Joys of Retirement

Written by Norma

For those of you who don't know, my husband Bob--henceforth known as 'Good Old Bob' (GOB)--had a choice to retire at the age of sixty-one. He had worked in Cleveland, Ohio for the same company for forty-four years. You may have heard that manufacturing in this area has gone to hell in a handbasket... oops, I mean... gone to China, gone to Taiwan, gone to India, etc. The idea of retirement was fine with him. He had gotten really tired of the workplace and the hour-long commute. And judging by current gas prices, he wouldn't have been able to afford working much longer anyway.

So he has now been home for an entire year...365 days! And what a joy it has been! Do you realize that for almost 40 years, I ran this household incorrectly?! And now GOB is available 24 hours a day to point out the errors of my ways. What a thrill to learn how to do things properly! I have learned that if one cooks, but doesn't clean still gets all the credit, and WOW... the savings in time! And one can save even more time by keeping everything out on the counters and table instead of having to hunt in the cupboards every time for what is needed. Actually, as he has shown me, this idea works well in every room of the house! This keeps expenses down too, because it prevents inviting company over.

Another joy of retirement is having a repairman on call 24 hours/day. Do you know that after GOB repaired both the toilets by himself ("There's no way in hell I'm paying a plumber!"), we not only saved on a plumber bill, but we are now saving a great amount on our water bill! The clever man managed to fix both toilets so they only partially flush! This also contributes to the savings of not having people over, unless, of course, we want to have a surprise party.

Then there is is the joy of shopping together. I never realized how many wrong choices I made at the grocery store. Lucky for me that GOB is now always by my side to help make correct buying decisions. What a cost-effective choice to buy 25 pounds of pancake mix at a time. Since we don't often make pancakes, this will save all those unnecessary shopping trips, ensuring that we have pancake mix until the day we die. GOB also has even more time now to keep our freezer filled to the brim with fish and game. This prevents my wasting money on weekly specials, since there is no room to freeze them. My mouth waters at the thought of the three-year-old goose and venison he has stored there.

Speaking of shopping, I have always enjoyed second-hand stores. These days I am usually looking for picture frames, because I print a lot of photos. And now, GOB has the time to go with me on these forays. And has he ever opened my eyes to the cost savings there! Do you know that he found one of those ski machines for exercising for only $10!! It's quite large, but if we leave the car out, it fits in the garage with the twenty-yea-old treadmill and exercise bicycle. I'm quite sure that eventually he will use all of these items, probably when he needs to get in shape to attract a new wife.

And speaking of getting in shape, I, unfortunately, have always struggled with a weight problem, while GOB carried six(!) sandwiches to work and never gained an ounce. Shortly after his retirement, I was diagnosed with a health problem, so after a lifetime of the cigarette habit, we both stopped smoking. Although I gained no weight from not smoking, GOB packed on 30 pounds. Such a generous man, he is giving me ALL the credit for this, telling me at least twenty times a day that the weight gain is entirely due to my request to eat out once a month at the local Chinese buffet.

Then there is the excitement of Social Security and the game the government has devised for some of us. As you may know, we have a thirty-year-old mentally disabled daughter who now lives in a group home. I always prided myself on the fact that, even though it was often very difficult, we saved the state lots of money by keeping her at home for twenty-seven years. We did not place her until the custodial care became impossible for us. Knowing that older retired people like to play the lottery, Social Security created a little known game for some of us. We didn't realize that at our retirement our daughter's group home would get a good portion of my Social Security benefit, but they told us that if she dies, I get the entire amount! Leave it to our government to come up with novel entertainment. I suppose publicizing the Death Lottery would not be a good idea...

Some of you will recall when I wrote to you about one of my big birthdays... it may have been my 50th or 60th...I'm at the age where I don't recall anything too clearly. I can't even recall why we got married. I'm sure there was a reason. Anyway, you will remember that this generous man gave me a gift for that birthday which still ranks as the most unique birthday present a husband could ever give his wife... a special brush to clean the refrigerator coils! Believe you me, I haven't forgotten that! Now that he is retired and has so much more available time to find the perfect gift, I can't wait to see what he will get me for this next birthday. That's my GOB, always thinking of how we can save money. Unfortunately, I don't know how much energy the refrigerator coil brush would have saved, because I stuck it you know where.

I have been rambling on, but I wanted to share some of these joys with you. It is so wonderful to have your husband by your side night and day. Do you know he even hovers at my shoulder when I get a phone call, and I'd better stop now as he is reading as I type this. He performs his husbandly duty so well in protecting me...who knows what type of predator lurks on the phone or computer.

Well, I guess the only thing I didn't cover was our sex life.

Oh, yes. I did.