Monday, July 30, 2012


Every year to herald the start of the Christmas shopping season ( I know, way to early to bring that up but---), two TV commercials resurface to let us know time's a wasting.

The Chia Pet sprouts its green hair to entice us to spend and sing carols and if that doesn't work, the Clapper is sure to jar us into action.

The Clapper as most of us know is a device that allows us to turn lights or TVs on and off in our homes with just the clap of our hands. Clever though it is, I have neither given nor owned one and in fact am often both amused and annoyed by the commercials.

Strangely, as of late,  I am now a functioning Clapper but instead of turning on lights, my clapping is all I have left to call my dog. Poor ole Mighty Dog has become the object of my hand smacking. 

For about a year now I suspected he was developing selective hearing.  He would not come in from outside when called unless it was close to feeding time. I would have to get in his face to get his attention.  Finally I realized he was not really going all "male" on me and just ignoring me.  He really was  rapidly losing his hearing.

Somewhere around 62 and retirement, I lost my whistle. Maybe it was my elderly lip muscles that could no longer hold a pucker, but from then on, when ever I tried to do my best Lauren Bacall,  "just put your lips together and... blow ", I just pretty much  hissed air and scatter a little spit.  I had discovered whisper whistling. First the eyes and now my whistle. Ah how cruel age is.  

Even while in my whistling prime I could never make a taxi lock its brakes nor get an athlete's  attention in center field,  but I did have a decent enough  whistle and could tweet out a lively tune.   Sigh , whistling is  now just a memory.

So how to you call a hard of hearing dog when you can't whistle?  Why clap your hands smartly of course.  I discovered this by accident and it works like a charm.  A clap is evidently still in his sound range. 

I used to laugh at the old lady in the commercial and marveled at how smartly her clap would ring out. Now I realize really loud clapping may be an age thing. Maybe it is our bony, cushionless hands but what ever it is, it is all ours.

I clap so loudly anymore for Mighty that I am sure the lights go off and on in my neighbor's homes.  My whistle may be gone but my clap is like a rifle shot. Who knew??

Perhaps it is like when one sense goes the rest sharpen. Regardless, I have developed into one heck of a clapper and for now, Mighty responds immediately. Two claps and all is good.

I know some of you are still babies but for the rest I have a question. Has creeping age replaced a lost ability of yours with a surprising new one?


  1. Oooh funny!!! I will never forget your skipping post, and now this...your clapping post! too funny, but, you're right. I just tried to whistle and it's gone. I think it's because my lips are gone. I used to have lips...where did they go???

  2. I never could whistle so I thought maybe now I could...didn't work. I don't know about abilities, but I do know that my round butt and flat stomach totally reversed places at some point along the way.

  3. I only learned to whistle at all as an older person, and it has always been a little weak thing. I have always had a good sense of smell, though, and as I've aged it's not as good as it was, at all. I'm not sure what might have taken its place, although if I pass gas I try to be quiet about it... :-)

  4. So glad you had a Plan B, to call Mighty. I'm wondering if clapping would get my husband's attention. He chooses to ignore me at times. Worth a try!!

  5. I'm still waiting for those other senses to sharpen. Dianne

  6. This reminds me of something I learned a few weeks ago. Apparently after age 20 or so, humans can't hear a certain frequency. High school kids now set their cell phones to ring at that frequency so they can hear them and the teacher can't.

  7. I'm going to have to go along with Muffy on this one. I'll have to try it on Sweet Man. Although I think he ignores out of repetition...I keep complaining about the same things. And he just ignores me. You have such a great eye on life. I love your sense of humor. Oma Linda

  8. Oh, I could never whistle worth a hoot either. It comes out so weak and pitiful that it isn't worth the effort. As for selective hearing, it is not specifically a human trait since my cats practice it all the time. (They may not come, but they 'hear' me... I see their ears twitch.)

  9. hmmm. Good question. Because of my Bell's Palsy, I can no longer whistle. Nor can I rinse my mouth without water shooting out. Yes, the palsy has definitely weakened the muscles around my lips. So sad. I have nothing to compensate for it...

  10. I'm learning about the different levels of sound. I've muttered a lot about Bob's hearing loss. He seems to be able to hear every sound but my voice. I've having to give this more thought now that my hearing is declining. I simply cannot hear our daughter. I have to ask her to repeat almost everything she says if we're together. On the phone it's not a problem. She says other people with hearing loss also have a hard time hearing her.

  11. Actually creeping age has replaced all of my former abilities with an increase in patience. I have no choice!

    My old boy (not the boyfriend, the dog), is so deaf that even clapping doesn't help. I have to stomp my feet, he can feel the vibrations.



  12. I get such a bang of of reading your blog and the comments. Your readers are both funny and good writers.

    Yes, many things have changed as time goes by. However, I am pride to be a whistler. I have always whistled, not while I work though. Because I rarely work.

  13. I seem to be losing a few abilities, but so far they have only been replaced by some I'd rather not talk about and rather not have!!

    I think my vocal chords have changed because when I try to sing, I just croak. Not that I could ever sing well enough for anyone to listen before, but it's so bad now that I'd be told to stop! I never was a very good whistler, but I can still manage to do that.

  14. my 11 year old son just informed me that old people (all people over 50) no longer yell...he said it hurts their bodies.

  15. Well, I just tried clapping and hurt my bony fingers on my rings. I will try clapping on Soldiers since his hearing is not as good as it once was. He still hears "cookie," though so I'm not sure what his game is.

  16. Oh, no, poor Mighty Dog. No, I've never owned a clapper nor have I ever been a good whistler. My son and invented our version of calling the dog by making some sort of "Alley OOOP!" sound and that did the trick if our beloved Raymond was out of sight.

    I think that I am more of a finger snapper than a clapper, the more that I think about it.

    Chia Pets really are pretty cool though. ;-) A gift for somebody you really do not know what else to buy.

    Kathy M.

  17. turquoisemoon,
    Ha ha, me too. I'll bet when I find them, I'll also find my waist.

    Ha, ha, can relate to your plight except that my behind got rounder also.

    In that case, deminished sense of smell is a good thing:))
    What a nice surprise to discover your whistle later in life.

    Ha, at least you will get his attention and then will know for sure if it is hearing loss or selective hearing.

    Have faith, surely something will develop.

    And who says kids aren't learning anything in school? Clever little tykes.

    Linda Wildenstein,
    Thanks so much, so glad you think so. Men really are good at that.

    Ha ha , the twitch will give them away every time. Mighty doesn't even twitch to my voice but will jerk his head for a clap.

    Have faith also gigi. It may manifest itself in an unusual way.

    I can relate. I have one of those voices that the hard of hearing just can't pick up. It is frustrating for us both when trying to communicate.

    Thanks for the hint. When Mighty can no longer hear the clap, I will try stomping.

    Miss Dazey,
    Thank you and you are right. I have some really witty commenters. They always make posting fun.

    Oh no, you too? My voice was never good but it is laughable now. Sigh.

    Annmarie Pipa
    Welcome to TNS and thanks for commenting. Ha ha, your 11 year old is close to being right on.

    Ouch, looks like you will have to work on that. It does work though for our pets that are losing ground in the hearing dept.

    Ha, I think my snap went the way of my whistle.
    Each year I think I will get a Chia pet but never do. Maybe this year.

  18. LOL, LOL...Very funny..but, not so funny to be losing all these things as one ages. U use to whistle it's almost completely gone, but I think it's more due to my teeth than my lips. Don't ask.
    As I age...Many things are being lost and not replaced with anything that's good, I'm afraid! OY!

  19. I'm exactly opposite from you. I could never whistle until a year or so ago. Now I can even belt out a tune. However, my clapping has gotten worse as I age.

  20. I never could whistle either, and now I'm losing my clapper! Arthritis is making my hands hurt and my fingers no longer straighten. Good thing I don't have a dog, huh.

  21. oh the Clapper... I don't know why it always made me laugh because of well, "the clap." and there they were laughing and clapping away ;-)

  22. Dear Arkansas Patti, I'm trying to think of some way in which I've developed a new skill as I've aged. I guess the one that comes to mind is a growing interest in the past. That's not something to do with hands, feet, eyes, ears, but with my mind. I keep trying to branch my dendrites with sudokus and puzzles, but I'm also reading a lot of history because I think that by knowing the past I may better understand the present. Does that count????? Peace.

  23. Oh, yes age has taken away some of my abilities but so far I can still ring out a pretty good whistle...I come from a long line of whistlers so maybe it is in the genes. When I clap to get Chancy in he knows he has been a bad boy. I am sorry Mighty is losing his hearing. Sweet Patti you almost had me rolling in the floor reading this. Your sense of humor is priceless. Hugs

  24. We have three clappers here and they are the best things I have in my house. I love them. Clap on - clap off! sandie

  25. I'm with Mighty- my hearing is lousy. I guess I should give the heads up to the DH to start clapping for me when he wants something. HA HA

  26. Honey I so needed to read your funny stories tonight. Like everyone I love reading your hilarious post.
    I could never whistle so can't blame getting older.
    I don't think you have time for me to list all the things that have changed for me in the last few years. lol
    Hope all is well and your having a good week.

  27. I haven't seen that yet, but I do have to deal with these annoying bifocals. I used to love reading on the bed, but now I have to hold my head so awkwardly it just isn't worth it!

  28. Gone male, you say? Hum....
    I see an opportunity for somebody to make lots of money as I have the exact same complaint as mom of 12.

  29. OOLOH,
    Ha, I wonder if acceptance is considered a new sense. I am counting it.

    How funny, we are exactly opposite.

    Linda Reeder,
    I can relate. I have knarled fingers also but somehow I can really clap.

    Introverted Art,
    I too am laughing but it really seems we see them both much earlier every year.

    I think it does since it was not that important to you when you were younger. That makes it new.

    That explains it and I feel better. If it is a gene thing, then I couldn't help it. Thank you, glad you got a chuckle.

    Maybe this year I will get one but that would mean I couldn't clap for Mighty in the house.

    Ha, have him try it and see if it gets your attention.

    Grandma yellow hair
    Thank you and I am glad I could lighten your mood.
    I fear I also have lost more than I have gained but maybe I haven't looked hard enough.

    Mom of 12,
    I will go to your post and tell you how I solved your problem.

    I will go to your site also TB. I have found something that really works for me.

  30. Yep, I clap for Miss Piggy now. She's 16 and has lost most of her hearing. She never listened to me anyway, so not that much has changed.

    All my life I wanted to learn to whistle--one of those ear piercers--but never managed it. Are you saying I might as well give up?

  31. This is a great story. I never, never, never could whistle. All the other kids in my group growing up could whistle and wondered what was wrong with me. Try as I might, I never could.

    Now, my husband on the other hand, had a great whistle which he used often as a teacher and administrator. It never failed to get attention. So, when our new pup would run to the part of the yard where he could not see us, and we could not see him, being sure he was up to mischief, I asked my husband to whistle. It seems he has lost his whistle too. Sometimes he gets one out and sometimes he doesn't. I've thought of resurrecting my recess whistle and keeping it on the porch to use to call the dog. Perhaps I'll see if that works.

  32. I could use one of those clapping lamps when I want to turn out the lights at night. I have always trained my dogs with hand signals and voice signals when they are young then when they get old they already know the hand signal to come, stop, sit etc. Of course that presumes they are looking at you when you want them to come. Wonder if there isn't some kind of motion collar that could be used for the dog, much like a vibrating phone. It would work remotely and you would press a button when you wanted Mighty to come in. Someone has either already invented this or will steal this idea and make a million. Ha. There are those high pitched whistles that supposedly only dogs can hear, what about one of those?

  33. I'm not sure I am there yet. My whistle is still pretty good. I do notice that since I am now running and indoor cycling (aka spinning) my cardio is much better than my strength. I can't whip around the bales of hay as I used to.

  34. Mary Lee,
    Don't give up yet. Virginia Breeze was a late bloomer.

    Retired English Teacher,
    Well I am glad I am not alone and that your husband has lost his whistle also. I may go to one on a lanyard also.

    Linda Starr,
    I do have a remote switch by my bed for turning them out at night. Really a handy gadget.
    I think you have a great idea with the collar. Think you ought to work on that.

    I know what you mean, Hay bales are a real barometer for measuring slippage. Not sure I could shove one these days.

  35. I used to have amazing hearing but years of loud music have definitely done damage. You know I think all my senses are fading. I realised this morning that I can't taste the difference between my decafe coffee and the regular anymore.

  36. This is such a fun post. I'm sitting here watching the Olympics and wondering what sort of ability has been replaced with something worthwhile in my old age. Sadly, can't think of a thing. I've always wondered if that clapping lamp really worked

  37. Missed this post while I was away cat sitting.
    Funny ...I lost my whistle some time after 60. I also seem to have lost the ability to sing ...except as a bass ...and anything else that had muscles, doesn't any more.Short term memory is rubbish ...thankgoodness for a pen and note pad ...hearing is really selective ...can hear somethings from another room yet tune out to surrounding sound ...eyes have the beginning of cateracts and floaters distort things what have I developed in place???? not a lot ....I have quite a deductive brain now and can still see problems but now even more steps ahead ....but I moan a lot more ... I hate my old age but I do love being a Nana....just wish I was a younger one. xx

  38. I suppose the clapping sends stronger sound waves. For me a sense of smell has been keener than ever and I guess when eyes are weak and ears get less capable it's a way of sniffing ones way around. Who knew we had that kind of power in us?