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Here & Now

Here & Now: Retirement Bliss? You Could Look It Up (Judy Stead)Lately I’m hearing voices in my head. well, one voice—mine. It’s payback for all those times when a child of mine looked up from a book to ask, “Mom, what does [this word] mean?”

I could have just answered the question, but no: I’d chirp in my best mommy voice, “Let’s look it up! Initially they thought this was great fun. Over the years, it evolved to a dramatic rolling of the eyes and, finally, serious under-the-breath mumbling and a sudden urge to clean their room.

Now that they’re grown up and erudite, it’s happening. I’ll be reading and as soon as I come across an unfamiliar word, up pops that crazed cheerleader voice: “Ready? OK! Let’s Look It Up!”

I’m pretty sure the paybacks aren’t over. There’s still the big one: “Watch yourself, because we get to choose your retirement home.” But I have a plan. I pick out the ones I like and beg them NOT to send me there. Here’s what I’ve got so far:


Please, oh handsome son and beautiful daughter, the loves of my life… please don’t send me to gorgeous Shell Point Village. Don’t force me to play Clyde Butcher in the photo darkroom, or get chauffeured to my eco-tour at Lover’s Key or to some Broadway show at the Barbara B. Mann, or to Ann Taylor. Don’t make me lounge around one of those three pools or get a mani-pedi after my massage. Oh, dear precious children, please don’t force me to plant my herbs and flowers in the community garden, and whatever you do, don’t make me spend my declining years tooling around the 18-hole championship golf course with my camera, shooting flocks of ibis and great blue herons from my fully GPS-loaded cart. I know what you’re thinking: If I can’t find my way to cocktail hour at the 19th hole, I can Look It Up!

And, dear precious children, I beg of you not to consider putting me away in The Glenview at Pelican Bay. Pay no attention to the man in the executive chef hat behind the curtain, whipping up those artisanal chocolate confections, or the path to the beach tram, or the ballroom dancing classes. I know I used to love chocolate and beach walks and dancing—but really, I hate those things now. I know you saw those ads that invite you to “excite your senses,” but, the fitness trainer guy probably isn’t all that cute. And what a drag if I had to live near my beautiful friend Roberta, who moved in a few years ago, just before her 90th birthday, and promptly met her handsome Prince Charming and future husband, Bob.

I don’t care if the Marbella at Pelican Bay does seem like a 21-story cruise ship, with all those glam events and restaurants and library and massage room and daily housekeeping services. Forget the panoramic views of the gulf and wetlands. I don’t care if they have a concierge, a car detailer, a chauffeur, aestheticians and someone to recite poetry to my plants when I’m traveling. I won’t go there and you can’t make me. 

So, if you want to check out where NOT to send me if I’m bad, here are the websites:

’Sup, Dude?

Meanwhile I’ll just be here looking up stuff. Today’s word is “sup.” As you might remember from the 20th century, that was a no-brainer word, meaning eat, as in, “Will you sup with me?” Then when you were in high school, it became a question meaning what’s up, as in ’Sup, dude?

But that changed about the same time that pictures of Matthew McConaughey, supremely sculpted and all-over tanned, skimming through tropical waters standing on a flat, almost invisible surfboard-like thing, went viral on the Internet. (No, “viral” has nothing to do with germs. Look it up.)

SUP now means the world’s coolest, trendiest water sport. In technical terms, to quote the gurus at Paddleboard SWFL, “stand-up paddle boarding is kind of like kayaking and canoeing, only your bum doesn’t go numb.”

Supping has definitely gone viral here on the Gulfshore. Saturday, May 5 is a great day to check it out. That’s the date for the third annual SUP Luau Races at Bayfront Marketplace and Marina in downtown Naples and the second annual SUP Competition on Fort Myers Beach. Proceeds from both events will support the Special Olympics.

Last year’s SUP Races in Lee County brought 47 contenders aged age 21 to 78, and, ladies, it appears that supping may just be our sport. It turns out that male contenders tend to peak out in their 40s, just about the time the women hit their stride. Interesting—that’s not unlike, well, certain other physical activities (look it up!). This year’s event, CaluSUP, offers serious paddle boarders a seven-mile elite category in addition to the recreational one-mile race for newbies and casual SUPpers. Equipment, food and entertainment are part of the package.

Watch yourself, because we get to choose your retirement home.The Collier SUP Luau races, created and sponsored by Noodles Café will cover one mile of Naples waterfront, with trophies awarded in three divisions: men, women and kids age 10-16.

Speaking of kids: If you’re reading this, O beloved children of mine, I am deeply sorry for the many ways I’ve wronged you. I deserve my punishment. Just put me in a home. I’ll SUP there, if I must.

SUP Races Info:
Fort Myers Beach: www.swflsupclub.org
Naples Bayfront: www.noodlescafe.com

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