Have I mentioned how much I love my retirement home; not just the structure itself but the community, too?
This week at the “Creek” started out Monday morning with water aerobics. Two of my sisters, visiting from the Mid-west, joined me. My assortment of noodles perfectly coordinated with our bathing suits! Aerobic music is a pleasant mix of “oldies” so it’s easy to get lost in reverie of the good old days and flashbacks. One of my sister’s has an issue with hearing – could be a mixed case of selected listening coupled with hearing loss. And she is the rebellious, bossy sister.
She did her own thing. Listened to the great tunes; floated around aimlessly (trying not to go under); looking wistfully at the botanical garden surrounding the perfectly heated pool. She had a good enough time that she agreed to return for another class on Thursday. We had to miss Tuesday morning because it conflicted with an airport run for our other sister.
Tuesday evening is BINGO at the clubhouse. Play begins at 6:00p.m. BUT they start selling cards at 5:15. I was scolded on my second visit for getting there just a few minutes before 6. Now I know better. My visitors and I arrived in plenty of time to purchase our cards – they needed to invest in appropriate Bingo dabbers which are conveniently sold at the last table in the row. Each table sells different cards for different games. For a BINGO rookie, it is quite complicated Luckily, I have a tutor!
My Bingo tutor plays twelve cards to my three. She keeps on eye on all those around her – even at the next table. I’m getting the hang of the different games (postage stamp, quicky, giant kite, four corners, horizontal the hard way, etc) so Barb and Alan had full tutoring Tuesday night. This Bingo set-up is high tech compared to birthday party Bingo from my childhood.
The Bingo balls pop up at the console. Ball is displayed on TV monitors in the room; THEN the Vanna White of Bingo calls the number. For those of us who have successfully been tutored in the finer technics of Bingo ball previews, we dab the appropriate number if it is on our card(s). In past weeks, I have been so close to a win – just waiting for one more number (BTW my tutor has special little colored transparent plastic chips to place on these ‘holding to be called’ numbers) to be called. But just as I get my hopes and level of excitement up – someone else calls out, “BINGO!” I always wait, maintaining hope that there may have been a mistaken mark made on the winning card. Not until Bingo Vanna White declares, “That is a valid win” do I toss my spent card in the conveniently, officially held with plastic gizmo to the table’s edge plastic trash bag.
My Bingo bag does not contain any lucky chatchky charms. I don’t have any good-luck jewelry to wear. I don’t have a duck call to quack every time the number 22 is called; nor a bell to ring on 66. I do bring my old-fashinoned hand-held accordian folding fan because it always get heated on Bingo night. On this Tuesday, again, I was waiting for one more number. I looked up at the monitor and there it was! I dabbed and with a fully loaded level of excitement, yelled: “BINGO!” Timing is everything. I should have waited for Bingo Vanna to actually call the number before I jumped up and tipped my chair over. Ooops. “Never mind.”
Then I heard the official call, ” O 64.” Alright, I had meekly uprighted my chair and humbly took my seat. I calmly raised my hand, barely audibly calling, “Bingo!” I really didn’t mind the light hearted ribbing from surrounding tables. I actually won. It was a small sum and someone else won on the same number so we had to split the pot. It’s really not about the money. As a kid, any game I played was for the fun and experience of the play – winning was not important to me. I realized winning is a big deal to some, so I almost felt guilty when/if I did win a game – of anything. But notnow. Not Bingo. I finally won and I guess it will keep me going back on Tuesday nights. Summers off because half of the population at the Creek consists of snowbirds.
Oh, I failed to mention that my sister won a couple of games after I did. She responsibly waited for Bingo Vanna to announce the number, even though she saw it on the TV monitor. With a reserved hand up and a respectful call, the little man with the microphone (card verifier) trotted to her side to confirm the win. Ah, she too had to spilt the pot – twice as big as mine.
There were other areas of excitement at Bingo. George, who sits at the next table (and my tutor secretly monitors his cards) was to celebrate his 90th birthday in two days. His daughter brought in a “90 year old” birthday cake to be served at intermission. Yes, there is a break mid-way between games. Well wishes, cake and coffee were over and play resumed.
Suddenly, there was a concerned hush mid-room. Initially it was thought someone spilled coffee on the cards. Actually, it was a spontaneously profuse gush of nose blood from one of the players. A call for a nurse was raised, good samaritians responded and gahtered around the “patient.” Unsolicited advice called out from around the room. An inquiry as to whether or not to call 911. Someone ran to get paper napkins (from cake); paper towels from the restroom. Ice from the kitchen. Bingo Vanna kept speaking calmly through the microphone that there should be ice in the first aid box above the defibrallator. Chaos at the Creek.
Finally, she was asked if she wanted rescue. “No.” Did she need to call anyone? “No.” What did she want to do? “Play!” With one hand on her paper towels, one hand on her dabber, the games went on. At the end of the evening, she climbed into her golf cart still holding back the flow of the nose bleed and drove off to her home. Shouts behind her to call for help if she needed to.
There have been more things happening this week at the “Creek” but I need to change my title and continue in a new post. This is a little long to continue the rest of the weekly excitement.
Stay tuned for “I Smell a Rat!”