A night on the tiles at 60
A COUPLE of weeks ago I turned 60. Fifty-nine sounded so much younger!
As Rita pointed out to me there are benefits that come with the big 6-0.
For one, I get a Senior Citizens Card. That gets me into the movies for $10, instead of $18.
They also sent me a free Myki card which, for those of you who don't know, is Victoria's $3 billion public transport ticketing system, which in the main doesn't work.
They tell me that I can get a free train trip to anywhere in Victoria.
They don't tell me how much extra it will cost me if I venture over the border.
I've always thought that I looked younger than 60. This is backed-up by many folks' surprise when I tell them my age.
I've come to realise that because I have 14 and 16-year-old boys people think that I couldn't possibly be so ancient.
Fact is, I probably have more in common with my kids' mates' grandparents.
Mind you, I reckon I'm young at heart.
The mind operates like that of an 18-year-old and I still have an eye (with the help of specs) for the pretty young things that I pass in the street.
The difference these days is that I have to look surreptitiously for fear of being labelled a dirty old man.
Physically - for a bloke who's 20kg overweight, smokes too much and loves a Scotch - I reckon I'm not doing too badly either.
I've never spent a day in hospital (except when I cut the end of my finger off) and rarely go to the doctor.
As well as turning 60, for the first time in my life I had two women fighting over me.
A friend who got a quote of $14,500 to do up her bathroom, asked if I would be interested in doing the job for her.
"Would $30 an hour be acceptable?" she asked.
"That's far too much!" said my Rita.
"He'll do it for $25."
So my first post-60 job has been to renovate said friend's bathroom.
She wanted to retain the floor tiles but replace the grouting.
After a full day getting nowhere I pulled out the trusty angle grinder.
This worked a treat but knackered half the tiles.
Time to rip the whole lot up, except that the cement sheet had been glued to the floor.
Another day spent trying to chisel the tiles up.
I finally smartened up, got hold of a heat gun and prised them off one by one, scraping the glue off as I went.
I applied the same methodology to the walls.
"Why don't you tile right up to the roof?" I stupidly suggested.
"That sounds very modern," she said. "Let's do it."
Do you know how many tiles a 3m x 2.8m bathroom takes?
Neither do I, but I'm guessing it's a shipload, because after two full weeks I've managed to do the shower recess and the floor.
Thank God she changed her mind on having a matching dunny.
There's a fair chance that next issue's Life with Kermie column will be a continuation of this saga as I've got Buckley's chance of getting out to find anything remotely connected with trucks and trucking.
What this exercise has shown me is that I'm every bit of my 60 years.
There's not a joint in my body that doesn't ache.
The brain has seized to the point that I don't know what day it is and I'm so tired that a pretty young thing could walk past me stark naked and I wouldn't give her a second glance.
As Clint Eastwood said, "A man's gotta know his limitations." It's taken 60 years for the brain cells to work out what mine are.
With luck I will have finished the job and physically recovered enough to get to the Tarcutta Truck Drivers Memorial on October 27.
I'd take the train there but I don't know what they'll charge me beyond Albury.
Take care of you.
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