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60/20 Tour: Broken Glasses, Frosted Pants, and an Ode to Courtney

Vetter Brookestone Village

Making our first stop in Nebraska (where the Yorks hail from) at Vetter Senior Living Brookestone Village, long-time customer and friend of iN2L and our first customer in Nebraska.  One of my pleasant surprises on this trip – up to this point – had been how smooth everything has gone.  A whole lot of miles for sure,  but all the events have stayed on track thanks to coordination between Allison and Dale. I was probably getting a little complacent…and then came Brookstone Village!!!

The logistics of the event had been perfectly hammered out between Allison and Courtney Schmitz (rec therapist extraordinaire) from Vetter.  Courtney does a great job of overseeing the iN2L implementations we have at Vetter – we’re proud to be in all their communities.  We walked into a room all decked out for a great party and a large activity. They even brought wine in for the festivities.  The first problem was our Driving Simulator. The clip that connects to the steering wheel was broken.  I was furiously trying to blame Allison or Josh,  but it was me.  So, we quickly had to eliminate that from our plan.  To strategize on a Plan B, I headed back to have a glass of wine while they were finishing the party set up,  and I accidentally knocked over one empty glass,  which in turn (in slow motion that I couldn’t rewind) knocked over another glass, which  knocked over another glass,  all of them simultaneously shattering on the floor.  What a mess!  I had some solace when they pulled out a trash can labeled “broken glass only”. I was not the only glass breaker in this community.

Despite that debacle, Courtney asked me to lead some activities in front of 50+ residents.  I headed up on stage to utilize the system, and, unbeknownst to me,  Allison spots a big wad of cake frosting on my rear end. I have no idea it’s there; I probably sat on some cake while ducking flying glass shrapnel.  Allison had somewhat of a politically correct dilemma: do you wipe off frosting from the co-founder’s rear end? She decided to go for it,  which in turns causes the icing to simply spread evenly all over my pants.  Somewhat of a no-win situation, methinks, for both Allison and me. That finally done,  I start trying to lead some activities,  only to have our 6-year-old system crash as I’m attempting to get some Conductercize going. What’s going to happen next????

So, there I am with this befuddled look on my face  (how many times can you sing Happy Birthday over and over?), contemplating telling yarns about old Nebraska Cornhuskers trivia when Courtney (aka Superwoman) rescues me.  She simultaneously gets the system up,  rebooted and working while leading a couple of sing-along activities. The residents don’t miss a beat as the iN2L clown sulks off stage and hangs out with a couple of residents who thankfully had not noticed his performance. All is well with Courtney in charge.

This blog is a simple tribute to Courtney specifically, and to the activity profession in general.  You are the unheralded heroes of so many senior living communities.  You are trying to amuse,  engage and connect with the greatest generation, while dealing with the realities of the multiple physical and cognitive issues they live with, on a shoestring budget.  It is a brutal job and I’ve had the honor to meet hundreds and hundreds of you over the years.  You’ve been the backbone of our 20-year run.

What a day!  As I think about the 70/30 tour in ten years,  when I do my Vetter stop I think I’ll leave the activity piece to Courtney and I’ll have a glass of whiskey with Jack Vetter (a hero of mine) on his farm.  Jack,  just hold onto your glass!

Thank you, Courtney! Over and out.

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