Grumpy Grandpas Daycare

Rick Ryckeley's picture

Yep, you guessed it. Haven’t even been a month in retirement, and already I’m bored. Even so, I haven’t stopped learning new things.

Trash pickup is by 7 Tuesday mornings — unless Driver Tim has truck trouble, wife trouble, kid trouble, or just trouble in general. Then trash pickup could be well past 10.

Saturday’s newspaper is not actually thrown on the lawn. The neighbor’s kid kicks it off the sidewalk so he can skateboard.

Know how many times in the same day you can call your friends who are still working just to chat? The answer is three. After that, thanks to caller ID, they stop answering.

And if you’re wondering, my dad doesn’t have caller ID. But after five times, he just turns off his hearing aid.

I’m not alone with the dilemma of what to do during retirement. Seems a good teacher friend of mine finds himself in the same predicament. After 30 years of teaching in this fair county, Coach is finally retiring. I’ll call him Coach because Jon doesn’t want me to use his real name.

So just what can a former firefighter and a former teacher do to combat boredom? Why, we start a new business, of course.

Actually we wanted to go hang gliding, but The Wife suggested something more down-to-earth – like starting a new business.

And just what kind of business you might ask? She said, “You two should open up Grumpy Grandpas Daycare.”

What could possibly go wrong?

You see, Coach became a granddad for the first time just two months ago, and The Boy is about to make me a granddad any day now. So what better business for a bored retired firefighter and a teacher to start than a daycare center?

How The Wife came up with the name I haven’t a clue. I know Coach isn’t grumpy. After all, he did marry Kathy, one of the prettiest girls who ever attended Briarwood High School, home of the Mighty Buccaneers. Me? I’m a lovable little fuzz ball. Just ask The Wife.

As I thought about her idea, I imagined all the possibilities for Grumpy Grandpas. We could take care of education. After 30 years as a teacher, Jon certainly has that area tackled. Kids from any age will be well-schooled in the three “R”’s and will be able to name all of the U.S. presidents. Study hard and they too can become Georgia Bulldogs just like Jon. Yep, he played on one of UGA’s national championship football teams.

Performing daily puppet shows teaching kids about fire safety, fall prevention, and other important topics, as well as how cool it is to be a firefighter – well, that’ll be my job.

Some of the rooms of Grumpy Grandpas will be decked out in Georgia red and black. They will have football field carpets, soft footballs, and goal posts. Each room will have a bench, just in case one of the players gets a penalty flag for misbehaving and needs a timeout. Not that they would do that with Coach and Fireman Rick watching over.

At Grumpy Grandpas, we’ll have diaper duty well in hand. Coach will be in charge of those, well, except when a blowout occurs. Ask any parent and they’ll assure you such an event is a true emergency.

Who else would you call in an emergency other than a firefighter? Yep, I’ve been responding to emergencies for the last 27 years. Just how bad could a diaper blowout really be?

Other rooms will have firefighter themes with short ladders adorning floors so crawlers can get an early start on learning how to climb. Naptime will be in the bunkroom, where the kiddos will nap. And perhaps so will both a tuckered out retired firefighter and a teacher.

Of course all the cooking responsibilities will be shared. Coach can tailgate with the kids and entertain them with his stories of being a Georgia Bulldog while they enjoy hot dogs and burgers. And if I can cook for a bunch of firefighters and make them happy, a bunch of kids shouldn’t be a problem. They’ll just love my three-alarm firehouse chili.

When it comes to recess and exercising at Grumpy Grandpas, the little ones will score a touchdown. Our outside play area will be a miniature mock-up of Sanford Stadium and a fire station.

Coach will have children tumbling through monkey drills and high stepping through tire drills each day. They will earn those silver britches in no time.

The football field will be soft enough that any little person falling down won’t get hurt. And big people, such as Coach or me, won’t either.

I’ll be manning the climbable fire station with fire poles galore to slide down. Children will actually get exercise playing with pedal fire trucks, ambulances, and even a chief’s car. While wearing miniature helmets and boots, they’ll play with fire hoses that actually squirt water.

And don’t worry about safety while at Grumpy Grandpas. After all, who could ensure kid’s safety better than a teacher and a firefighter?

You know better than anyone, dear reader, that story time will be fun for all each day. Yours truly will introduce children to the adventures and misadventures of Goofy Steve, Bubba Hanks, and all the kids from Flamingo Street.

Yep, Grumpy Grandpa’s Daycare opening soon — I see franchise possibilities. Just have to convince Coach to take diaper patrol.

[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, served as a firefighter for 27 years and has been a weekly columnist since 2001. His email is storiesbyrick@gmail.com. His books are available at www.RickRyckeley.com.]

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