Schedules, Meetings and Growing Older

Some days one would be better off1 staying in bed!  Today was a prime example2, but because the day is not yet done, we’d better be careful not to anger the powers that be3.


Things started ok.  Don got up at 6:00am, took Blitzen IV out, and began to fix breakfast with only minor interference4, but the dog just wasn’t interested in her usual breakfast; wouldn’t even eat a bite of Don’s toast with red plum jelly!  That usually is one of her favorites after she has eaten her usual kibbles and bits5 along with sliced beef and gravy6, but this morning she just didn’t want breakfast.


Maxine soon found her way from the bedroom to the family room, and our house guest7, Mark, joined us for oatmeal with sliced bananas, hickory nuts –except for Maxine who had previously said she preferred her oatmeal without nuts!  But today she wanted them, but only after she was finishing up her oatmeal and bananas.  We had our coffee – too strong today – but we drank it anyway, and hoped the caffeine8 would give us the little kick9 we needed.


Mark departed for the Central College campus after Maxine warned him, twice, that it was almost 8:00am, and he had a meeting scheduled for that hour. Then we watched the national news and local weather for a few minutes, checked email messages and found nothing of importance other than someone wanting Don to join his Facebook10, which neither of us wants to be involved with. Who needs another activity requiring more time at the computer.


Maxine had indicated earlier that she had a luncheon meeting at 11:30am at the Country Club11 with her Reading Circle12 group.  Don agreed to take her there, then to do some shopping and other errands13.  The few cars in the Country Club parking area should have been a clue14, but Maxine entered the building and found not a single other member of her group.  A helpful waitress told Maxine that she was probably in the wrong place, but fixed her a coke, and about a half an hour later asked her, “Are you a Baptist15?”, Maxine said, “I may look all wet, but no, I’m not a Baptist”, to which the waitress answered, “they’re supposed to meet here for a noon meeting,”  With no other members of the Reading Circle there, the waitress suggested to Maxine that she was perhaps supposed to be at the Monarch Restaurant16.  The kindly manager at the Country Club joined the conversation and offered to drive Maxine across town to the other restaurant.  Half-convinced of this, Max got into his car, and when he was about a block from the Monarch, his cell phone rang.  He was told that Maxine had been at the right place, but the meeting time was 12:30, not 11:30!  They returned to the Country Club, and the Reading Circle members were beginning to straggle17 in, and indeed they confirmed18 that the time was 12:30 as scheduled, and the meeting continued well into the mid-afternoon.


Maxine was not alone in memory glitches19.  Don took Blitzen IV along for the ride, and was supposed to pick up Maxine’s medicine at the drug store, then to shop for a few groceries at HyVee.  He remembered the groceries, and he and Blitz had a lunch from McDonald’s drive in, then went home.


Don had wanted to plow20 the garden soil in preparation for planting, but the tiller21 motor would not start, so he decided he’d try it later, and go to see either a baseball or softball game which he thought he remembered were scheduled for that afternoon.  Wrong again, the games were scheduled for Saturday, not Friday, so his walk down to the ball diamonds22 became only a bit of unwanted exercise. By late afternoon he wondered if he had forgotten how to start the garden tiller engine, but tried it again and after a half hour of failure, he gave up and had to push the heavy tiller back into the tool shed. Time was passing, he was tired, and thus he failed to get any of the yard work finished that he had planned for the day.


Maxine was given a ride home by another member of the Reading Circle group, and she found Don at the computer, tired, dusty, and a bit grumpy23, trying to get something done on the computer, but with little success there also.  We each told our tales of woe24, laughed a bit, and laughter does help, doesn’t it?


Both remembered that they also had a dinner invitation, scheduled for 5:30pm, and also, they thought it had been scheduled for the Country Club.  Within about a half hour, after cursing their luck25 and bemoaning26 the busy spring schedules, they received a phone call from their friend telling them that the dinner was at 6:00pm, not 5:30, and not at the Country Club, but at her home!


Both Don and Maxine agreed that it was difficult to keep schedules straight, schedules were changed too often, and we didn’t get the changes made on our calendar as we should have.  But, basically, the problem was that there was simply too much happening to suit a pair of retirees27 whose memories admittedly were not at their zenith28, and who didn’t really like attending schedule meetings very much anyway.


The evening meal, excellent in fact, was in honor of our 56th wedding anniversary29, we think, though maybe not.  Who knows?  At least the day ended better than it started, and it seems days, weeks and months pass in much the same fashion as they always have.



1. better off (doing something): (idiom meaning it would be) better, happier or improved (更好).

2. prime example: very typical example (非常典型的例子).

3. powers that be: (idiom meaning) whatever forces or  controls that exist (权威,决定因素).

4. interference: things which prevent or keep things from happening (干扰).

5. kibbles and bits: small pieces of dried dog food (小块的狗食).

6. gravy: a sauce made from the juice that comes from meat mixed with flour (肉汁).

7. house guests: friends or relatives who are staying in your house for a short time (在家暂住的客人).

8. caffeine: a compound in coffee or tea which stimulates one, or wakes one up (咖啡因).

9. kick: (informal) a feeling of excitement or pleasure (快感,乐趣,刺激).

10. Facebook: a social utility or computer program that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them. (是一个联系朋友、工作伙伴、同学或其它社交圈之间的社交工具。).

11. Country Club: a private meeting place, often associated with a golf course or swimming pool, etc. often with a restaurant and meeting rooms where members may arrange to eat, hold meetings or have recreation (乡村俱乐部,聚会的地方,附有高尔夫球场,游泳池,餐馆,会议室等,人们在那里可以进餐,开会或娱乐).

12. Reading Circle: a group of people who meet periodically to discuss books of interest (读书小组,其成员定期活动讨论感兴趣的书籍).

13. errands: short trips, taken to complete tasks or business, often for another person or group (差事).

14. clue: a hint or prompt which may lead to further discovery or explanation (暗示,提示).

15. Baptist: a person who is a member of a religious denomination (派别) of Christians who advocate immersion of members in water as part of the requirements for membership (施洗礼者, 浸礼会教友). The practice is derived from biblical times in which followers of Christ were often immersed in streams or rivers to cleanse them as followers of Christ’s teachings.

16. Monarch Restaurant: the name of a restaurant located in the Amsterdam Hotel in Pella, Iowa (帝王酒店,设在爱荷华州派拉镇的阿姆斯特丹宾馆内).

17. straggle: enter a place one by one, often at the last moment, to attend a meeting (在最后一刻才一个个进来).

18. confirmed: established as a fact (肯定,确定).

19. memory glitches: errors or mistakes in remembering something (记忆失误).

20. plow: turn the soil over and reduce it to smaller pieces prior to planting in it (犁地).

21. tiller: a type of small plow used by gardeners (一种小型的园丁用犁).

22. ball diamonds: diamond shaped playing fields for the game of softball or baseball (钻石形球场,打垒球或棒球的球场).

23. grumpy: unhappy, or somewhat disagreeable (不高兴,生气).

24. tales of woe: explanations of troubles or difficulties (不愉快、麻烦的事情).

25. cursing their luck: expressing their dissatisfaction verbally for how things had turned out (表示对已发生的事情的不满).

26. bemoaning: complaining about something or someone (抱怨).

27. retirees: people who have retired from their professional work or labor (退休者).

28. zenith: the highest point of a career, life, or effort (顶峰,全盛).

29. wedding anniversary: the annual celebration of marriage, or the wedding ceremony (结婚周年纪念日).




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