A Tale of Two Men

retirement

Let’s visit my sister.

Her husband retired at the beginning of the year. His was an actual retirement at the age of sixty-five and after a lifetime of hard work.

It only took a few weeks before he was restless and driving her nuts. How often can you watch sports in a day? How many computer games can you play? How much house cleaning can you do?

He is employed again, driving a forklift for a trucking company. Order has been restored to my sister’s world.

Now come to my house.

I married a man with a definite feminine side to him. He cooks, he cleans, he sings the backup parts to pop songs by female singers. He shops. (So much shopping!)

He is “semi-retired” now at age fifty-six. I’m expecting he’ll go back to work before the end of the year, but he could actually stay home for almost two years.

Without taking a minute to relax and recover from a very stressful job, he began moving everything from his “man cave” (don’t you hate that term) in the basement and up into the den off the kitchen. The basement, kitchen, and den are now an explosion of junk stuff!

Every day something else comes into the house while something else goes out. Of all things, a clay chiminea showed up yesterday. I told my sister he’ll be burning down the house next (cue Talking Heads).

The addition of no less than EIGHT stereo speakers (with six more on the way) to the den has been … uh … interesting. I love a concert experience, and I haven’t really minded having an ongoing one in the house, but I’m a little concerned with all the shaking going on. Literally. The windows rattle, the siding shakes, objects on my desk move around.

speakers2

Noise dampening foam adhered to walls. Flat screen television on wall behind speakers on right (movable). Orange carpet will soon be replaced with hardwood flooring.

Our house is 114 years old. There are abandoned salt mines in this area. I can see our burned out house (from the chiminea on the wood deck) collapsing into a sinkhole one day. I’ve asked Rich to check the “dirt side” of the basement where the furnace and water heater live. I know there’s a brick wall over there that’s giving up the will to live, and I’m concerned the stereo will do it in. Fingers crossed it’s not a support wall.

And let’s not forget the garage. There’s a project or two started out there as well. I can’t imagine Rich will be “retired” long enough to complete all his projects. There’s certainly no boredom or restlessness for him.

Is he driving me nuts? Not really. I did like having the house to myself during the day, but mostly because I could play Don’t Starve for hours at a time, and no one would know. (Ha!) So, I guess having him around has helped to get me back on track with writing every day. But if he brings home one more kitchen gadget (recent purchases include a griddle, immersion blender, electric skillet, food processor, and a set of non-stick frying pans), I’m going to whap him upside the head with whatever it is!

kitchen

How about you? Do you have a retired or semi-retired person in the house? How did/do you deal with the situation?

Disclaimer: Rich has read and approved this blog post. There was chuckling and shaking of his head, but he couldn’t deny any of it.