Friday, April 1, 2005

Adjusting to Life in the Old Folks Home

Conventional Wisdom according to chuck:  Meals

   There are four meals a day in the real world:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, TV Snack. 

(Sunday is different: Brunch, TV snack, munch what you can find in the fridge or on the kitchen counter.)
   Breakfast is breakneck, hurried because you are late for school or work, probably grabbed on a run through the kitchen.
   Lunch is served out of a brown paper bag in most cases or from a lunch counter or school cafeteria.  It is casual, come-as-you-are and served at a table shared with classmates, co-workers, or homeless strangers who always seem to find an empty seat next to yours. Often at a lunch counter there is someone standing behind you, waiting for your seat.
   Dinner is served in the family room at six p.m.  An effort is made to appear to be dining together.  Most families are guilt-ridden enough to make an appearance of togetherness, though prime-time TV starts at seven p.m. in Central Time zone and at Six p.m. Mountain time. The start of Prime-time is the end of dinner.
   TV Snack meal takes place after the sit-coms and before the autopsies on the crime scene investigations.  Crime shows now feature mutilated corpses, bodies in morgue drawers, and mangled victims as they lie.  Last night there were close-ups of doctors peeling dead flesh from a barely living victim of an immolization. Nearly spoiled my appetite for peanut butter and mayonnaise on crackers. TV snack has become such a tradition that a special device had to be invented to serve it on: the TV tray.  Each family member has his own tray for this impromptu meal so he doesn't have to miss a single minute of the so-called drama.
   Now, when we move to an old folks home we have to re-learn our eating protocol and establish new habits.  Old habits are hard to break.  The new meals are three, and three only -- period.  Breakfast, Dinner, and Supper.
    Breakfast takes on new meaning.  It is no longer hurried because of a dash to work or school, who cares when they start on the day's crossword puzzles or rocking in the sun. It is leisurely, copious, and elegant.  There is choice of juices, orange, apple, tomato, or for those special cases, prune.  There is a dish of fruit followed by hot or cold cereal.
The day's entree follows: french toast, pancakes, or eggs, with  potatoes, buttered muffin and jam.  With coffee, cocoa, tea, or milk, that makes three breakfasts actually.  Takes some adjustment on the part of the new resident.
   Lunch is gone, replaced by Dinner.  The big meal of the day takes place at noon, before you have digested that enormous breakfast.  Salad, entree, dessert on top of your breakfast puts you to sleep for an afternoon nap.
   You wake up from your coma, I mean, nap, just in time for your Supper, at 4:30 p.m.
Your evening meal is in the middle of the day.  The evening meal is kept light on purpose.  Otherwise a diet this heavy might kill us.  Soup and sandwich, with a single cookie for dessert is enough.
   But That's It.  No TV snack.  Nothing more until breakfast a whole fifteen hours away.
   Adapting to the feast or famine routine takes some adjustments.  I adapted but put on twenty pounds of fat.  I was somewhat overweight.  Now I am gross. 
   There are other changes in life style when one moves into a Retirement Inn, but that is another story. 

9 comments:

mavarin said...

This is brilliant - not their feeding schedule, but your take on the meals, both inside and outside your current accommodations.  You obviously need to sneak in your own evening food.  After all, where did the peanut butter and mayo crackers come from, hmm? - Karen

labdancer51 said...

A very good view of eating habits.  We always have had three meals a day in the UK.  Most of us don`t have a main meal until the evening though.  And you have supper at 4.30?  ridiculous...  I couldn`t sleep at night if I went to bed hungry. A great entry Chuck, more please !  :-)   Sandra xxx

http:journals.aol.com/labdancer51/SandrasScribbles/

ryanagi said...

Wow...I don't like that old folks home meal plan at ALL. I think i'd be hoarding away about 3/4 of that breakfast and saving it for TV snack time. LOL

plieck30 said...

I would say you are living the life of Riley. Go for it, you deserve it. Paula

ceschorr said...

yeah,.... and they wonder about hte high incidence of diabetes in you old people....... hehehhe.... love ya chuch,
sara

dimundntheruf69 said...

yeah..i think i would have to save some of the morning stuff for the evening...but really now...Mr.Chuck..peanut butter and mayonnaise...that not only sounds icky to me but very fattening...save some fruit or something for after your ridiculously timed supper....and I liked this insightful entry...christie

fisherkristina said...

I couldn't take this routine Chuck.  I would get too hungry between supper and breakfast.  Sometimes my sugarlevel drops due to health reasons and I would faint. -Krissy
http://journals.aol.com/fisherkristina/SometimesIThink

valphish said...

Hmm... I think I would take some of that breakfast and put it in my pocket and have it in the evening.  Don't think I could wait 15 hours.  Nope.  It is nice that you are all together eating, though.  Peanut butter and mayo???? xox

bookncoffee said...

I love this entry....vacation and real world would be something I would like to compare.  REal world breakfast is either almonds or pistachios, or juice, or oatmeal or instant grits (hot water spicket at work), or on a real hungry daywhere I need protein- an egg mcmuffin.....but on vacation.....eggs, bacon, juice, fruit....yum!  
Sonya