Sunday, December 11, 2022

One Year Later

The past week marked the one year of my Best Half’s retirement anniversary. While to most people it probably would just be another day passing. And for my Best Half and myself it was pretty much just another day. But as we were sitting down eating breakfast together we had a chance to review the past year and how retirement is going for both of us home together…every day…all the time…together.

And I have to say it has been incredible to be on this retirement journey with my Best Half. After decades of working hard and trying to find time to fit in all of what life keeps dishing out daily, we finally seem to have gotten to this point in life that we can take a deep breath and ponder the next moves for the next adventure…or relaxation. The beauty of retirement has been being able to pace our lives to do stuff and be in that moment, just enjoying whatever it is we are doing at that specific moment in time. No longer are we rushing through things on the check off list only to get the next one done and then the next.

Are we doing all of the things we had talked about doing before we retired? Those things like traveling all over the country, taking on new hobbies, maybe doing more camping, more fishing and taking day trips just to see things in Minnesota we have always talked about and never had the time? The answer is a definite…sort of.

Last Spring after much storm damage to our house, we spent the good part of the Summer with construction and teams of workers around re-siding the house and putting in new windows. This took a good portion of our short Minnesota Summer, and we stayed pretty close to the house during that time. So our camping trips and cross country trips were put on hold. And then came the aftermath of the construction.

Once the house was done with the construction, there were several little things that needed to be done by my Best Half. Things like building a new flower box for under the picture window out front, painting that and all the trim around the two garage doors. We were changing up the color of the trim so it all needed to be done. And once that was done, my Best Half looked to the big shed out in the front drive and decided to paint that the color of the siding. And of course the trim.

When it was all said and done, we pretty much have a new looking house. And we both are really happy that we can go into our getting old years and not have to think of doing all of that work again. But it did eat away our first Summer of retirement. We did get to do some local fishing and bike riding, and even a few days up North camping. But some of the bigger plans got put on hold until all the construction was accomplished.

So here it is Winter. No camping locally on our horizons, but we are starting to plan to take a Winter trip for a few weeks later on this Winter. You know about the time cabin fever starts setting in and you start thinking you can’t take one more day on below zero temperatures. With the price of gas coming down, we actually feel like we can maybe take a nice long trip South. While we aren’t sure exactly where or when, we know it will be to warm weather. It may involve getting up the morning we leave and looking at where the warm weather will be. And that is just one more advantage of retirement. We can leave when we want and be gone until we come home.

Some have asked us if it has been hard being together day after day since retirement. You know, you always hear horror stories of couples who retire and are just not as compatible as they were in their working full time days. For the most part, it has been an easy transition from us apart and now together every day and sometimes all day. But we have our moments.

There are some times, such as this morning, when my Best Half tells me I’m really “on a roll”, meaning I am finding anything and everything to say that is annoying me. And you know, he is right. There are just some days, I look and see things I wish weren’t so oblivious to my Best Half. I’m sure anyone living with another person can relate.

Some of the nuisances are things like not wiping up the counter from his coffee mug or sitting at the kitchen table away from the table, with the dog lying sprawled out next to him…blocking the walkway from the hallway to the kitchen. These I will mention after having to suck in my gut and negotiate my way around them. And they will both move without saying a word. It is not a big deal and I guess it has become more of an expected response for both of us.

But there are 2 things that have cause for some frustration and annoyance on my behalf. And these are not negotiable.The first is putting mixing bowls on the top
shelf above the stove and microwave. While my Best Half is 6 feet tall with long arms for reaching, I am about 5’4” on a good day. I can reach the microwave and the shelf right above the microwave. And even that is on my tippy toes and maybe having to make a “jump and grab” maneuver. Everything else above that shelf is only obtainable with a chair or step stool. And I have awesome balance and usually will fall off what I climb 75% of the time.

The other thing that has caused some riff in the household is putting my cast iron pan in the dishwasher. Not once, but a couple times. To the point that I stopped using it. But this has been remedied by having a cheat sheet on cast iron care hanging inside the cupboard. And for the most part I have taken over cleaning the cast iron after use. But I have to say, at times, he has started caring for the cast iron pans and has been keeping them clean and oiled without any nagging from me. He really is a good guy.

Without asking my Best Half what things have bothered him regarding living 24/7 together since retirement, I will venture to guess there are plenty of my habits also. But he is too smart to say anything. No need to have both of us “on a roll”.  I can name several of my idiosyncrasies that even annoy me, so I am sure he could rattle off several too. But again, he takes the high road in this area of our marriage. A wise man.

All the little annoyances aside, retirement for the two of us together this past year has been an incredibly fun time. Sometimes we will look at each other late on a Sunday night and just grin, knowing we don't have to go back to work Monday morning. And when Monday comes along, who knows, we may even take to the highway for a drive to somewhere we have always talked about going to visit and never had the time. Yep retirement this past year has been pretty awesome for us both. 

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