Follow Me to the Senior Center – Call for Backup

By Carl and Jo Ann Hauser
I had trouble trying to decide whether to title this month’s article ‘Call for Backup,’ or ‘Seriously, Woman, I’m 62!’ So, I’ll let you decide at the end of each short story what the right answer is. For example, my wife Jo Ann made a New Year’s resolution to be, let’s say, romantic with me every day of 2013. Yeah ~ where was that resolution when I was in my 30s, 40s, or even 50s? And, no, the answer is not ‘Call for Backup;’ it’s ‘Seriously, Woman, I’m 62!’ (You get the idea!)

So, in the first story Jo Ann and I were responsible for maintaining a small, private water system a few miles out of town. (Hard to imagine, right?) We took a class on water systems, but if anything actually broke, like a water line or pump, we called in the experts. The well and tanks were at the top of our mountain, and fed water to all the homes down the road . . . what they call a gravity system. A few years earlier we had replaced the old 12,000 gallon fiberglass tank with two new polyurethane tanks. When the fiberglass tank was new, someone (not me) had painted the inside of the tank, and after several years it was beginning to peel. In an effort to reclaim the old tank, we came up with the idea of taking our pressure washer and blasting the paint off the inside of the tank. Jo Ann and I went up the mountain with our pressure washer and about 200 feet of hose. We attached one end of the hose down the hill to the closest outdoor faucet. I hopped into the tank, and attached the other end to the pressure washer. We turned it on; nothing happened! Having failed to defy gravity by getting water to run up hill (and you thought I was smart!), we regrouped and tried to come up with Plan B. We found another outdoor faucet; this one was powered by a jet-pump. We resumed our quest. The outside temperature that day was about 70; inside the tank it was 100. When I started to use the pressure washer, I then had 100% humidity. After about 45 minutes I came out of the tank soaked, and took off my wool shirt. Forty-five minutes later I came out again and took my T-shirt off. After about three hours I didn’t have any more clothes I was willing to take off; I had had enough! Exhausted, I pulled myself out of the over-sized barrel, dripping in sweat, and was about to suggest that Jo Ann take her clothes off and take her turn in the tank. We must have had ESP. She gave me that look that said, “That’s not happening!” You guessed it; the answer to this story is you’d better ‘Call for Backup.’ We never did finish that project.

Our second story involves two of the most dreaded words in the English language: assembly required. Jo Ann and I had been wanting a new desk for quite a while, so at Christmas time we finally broke down and bought one. Four days later it was delivered to us in a nice, large box, weighing over two hundred pounds. We pulled it inside, and began shoving it upstairs toward our bedroom. Our neighbor Mark was out shoveling snow and saw us struggling to push it upstairs. He yelled out, “Need some help?” Jo Ann immediately nodded her head yes; at the same time I was shaking my head no. (It’s a guy thing) He came over anyway. Once we had it upstairs, we opened the box and were stunned at how many pieces and parts there were. Jo Ann immediately jumped into action, separating and organizing all the parts by category. She also got out several sheets of paper, labeling all the screws by size and number. Of course, the instructions said ‘no power tools allowed.’ So, she got out an extra large sheet of paper, labeled it ‘husband,’ and set me down with screwdriver in hand.

Everything was going pretty well until we got to step five. After pondering the problem for about ten minutes, I suggested in the nicest possible way that the instructions might be wrong. (You’re not buying that, are ya?) Unable to convince a former teacher that instructions could be wrong, I did it my way, and we moved on. One hundred ninety-nine screws, twenty-five steps, and ten hours later . . . we finished! The Amish could have built a desk faster. The answer to this story is ‘Seriously, Woman, I’m 62.’ However, we do like the desk.
In our last story, our friend Buffy decided she needed some new doorknobs. The Senior Center found a good deal online, and ordered her five sets. Although I’m not exactly known for my amazing handy-man skills, I thought, “They’re just doorknobs; I’ll take them over and put them in.” Jo Ann and I got over to Buffy’s, opened the boxes . . . no instructions! Again I thought, “No big deal; they’re just doorknobs.” After poking and prodding the doorknobs for twenty minutes, I couldn’t even figure out how to separate the two knobs from each other. I was either having a Senior moment or was having my first ‘Dumber than Dirt’ moment of 2013. Embarrassed and frustrated, we called for backup. Jim-the-tool-man Moore and his sidekick Millie (his wife) live nearby and are Buffy’s good friends. They came right over. Jim came to the door smiling, and said, “Doorknobs?” I know he was thinking, “How hard could it be?” Meekly I said, “We have no instructions.” For several minutes all four of us were poking and prodding doorknobs to no avail. On the upside I wasn’t having a ‘Dumber than Dirt’ moment. We decided that we’d each take a doorknob home, and look online for instructions. I went to one of those Ask a Pro websites. The first Pro said take a small screwdriver and a hammer to the doorknob. The next Pro said don’t do what the first Pro said; you’ll break the doorknob; use a hairpin. The last guy said if you are too stupid to follow instructions, ask a Pro! (Again, we had no instructions) About that time Buffy called, saying Jim had figured out how to spring the release on the doorknobs with a paperclip. We went back to help out, but Jim had the project well in hand. All five doorknobs were installed within an hour.

If you have lived in this town for very long, you know the Senior Center does a lot for this community. There is also another group that has a wonderful impact on our town. On Roadrunner Food Bank day at the Senior Center, we get help distributing food from many church members, like the Baptist, Church of Christ, and Assembly of God. But the Methodists always seem to come out in force. Our friends like BJ and Jim McNeil, Buffy LeBeouf, Cindy and Craig Voight, Mike and Marilyn Moffitt, Jim and Millie Moore, Ozelle, Paula and Gary Merrell, Sue and Dennis Davis, and many other Methodists are out serving our community in various ways. Besides helping with Roadrunner their church hosts the Lenten Luncheons, a High Tea, and sponsors boy scouts. They’re everywhere, kind of like locusts, but in a nice, helpful way!

So, let’s review what we’ve learned: 1) we will make no more New Year’s resolutions, 2) Jo Ann can be stubborn, 3) assembly required is a dirty word, 4) doorknobs require instructions, or somebody smart like Jim, 5) there is a very helpful Methodist lurking around every corner, 6) if you see me doing a project, call for backup . . . I’m 62!

The Senior Center has the best lunch deal in town for just a suggested two-dollar donation. Call 682-3022 by 9:30 AM for a lunch reservation, please. Call in to reserve a place to ride the van down to Alamo on Mondays or Tuesdays for shopping and lunch out. The van can also pick you up for lunch at our Center on Wednesdays and Fridays. Join your friends for bridge on Tuesdays or Thursdays at 12:20. Check out Farkle Fridays. Roadrunner food bank is the first Wednesday of every month. Join Gayle for exercising on Tuesday mornings, and come again on Friday morning to exercise with friends. Marty Ware creates and maintains mtnseniors.com, which highlights special events with pictures. Enjoy her website! God bless the Methodists and the rest of you all.