Grandkids: Fun way to experience fatigue 

Posted 4/3/24

As I write this, an eerie silence has descended on our house. Is it late at night?


Has the unregulated militia ceased exercising their Second Amendment rights out at the …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Grandkids: Fun way to experience fatigue 


As I write this, an eerie silence has descended on our house. Is it late at night?


Has the unregulated militia ceased exercising their Second Amendment rights out at the shooting range? Negative.

Has the AC/DC aficionado next door moved? Nah. 

Answer: The grandkids have just left. They’re 4 and 6 and they’re great kids. But oh, the energy drain, the noise, the demands on the grandfolks.

Makes me so glad we had our kids in our 20’s when we had maximum energy. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a middle-aged parent of young ones, like our daughter.

I know many of you in their 70’s and 80’s who, like us, are grandparents. And along with the joys of grandparenthood we also experience the concomitant fatigue during and after visits. Energy is largely a young person’s game. 

Now, to grandparents of whatever age, I offer this sound advice on being a grandparent: Learn how to bite your tongue. Repeatedly. You might want to laminate this one for your wallet. 

You may — and probably do —   have differences on how your kids are raising their offspring. But keep your ideas, no matter how seemingly wise and sound, to yourself. My tongue is covered with scar tissue from doing this, but believe me, it’s the smart thing to do. 

Speaking of noisemaking, my sentiments go out to the Jefferson Healthcare staff working next to the ongoing construction.  I was there the other day for a routine procedure, and the walls were shaking as bulldozers only 50 feet away cleared and flattened earth prepping where the new wing will be built. It was like working next to a strip mine. It was almost as noisy as a visit from grandkids.

Another gerontological chapter: we recently bought a plug-in hybrid, and this high-tech set of wheels has a dashboard festooned with as  many lights and gauges as a 787 cockpit.  Daunting? Oh, just a tad. But our son-in-law, who works for AI powerhouse Nvidia, was as comfortable with all this sophisticated car technology as I am with a TV remote control. He gave us a quick rundown on our drive that made us a lot less uneasy about the daunting technology. I had maybe three gauges to deal with in my old ‘56 Chevy, and eight in the Cessna 152 in which I earned my pilot's license. It’s gonna take a lot longer to learn this new car. 

I’m sorry to see that the PT Chamber of Commerce has decided to close the Visitor Center here, citing cost reasons. I volunteered at the Visitor Center for 10 years along with many capable, friendly locals. I enjoyed telling out-of-towners what to see and do here. Two of the visitors I remember well: One guy from Tasmania used Google Earth to proudly zoom in on his house. The other was an oddball who came in when the VIC was located next to the transit bus terminal. He wanted to talk ceaselessly, even when tourists who truly needed help were trying to ask questions. He finally left, but returned — with an electric razor. After about five minutes shaving, he emptied the razor, leaving a pile of whiskers on the desk. 

The thing I miss the most about the just-started baseball season: Having it be a unique, European experience. Covering the team in Montréal, Les Expos, was different from games in the U.S. I loved seeing the distance markers on the walls in metres and hearing the games broadcast in French. “The pitcher throws the ball” becomes: “Le lanceur jete la balle. C’ést un papillon.”  (Papillon?  The French word for knuckleball!) 

 Finally, this funny line from comic Larry “Bubbles” Brown:  “Did Boeing switch to making ships?” 


Humorist Bill Mann has been a columnist at four major metro dailies. Contact him at