Category Archives: retirement

It’s been awhile…

So many months have whipped by, all the while I’ve been thinking time was standing still as we waited for COVID19 to be finished. It is not.

Spring, summer, fall of 2020 and now parts of winter into the new year of 2021 has continued to see Hubby and I adjust not only to Covid and world events but to our first year of retirement together. Somehow insignificant to the the rest of the events but for us, two little peas in the pod, we’ve been sorting it out.

Officially Hubby’s one year anniversary of retirement was January 23/21 and we would have liked to be not here, not in the rain of the west coast of BC – however, we are well, we are safe and we pray for the end of the pandemic. We are doing our best to do our part in complying with restrictions, guidelines and try to remain optimistic for the future.

It was not in the realm of our plans to be hanging out together, every day, sometimes all day for months at a time but we found ways to entertain ourselves. I discovered just how handy the Hubby can be when he is not occupied with concerns with employment work – much of that focus has shifted to fulfilling the job lists, created by me. Job lists, I might add, that just seem to add one or two as one or two are completed.

We have, and I use that term ‘we’ loosely because in truth, as creator, director and distributor of the job lists, Hubby seemed to end up with a large bulk of the tasks to do. Some living-room furniture has been painted, our bedroom walls painted, bedroom furniture rearranged, digging of gardens accomplished, moving some garden path paver blocks two inches to the left, and a drainage issue resolved after severals days of work in the rain. I had nothing to do with the drainage problem – that cropped up all by itself.

On my end, no slouching has happened, as I’ve been creating projects of my own, such as the one in the fall writing an article for a new local blog. You can read it here: https://surreywritersnorthof60.wordpress.com/2020/10/21/mailboxes-on-24th-avenue/

I was to be in a small artist/artisan show in December but it was cancelled due to the Covid restrictions and I had to decide what to do with the several paintings I had worked on and hoped to show.

I started off this year, on January 1st by selling a painting. There are a few of them hanging in a local coffee shop so there was a bit of a learning curve there, choosing which paintings, pricing, hanging, and telling my inner critic to take a long hike.

Hubby and I are getting ready for a grand-baby to arrive in the spring of 2021. One of those recent projects has been to sort through a dozen years of my son’s education papers, report cards, personal stories and getting rid of what he’d likely call the trauma of the school years. After a couple weeks of making decisions of what to toss and what to keep, I now have a nicely sorted bin full of milestones of years…to share with the grandchild. Perhaps the son will someday enjoy hearing about his own wildly creative imagination in storytelling as he made his love of snowboarding come to life, how boring his teachers were, on rougher days, how bad he thought the school system was, how much he loved volleyball, his friends and finally in Grade 12, after graduation how much he was going to miss the closeness of his friends and all the life activities they shared. It’s been a lot of years since that graduation, like 18 years, of me the mother storing several bins of memories – his memories.

Because of Covid, but really not thanks to Covid, neglected tasks have been accomplished. I have in the past, been a facilitator/participant of a program called Freedom Session. I had books with hundreds and hundreds of pages of writing, of processing life that needed to be sorted, some kept and the rest shredded and let go of. That task was a couple of weeks of work, physical and emotional but oh, so freeing, once done.

Our daughter has also noticed how handy Hubby is, in her case…Dad. He’s been the helper of in house drainage issues, car troubles problem solver, the go to guy to put on snow tires, and all around big heart and listening ears for the many adjustments needed in a Covid year.

There are a few more indoor tasks to be accomplished by Hubby and myself and the spring outdoor list is under development. I have big plans for Hubby.

I hope he’s ready.

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Filed under Life Lessons, retirement, Writer Writes

COVID SPRING

The time has zipped by since my last time of writing – which was a confession really. 

I had mentioned the day my emotions fell apart in a parking lot and that to my horror I had become this cranky yapping old lady mad at her hubby (for no valid reason)

Also mentioned at last writing was the scenario in which I believed I had been observed and quite likely overheard – several days later I actually chatted with that person and directly asked if I had been overheard.

I was prepared to humble myself and apologize for my lack of good behavior.

The answer came back as a no, I had not been heard. 

At the time I experienced a release of tension, but it taught me a quick lesson in keeping my emotions in check and was a warning that I had too much stimulation going on and needed to watch my attitude.

Since that time months have passed, way more important events have taken place and now it is summer.

BC, Canada where I live, has moved past Phase One of the COVID-19 virus, where we were in isolation for two weeks. We were then freed to roam our neighborhood, learned how to online grocery shop, absorb daily news reports about new cases, deaths, recoveries and slowly began to adjust to daily life going nowhere but for walks, short drives and in our back yard.

Hubby and I created a fun couple of Pickleball videos: https://youtu.be/RkXlzOmsfaA

Phase Two came along and our bubble of people we were in physical contact with increased, shopping in grocery stores tentatively approached and we began to play singles Pickleball at the outside courts.

Slowly, we listened to the news a little less – still so concerned about what was happening in the world but needing mini breaks from the death tolls and numbers of cases.

Tragedy struck – beyond COVID – more death, violence, great grief, and anger – with it has come demonstrations, more violence, marches, speeches and a desire along with a hope that the brokenness within our world’s people can be healed. 

It has been so sad and heartbreaking on so many levels.

Phase Three has been announced here – with it comes more freedom to move about, to travel within our province and to cautiously include even more people in our circle of contacts.

For hubby and me it means we are more active in the game of Pickleball, hubby is riding his bike adding miles and length of time out of the house – for fun, but to get a higher level of endurance and fitness.

Our fun adventure of retirement and adjusting to it has brought surprises and emotions far beyond that long ago one day parking lot melt-down.

Rather we are grateful to be healthy, safe, alive, living in the location we do – while we continue to care about what is happening in the rest of the world where COVID is still ravaging its way in and through other people’s lives.

This is a humbling time of life, being a senior citizen, looking forward to our retirement years, enjoying our daily life, yet grieving for the loss of life from the hand of others, and from a virus that can literally attack anyone, at any time.

Take care out there.

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Filed under Art/Draw/Paint/Create, Life Lessons, retirement, Writer Writes

The Clash and beyond

This next story was to be the ongoing installment of our (mine and Hubby’s) 3-month retirement journey – this was before COVID-19 worked its way into our knowledge.

This was before our kids came to visit us in our bubble of pickleball fun and relaxation in Arizona.

This was before we became disappointed that our activities were being cancelled.

This was before we became shocked and alarmed at the news of a new virus, of illness, of death, and before we became certain we needed to pack our belongings quickly and head home to BC, Canada.

As I’ve had a few weeks to absorb and somewhat adjust to life as it is today, I’m finally able to sit at the computer and edit the story that has sat waiting…. daring me to continue.

The story is trivial in comparison to what is happening in our world but it has given me pause to think about what goes on in the background of people’s lives, what may be happening as they encounter events which forces them to adjust thinking, to correct behaviors or to recognize undesirable actions in themselves.

I wonder how parents are managing cooped up in their homes, floundering with the lack of regular schedules, single people with too many hours without human chats, far too many people without a warm hug or touch, seniors without proper support or not allowed to be near family…and the list goes on.

 

The Clash

I’m assuming many of us have seen THAT couple – you know the one, where you are out minding your own business, enjoying a lovely afternoon, perhaps in a store, having just paid for your groceries, daydreaming, walking to your car thinking about a great dinner ahead or some other pleasant thought when suddenly a sound catches your attention.

And, there she is, about twenty feet away but in front of you, and you have nowhere to go but backwards or stop, but no, out of curiosity you keep walking and so does she…talking to herself or at the man who is several steps in front of her.

Maybe… he may be her husband but who can assume that part.

The senior citizen lady is all decked out in coordinated sports clothes, a bright golden tee-shirt and black capri’s and her running shoes are moving like she’s on a march.  Her hands are waving with punctuated gestures and some of her fingers are snapping but the words she is speaking which are rushing out at top speed aren’t discernible.

What seems clear by the body language is that the lady is angry. Rigid. Jerky. Words that sound sharp. Clipped.

And what is the assumed husband doing? He’s hanging on to the cart full of groceries with what appears to be a grip like that cart is about to be yanked out of his hands, but he keeps moving forward, never saying a word.

One step at a time until he reaches the car, unlocks the trunk, allows the lid to rise to its top and begins to unload the cart of groceries sliding them into position making sure that nothing will fall over. Every movement careful and deliberate. Quietly.

He then gets into the driver’s side of the car and waits.

 

Well, if it were me, I’d be curious to know what the problem was and part of me would want to inch myself just a wee bit closer to see what was going to happen next.

Another part of me might wonder what that man had done to spark such animated gestures and feisty one-sided conversation.

But then I’d reach my own car, put away my groceries and upon noticing that nothing violent was happening I’d get into my own thoughts, shake my head perhaps and wonder about such a display of frustration out in public.

I’d smugly think I was so glad it wasn’t me behaving like that and perhaps do a little tsk-tsk as I put my car into reverse, then drive away, on to my own business.

 

To my utter horror, I discovered that senior citizen couple, that woman, was indeed me.

That was us, that stomping woman and grocery cart man, just a regular looking recently retired couple, trying to adjust to way too much stimulation over a period of weeks while on holiday.

What stopped the whole scenario from moving forward into any more outburst of angry words was me noticing a person I knew, who seemed oblivious to our display and lack of harmony.

As this person rolled her own grocery cart up behind us but across the lane, it startled me into a momentary stunned silence. We then spoke our hellos and exchanged a couple of sentences of words I cannot remember. We said our goodbyes and parted ways.

I got in our car; actually, I slunk into the front passenger side and wanted to crumble right down to the floor.

Hubby backed up the car then drove away.

I felt a hot wave rush to my cheeks and slither over my whole body as I instant re-played the last couple of minutes that I’d been flapping around like a chicken in distress.

Hubby did not say a word; he has a kind of irritating wisdom about him at time likes these.

It took us a couple of days to sort out what had led up to what seemed like a major incident to me but upon reflection and distance, was not.

It took a couple of days because we had to fit communicating into the routine of walking, going to the pool, riding our bicycles to the pickleball courts, eating, watching tv and avoiding talking.

There had been a few separate occasions of attitudes, comments and behaviors which happened that built up because they were not discussed. Perhaps we tired, bored, or some things had not gone our way…?

But then the tiny tipping point happened and is the only item which is discussed here as the other ‘stuff’ is no longer important.

We had come out of the grocery store, I began talking to Hubby about some black barbecues sitting outside the store that I wanted to look at a little bit closer, but I wasn’t looking at him as I moved towards them. I was looking at the barbecues.

Hubby wasn’t looking at me.  He was busy watching for cars, crossing the lane and walking himself and the grocery cart in the direction of our parked car; thus, he didn’t hear me speaking.

I kept talking until I finally looked over in the direction of where I thought he’d be, toddling along behind me…he wasn’t.

Upon reflection (a couple days of it) I had been embarrassed, standing around talking to myself, totally not his fault but that didn’t matter in the moment.

I became that woman. You know the rest of the story…

 

 

Further thoughts.

In these last week’s I’ve become so focused on what is truly important.

My family. My friends. My faith – where I get my hope and my peace.

I continue to find joy and laughter in the midst of chaos, fear, yes, some fear, and like you, am daily dealing with new learning curves.

This time of uncertainty is, after all, also the continuing story of mine and Hubby’s retirement journey; writing about it allows me to reflect, burn off some brain energy and helps me adjust to living most of life in the house. The two of us…

We are both adjusting to the reality that he’ll likely be going back to work too soon for my comfort level – for COVID-19 and other critical incident staff support for front line workers in the health care setting.

For now, we walk a bit, we talk, we pray, watch the news and feel whatever comes next.

 

Please leave your comments and how you are doing during this current season of life.

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Filed under Faith Path, Life Lessons, retirement

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