A Warning: Iwould advise my male reders to refrain from reading this "Women Only" post if they are unable to accept a little leg pulling from me. This was an article published in the August 2nd 2004 edition Newsweek. I enjoyed the article immensely and took the magazine back with me to India. It remained in the suitcase and popped up when I was arranging my belongings in preparation for my return journey. It was as enjoyable as it was 2 years back and made me realize with amusement that human beings are the same everywhere.It was written by Jan Zeh and if I had her e mail ID I'd have written to her myself on her wonderful sense of humor. Please go ahead and enjoy reading the article as 'mirth that hath no bitter spring'
The ‘Golden Years’ are beginning to tarnish
by Jan Zeh
After 45 years and one son, I thought the best was yet to come. Then my husband retired.
My worst nightmare has become reality. My husband retired. As the CEO of his own software company, he used to make important decisions daily. Now he decides when to take a nap and for how long. He does not play golf, tennis or bridge, which means that he is at home for what it seems like 48 hours a day. That’s a lot of togetherness.
Much has changed since he stopped working. My husband now defines sleeping in as staying in bed until 6 a.m. He often walks in the morning for exercise but says he can’t walk if he gets up late.Late is 5:30. His morning routine is to take out the dog, plug in the coffee and await the morning newspaper. (And it better not be late!) When the paper finally arrives, his favorite section is the obits. He reads each and every one – often aloud – and becomes angry if the deceased’s age is not listed. I’d like to work on my crossword puzzle in peace. When I bring this to his attention, he stops briefly – but soon finds another article that must be shared.
Some retirement couple enjoy this time of life together. Usually these are couple who are not dependent on their spouses for their happiness and well – being. My husband is not one of these individuals. Many wives I’ve spoken to, identify with my experience and are happy to know that they’re not alone. One friend told me that when her husband retired, he grew a strip of Velcro on his side and attached himself to her. They were married 43 years and she hinted that they may not make it to 44. Another woman said that her husband not only takes her to the beauty shop, but goes inside and waits! Another said her husband follows her everywhere but to the bathroom…..and that’s only because she locks the bathroom door.
When I leave the house my husband asks:” Where are you going?” followed by “When will you be back?” Even when I’m at home he needs to know where I am every moment. “Where is Jan?” he asks the dog. This is bad enough but atleast he hasn’t velcroed himself to me - yet.
I often see retired people shopping together in the grocery store. Usually they are arguing. I hate it when my husband goes shopping with me. He takes charge of the cart and disappears. With my arms full of cans, I have to search the aisles until I locate the cart, which is now loaded with strange smelling cheeses, high fat snacks and greasy sausages none of which were on the shopping list.
Putting up with annoying habits is easier when the hubby is at work all day and at home only in the evenings and weekends. But little annoying habits become BIG annoying habits when done on a daily basis. Hearing my husband yell and curse at the TV during the evening news was bad enough when he was working and it was just once a day. Now he has all day to get riled up watching Fox News. Sometimes leaving the houseisn’t even a satisfying reprieve. When I went out of town for a week and put him in charge of the house and animals, I returned to have my parrot greet me with a mouth full of expletives and deep bellied belches. It wasn’t hard to figure out what had been going on in my absence.
Not that my husband has any problems acting out while I am around. He recently noticed that our cat had been climbing the palm trees, causing their leaves to bend. His solution? Buy a huge roll of barbed wire and wrap the trunks. After wrapping 10 palms he looked like he had been in a fight with the tiger and the house took on the appearance of a high security prison. Neighbors stopped mid-stride while on their daily walks to stare. I stayed out of sight. In the mean time, the cat learnt to negotiate the barbed wires and climbed the palms anyway.
It is now another hot, dry summer, and the leaves on our trees are starting to fall. Yesterday my husband decided to take the dog out for some fresh air. They stood in the driveway while he counted the leaves falling from the ash tree. Aloud. Another meaningful retirement activity.
I Think my husband enjoys being at home with me. I am the one with the problem. I am the person who wants a lot of “alone time” and I get crazy when someone is following me around or wanting to know my every move. My husband is full of questions and comments when I am on the phone, working on my computer or taking time out to read.It is his way of telling me that he wants to be included, wanted and needed. I love that he cares – but he still drives me up the wall.
I receive a lot of catalogs. In one there is an advertisement that says GROW OLD WITH ME. THE BEST IS YET TO BE. Another catalog has a different pillow. It reads SCREW THE GOLDEN YEARS. Right now it is a toss up as to which pillow will best describe out retirement years together. Just don’t ask me while I am working on my crossword puzzle.