The Last Stepkid Graduates; Mark’s Honey-Don’t List

Written by on April 22, 2012 No Comments

Yesterday, after nearly sweating to death in the Alma College gymnasium while crushed between my mother and a few thousand other people, I snuck down to an empty chair to capture Kid #4 getting ready to accept her college diploma.

The last of my stepkids to graduate from college.

Yesterday was also Mark’s last official act as professor at Alma College. 

Mark with all four of the kids.

Afterwards, Mark paused for a moment to say good-bye to his professor pal, Mel, who was instrumental in getting us to New Zealand three times.

Mark with Mel Nyman.

And so, as of today, Mark is officially retired and has become one of the masses of people with too much time on their hands.  Worried about what he might do with himself, I came up with a Honey-Don’t List.  So, please, Honey:

 1.  Don’t go to a pet store unsupervised.  We have 12 hamsters, two dogs, a cat and a ferret. We don’t need any more critters.  

Little Buddha, one of our 12 hamsters.

 2.  Don’t buy a Zorb ball so that you can roll around inside a ball like your hamsters.  We went zorbing once in New Zealand and that was hamster-like enough.

Amy and Mark zorbing like hamsters. New Zealand, 2008.


Scrinch in her hamster ball.

3.  Don’t take up jogging.  Your “new” knee is not up for that.  Walking, biking, and swimming are much better.

 4.  Don’t lift items more than 20 pounds.  You’re a retired guy now and we’ve been lucky not to have “blown out” anything thus far.  So leave the lifting of the 40 pound kitty litter bags, and 50 pound sunflower and 50 pounds corn bags to me . . . until I blow something.

 5.  Don’t think you have to use every Kohl’s coupon that comes in the mail.  Thirty percent off zero is better than thirty percent off more clothes that sometimes look an awful like ones you already have.

 6.  Don’t spend more than an hour on E-Bay shopping because, well, you know.  Now, if you want to sell things, spend all the time you want.

 7.  Don’t spend more than an hour online looking at fishing tackle.  You’re already worth $17K in fishing tackle and I value you just the way you are. 

Just one of many. Okay, lots. Okay, hundreds.

8. Don’t watch Top Gear thinking that a car they feature will be in your future.  Not that I, too, wouldn’t love a Maserati, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Bentley or McLaren, but I’m sure it’s worth selling everything we own to have one.  Remember that nice Jag you had once…for 15 years…in the garage…that never ran.

Me in Mark's Jag the day it went bye-bye.

9.  Don’t enter sweepstakes.  You saw what happened to my mom–new, unlisted phone number, calling the cops, getting more and more mail to enter more and more sweepstakes.  Let’s not have that happen to us.  You’re already a winner to me.

 10.  Don’t spend any more than one hour sunbathing naked in the backyard. I know you’re feeling all young and free now that you’re retired, but there are parts of you that might burn easily and I’d rather you not attract people to our yard.

 This should give you plenty not to do . . . which is what retirement is all about.

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