nice work if you can get it

I thought that retirement would not be so different from the past 40 or so years for me  since I’ve always pegged myself a housewife. I would still have to keep after the mundane chores centered in and around the home: cooking, cleaning, laundry, food shopping, etc. I also predicted that Hubby would soon tire of being just another of the growing numbers of retired boomers, as he’d been used to being referred to as expert in his field. I thought he would be ill suited for anonymity. But I was wrong. He took to retirement like the proverbial duck to water. Things are changed for me as well with the new dynamics of living together 24/7, but I think I can safely say now at about 2 years into our new lives that many more things are positive for me than I would have predicted.

For one thing, he’s no longer flying off to someplace or other due to work committments. When he travels or spends time away from home, I get to go too, not left at home to fill my time with volunteering or other time-filling pursuits pretending not to be a little bit lonesome. When he’s not reading blogs, he turns the television on to an all day news channel or a sports event, dividing his time watching the screen and checking the hills behind our house for deer. So one of the things I have given up is the freedom of filling up the CD player with enough music to last all day while I do things about the house and shopping by myself. The music problem has been solved with a 2 gig iPod player I acquired as part of a sales promotion when we bought our new car, a Honda Civic Hybrid, at the end of January. Now I can plug my ears and listen to whatever I want as long as I want. As for shopping by myself, I’ve finally learned to ask that he amuse himself as he wants, and to meet me at such and such a time at such and such a place, which seems to work just fine.

So how, you ask, do we spend our time?To begin, for meal preparation, we’ve settled on a fairly comfortable routine. He’s up first (by or before 7) so he makes coffee, and later (since he’s been up longer and gets hungry first) breakfast, which may be as simple as a bowl of cereal or as lavish as blueberry waffles.  Sometimes I get to choose, sometimes I don’t. Lunch is mostly “make your own” sandwiches or “make do with leftovers” whenever you’re ready for it.  “Whoever has the best (or first) idea” begins the preparations for dinner with or without the aid of the other. Let me hasten to add, lest one erroneously assume an imbalance of kitchen duties here, that when he cooks I clean the kitchen; when I cook I still get to clean the kitchen.

We enjoy reading the newspapers and catching up on email and online news. We take advantage of afternoon matinee movies, often with a Starbucks and Bearclaw or chocolate croissant break. If we don’t catch the movies on the first release, we catch up with them when they’re re-released at the dollar theater a few miles from our house.

A year ago we joined the OSHER Lifelong Learning Program (at the U of Utah) and have enjoyed attending various classes, special programs and other perks (such as the gym)associated with a university environment. Besides our various classes, we attend lectures, concerts, foreign and sci fi movie nights on campus with audience discussions afterwards. Pasu is a Board Member of Osher’s Curriculum Committee, which gets him out and about meeting interesting new people. Some of my own classes have led to other challenges, one of which is, indirectly, this Blogsite. Others include making my first full-sized sampler quilt, and an attempt at tile art, which will be elaborated on more fully in future postings, as well as thoughts on finding myself in academia (and very much and often outside my comfort zone) at this juncture of my life.

So there you have it. To sum it up, I think retirement is nice work — if you can get it.

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