Lorie recently asked me if I want “my Sunday’s” back at Mid Life Celebration. I said something to this effect, “Are you out of your mind!” Take it away Lorie:
Sometimes change is good, sometimes change is bad and sometimes change is just, well, different. My husband got laid off about a year and a half ago. My older female friends, the ones with husbands who are long retired, ask me how I like having him home all day, every day. And then they laugh. To be honest, we really do get along. For the most part. But there were some adjustments to be made, for sure. He was used to working at least 40 hours a week, and I was used to my time being my own.
Before the forced retirement, we had finally gotten to the point of taking long weekends at the beach, just the two of us. We had some extra cash to throw around after both kids left the nest. After the job loss we scratched many of the extras, like the vacations and the massages and the dining out. Not that I am complaining; we’re in better shape in this rough economy than lots of folks, and for that I am grateful. Reworking the budget wasn’t the biggest challenge.
The first time we ventured out to Home Depot on a weekday, Gary stood at the entrance with his eyes wide. “Where is everybody?” he asked. I was sort of giddy welcoming him into my world of midweek shopping. Suddenly he understood why I’ve always detested weekend errands. He leisurely strolled the aisles, delighted to have a sales associate all to himself. He also marveled at the thrill of Going Out to Breakfast. At first, he couldn’t understand why the diner was full of elderly people. Then he realized that everyone else was at work. Household chores could be done whenever he wanted, leaving weekends free, and snowstorms meant sleeping in and not caring when or if the plow came to our street. He now knows who Bo and Hope are, as well as doctors Oz and Phil. I will admit that I felt more than a little pang of jealously when I saw him out in the front yard chatting it up with our 81-year-old neighbor. Allen was MY front yard friend for years and years, and now Gary was stealing him!
Gary has taken it upon himself to show me all of the ways that I can do things more efficiently. According to him. God bless his stereotypical engineer’s personality. To think that all these years I have been driving in the wrong lane, braking too hard, and taking the wrong routes. He has educated me on how to pull weeds, wash my car and groom the cats. I strongly suspect that he lies awake at night, horrified at the thought of how, for almost 30 years, I had been left unattended all day, every day. He most likely cannot even begin to fathom the thought of me being in charge of our children while he was away at work. He probably feels as though we really dodged a bullet.
In the years when he worked, I was accustomed to getting up every morning at 6:00 to make Gary’s breakfast and pack his lunch. I know how that sounds, but we really are more Ozzy and Sharon than Ozzie and Harriet. Once he was out the door I had my day to myself. I had a routine. I would have one cup of coffee while I read the paper, and a second cup while checking my email and reading online news. Now, since he has discovered that he enjoys watching Letterman every night, we sleep in a bit later in the morning. If I want to plan a day, I have another person to consider. I’m not too proud to admit that one day I bribed him with a trip for ice cream if he would just, and I quote myself, “Shut your mouth, keep it shut, don’t ask me any questions and for God’s sake, do NOT offer me any more advice!” He decided on a large plate of coconut and almond fudge swirl.