Monday, October 23, 2006

Golden Retirement

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.

28 comments:

itchingtowrite said...

lol as usual a priceless piece

Anonymous said...

Excellent writing,i am going to save it.Retirement word is still very very far in our life but i will make sure that he reads it once in a while to remember whatnot to be done when he Retires:)

Alapana
http://aalapana.blogspot.com

Kalpana said...

No idea how days will go when he retires. Still a loooooooooooonnnnnnng time to go.

Vin said...

Too good one !! I will remember this when we retire... and will pass on this article to him :-)

The Inquisitive Akka said...

That was funny!!I really wonder what the beloved will be like after he retires :)

Srijith Unni said...

Perhaps I should not have read this one.. but i was just a bit too curious ..bad me..!

On the brighter side, however, I just confirmed something
Women are strange, as usual *evil grin*

When man does the things, she`s been complaining about him not doing while he was working.., when he tries to do it after retirement, he get this.. I pity all guys in general..!

With Best Regards,
Srijith.

Hip Grandma said...

hi all!
glad you enjoyed the piece.Srijith,curiosity kills the cat.Be careful!!

Has to be me said...

This one seems way too funny! I can imagine the hubbies being @ home & indulging in this sort of activities, much 2 the annoyance of the wives. Gosh I really dread retirement...of both me & my hubby! But I think I can manage to get away with my activities...only thing is Im so used to being busy with many things to do & guess that wld slow down my pace...once Im retired. Anycse as theres a long way 2 go, lemme not think of it now!
Thanks fr sharing this beautiful article! :)

Nee said...

That was a good laugh!

Incidentally, are you giving your husband a hint? :-)

Hiren said...

In my opinion, one should be in the occupation of one's liking so one never has to retire-

Make your passion your profession

Balaji said...

Ha ha ha ha....ha ha....

that is one heck of a rant...I have seen this happening....May be when I get old I will also be like that..though i would not want to be like that...

Ha ha.........

starry nights said...

Fun article. Dont know if I am looking forward t retirement.He may be stuck to my side like velcro.I dont know if it will be good or bad.

Hip Grandma said...

Hi all,
I see that balaji,srijith,hiren and perhaps a few others were able to laugh with me.I found the article a welcome change since I was feeling lousy thinking of my departure from my children and continuing with a life without them in India.I may not be on the blog till next Monday.Bear with me, I'll be right back!

indianangel said...

very true preetha! A few men are like that! I think the issue is not generally with men or women, it happens to people irrespective of men or women when they generally grow old and are more restless and really dont know how to spend their time!

mizfit said...

lol...i must show my mother this article. on the other hand, maybe i shouldn't. she's already dreading my dad's retirement...

Usha said...

So much of this sounds so like my life and he is not even retired. Wonder what awaits me when he retires!!
You have a safe flight back home.
We`are lucky to be living at a time when we can still be in close and constant touch with our children wherever they are in the globe. But I know how you are feeling right now and it is tough. But try and cheer up.

mommyof2 said...

LOL!!

The Kid said...

Ha ha ha ha! I need to show this to my mom... My father is about to retire, she should start dreading.

ha ha ha ha!

vibhor said...

will take care of it in my golden years...

artnavy said...

Appa is still a few yrs from retirement - maybe he will learn what not to do...:-)

And yes Navy is half way there already on the weekends

BTW welcome back to India ?

Life Lover said...

LOL, I should make my mom read this article before I dad retires in a few years! :D Thanks for sharing!!

Rajitha said...

Nice one,quite funny actually.. Thnx for sharing it..

Hip Grandma said...

Hi all,
I'm back in India dealing with a messy house that I'm trying to put in order.I tried publishing a piece written earlier but my comp seems to have some problem and refuses to publish.I'll get back soon.

Mahadevan said...

Husband in service is like a cat. Can be brought up as a pet. Retired husband is a blown up cat, i.e. a tiger. Tiger has to be caged and not carassed.

That lines "Grow Old along with me
The best is yet to be"

are the first two lines of a poem called RABI BEN ISRA by Robert Browning, written more than 100 years ago.

visithra said...

oh dear sounds just like my dad - he finally went back to work 6 months later much to my moms joy

Anil P said...

There comes a time to still the clock, else the seconds will race away, dragging with them the days, and the years, and then life itself.

Anil P said...

There comes a time to still the clock, else the seconds will race away, dragging with them the days, and the years, and then life itself.

Renu said...

exactly the same I think, and dread the days when My hubby will not go to work:)