Category Archives: Life Lessons

Retirement Month One continued…

Our New Year’s evening of  2019 consisted of eating, licking our fingers, unpacking, doing a little walk around the neighborhood, watched some TV and then abandoned all the plans we’d been chatting about: like a midnight hot-tub as they are open 24 hours a day, then re-thinking that plan as we could do the hot tub in the morning.

Well midnight came…was I awake? I can’t remember. I do remember that morning came and the trek to the hot tub didn’t happen.

After being several days on the road, traveling from B.C. Canada, including making an overnight stop to visit friends in California who we’ve known since our early married years when Ross was in Seminary at Fresno, California – anyway, we were tired out and just sat in our little bungalow and relaxed.

January 1 and 2, 2020.  Morning coffee, which in my opinion is the best time of day, settling in and unpacking…full sun days, played some outdoor pickleball and reconnected with people not seen since last spring.

This retirement experience so far was going well.  Great in fact.

January 3. A most annoying feeling began to happen…. scratchy sore throat.  My throat.

January 4.  Scratchier throat.  The interpretation of a scratchy throat is raw, like swallowing sharp little sticks. I know this sign well enough so off to the store I go and Hubby too of course.

At the base of my neck a pain developed which radiated down into my left shoulder, the exact location there are some bone compression’s. As the flu/cold symptoms increased so did the pain in my body and so did the frustration level with anyone in my recent memory who’d had a cold in my presence even though I could have picked up a bug anywhere.

Hubby became more helpful, attentive and quiet as I became sicker.

I tried to be upbeat, I really did.

We bundled ourselves up warm because it gets quite chilly in the desert and took a little trip south, or north or west – I have no idea because most of the time I get lost in the resort park so I can’t be expected to know where I am once I leave here. More so if I’m busy feeling sorry for myself and ill.

We were off to see the hot air balloons…flu pain in my shoulder and neck…sore throat…pain medications flowing through me and trying to be enthusiastic about the upcoming event.

I know, I know…I do know better.  Should’ve really been home in bed.

However, I was trying to be a good retirement wife full of frolicking fun even though I had to fake it a lot.

Okay.  So, we did that – saw the balloons, saw a lovely lake backdrop, felt the excitement as the balloons heated up one by one, lit up and glowing beautifully with all the various rainbow colors, then felt the cold descend as the darkness of night arrived.

A band played.

People danced on the grass.

Food trucks dished out hamburgers and hot dogs.

Other people did as we did, stood around waiting for something to happen. One balloon went up, up, up to the end of its tether. Then it came down and that was the extent of the excitement for me.

It was dark, desert dark, and cold, desert cold.

After two hours of being upbeat and engaged with the surroundings, I was done.

Those balloons may have eventually done a finale of all going up to the end of their tethers, but Hubby and I did not stick around long enough to find out.

In the next days to come the throat soreness eased up as the nose plugged up…and then the nose blowing began.

This must be quite exciting reading…

It must have been torture for Hubby to listen to me because I sounded like a honking semi-truck on the freeway and continued like that for several more days before I became more human like.

And the bronchial cough – oh the cough…though I did discover a nice liquid drink which drugged and subdued my system at night so I could sleep.

We have some wonderful friends here in the park who are our go-to people when we need help and need to borrow items.  We seem to need help a lot.

We appreciate them – not so sure they appreciate us as we tend to be such scrounges.

For three years in a row I have borrowed their vaporizer because for three years in a row my body has arrived in Arizona and gotten sick.

I so love that vaporizer humming all night which also helped me breathe easier. Well, I love them too for owning it.

I received such good care. Hubby man really came through on the meal preparation, clearing away the Kleenex snot piles and listening to me moan about, well… everything.

I didn’t like being cold. I didn’t like the recliner chair I barely had the energy to get out of.

I missed Thomas the Cat.

I needed hugs but that wasn’t likely going to be happening much. I was hungry but didn’t want anything to eat.

Meanwhile, as the recovery happened, we still explored the grocery stores, got involved in our daily life here and reconnected with people as I was able.

Hubby came and went to various places mostly alone, because if it included the gym, the pool or the hot tub or took any effort at all I declined.

I’m quite sure it wasn’t all that much fun, however he tends to like his own company, so he wasn’t really complaining.

After two weeks of this part of retirement fun….as the sore throat left, and the flu/cold symptoms shifted, the pain in my neck and shoulder also eased off.

This was a relief because it meant I had not injured myself on the pickleball courts and the future was looking brighter.

And then, as flu and cold bugs do, they decided they’d had enough of me, and likely jumped over to anyone unfortunate enough to have been too close to me.

Like Hubby.

And then…because his immune defenses were down, he does what he typically tends to do.

Ignore the symptoms. Deny the existence of illness yet medicate and keep going.

We are such different creatures.  He informed me it wasn’t a cold he had but just his ongoing sinus issues from the fall.  Okay. Fine.

One thing, and this is only one thing I’ve learned in forty-one years of marriage, is this: when we are both experiencing new things, are perhaps immune system weakened and trying to process life as it happens, there can be clash of personality, of goals for the day or month and suddenly one little thing, any particular little comment just may trigger some emotions.

We were heading into a clash…

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Filed under A Cat's Life, Life Lessons, retirement, Writer Writes

Retirement Month One

Day One and Day Two were great as Hubby and I settled into our little bungalow in Venture Out in Mesa, Arizona for our extended holiday and the beginnings of testing out retirement life.

We’d arrived in Mesa on Dec 31st at the end of a sunny day, with the sky all aglow as the deepening lemon turned to crimson then to a mixture of muddy brown which turned into the blackness of night as the city lights twinkled on all around.

It was magical.  I wasn’t driving so I could absorb the beauty of the evening as we approached our first destination: food.

We’d changed plans midstream, mid-driving if I want to be factual, instead of spending an evening out celebrating New Year’s Eve and eating in an Arizona restaurant – a specific restaurant as Hubby had declared many days previous that he wanted to eat ribs from a place which is close by our soon to be home for the next three months.

It’s his retirement, and it was his food craving…and, it was easy to accommodate him because I wasn’t expected to cook a thing.

Besides, I like ribs too.

We pulled into the parking lot and quickly pushed our way inside to order our takeout dinner of juicy ribs and beans, potato and Hubby says he ordered Mac n Cheese too.

A side note here, Hubby is obsessed with Mac n Cheese – there is a restaurant in our new town which caters to Mac n Cheese.  We will be going there soon for sure.

The entire restaurant was full of celebrating New Years people.

Me, being me and I’m not sure why, but I noticed what appeared to be newbies, a man and a woman seated at a table just inside the entrance, because they had picked up the catering menu instead of the restaurant menu. They had come in right after us, sat at an empty table and were looking around.  I had already perused two menus – thus my vast knowledge and my following helpful gesture.

I pointed them to the correct menu which was sitting on a little stand up at the counter by the door.

As I was standing near the seated couple, a man from another table leans over, taps me on the shoulder and tells me, “We are ready to order here too.”

I turn around and say, “Pardon me?”

He tells me again, “We are ready to order here.”

I laugh and tell him that I’m just here to order dinner myself and was helping someone else with a menu selection.

Of course, much later a bunch of fun ideas came that I could have taken his order and submitted it. It would have been a blast but no, I was tired and hungry, and the brain wasn’t thinking that fast.  I could have gotten an instant job and helped fund this wild adventure Hubby and I are embarking on. Well, not really…being Canadian, I’m not about to earn any money and I certainly don’t want a job.

I have a job.  It is called getting used to Hubby and his retirement.

Next, off we went to a grocery store to get some quick supplies for the morning – cream for my coffee being the most important item which makes for a more pleasant wake up experience for both of us oldie  retirees – me because I got what I wanted and for Hubby because he wouldn’t be asked to go to the store or a coffee shop right after he cracked his eyes open.

To be continued…

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He’s Retired, so now what do I do with him…

Friday the 13th  2019 was the last day of work for Hubby.  Ross is his name but I do like the term Hubby so this is what I will likely stick with.

I’m not into the whole superstition thing but it is quite amazing how certain things learned from childhood hang around, like it being a bad luck day, don’t walk in front of a black cat, throw salt over your left shoulder or right, step over a crack or you’ll break your mothers back and that is all supposed to ward off bad things.

I grew up with all that vast knowledge, which didn’t mean much then, and even less now but someone has made mention of the date of Hubby’s retirement and that is what triggered all the memory quotes.

Well, no bad luck events took place and obviously Hubby didn’t take any notice of the date either. It was all about the dates lining up for the best possible scenario for holidays which began Friday and extending into January 23, 2020 which will be the official retirement date.

It was also all about dates and taxes.

Hubby had his farewell work event, cards and gifts given, hugs and best wishes and a boot out the door. Done.

Actually, he was well respected and will be missed by those who were supported by him and with those with whom he worked. Hubby assisted people in crisis, taught workshops on grief, loss and resiliency and emotional first aid…and much more. I wasn’t there and knew very few of ‘his people’ so will just leave it at that.

He’s taken his gift of new binoculars and packed them for our upcoming trip and is waiting for a new piece of luggage which may or may not arrive before we leave.

One of the gifts he received from his closest colleague is a wooden plaque of one of hubby’s favorite quotes, “Anyone who willingly enters into the pain of a stranger is truly a remarkable person” by Henri J.M. Nouwen. It sits prominently on our fireplace mantle.

We, as in me, our daughter TL, our son Ra and our daughter in law Ca, had our own event,  a family pizza making night and gave hubby some new bike shorts and a snazzy shirt… nice gift but really it is a motivational device to get him out of the house and staying active.

He likes bike riding so it won’t be a new experience – he will just look a lot better doing it.

If I know him… and I do, he will find some random patch and sew it or glue it onto his shirt.  It will be some gleaming adoration for the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team.

Since Friday….

Packing for our holiday.

Playing pickleball.

Packing for our holiday.

Shopping for Christmas gifts.

Packing for our holiday.

Hubby – Seeing the doctor for an ongoing (4 months) sinus infection, getting x-rays and blood-work done.

Pickleball workshop for people from Hubby’s work environment. That was fun. I and two of our pickleball friends assisted with reigning in the keener’s and encouraging the shyer ones.

Arranging plans for looking after our beloved Thomas the Cat…upcoming Vet appointment to get an anal gland expression done. Just imagine that for a minute.

The list for cleaning the house is growing…we have a person moving in and well, the house needs to be presentable.

There are still ten days until departure and events to attend, appetizer and drinks, friends to see, annual 24th extended family dinner and gift exchange, one more pair of baby booties to crochet, likely a last minute gift to buy, our immediate family breakfast, gift exchange and dinner, then our main tidy and pack day and we will be off…

But first, Hubby doesn’t know this yet. I have arranged a date for us. We are going for a manicure and a pedicure. This is all so self-serving of course.

Hubby will be switching shoes soon for flip flops and I may be sitting next to his feet on a lounge chair. I want to like what I see.

 

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Filed under Faith Path, Life Lessons, retirement

Countdown is on…

So, it seems like a lazy, slow and rainy Saturday afternoon but at this house there is a countdown happening. With the countdown an endlessly long to-do list keeps updating itself.

In FIVE work days hubby is retiring. Just letting that statement sit there and I’m allowing it to percolate in my brain.

In trying not to panic…because where am I going to put him – as his office belongings are slowing taking over a mostly under used second bedroom space in our home.

This retirement process has been building for quite some time- the first discussions being, “Are you kidding? No way!”, to, “Oh, okay…”, with hours and hours of chats in between.

It’s rather exciting and obviously unknown at this point.

Plans for Christmas meals, gift buying and house cleaning in preparation for a holiday are underway and my mind swirls with details…

I like my alone morning time, he spends his days with the multitudes of people.

I enjoy quiet (he likes a radio on), I open the curtains, he may or may not get around to it, will he still kindly make my coffee then quietly leave the house 😊, is he going to expect lunch at home, are we going to go ‘everywhere’ together, do I have to invite him along when I take myself out for breakfast…do we report all our activities to each other…and on and on it goes.

How goes it for others…you out there?

Whats worked and not worked.

Come check it out sometime over the next few months-pretty sure its going to be a a creative journey.

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Filed under Life Lessons, retirement, Writer Writes