Retirement… Ewww! Isn’t that what old people do?

Photograph of Shuffleboard at the Century Vill...

Old people shuffling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are lucky, you come out of childhood with only minor PTSD resulting from visits to Boca Raton and playing shuffleboard with the elderly set.  Others suffer more traumatic nursing homes, or “Your grammy is moving in!”  Regardless, most of us will deny our imminent mortality until faced with the realization that one day we will be old.

We coast through our twenties, telling ourselves that the 401k plan is just another way the government tries to keep us from having the time of our lives.  After rent, utilities and cell phone bills, the extra cash goes to student loans and social services (aka beer, taco bell and cover charges.) We bury our PTSD, in denial that age is coming for us.  In our weakest moments, turning 26 or 29, we still tell ourselves that we have plenty of time before THAT happens, and social security will surely be enough. (Our parents are just gluttonous, spoiled after-products of being raised by Depression parents, wanting more than they need. All we will need is love.)

Our thirties bring kids, over-priced preschools, babysitting prices that feel like extortion.  Not to mention diapers, formula, soccer camp, ballet shoes, tennis rackets, trips to Disneyland, bikes, helmets, elbow pads and fingerless gloves.  We also discover that 401k is not a number, but a lifeline meant to pull us out of whatever job we are enduring, and a 529 savings plan is not just another ruse to suck us dry, but the promise that one day these expensive kids may actually move out.  Anger at the 20-something version of ourselves quickly gives way to panic.

That is the moment we stop being young.

Ghetto Birds Nest in My Hood.

Ghetto birds flying.

Plumes of twinkling red and blue.

Circling.

Hunting Rats.

I see you.

Police helicopter

Not-so-elusive Ghetto Bird (Photo credit: Ivan Pik)

The REAL Hunger Games Review

It was a big weekend for the Hunger Games.  Many of you wondering, how was it??

The story opens with me gorging on pizza Friday night, washed down with a glass of wine. OK – it was two glasses. (Why did I have to post that witty comment on Facebook about the second glass? Grr.)  It fell just short of the drama and excitement I had anticipated, but I recognize now that it was just setting the stage.

I awoke Saturday morning to the blissful silence of an empty house. The two characters, Crazy Pants and Diabolical had successfully outwitted the generous and kind Pops, and were happily traveling the aisles of Target.  They had promised him all sorts of laughter and delight, but Pops soon realized he was entering the Chamber of Doom strapped to a shopping cart.

Delighted with the turn of events that morning, I resolved to make good on my promise to Master Thigh that I would no longer lavish her with gifts of decadence.  Unfortunately, her trusted advisor and resident evil conniver, Sir Stomach, had his plans for me.

Innocently stirring my coffee – with low-fat milk and Splenda – Sir Stomach slowly sidled up inside me and casually mentions that we have breakfast burritos in the freezer. “There’s only one left,” he pleaded. Of course there is only one left, I ate the other one not two days ago. It was then I had the sudden and shocking realization.

The Hunger Games had already started.

How had I missed the signs? The pizza gorging Opening Ceremony, the quiet of the morning…

I quickly jumped into strategy mode, wolfing down the last burrito. (I wouldn’t want that temptation around now that the games have started!). I looked ahead at the coming afternoon and made the snap decision to get as far away from the Baiting Ice Box, and bringing Crazy Pants and Diabolical along for safety.

Once I secured my wards and arrived at the zoo, I breathed a sigh of relief. This would be a safe haven for a short while, allowing me to continue my training (stroller pushing and chasing) that would help later in the round.  My security was short lived as I heard the small, whining voice erupt in my left ear.

“Mom, I am hungry.”

Ach! Sir Stomach had turned Crazy Pants, and she was now working against me. I took a deep breath, kept my cool. I didn’t want to let on that I was on to her. We strolled to the nearest “Café” and I stoically ordered a kids meal. Just one. Crazy Pants and Diabolical could share. They would not defeat me!

As we left the café, I congratulated myself on only eating half the quesadilla, all the fries, and SKIPPING the soda.  In hindsight, I can see the games were wearing on me.

The biggest challenge was yet to come, and I was ready.  The Street Food Fair loomed in the darkness that evening.  In preparation, I had foregone all food and drink, and was readying my responses to vendor cat calls.

I found my fellow competitors turned revelers; Skinny Pants, Gorger, and Just One, and we began the challenge.  First stop, single glass of wine. Second stop, pass on the cupcake (yes! Thankfully it had coconut on it, gross). Third stop, free wine? Just One said it was OK.  With only one more stop to go, I thought I had this competition in the bag.

Two bottles of wine, 4 appetizers, 1 entrée, and a promise to join a sky-diving trip later, I went home. I felt defeated, but optimistic. (I did have a lot wine, everything looked good.)

I was abruptly awoken on Sunday morning by Diabolical’s screams. Sir Stomach had gotten to him too. I knew the screams would awake Crazy Pants and I had little time. I was losing my allies faster than I was gaining weight.  But what they didn’t know was that I had a secret defense this time, the Hungover Medallion.

The Medallion protected me for some time, but it was not to last.  It wore off during the vulnerable time of the rains, and I found myself stuck. I was in the home zone, with limited supplies.  I panicked, looking for help, and turned to Pops for support. Previously, Pops had proven to be a very good cook with limited supplies and a strong contender for Healthiest Player in the Games.  He was my best defense.

“Let’s order pizza and wings, delivery,” he offered. The dreadful Sir Stomach had taken another.  My defenses severely weakened, I let go. The Games had won. I was done.

As if sensing a disturbance in the Universe, Princess Pilates sent a text message out:

“Would you like to come in early tomorrow?”

Yes. Yes I would.

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