Tag Archives: travel

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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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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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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Writer Retreat

On my self imposed two week stay-at-home retreat to write I’ve been compelled and inspired to work through a book by Joyce Y. Li called Reimagine Your Retirement.  Joyce provides a downloadable workbook so I’ve been faithfully answering the questions after a completed read chapter. I’ve a long ways until finished and the material is giving me plenty to think and write about even though it wasn’t what I had originally set out to do.  Check out her blog at http://www.fullnessoflife.com/blog

In the midst of contemplation of retirement years and what may be produced from/by/out of me beyond sitting around on a couch wondering what to do, I’ve been busy in the think, pray, plan, dream stage and playing (of course) Pickleball plus doing my training runs – have finally been able to get back to running again after an ankle injury, via Kintec run clinic (working up to a 5km run – plenty for ole me).

Then I escaped the self imposed pressure to write and had a great day trip across the border from Canada into the U.S…and me being me, with a lousy sense of direction I headed off after a morning cruise through Birch Bay, near Blaine which is near the border, to go and have lunch in Lyndon.  It is a pretty simple drive but I managed to turn it into a major scenic tour seeing several sides of outlying areas of Lyndon a couple of times as I drove in wide circles but not actually get to the heart of where I wanted to be for well, a lot longer than had been anticipated.

I had printed myself some directions (because I know me),  tried to follow the verbal and hand pointing by two local teens and then finally when I was on the correct street but heading totally in the opposite way, a kind postal employee set me on the right path.

I had a lovely lunch….considered calling it a day but no, I was on a mission – avoiding writing.

On route to my next location sleepy eyes encouraged me to pull into a rest area and take a nap.  Really, I did this.  It reminded me of our family of four many years ago and travel trips back and forth from Canada to California, how we’d slide into a rest stop and sleep for a short while before continuing.

The rest of the late afternoon and into the evening was happily ‘spent’ leaving cash in several stores in an Outlet Mall.

I even did a return trek to one of the stores to reconsider – well, truthfully, to purchase another item.  However, in between the first and second in store adventure I bought dinner, had it placed in a to-go container, put in a bag and carefully balanced it in the middle.

Why I did not stop long enough to sit and eat baffles me.

In all my excitement of getting that last item of clothing, I noticed my food container had tipped.  I tried leveling it again, while lugging my other two bags, get money out and keep up the ongoing conversation with my now two customer representative friends.  We’d had a lot to converse about on the first trip in to the store so we carried on the chat when they saw me come in again.

I plunked the food bag on the counter, other bags on the floor, my purse on the counter, then noticed and casually mentioned, “Oh, my dinner is leaking” as I spotted wet red stuff in first one location all over the food bag, and then another location, all down the front counter wall, and another, inside my other bags of brand new clothing – one of them being a white collared polo shirt for my husband.

I heard my mouth talking and wished I’d shut up but on I blabbered, “Oh, and it’s tomato sauce too – I will have to wash that right away,” all of us knowing I am hours from home.  The sauce will be well set by then.

Out come the wipes, with repeated swipes down the wall and over the counter where my food had been, was given new bags for all my other purchases – the soiled white shirt placed carefully in its own spot so as not to contaminate anything else, all the while chatting with the lovely ladies who went beyond their call of duty for the day.  Pretty sure they wanted me out of their store with my meal before I caused any more damage with my wild flinging of food.

After quickly stuffing dinner into me, what was left of it, I drove off toward home, literally into the sunset quite smug with myself, for my day of adventure and the success of no writing.

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