking over anything in our path.

We can’t get those kids into our arms fast enough.

Scene Two

An outdoor play scene is great for the initial high level of energy we all start out with. I actually ran. Running, can you believe that? I did it playing kickball with our 4 year old granddaughter. Kickball, can you believe that?

Her rules were all over the place but Grammy didn’t care. I figure her parents can teach her the real rules on their time. Did I deliberately let the ball miss me so she’d win? Yup! Her parents can teach her the pain of defeat, too.

Scene Three

This one is Tony Award worthy; pulling out old toys from when our kids, their parents, were little. The grandkids love that old, battered, outlawed stuff. Must be something about the sharp edges, and splintering wood.

The grandkids are completely enthralled by these junky, old toys, and play with them way longer than the ones that meet all the new safety standards.

Have we ruined toys?

Scene Four

Swinging is always on the repertoire. The kids especially love it if we join in. Once I maneuver my hips into the sling seat I’m off. This gets competitive for me. One more pump and I’m highest…go, go, go.

Jump Grammy, jump! Ah, that’s where I concede. It’s just not worth a knee replacement.

Intermission

Snack time!

We all know last generation’s Kool-Aid mom has been replaced with this generation’s humus and guacamole mom. That doesn’t mean they have to graze on the hedges when they come to Grammy and Papa’s house.

I meet them half way with snacks clever enough to use healthy words in their name; like “vegy” chips, gummy “fruit” snacks, “multigrain” cookies, or chocolate covered “protein” bars. That counts, right?

Then again, if the ice cream truck shows up all bets are off. The Grammy/Papa card trumps all of the above!

Scene Five

Hit the deck!

The ground scenes are where the best stuff happens. Things like cars, trucks, Barbies, Legos and ants…especially ants. Papa and our granddaughter watched an ant hill for 30 minutes one day.

Stones too. I sorted through a pile of stones helping her separate “slippy”, from “bumpy”, from “sparkly”, from “wavy”. I now see stones so differently.

Also, don’t forget coloring. That’s way “funner” on the floor. So glad it hasn’t been outlawed…yet.

Scene six

Pretend play is my granddaughter and my favorite act. We have romped around the backyard as Elsa and Anna numerous times. If caught by neighbors I cast them a part. We’re always looking for an Olaf.

Keeping all the old Halloween costumes has helped tremendously with costuming pretend play. I have a very authentic dinosaur one I can’t wait to pull out when our grandsons get bigger. Coming soon…Jurassic Park!

Scene Seven

A restful story time is the perfect last act. Especially if we’ve gotten them through the day without any scratches or bruises. Don’t want to blow it in the final stretch.

If we throw in snugly blankets and some stuffed animals we can really milk this. It’s nice to hand them over to their parents calm.

hahahahaha…see Scene Eight

Scene Eight

Parent’s walk in door, kids turn into Tasmanian Devils. This is not part of the script. Telling their parents they were perfect angels for us all day long seems to make it worse.

The scene ends with screaming, kicking children being carried to the car.

Encore

Why is my back so sore? My legs feel like spaghetti, and my arms ache like I was javelin training all day, I’m not sure I can make it to the kitchen to make dinner tonight.

Where’s my slippers? My shoes feel like cement bricks. I definitely can’t fix a dinner tonight. Peanut butter toast will do fine to buffer my stomach from the pain relievers. Boy that couch looks good right now. All I need is a snugly blanket.

Ahhhhhh…

Reviews

Papa and I compare anecdotes.

Did you see that slant eyed grin he gave me as he waddled behind the bush to hide? Can you believe how that little guy can bounce like crazy in his jumper, and make the music play? I almost croaked when she told me I should take a breath and relax a little when I got so excited playing Barbies. She’s four! We miss those little rascals already, BUT…

best to take a breath and relax a little.

Are My Landline Days Numbered?

I don’t know…

Once it’s gone, it’s gone. I could never get “my” number back if I changed my mind. Ever! They say your number goes on a list to be reassigned. Reassigned!! I can’t imagine someone else having “my” phone number. It’s belonged to me for the last 30 years. It rolls off my tongue without thought. The digits fly effortlessly from my fingertips when I write it. I’d need hypnotism to stop that from happening.

Besides, there would be such a temptation to call my reassigned number to see who got it. Wouldn’t you want to know?

Maybe they’d like to hear how the number started out as a wall phone in the kitchen with a princess streamline extension in the bedroom. They’d never believe how long our whole family shared just that one line. I’d tell them what a big deal it was to eventually upgrade to a cordless phone with a built-in answering machine. Even bigger when we added caller ID, backlit keys, and trilingual prompts allowing you to choose between English, Spanish and French.

That same number is now on a newer long-range cordless handset phone with the added features of call block, a handy handset locator, and talking caller ID. It also has four handsets that I strategically placed around the house so I’m never more than 15 steps away from one. No wonder I’m attached!!

But, who calls our landline anymore…really?

Well, the pharmacy calls it reminding me to refill the medication I just picked up three hours before. Certainly all the warranty extension people use that number, and politicians asking for their vote. The realtor that sold us our house 24 years ago keeps calling it, and some gutter cleaning guy. Other than that it’s computer generated calls excited to inform us we’ve won a free trip so they can sell us a Time Share.

So why can’t I pull the plug?

Maybe I should get on board with the latest trend of putting phone service completely in the hands of a cell phone company. Could I trust that? What if I forget to charge my cell at night? It happens all the time with my electric toothbrush. My cell could easily flop into the toilet again, or I could leave it on a display of yams at the food store. I might drop it, step on it, crush it to a pulp. I don’t know, there’s just so many risks.

Thinking about it, us sixty+ year olds are the last generation that lived most of our lives with nothing but a landline. That makes us terrible candidates to pull off a cell phone exclusive existence. We’re also not so great with change. Why not leave the abolishing of landlines to the millennials? They have no problem using their phones as their lifeline, and they thrive on change.

Okay then, I’m done with the pros and cons on this. Decision made, my number stays “my” number. No reassigning, no worrying about a cell phone oops. My communication security blanket remains intact!

Phew, glad that’s over…

My Hubby and His Spreadsheets

Color coded spreadsheets that is.

The day my husband unveiled the spreadsheets he created to track our, um my, spending, I’ve not seen such excitement in his eyes since the kids were born. This is Excel at it’s best, honey, he proudly exclaimed.

I say spreadsheet“s” because there are many. Sooo many. They now track every aspect of our lives. It’s mind-blowing to see your life outlined in little boxes and columns. This sort of thing could easily dehumanize you, so I’m quick to remind myself that you’re more that just a little square, Diane.

Having said that, I do find some of them helpful. Particularly the spreadsheets for Christmas and vacation spending, green and yellow respectively. The one for household projects, orange, is more complicated. A column for budgeted amount, another one for pending project, another for finished project, there’s a to be paid column, which, of course, is to the left of the paid color, then some kind of “carry over” column that he has explained to me 20 times and I still don’t get why it’s there.

Unfortunately, my husband’s methodical explanation of each little block was about 10% helpful. Not his fault, as spreadsheets only make sense to the spreadsheet maker. I’ve sat through countless meetings at work where the spreadsheet maker breezed through the information like it was an easy reader children’s book, while the rest of us were still trying to make sense of the column headers.

It’s incomprehensible to all spreadsheet makers that someone may not understand their system. In their mind how could that highlighted, italicized, bold column mean anything other than “last year’s info”.

Any attempt by the spreadsheet reader to clear it up it by adding “last year’s info” to the header is just asking for it. Never try to tamper with someone else’s spreadsheet. Otherwise, they will carry on like they’re Leonardo da Vinci if you just touched up the Mona Lisa. Worse if you already hit “save”.

This strong ownership people have of their spreadsheets stems from the tremendous effort it takes to create one of these things. They pour over font options, centering, in my hubby’s case, colors, tweaking this and spacing that, until they’re practically crossed-eyed. When finished it’s like birthing a baby.

Surprisingly, over time I’ve became more and more fond of his spreadsheets. With every purchase I now jump on the computer to track it on the designated colored sheet. I’ve grown to love the neatness of the perfectly spaced little boxes, and the “ping” feeling as the total is calculated. I’m thinking I’ll never have to add or subtract again. Between that and spell check, it’s no wonder my mind is withering.

Hold on, hold on, HOLD ON! He’s at the computer again. What could possibly be left to track? Does that header say CHORES?!?! He wants to track our cleaning? Really? So waiting till the floors are sticky and we’re choking on dust isn’t good enough anymore? I don’t believe my eyes.

Nope, nope, NOPE! Not doing it. I will take the risk of throwing caution to the wind with this one. I’ll embrace the willy-nilly of not having my chores neatly boxed and columned. This haphazard existence actually feels liberating. I’m free!!

Besides, there aren’t any colors left anyway…

Am I Old Enough for Naps?

Are naps okay in your sixties? I mean am I old enough? What’s the recommendation? Does the CDC have an opinion? AARP maybe?

I seem to get sleepy every afternoon, I really do. Not necessarily where I need to put on jammies and climb into bed. Just the kind of tired that makes me want to find a corner and nod off for a bit.

Honestly, I don’t know how I made it through the workday before I retired last year. I remember hitting a point in the afternoon where, for the most part, nothing more got done that day, but I really don’t remember having to fight to keep my eyes open.

The other day while in line at the drive-thru pharmacy I must have dozed off. I jolted and suddenly a different car was in front of me. I really have no recollection of being passed, or that a severe thunder storm had started. Anyway, a little honk would have been nice.

How does Congress do it? Many of them stay in office well beyond the average retirement age, spending hour upon hour in those chambers. Men in suites with neck ties and probably professionally starched, stiff shirts. Women in dresses, heels and probably control top pantyhose. Crazy! What an act to pull off at their age with no nap.

The majority of retirees have far less demands than that, and still fizzle out in the middle of the day.

If only our grandchildren could muster up a mid-day fizzle. My kids practically stand on their heads trying to get their toddlers to nap. When you’re a young parent getting your kids to sleep becomes the main focus of your existence.

How ironic that I’m fighting it off every day.

Some say if you hit a sleepy time of day that you should exercise. Getting the blood moving helps you push through the tiredness. That sounds like punishment.

Others go straight to Caffeine, but that’s just begging for bedtime sabotage.

So I suppose the question is: give in to naps or push through?

My parents used to knock off watching their soaps every afternoon. They had to be about my age, and I never remember them feeling guilty or questioning it. Actually, they bragged about their “well-deserved” little slumber.

“Well-deserved”…wait a minute. Holy Cow, that’s it!!!

After years of pushing through unimaginable tiredness while raising our kids; toddler meltdowns in stores (or anywhere), homework (especially science projects), fundraisers, teacher’s gifts, Disney themed birthday parties, sitting on hard bleachers watching sports, more fundraisers, vacation planning and execution, the list goes on. You remember, right? Even getting to this point without kids; career demands, family obligations, and don’t forget the Holy Grail of tiredness from making everyone’s dreams come true every holiday.

Push through a nap, forget that. We earned a nap!!

So there it is right smack in front of us. The answer is YES! Absolutely YES! We’re not only old enough for a nap in our sixties, it’s “well deserved”. Our reward for all we’ve done to get here.

A good ol’ fashioned, mouth open, fly catching nap, right smack in the middle of the day…

For more reminders for this “well deserved” time of our life read this humorous romp through the years of raising kid.

Empty Nesters…Lose the Guilt!

Flowers, Chocolates and Brain Racking

It’s tradition…

Flowers and chocolates are the traditional Valentine’s Day gifts for men to give a women. A tradition that was dropped in men’s laps long ago, taking all decision making out of the occasion. They simply can’t goof this up. They’re even given daily reminders, starting after New Years, that the occasion is nearing. If they’re a real knucklehead and still forget, they can grab flowers from the curbside guy at the red light on their way home.

Lucky for them women always, and I mean always, love flowers.

As for chocolates, well, women absolutely lose their minds when they’re given a box of chocolates. Six weeks of successful dieting is easily thrown out the window when a woman receives chocolates. A NASCAR green flag flashes before their eyes giving them the go ahead to dig in as fast as they can. I’ve known women to eat an entire box of gifted chocolates for dinner. My one friend canceled her colonoscopy prep because she received a box. Some women hide their gifted chocolates in their underwear drawer for safe keeping. There’s no going wrong with chocolates for women.

So guys, let’s face it, you’ve got it made for Valentine’s Day!

Woman, however, have not had a tradition handed to them to use every Valentine’s Day. They are left racking their brains every year to think of a gift for their man. It’s hard to find something that compares to the flowers and chocolates tradition.

There was a time when Valentine’s Day was just for women. Women were the Valentines, and men were the ones asking them the question “Will you be my Valentine?”

This was back when most women were at home tending house with aprons around their waists, and screaming children around their ankles. Valentine’s Day was a day for men to show women an expression of love and, I suppose thanks. Someone very wise, who knew how difficult it is for men to figure out ways to do this, suggested the foolproof gift idea of flowers and chocolates. Walah! The tradition was born!

But then the day came when women fought for equal rights, and they got them. So now women are on the hook for Valentine’s Day, too.

I’ve spent 40 years racking my brain for ideas to express my love for my husband on Valentine’s Day. The results have ranged from a bookmark with a cupid hologram on it, to a new flatscreen TV. I’m now wondering if my choices were hormonal.

I do know this, wherever I land with my gift idea this year, after 40 years of marriage the answer to “Will you be my Valentine?” is…YES SIREE!

Now BRING ON the flowers and chocolates…it’s tradition!