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This Baby Boomers Real Life

Some Things are Meant To Be…

We run by Goodwill to unload Jill’s donation. Among the donations, I spot a perfect drop-leaf table for my new unfurnished room. I can put it against the wall so it will take up little space, but then pull it out to use as a dining table when family visits. I’ve got to have it. “Jill, get me that table.”

“Mom, I have a patient who works for Goodwill. They don’t do it that way. You can’t buy the table before it’s processed.” I tell her to at least ask the guy, but she takes her receipt from him and drives away.

“I can’t believe you didn’t ask.”

“Mom, we don’t even know if it will stay at that store. It might need to go to a distribution center.”

“Well it might not.”

Jill drives me back to Goodwill, pulls into a parking space, and says she’ll wait for me. I walk past the 6 cars dropping off donations and go straight to the source.

“Sir, I’d really like to get that table.”

“Okay, I’ll tell the manager. He’ll price it and put it on the floor.”

“Really?”

He nods.

“So, if I come back in 30 minutes I can walk in the store and buy it?”

“Sure.”

I skip back to the car (not really, I can’t skip) with a big smile. “I got it.”

We drive to my house to get my car so we can fit the table.

We return to Goodwill. “I can’t believe this,” I say walking into the store. “This is perfect. It’s meant to be.”

We see the table. Walking toward the table I feel my space being invaded. Why is this old man so close to me? Suddenly four of us are circled around the table – me, Jill, an old man, and an old woman. The man says, “I think we should check the leaves to make sure they stay up.”

I watch as he puts the leaves up. It’s perfect.

“Oh, this is my table. It was in the donation pile outside. I had the guy mark it and bring it in so I could buy it.”

He ignores me. “They work,” he tells us. His woman is glad they work, “Sometimes they don’t work.”

“Do you want this table?” I ask.

“No, it’s yours. You take it,” the tiny white haired woman says. He adds, “We were only checking to see if it works because she needs something to hold her oxygen.”

“Oh.”

They both smile. I smile back. Darn, they’re so nice. I notice her little pocket book hanging on her arm and his way too big for him jacket hanging on his bony shoulders. They look toward another table, but it’s too big. It won’t fit.

Crap.

“So, if I don’t buy this table then you’ll buy the table?”

“Oh yes, we’d buy the table. She lives on the 3rd floor and I live on the second. Retirement homes are small. I had to get a twin bed or I’d not be able to move in that place.”

“Oh, so if I walk away you’re going to buy the table?”

“We don’t want to take your table.”

“It’s not mine. I can’t buy that table now. God would smack me. So, if I come back here later the table will be gone because you are going to buy it, right?”

“If we don’t buy it will you lose your religion?” he asks.

“No, I’m not going to lose my religion.”

“Okay, we’re buying the table.”

“Promise?”

“Yes.”

I walk away, but I can’t leave the store. Maybe they won’t buy it. I hang out by the register. I watch them pay for the table. We leave.

“Jill, I can barely function right now. I also bought salt and pepper shakers at Ikea and got home and they were bent. I can’t even use them.”

“Mom, you might be focusing a little too much on material things.”

“Maybe.”

The only reason that table was on the floor was because I had it put on the floor. The only reason I didn’t get the table before the old couple appeared was because I wasted the perfect amount of time at home before heading back to the store. The table was theirs all along. It was meant to be…

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This Baby Boomers Real Life

The First Shall Be Last

Walmart.

After 10 minutes of searching for help, I grab the phone behind the counter and call for assistance in computers. A gal comes, but she doesn’t know anything about computers. She finds a guy who can help me.  We go to computers and begin discussing options. A lady interrupts,  “What’s the difference between Dell and HP?” He answers her. She says, “Can you come over here for a minute?”   She takes him.

I follow.  She starts telling us about her Dell experience, and how she spilled Coke on her last HP desk top, and how her son told her she shouldn’t eat while on the internet, and how some computers have fuzzy screens. She wonders which computer will do her Facebook games the fastest. I’m surprised at my patience. She wants to know if I play games. “No, I don’t play games.”

The woman chooses the biggest screen laptop because she’s 64-years-old with bad eyes.  I tell  her all 60-year-old people have bad eyes.  My guy unlocks the cabinet and grabs her laptop.  Since I was here first I tell him I’ll take the computer we were looking at.  He says, “Sure, as soon as I ring her up.”

I follow them to the cash register. I’m not letting anyone else horn in on my guy. While my guy is ringing up the computer, the woman tells me her granddaughter leased a computer at school then had to give it back.  She tells me that’s not safe, and that her granddaughter is going to go to orthodontist school. My man tells her what she owes and explains her warranty. The woman pulls out a wad of money. There’s money all over the counter.  She’s digging in her purse.  She doesn’t have enough.  Oh, dear.  She calls her son for advice.

My guy refunds her money and they head back to the computers. I follow them. We’re starting over. Her eyes are bad; can she get the same screen size?  Is there enough space for her Facebook games? What brand is this?  Is it better than a Dell.  She doesn’t like Dell computers.  After 20 questions and several minutes she chooses a cheaper computer.  I follow them back to the cash register.  She’s got enough money. She tells my guy to tape the receipt on the box so no one thinks she’s stealing it. She tells me she’s making chickens for supper.  She wants my man to point her to the chickens. He points. She’s off to find the chickens.

Finally, just me and my guy.  We head to the computers.  Here she comes. “Hey, my son says laptops get hot. They can burn up. I need a lifter or something.”  My guy looks at me.  I don’t want her to call her son so I nod, “go ahead.”  I follow them to computer accessories. My guy hands her something and tells her to pay for it with the chicken.  She’s happy.

I’ve got him again. Within 10 minutes, he gets my computer, rings it up, I pay, and kiss Walmart good-bye.  I wonder if that woman realizes how lucky she is that I was not the woman in the Walmart video?  I could have found someone to beat the crap out of her.

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Bed Bugs

Mary Ann lives across the street.  She’s 83 and on a tight budget, but she managed to get new living room furniture.

She whispers to me on her driveway, “You’ve not been invited in for a while because I was afraid I’d spread bed bugs in the neighborhood.  Don’t tell anyone.”

She’s sure she got them from her grandchildren, who spend the night anywhere and then visit in dirty clothes.

She invites me inside to sit on her new bedbug-free couch. She’s proud of her furniture. We talk about how she found the money to buy it. We talk about the store, the price and the deals. We talk about colors, paint, and decorations. We even talk about the exterminator.

A few days later, she tells me how upset she was when I left.  She was never going to invite me in again.

There was a big wet spot where I’d been sitting. She thought I peed on her couch.

Her mind was racing, “Should I try to soak up the pee?  If I use soap will the material dry stiff?  What if the couch stinks from now on?  What is wrong with Debi?  She must have some serious problems.”

She paces and debates for over an hour.  She touches the spot to see how much I peed.  The spot’s dry.  It only looks wet.  It’s the nap.

“I was so glad you didn’t pee on the couch.  I was never going to have the neighbors in again because it would hurt your feelings if I you weren’t invited, too.”

“Seriously, Maryann, if I was that oblivious to wetting my pants my kids would  have me in a diaper.”

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Code Word Squirrel

A good friend, Mike,  tells me last time he saw me he didn’t think I felt well.

We had been together at a meeting,  “I didn’t feel bad. Why did you think that?”

You didn’t look right.

“What didn’t look right?”

Your hair.

“My hair made me look sick?”

It wasn’t fluffy. It looked like braids or rats or something. Like you hadn’t fixed it.

“Oh.. so a bad hair day made me look sick.”

There was more. You’re color wasn’t right.  You looked pale.

Because of  his sincere concern, I’m amused,  “Bad hair; bad makeup.  Anything else?”  

Your eyes were kind of glassy, like maybe you were on drugs. Maybe you were too relaxed.

“I must have looked like crap. I wonder if everyone thought I looked sick?”

No, he explains,  Don’t worry.  I stare at you more than the others do,

“This is bad.  I could be fired if I look drugged, glassy eyed, and pale with ratty hair.  l think we need a code word in case I ever look so out of it again.

He quickly picks our code word.   “Squirrel”

If you are with me and someone says, “squirrel” you and I will know I’m having a BAD day.

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Crime and Beer

 

I joined the neighborhood Crime Watch committee. The members are close to my age and they wooed me, promising fun and beer. Maybe I’ll invite them to our neighborhood Bunco.

I arrive at Peggy’s for my first meeting. There are name tags in the entry. That’s okay; I see a bucket of beer. We take our places in her living room. No one grabs a beer. I’m asked by the committee which month I’d like to walk the neighborhood at night to make sure everyone is compliant with their outdoor lights.

“Uh, I don’t walk at night. I could get mugged.”

Oh, okay you don’t need a month. For those of you who have a month, if you find someone’s lights aren’t on just knock on their door and tell them. They may not realize their lights are out.

“Uh, if you knock on my door at night, I won’t answer. You could be a murderer.”

Oh, right. Let’s write down the addresses and send emails. Now, what about bushes? People need to keep their bushes low. Email anyone whose bushes are over 3 feet tall. Also, check out the houses with side entrances, those people should have their porch lights on. A burglar could spend all night on one of those dark porches.

More emails. I want a beer.

Next on the agenda – Bluff Road has overgrown brush almost covering the sidewalks. That is part of our community, but the city needs to take care of it. Someone could be hiding in that brush and grab a walker. And, I’ve seen coyote footprints. It’s dangerous. Joe, can you call the mayor’s office?

“I walk on Bluff Road all the time. Where is this brush?”

Which way do you walk?

“North, south, all over it and on both sides of the street.”

Well, then you’re walking right through it.

“I am? I haven’t notice brush.”

Do you take your phone when you walk?

“Yes, with earbuds and Pandora blaring. Now, I’ve got to worry about thugs and coyotes?”

Not for long. If the mayor doesn’t clean it up, our committee will clear it out. Everyone knows which month they have and Joe’s going to take care of Bluff. Now, who wants a beer?

I’ve never waited so long for a beer in my life.

“I’ll have one.”

I’m not telling this group about Bunco.

photo 1 (7) photo 2 (7)

I didn’t know “brush” meant 30 ft. trees, and I didn’t realize this is not near our property.  I will not be ripping trees out with the committee…maybe the mayor will do it.  I’ll be okay on this committee if I can drink a lot, not get arrested, and stay alive.  Crime Watch can be dangerous!
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Neighborhood Association Meeting

For the past six months, I’ve been trying to get in shape and lose weight. My goal is to live longer, build stamina, and improve my cardiovascular health. I downloaded an app Couch 2 5 K. It’s a program designed to help you run a 5K. (I know I’ll not be able to run a 5K, but still this is good exercise.) I’ve been using the APP as I walk/run in the neighborhood.

I was at a neighborhood association dinner tonight. One of our “honest” residents, 86-year-old Lou, said she saw me jogging.

Debbie, I saw you out doing something. You might have been jogging, I’m not sure.

“Oh, yeah. I try to jog, but I can’t really do it.”

Well, I tooted my horn.  I was afraid if I honked it might kill you.

“Nah, I’ve been honked at before. I swerve all over the place. I’m usually delirious.”

I waved…but, you were panting and leaning forward. Looked kind of glassy eyed; I was afraid you might fall down. (She mimicked my jog – it was horrible.)

“Becky told me I look good when I jog.”

Becky lied. You look like a sick jogger that might pass out. You be careful, honey.

“Okay, don’t worry. I think I might look worse than I feel.”

Well don’t die out there, we’d miss you at Bunko.

“I’ll be at Bunko. But, thanks for setting me straight. Now I know it’s not in my imagination. I have a bad gait.”

As we stand in line at the buffet I explain to Lou,  “Well, I figure even if I’m slow and terrible and look like a sick turtle, I’m moving faster than the person sitting home on the couch.”

When I’m 87, I hope I can be as honest as Lou. And, Becky… I’ll never trust her again!

ASSOCIATION BUSINESS: The neighborhood may need speed bumps; yellow painted on the curbs to prevent parking that blocks driver views; neighborhood watch to prevent fishing in the ponds; and police presence at the unnecessary flashing stop signs. The president will look into issuing a warrant for the arrest of the kids who ride the golf cart through the neighborhood without helmets..

Thank goodness none of the Bunko Ladies voted for these restrictions. Lou says we live in a neighborhood full of idiots. They don’t know about our secret clubs.

 

bunko

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Bunko Ladies

Carol and I were the last to arrive at Bunko. I quickly go to the kitchen to get coffee. The hostess, Helen, catches me.

“Debi, I saw you walking the other day,” she says looking concerned. “I was going to invite you in for coffee, but you looked so pitiful. I was afraid you’d be embarrassed that I saw you.”

“Oh, I don’t get embarrassed.”

“Well, you were in bad shape,” she said, while imitating my walk and anguished face.

We begin to arrange the tables. Card table in kitchen, then out of kitchen, then folded against the wall. We decide to use only two tables to be close to each other.

Carol rings the bell. Bunko begins. Whoops and hollers – “BUNKO” “21” “1, 2, 3”

Between games, Candi calls a Bunko Meeting.

“We have things to discuss,” Candi shouts as Carol tap-tap-taps the bell calling the meeting to order.

“We will vote on these things with a show of hands.”

Monthly Prizes for Bunko Winners: Helen votes to discontinue. No one needs more junk. Carol agrees. No one cares about hands.

Hostess: Who has never hosted? Lou quickly says Debi. Unanimous hand approval, I host November.

Holiday dinner: Candi votes Vegas Bar & Grill and adds that the gift exchange will be a $10 limit. She ignores hands.

Cookie exchange: Becky votes 2 dozen per person. Hands are flying up.

Membership List: Secretary distributes phone numbers, addresses and emails.

Lou dismisses Helen and Carol’s Monthly Prizes for Bunko decision. “Winners need something or why would we want to win?” Mildred agrees. Everyone bring $1 to Bunko and winners get money.

Lou dismisses Candi’s holiday dinner suggestion: Vegas Bar & Grill is too expensive – Lou changes it to Stony Creek.

Lou dismisses Candi’s Gift Exchange decision: Waste of money, no one needs junk.

I dismiss Becky’s Cookie exchange idea: Too much trouble. Everyone STARES. I silently question my clout.

Marsha challenges Lou’s Gift Exchange dismissal: Bring a small gift and we can pass and steal from each other. It’s a fun game. Hands approve.

Lou disapproves Marsha’s Gift Exchange idea:  Too loud to play a game in a restaurant.

Lou confirms my nixing the Cookie Exchange – “Debi’s right, we’re too busy to be baking cookies.”

We take a short break after the meeting to get dessert. Lou sneaks over and whispers, “I’ll bring you fudge next month. It’s only for you. Don’t tell. I’m too busy to make it for everyone. When did we get a Bunko secretary?”

When we finish Bunko the winners rush to claim their “junk” prizes. We hug good night and no one can remember where we’re going for the holiday dinner, whether we’re having a gift or cookie exchange, who’s hosting in November and whether or not she’ll need to have gifts for the winners. I tell them not to worry. The secretary will tell us in the minutes.

“We have a secretary?” Lou asks.

FOLLOW UP: Two weeks later Helen calls to see who is having Bunko in November. I tell her it’s at my house. She agrees to let everyone know. She calls back a few days later to see if we are going to play for money or if I’m buying “winner” gifts. I tell her I’ll do either one. She’s going to call everyone, take a vote, and get back with me. Until we find a Bunko secretary, I think we should hold off on the meetings.

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Perfect Crime

I do not have a criminal record, which is good.  I may need No Prior History as my trial defense someday.
I shoplift.  I noticed this was becoming a habit about 10 years ago.  I was on vacation with my daughters and 11-year-old granddaughter. Dee.   We were having a fun day at the outlet mall.  After lots of shopping, Jan suggested we go to Chico’s because that’s where Meme can look at her kind of things (old lady clothes).  We’re having a fine time, laughing with sales clerks, and trying on jewelry and clothes.  I buy a sweater and we head out.  About 20 minutes later, Dee looks horrified.
“Meme, why did you steal that necklace?”
“What necklace?”
“The one you’re wearing!”
“Oh, my gosh,” I say as I feel the necklace around my neck.  “I didn’t steal it, I accidentally took it.  Big difference. I’ll take it back when we pass Chico’s on the way out.”
“No!  Do it now before we get arrested.”
I try to reason with Dee,  “Shoplifters are arrested as soon as they leave the store.  It’s okay.  I’ll return it later”.
“No, we need to do it now!”
I see the fear and panic on Dee’s face, and tell the girls we are going back to Chico’s because I took a necklace.
When I return the necklace to the salesclerk she says, “We would have prosecuted you.”
“Hold on.  I wore this necklace right in front of you while buying a sweater.  You could have asked about the necklace.  This is a little bit your fault, too.”
“That defense wouldn’t work.  Almost all of our shoplifters are women your age.”
“That’s because only women my age shop here,” I snap back.
I did not appreciate that lady’s tone one bit, and wished I had kept the necklace, which could have happened had Dee not noticed it.
A few weeks later, I borrow a sweater while shopping at Walmart because they do not properly heat their stores.  As I’m loading groceries into the car I notice an XL strip on the front of the sweater.  Oh no, Again?
I hurriedly return the sweater to a baffled Walmart pharmacy tech, then head to the gas station, fill my tank, and wonder why I keep shoplifting.  I drive away with the pump still attached.  (I’m not worried about the pump.  I’ve done it before; there are precautions in place, and I’ve got bigger problems. )
My shoplifting might become a habit.  I think this is how it happens; be old, misplace your credit card, engaged the salesperson in rambling conversation.  Never try to hide the merchandise. and always appear happy and confident.
Now, when I shop I concentrate.  No frivolous chatting.  I don’t want to go to jail!
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Ladies Lunch

Last week, Candy invited me to join some neighborhood ladies for lunch. They planned to bring sack lunches and meet in the lot next to mine called the Commons Area. The Commons Area has a large red warning sign. “This is Private Property. No Trespassing.” The area has a 12-seater picnic table, two large trees, and a two-foot plastic wolf to keep the geese away. There is a small man-made lake stocked with fish and a nice water fountain. “No Fishing Allowed” is posted near the lake. The association allows three fishing days each summer. We fish as a community.

As I head to the Commons Area, it looks like Candy overbooked the 12-seater. I can hear 88-year-old Lou talking and see bodies shifting. Lou is the neighborhood rebel. She does not stop at the shiny new stop signs monitored by invisible police, she will not replace her mailbox by 2015, and she’s painting her front door a prohibited hunter green.

“Come on, Debi,” Lou yells. “You’re late. Sit by me.”

A fiery gold-streaked red head catches my eye, “Who are you?” she asks.

“I just said who she is,” Lou responds before I get a chance to answer. “Her name is Debi.”

Candy shoots me and Lou an exasperated look, then continues, “… so, in one appointment I find out I have skin cancer, might not be able to get another eye surgery, and my thyroid is funny.”

“Do you still have double vision,” Maryann wants to know.

“Yes, my vision needed to get better for surgery, but it’s worse. I might have double vision forever.”

“Oh, that’s too bad.” Evelyn says patting Candy on the shoulder as she hops up to show everyone an ugly woven rug. “Does anyone have extra sacks? I’ m making these mats for the homeless.”

Displaying the rug, she explains, “I use sacks. This strip is Kroger, here’s Meijer, and Wal-Mart, and Target, Macy’s and Penny’s. The orange strip is made from newspaper bags. I need lots of sacks.”

Candy asks, “How do you get the mats to the homeless?”

“You could drive downtown and throw them on sidewalks,” mumbles Lou.

“I think we should start a book club,” Candy says.

“How can you read with double vision?” Maryann wonders.

“I don’t have double vision when I read or drive.”

Sally loves the book club idea. “We could have it the 4th week of each month.”

“We have to read a book in a month? I can’t read that fast,” says Lou.

“Book club needs to be once a month, otherwise it will get confusing,” Sally explains. “We have Bunko night, euchre club, and bible study. That leaves the fourth week open. We’ll have book club the fourth week then we can see each other every week.”

Lou argues reading a book a month is ridiculous. She’s got to get her front door painted. Peggy, the new neighbor with the questionable reputation, wants to know if Lou is going to use Dean, the neighborhood maintenance man, to paint the door. Maybe the rumors about Peggy are true.

Being placed in the middle of the table, I hear everything.

MaryAnn and some of the ladies are worried about Tom’s car accident. They don’t know yet if Tom was drinking. If so, he deserves jail, but his poor wife is sick. It’s a shame.

Tom who? I’m wondering.

Sally’s rushing into the Commons Area with a big bag of sacks.

“What did I miss? Who was in an accident?”

“Where did you go?” Lou asks ignoring Sally’s question.

“I went to get some sacks for Evelyn. I also got dessert and some paper to get everyone’s email address for book club.”

“I’m not doing book club,” Lou responds.

“What accident?” Sally asks again.

“Who cares? It’s a soap opera,” Lou says. “Judy told me Chris is trying to send all the gophers into her yard. Chris bought a fake gopher snake. I could just as easily end up with those gophers. I live on the other side of Chris.”

Lou is irritated with the gophers, the soap opera, and the book club.

“Book club begins the fourth Wednesday in September.” Sally announces ignoring Lou and passing the paper for email addresses.

“That’s seven weeks away.” Lou calculates. “What are we reading?”

Lou and double-vision Candy are the first to sign up for book club. Maryann promises to email everyone if Tom was over the legal limit, although driving drunk is probably no worse than driving with double-vision. Sally and Evelyn are organizing sacks by color, and Lou and I are trying to figure out which way the gophers will travel.

I pass on book club. Bunko is enough.

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The Bunko Neighborhood Committees

I had a man over tonight for about an hour.  He parked in my driveway, walked through my house to the back porch, and drank a cup of coffee.  That’s it.  We kept our voices down.  I walked him back through my house, and outside to his car.  We stood in the driveway talking, while three women, who appeared within minutes, stood two doors down chatting.

“I think those ladies are watching us,” says my friend.

“Really?”  I act surprised.  “I can’t tell who it is.”

The women do not move from their spot.  My friend leaves. I go inside and lock the door.

Before I get to the kitchen someone’s banging on the door.

“Did he forget something?”

I open the door to see MaryAnn and her dachshund, Lilly.

“Hi, Maryann.  What’s going on?”  I know full well what’s going on.

“I don’t want you to think I was spying,” she says as she works her way inside with Lilly and settles into a chair.

“Who was that man?” she asks.

“He’s a friend.  How did you see him?”

“You didn’t see me?  I came outside and accidently saw you with him.  So, I ran back inside to get Lilly so it wouldn’t look like I was spying.  I took Lilly for a walk and then two new neighbors came out to ask me about Peggy.”

“Who’s Peggy?”

“She’s another new one that moved in.  She’s already got herself a position on the board.  We’re getting lots of new neighbors.”

“How’d she get on the board?”

“I don’t’ know?  She’s on the board.  I met her at the gazebo lunch.  She’s real loud and friendly.”

I can tell there’s more to come.  Maryann leans forward and lowers her voice.

“One of the new ladies told me that Peggy dated her ex-husband.  They wanted to know if I thought Peggy was nice.  I didn’t’ want to say too much so I only told them Peggy put up a fence because she has friends over.  I didn’t tell them that Peggy parties and drinks.  I know about alcohol.  I’m not a prude.  But, I think Peggy is going to have loud parties and drink a lot.  We could tell by the way she talked at the gazebo.”

“Maryann, you know everything.”

“Debi, this stuff just falls in my lap.  I feel terrible.  I don’t like to talk about people.”

“Maryann, that’s all you do.  Without you I’d be so out of the loop.”

It’s true.  We both laugh and so does Lilly.

“Oh, Sharon is out of town, but her dog’s home.”

“Sharon, next door to you?  I don’t know Sharon that well.”

“Sharon is nice.  She brings me food, and she’s really made her back yard look beautiful.  She has lots of men help her.  There’s a man at her house right now and she’s not even home.  She’s in Louisville.  Sharon rotates men.  Different trucks, cars, men.  She better be careful or they might run into each other.”

“Well, tell her if she wants to rotate one over here, I can give him some tree work.”

“Oh, I don’t think you want one of Sharon’s men,” Maryann says as she and Lilly head toward the door, then stop.

“One more thing.” she adds.  “If I wanted to eves drop on you and that man, I could have.”

“No doubt,” I respond.

“I could hear you, but I couldn’t hear him.  He’s kind of a quiet man.”

“I’ll tell him to speak up if he ever comes back.  Oh, and if I ever get married, you’ll be my maid-of honor.”

“Married?”

I’ve lived in my Bunko neighborhood seven years.  There are lots of committees and clubs. The ladies are busy. I’m only involved in Bunko, but there is a Euchre club, a Bible Study Group, a Social Committee, a Check-for-Signs-of-Life Committee, a Compliance Committee, Crime Watch, and a Man-Watch Committee.  Maryann chairs Man-Watch.