1. Hide food — This will prevent those overgrown children who live upstairs from consuming a week’s worth of groceries in one sitting. Store chips under the bed. Hang cookies or brownies on hangers in the back of a closet, where they will never look. Stash frozen pizza under five-pound bags of broccoli and carrots. Any type of snack items fit well inside heater vents. (Caution: Use only during summer months.) Fresh fruits and vegetables may be left in plain sight.
2. Never replace toilet paper — While you use your private, hidden stash, it will teach your teens a valuable lesson in self-reliance. If the last square of tissue remains on the cardboard roll for more than 7 days, or your teen is spending a lot of time at the corner convenience store, or rolls of paper towels and shop rags are disappearing, it’s time to break down and replace the tissue. Albeit, with much pandemonium and cursing.
3. You’re not their buddy — Parents and teens cannot be “buddies.” That skateboard might look like fun and sound exciting when trying to “olly a half pipe,” but a broken hip is forever. Their music may seem interesting, but bleeding from the ears is no laughing matter. And trying to decipher the meaning of T-shirts or tattoos has been known to cause aggressive oozing of inner brain tissue.
4. Set a curfew — Teens who are more than two hours late for their curfew should just report in at the local police station to save time. That’s where they will find their mother — sobbing and filling out missing person reports. If more than three hours past curfew, the belated teen may want to check out the website: onyourown.com.
5. Don’t limit screen time — Allow unlimited access to television shows, games and the Internet in 75% of the rooms. That way, no one (least of all — and this is important — the parents) can be held responsible for anyone’s personal idea of entertainment. After all, it was in the room and it was turned on; the young adults upstairs just happened to spend seven hours playing, “Violence, Blood & Death Squared VI.” Not your fault.
That’s the weird thing about aging – you feel the same, but suddenly it’s impossible to laugh too hard after drinking a Dixie cup of water without dribbling down your chin or legs.
My body hates me and betrays me every chance it gets. We used to love and mutually respect one another. We used to have dinner before sex and cuddle after. Those days are over. We’re broke up. Literally.
In the midst of a conversation with a store clerk when I am perfectly healthy, my nose will suddenly drip with no warning whatsoever.
I’ve put my back out twice just bending over to tie my shoes.
The only place my hair is getting thicker is on my chin.
I can’t relax during yoga class because I’m afraid I might fart.
On the plus side, I’m old enough that I don’t care if I say fart instead of “pass gas.”
And, I can’t use a neti pot from two to four hours before leaving the house. The last presidential election was proof of that.
In a hurry to vote and make it to work on time, I used a neti pot – which I swear by for avoiding sinus problems – then rushed to the polls.
In a looooong line of people, many of whom I knew and recognized, I was having a lively conversation with one of the poll workers when I bent over to look at the district map that was taped to a table.
Saline water gushed out of my nose onto the map, which was — thankfully — laminated.
People stared in horror. Some backed away.
It was almost as if I had told them who I was voting for — only much worse.
As I dived for a tissue in my purse, I tried to explain, without success, that it was only saline water from a neti pot.
I might as well have said I was suffering from Ebola hemorrhagic viral fever.
I was caught in a bad Van Gogh dream, looking into the terrified eyes of 80 people clutching their heads and screaming soundlessly with open mouths.
I know what I would have been thinking had I seen someone’s nasal passages spew a tsunami — “Hope that poor hapless sap stays away from me …”
The weird thing is that sometimes when I pour that little pot of water in one nostril, NOTHING comes out of the other nostril.
That’s when I should have a clue not to bend over for the rest of the year.
I mean, where does it go? It’s supposed to flow in one nostril and wash out the sinuses and nasal passages and then flow out the other nostril.
But sometimes … NOTHING.
Is my head a vacuous wasteland of saline water parks where cells dance and frolic?
I’m sure it has to do with aging. Everything does these days.
Maybe the saline packs into the recesses of my head that used to be filled with working brain matter, but are now empty chasms of space filled with meaningless phrases like, “Where did I leave my glasses?” and “Damn! Why did I come in this room?” and “Rutabagas scare me and my intestines.”
CHURUBUSCO, Ind. — John A. Krieger, the man who was known as Churubusco’s “favorite son” and the town’s All-Round Nice Guy” died just after midnight on Christmas Eve at the age of 68.
John, who was born with Down syndrome, had been sick with pneumonia and other infections and was hospitalized for four weeks preceding his death.
He kept up his busy schedule, working for a variety of downtown merchants and patrolling the streets of Churubusco right up until the day he was admitted to the hospital.
Krieger’s parents, the late Cloyd “Pete” and Hazel Krieger, were advised by medical authorities to put their Down syndrome baby in an institution.
“He will never live to see his twentieth birthday,” they told the Kriegers.
Appalled at the thought of institutionalizing their little boy, Pete and Hazel took him home and raised him alongside his loving brother and sisters, Calvin, Leila, Phyllis and Beverly.
Although John’s speech was garbled and hard to understand, and he had the usual setbacks associated with Down syndrome, he thrived in the Krieger family setting where he was surrounded with love and attention.
John created a fantasy world where he was able to retreat and become whatever he wanted to be at the moment — a police officer, a medic, a preacher or a fireman.
Many people in Churubusco grew up watching John pantomime a one-man play at the edge of a street or on a downtown sidewalk as he played cops and robbers, assisted at the scene of a wreck or chased down an imaginary hit and run driver.
Krieger brought recognition to Churubusco and gave the town more than its 15 minutes of fame when he attracted the attention of the national media several years ago. He was the focus of a 1999 Associated Press feature story and later that same year, the worldwide cable news network CNN visited Churubusco and filmed a segment about John Krieger for the Sunday morning “Across America” series.
At CNN headquarters in Atlanta, Ga., the “Johnny” feature became an audience favorite and continued to be a repeat request from CNN viewers.
After the Associated Press and CNN coverage, Krieger and the Town of Churubusco heard from people around the world. Many of them sent John letters, cards and even money.
In April 2000 town council members voted unanimously to declare April 23 — John’s birthday — as John Krieger Day in Churubusco.
Dr. Janet McMullen, associate professor of radio, television and film at the University of North Alabama, still uses the story of Krieger when teaching the sociology theories of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft.
“Those two theories contrast societies which value people based on who they are versus what they can do,” McMullen said. “John and Churubusco have been the perfect illustrations of that.”
When John was a young man he caught the attention of local businessman,
Clarence Raypole, who owned a gas station at the corner of Main and Whitley streets. Raypole offered John a job and soon the short, stocky young man with the infectious grin became a familiar sight in downtown Churubusco.
John liked nothing more than to be “one of the guys” and could be seen in the garage, helping work on a car and joking with the mechanics or inside, taking a break and drinking a cola while trading “girlfriend” stories with the young men who worked and hung out at the station.
It was Raypole who affectionately dubbed John, “Knothead.”
The entire business community, following Raypole’s lead, adopted John Krieger and he worked a variety of jobs, many times concurrently, throughout his lifetime.
Besides Raypole’s, John also worked at Floyd’s Auto Sales, Super Valu, Diffendarfer’s Body Shop, Shroyers Variety and Hardware, Jones Insurance, Churubusco News, Papa’s Place and Sheets and Childs Funeral Home.
He was a bonafide member of the Churubusco Fire Department, Whitley County Medic 21, Churubusco Police Department and the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department.
When he was younger, John rode a bicycle which was usually gifted to him by local merchants or the police department. The bike was outfitted with baskets, a toy radio and lights. He carried a badge with all the proper credentials for each department he worked for and, depending on which scenario he was acting out at the time, would present the correct badge with the utmost authority. The local police, fire department and emergency crews supplied John with a space or a desk at their headquarters and even outfitted him with police, medic and firefighter uniforms.
The year before John died, Sheriff Mike Schrader of the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department, in cooperation with the Churubusco Police Department, gave John a complete sheriff’s uniform — everything but a gun.
Once a week, an excited John would announce to his many coworkers and employers that he was going to be working as a “flatfoot” and would then name the specific day.
On “flatfoot” days, John would proudly walk the streets of Churubusco in his new uniform, patrolling the streets and fighting crime at every corner.
His fascination with the police was instilled in him as a young boy, when he watched his father get dressed in his “blues” and go to work as a flatfoot or policeman.
In his heyday, when he rode his bicycle, John could imitate a perfect, very authentic-sounding siren. People, upon hearing it, would automatically pull to the edge of the road.
John startled more than one stranger who was passing through town. He would walk up to the offender’s car window and begin writing an imaginary ticket, all the while scolding the hapless motorist for being so careless and running a red light, or leaving the scene of an accident or whatever infraction John thought had been committed.
Once in a while John could be seen standing downtown, arguing with someone he had just ticketed for jaywalking or illegal parking.
The strangers always wore the same confused and exasperated expression while residents of Churubusco just smiled and sometimes reached out and patted John on the back, telling him, “good job.”
The local Methodist Church, where John attended and served as altar boy for many years, sometimes allowed John to preach between services.
He would climb the steps to the pulpit and deliver a rousing — if unintelligible — sermon punctuated with a clear “God” and “Jesus” here and there.
“John was passionate in his sermons,” said Christine Newman-Jacobs, UMC pastor. “And he was passionate in life. Everything he did, he did with love and passion.”
In 1978, Churubusco Police officer Clifford Smith began taking John with him and other officers to a local restaurant for an afternoon coffee break. The ritual continued for nearly 25 years.
Every year, on April 23, or John’s “big day” as he liked to call it, friends, family and members of the local and county police department would gather at the restaurant at precisely 2 p.m. and celebrate John’s birthday with cake and presents. After John’s parents and brother died, he went to live with his sister, Phyllis, where he remained for many years. Several years ago, when Phyllis died, the local newspaper office was flooded with calls from people wondering, “What will happen to Johnny?”
But Phyllis had voiced her dying wish to her son, Dan Ferguson; she asked him to take care of John. Ferguson kept his bedside promise and John lived with Dan and his wife, also named Phyllis, on the east side of Churubusco, until his death.
Dan’s children — John’s great nieces and nephews — and their children, as well as his only remaining sibling, Bev Davis, were a constant source of pride to John. He always carried pictures of the newest baby in the family and would proudly show them to anyone he met on the street.
One picture that Associated Press featured showed John cuddling a great-great nephew with a look of pure adoration. As he got older, his joints, especially his knees, grew weaker, although by most standards, John was in very good shape for a 68-year-old man who was not expected to live past 20.
It was hard to keep him from making his appointed rounds, even when he was ill. Dan and Phyllis, in an effort to keep John home in his sick bed while they went to work, would sometimes confiscate John’s shoes and take them to their place of employment.
That usually didn’t work, as Dan reported later. “John would just find an old pair of shoes or boots, even if they didn’t fit, and walk uptown anyway.”
The summer after his death was the first time in decades that John did not lead the annual Turtle Days parade, smiling and waving at the crowd while sitting in the front seat of a fire truck or a police squad car.
His funeral, held Sunday, Dec. 28, 2003, was something John — who never minded being the center of attention — would have approved of. Family members, friends, local businessmen and women, co-workers and representatives of the fire department, Medic 21 and local, county and state police departments lined the pews, filling the church to capacity.
After the eulogy — which featured gospel singing, one of John’s passions — friends and family members told “Johnny” stories, prompting both tears and laughter.
The funeral procession — a long motorcade led by over three dozen police, fire and medical vehicles — drew the attention of bystanders and motorists along the way. One group of employees in front of Brevin’s Restaurant stood silently, hats off and heads bowed in respect as the procession passed. Thanks to the caring and loving hands of funeral home personnel — who were also one of John’s many employers —
Busco’s All Round Nice Guy reclined peacefully in his favorite suit, holding a wallet which
was open to show his official police and firefighter badges. Even in death, his face reflected a smile and his resolute love of life.
Nearby stood a large wreath which encircled a photo of the firefighters, officers and medics who had come to think of John as one of their own.
John spent a great deal of time on “paperwork” for his many professions, sometimes
working at home, sometimes working in one of his many offices in downtown Churubusco. He would often spend hours laboriously printing his name beneath a handdrawn cross.
He would proudly show off his handiwork and declare, “John Krieger – flatfoot, preacher and man of God.” Those who knew him soon realized that John Krieger was not only a man of God, but a gift from God.
INDIANAPOLIS – So there I was, for the first time in my life, with seven other women who, for the first time in their lives, marched for a cause, surrounded by thousands of others — many who rallied for the first time in their lives — to join in solidarity on our promise to “never go back.”
It was the day after the presidential inauguration, Jan. 21, and we traveled two hours south to join other women (and many men and children) in a protest on the outside terrace and walkways of the State House in Indianapolis. We rallied in support of the main march in Washington, D.C., which drew between 440,000 and half a million people in support of women’s rights and against the new administration. We were joined by hundreds of thousands of supporters from more than 60 countries and at cities throughout the U.S.
Turns out I was not alone in my fears for humanity.
It was a very peaceful, inspiring and, at times, emotional afternoon. But here’s the thing: I had numerous other things I would rather have been doing. What I resent the most about the Trump administration is not any of the hot topics that quickly come to the minds of the majority of people who voted against him (nearly 3 million, but who’s counting?)
After a major health crisis, I decided life was too short. I took an early retirement six months ago so I could spend time doing the things I love: hosting and attending get-togethers with family and friends, playing with my grandchildren, writing a novel, gardening, bird-watching, visiting wineries and reading the many books I have not yet had time to read.
At the age where I should be in a hammock somewhere — anywhere — warmer than Indiana, kicking back with a margarita (or two) and reading “Sapiens” and “Homo Deus,” I instead find myself forced into the role of an activist — attending rallies, joining women’s groups and calling state and national representatives every week to speak out on various issues. What the heck?
I got my first job at the age of 14 and, with the exception of a few short maternity leaves, have been working ever since, at times holding down two or three jobs at a time. I’ve been working and paying taxes for 50 years.
And then the Electoral College made Donald Trump President of the United States.
I wanted to take Garrison Keillor’s advice, which he outlined in a column shortly after the election: “…spend four years raising heirloom tomatoes, meditating, reading Jane Austen, traveling around the country, tasting artisan beers, and let the Republicans build the wall and carry on the trade war with China and deport the undocumented and deal with opioids, and we Democrats can go for a long , brisk walk and smell the roses.”
I tried, to no avail. For one thing, I don’t drink beer. For another thing, I live in northern Indiana where there’s a very small, climatic window for smelling roses.
Turns out I care about the rights of all people, no matter their race, ethnicity or birthplace. I don’t care what their choice of faith is, or isn’t, unless it harms others. (Think Leah Remini and her crusade against the Church Cult of Scientology, yet another cause which, alas, I feel compelled to join.) I care about the rights of relatives and friends in the LGBT community and often fear for their safety. I care about the quality of the air, water and land and protecting this beautiful world for future generations. I care about the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and other tribes who have been disrespected and disregarded for too long. And, don’t even get me started on the First Amendment.
You get my drift. There just aren’t enough margaritas or artisan beers to dispel my concerns. Sigh.
And, that’s how I found myself in Indianapolis with thousands of others on an unusually warm January day.
Regardless of the balmy, springlike weather, I bundled up like I was joining the entire population of Antarctica — 30 people — at their women’s rally. Because, more terrifying than thinking about the future effects of climate change, was the fact that I could not afford to get pneumonia, since the first thing the new president did was issue an executive death order to deep-six my and my husband’s ACA healthcare coverage.
“Give him a chance,” the pro-Trump people said. I was prepared to, but he effectively ended any chances within two hours of taking office.
That’s when I grabbed my walking stick and started marching.
What possesses a person to spend their precious (and rare) free time constructing and dressing tiny mouse bodies?
I usually make choir mice as Christmas ornaments wearing red choir gowns and holding hymnals. But my granddaughter needed some families” for her dollhouse, so I made a mouse family since she is an animal aficionado. Her dad is a Colts fan, so of course, so is Papa Mouse.
I think it might be easier to just stab and slab ’em … just a thought.
(Note: Viv wrote this column in 1996. Since then, all hell has broken loose, Clark and Lois have split up and Wonder Woman has caught the wandering eye – behind the glasses – of the Man of Steel.)
By Viv Sade
Clark Kent and Lois Lane debuted in the DC Comics publication Action Comics #1 in June 1938.
They met as 20-somethings while both were beginning careers as reporters at The Daily Planet newspaper. After a long and tumultuous relationship, they tied the knot in December 1996 and, shortly after, Superman: The Wedding Album was released.
Okay, math is not my strong suit, but this happily-forever-and-ever-till-death-do-us-part just doesn’t add up. For one thing, they should already be dead and parted.
Where is your head at, Lois? If it took this guy 57 years to propose, how long will it take him to pick up his dirty underwear and throw it in the hamper?
Of course, we all know why Lois accepted his offer. It was pretty apparent her career was at a standstill. After all those years, she was still a reporter. No V.P. in front of her name and Jimmy Olsen wasn’t referring to her as “Chief.”
She didn’t seem to be upset that she had been bypassed on the corporate ladder, but let’s face it, how bright can the woman be if she still hasn’t figured out why Clark Kent is never around when Superman is.
Oh, I know – her biological clock was ticking. And if she turned Clark down, it could have taken him another 50 years to work up the nerve to propose again.
Hell, by then she’d be having her first baby at the age of 127. A sobering thought for a woman who’s already been buying senior coffee at McDonald’s for almost 30 years.
My god, she will be 145 when the kid graduates from high school!
The obvious problem here, though, is that Clark has never told Lois that he is Superman. This seems to be a MAJOR secret to keep from your spouse.
I’m the first to admit that some things are better left unsaid to a mate, but they should be little things like, “When you shave, you never wipe the sink out, you pig” or “You smell like butt-crack,” or “Did I tell you paranoid schizophrenia runs in my family?”
But NEVER should a husband withhold information such as he likes to dress up in red, blue and yellow Spandex, has x-ray vision and was born as Kal-El on the planet Krypton.
If Clark doesn’t confide in her, how will she know not to serve Green Kryptonite Jello Surprise at the church potluck?
How will she know why he insists on wearing that suit and tie everywhere, even to the beach?
How will she warn her girlfriends to wear lead underwear when they visit?
The main disguise Clark had for over 50 years was those glasses. As soon as they get ready for bed and he takes off the glasses, Lois will know.
Women seldom make passes at superheroes with glasses.
And while we are on the subject, won’t that big “S” show through his thin summer pajamas?
But we all know it’s when Lois does laundry that she will find out for sure.
Because when you find a red cape, Pleather boots and blue tights in your husband’s laundry, you know he’s Superman.
About a month before my husband Brian’s January birthday, his daughter and I decided to have a surprise party for him at her home.
A month is a long time to keep a secret.
About two weeks before, I sent out an invitation I had created and directed it in a mass email to “My Family,” which automatically includes my immediate and extended family – a lot of people.
I realized soon after I hit the send button that Brian – the one we were trying to surprise – might be on the My Family email list.
Email makes me nervous.
Once you hit that send button, there’s no turning back. It’s out there in virtual purgatory – not in your world, but not out of it either.
In the old days – a.k.a. my youth – a person usually had time to back out of sending a letter before it was postmarked.
And, who among us hasn’t hit “reply all” at work with an adjective-filled dissertation about the co-worker who smells like butt crack?
Anyway, sure enough, I checked my sent mail and there was his email address along with everyone else who had been invited.
Luckily, it was late at night and he had already tucked himself into bed.
I quietly went into the office to his computer. Thank god, his email was already open and I did not need a password.
I felt very guilty.
I donned my black, leather catsuit and Ninja face mask, and dropped from the ceiling, dangling in mid-air, suspended precariously by thin coils of wire just above his computer.
I had only minutes for this impossible mission.
Sure enough, in his unopened mail was the email from me with his invitation to his own party.
I deleted it and then — because I am so smart — I deleted it from his trash.
I was feeling smug.
He would never know.
Knowing my siblings and kids would see that Brian was on the email addresses, I sat down at my computer and sent a second email.
“Not to worry,” I typed. “I’m sure you saw Brian’s name on the list of addresses, but I snuck into his computer and deleted it and even deleted it from his trash. He will never see the invite to his surprise party. Hope to see all of you on Jan. 12.”
Still feeling pretty proud of my crafty self, I hit send – to My Family group – and went to bed.
I stopped by her house in the morning before work and sometimes after work to help water her yard and flowers, do her dishes or take out her trash. My four brothers and two sisters also checked in on her, almost daily.
We were scared.
Mom turned 80 in January and that summer was the first time we ever saw our mom slow down. Even though Dad had died in 1999 and mom was diagnosed with breast cancer two years later, she remained very active, and seemingly healthy.
Mom – a retired nurse – also belonged to a quilt club and usually spent the day gardening, quilting, reading or in the kitchen trying a new recipe or canning produce. At night she loved to watch Jeopardy — she knew most of the answers — do crosswords and watch a good movie or television show. Well, actually, it didn’t even have to be good – off-beat, foreign, independent, popular, quirky — she was a movie connoisseur.
A quiet, but strong woman with a quick wit, my mom’s name fit her perfectly – Grace.
My youngest sister gave mom a hanging plant for Mother’s Day – a mix of cascading deep purple and orange-edged-with-scarlett fluted flowers. Mom hung it on a plant stand in her front yard. It was gorgeous.
Mom, who had become a Master Gardener and a licensed practical nurse late in her life, told me the correct botanical names of the flowers, but I could never remember them.
Mom tended to all of her flowers up through the end of June; the last entry in her gardening journal was June 20.
After that her kids took over. We were not quite as gifted. The gardens began to look neglected and weeds sprung in the previously immaculate flower beds.
I think that’s when I first noticed that the hanging plant was not looking too healthy.
Much of Indiana and the Midwest had been hit by an extreme drought and it seemed that no matter how many times a day I watered that plant, it continued to turn brown and shed its petals.
“What am I doing wrong?” I asked mom.
Mom tried to make me feel better, pointing out that it was probably the drought that was killing the plant. Also, it was a variety of plant that was difficult to care for and would probably die before the summer was over. It’s just one of those plants that was very pretty while it lasted, but it did not last long, she said.
I didn’t buy it. It had always looked beautiful under mom’s green thumb. It had to be me.
Through June and much of July, I fretted over that plant. I did not want it to die on my watch. Daily, on my trips to mom’s house, I couldn’t help but notice that despite my almost desperate attempts to keep that plant alive, it was slowly dying.
For as long as mom could, she liked to go out in the mornings and drink her coffee amid her beloved flowers and birds. Sometimes when I pulled up to her house in the evenings, I would see her sitting in a chair in the back yard, near her bird feeder and bird bath, watering flowers with the garden hose.
It broke my heart.
On July 20, when the oncologist told mom he would like to run some more tests, she shook her head and said, “No more evaluations or treatments. I want hospice.”
That’s when we realized our mom was dying. She had been trying to tell us for months, but none of us could imagine life without her.
I grew even more desperate to keep the plant alive. I added fertilizer and pulled out all of the withered branches. It sprang back, and the purple flowers multiplied and bloomed in the midst of the drought.
I was encouraged.
Mom even remarked how pretty it was looking.
Mom seemed to be doing okay, sitting in her recliner, talking with her younger sister Evelyn, and smiling and talking with her grandchildren as they visited.
We were encouraged.
Two days later, I told her that two hummingbirds were on her front porch, enjoying the various potted flowers that sat on her steps, and two turtle doves were in the front yard, seemingly fearless of all the humans coming and going. Mom told me she had quit filling her bird feeders the week before.
“They’re on their own now,” she said, matter-of-factly.
We set mom up with at-home hospice and a hospital bed in the same bedroom that dad had died in 13 years earlier.
My siblings and I wrote up a daily schedule to make sure someone was there 24-7 to help if she needed it. Turns out, we only needed that schedule for a brief time.
She slipped quickly.
In death, like in life, my mom called the shots. And when she made up her mind to do something, she did it quietly, stoically and without fanfare.
She died Aug. 3 at home just after midnight. My sister and brothers and I were there when she took her last breath.
We were devastated.
We were sure she would not die on our watch.
Three days later, after the funeral, I noticed that the plant was almost completely dead. Most of the flowers had withered and dropped to the ground below.
Oddly, the grass below the hanging pot was the only spot in the yard that was bright green and lush — from the twice-daily watering.
As I walked into the house, the hummingbirds that were drinking nectar from the potted plants on the front porch barely moved out of my way. I looked up. Two turtle doves studied me intently from the utility wire overhead.
They seemed to be assuring us that our mom was in another garden in another world, tending to acres of beautiful flowers that would never die.