I don’t know how to put it other than what the title states. It isn’t easy and I doubt those with no life experience would do well dealing with it. Ironic, isn’t it?

But those who survive being young, advancing into middle age and on into becoming more, shall we say, “Mature” end up aging. We all age every day. When you are very young, you look forward to it. Think of that little kid holding up the number of fingers that count his age. They are so proud to hold up those little fingers that demonstrate the finger owner’s facility both with numbers as well as dexterity: “I’m this many!”

But as things progress in life, it starts to get a little achey. Yesterday, I was at the airport and I saw the bus that takes people from the parking lot to the terminal parked and loading. I didn’t want to wait for the next one and I was feeling a little spry, so I ran for it. Yes, I ran! Not far, but by God it was an official gallop. I was so proud for running those 20 yards or so. 20 yards. I am pathetic. Proud, but pathetic.

My job as a Flight Attendant is rather physical. First of all, there is the walking. If you’re not walking to and from your car, you’re walking to a gate. And then to another gate. And then you’re walking up and down a long aisle and sometimes two long aisles on the aircraft. And when you’re walking on said aircraft, the floor under your feet is moving. It doesn’t feel like 500 miles-per-hour, but that’s pretty much the clip. I used to think turbulence was fun. That was until I got my can knocked around the back of a galley that slammed me into a few ovens, the fuselage and then bounced me onto the floor a couple of times. Any more of that later on in life and I’m just begging for a broken bone.

And of course working in the galley, I’m lifting, pushing, shoving, moving stuff to get to stuff, shifting stuff around, rolling carts and reaching for stuff. I smash ice and I stretch to reach stuff that is stored in lockers way over my head. It is an aerobic exercise all its own. When I return from a trip, I’m beat.

And that’s just my job. When I get home, I have the Greys’ cages to clean, the floor to sweep, the area rugs to vacuum and of course there is the perpetual floor mopping. I live in a condo so the washer and dryers are eight condos down the catwalk, so that is three round trips for each load of laundry I do. Suffice it to say, I don’t exactly lead a sedentary life.

Fetching Parker off of the floor eight or nine times and putting him back on his play stand every morning is an uplifting experience as I am getting up off of the couch to either put him back on his play stand, or out on the screened-in front porch to count cars and argue with the neighbors.

So how can you make this easier when you have parrots? I did a few things that tend to ease the difficulties of aging and I am searching for more.

Visual Cues Work Well

As I have aged so have my birds. Pepper is about 26 and had a problem a while back with seizures. She was put on a medication she needs three times a day that is squirted into her mouth via a syringe with no needle. One day tends to blend into the next.  I have a friend that comes over on the days I fly to care for my Greys. We had to come up with a system to indicate when Pepper has gotten her meds. We use three syringes and two small cups on the kitchen window sill.

Repetition tends to make you forget where you are at when you have to do things day after day at the same time in the same way. So this system helps me stay on track.

I get up early and give her her meds and put syringe #1 into the second cup and take off for work.  Bill comes in to feed them after I have left and sees the first syringe in the second cup, so he knows I haven’t forgotten to give her the medication. I come home from work. I see 2 syringes in the cup so I know Bill has given her her afternoon meds. In the evening I give the third dose and move all three syringes back to the first cup to begin the next day. No guesswork and we both know where we are at with Pepper’s meds.

If I Can Do It Without Bending Over, I’m All For It.

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I Am No Longer “Mr. Clean.”

Is my home immaculately clean? No. Is it ready for a feature story on “Hoarders?” Not by a long shot. I used to be fanatical about keeping things orderly. I grew strawberries and basil on my front porch. My spices were alphabetized. When I had carpeting, I used to rent a steamer every few months and steam clean it. This was “Pre-Parker.”

Now I am happy when the cage substrates are changed, I have vacuumed and I have gotten the floor to look a little less like a brown dog with white spots.

I’ve become “reasonable.” When I drastically cut back my work schedule, things got easier. I do my laundry on a more regular basis so I’m not doing three or four loads all at once. I cut the chores in increments and take breaks. I have figured out ways to get low to clean and not have it be an exercise in, “Oh my God, that hurt!” It’s called a stool.

I’ll have more on this in the future. In the meantime, I have to vacuum using my new vacuum cleaner that will suck the chrome off of a trailer hitch.

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