Monday, July 9, 2012

Retirement Dreams for Homemakers

I told you I used to have only one chin.

See that cute guy up there? He's the one not wearing a hat. I am totally in love with him, and he's totally in love with me.

That needs to be clearly understood.

That cute guy will be 50 in September. Which, in the weird world he inhabits, means 'eligible for retirement.'

Now, that's not going to happen, not in September anyway. There are a lot of reasons: We've still got kids in college, all three of our younger kids have said they'd like to serve missions, we have a house to pay off ...

... oh, and if he retires in September, we'll both be in prison by October.

I once wrote how my kids don't do 'time off' very well. And I'm here to tell you, they come by it honestly. The years that our church meetings go from 9:00 to noon are the most trying years of our marriage. Brett simply can't handle all those hours of uninterrupted Sabbath-ing. Give him a 3-day weekend, and by Monday night he'll be kicking holes in the walls just to have a new project to occupy his energy -- an act I fully support, by the way.

Why? Because otherwise, he notices me. And not in that, "Hey, there's my beautiful wife of 27 glorious years" way that comes at the end of a normal work day. It's more in the, "Have you always brushed your teeth with your left hand? We've really got to do something about that" way that is the trademark of the terminally bored.

Just once, before he calls it quits for good, I'd love to wake up one morning and announce that I was taking a 'day off' and spending it at his office. No warning, no chance for him to gracefully bow out -- just, "I'll meet you in the car, right after you change, because seriously? Why would you strap your gun to that ankle?"

Of course, my husband's being a federal agent precludes my really doing this, but a girl can dream. I'd follow him around, making loaded observations like "Gosh, you're really typing fast. Is that report late or something?" or "You sure do spend a lot of time talking golf with your co-workers, huh? Good thing no one's out there robbing banks or plotting terrorist attacks."

My favorite would be just hanging out in the same room with him, waiting to be entertained. I wouldn't really say much, just smile at him and look expectantly while he tried to read my mind. "She's hungry. She wants to take a walk. No, wait. A movie. That's it. She wants to see a movie."

And when he finally broke down and asked what I'd like to do, I'd say, "Oh, you know, whatever you want to do." Because it's no fun if you have to be the party planner, too.

So then, when he suggested we go out and get something to eat, I'd say, "Hmm, not sure we can really afford that. Why don't you just whip up something here?" And when he admitted that it's a lot easier for him to just drive to Wendy's and buy a salad and a large Diet Coke every day, I'd just nod my head and say, "Huh."

"How can you work at such a cluttered desk?"

"Aren't you going to return that guy's phone call?"

"This mail's been sitting here a long time. Seems like someone would have opened it by now."

Oh, the lovely, productive 'day off' I'd have, puttering around the place where my husband works, helping him be more efficient and pointing out all the ways that I'd do things differently.

And he'd appreciate it! Having me close by, auditing his every move, second-guessing his every decision, rifling through his stuff and muttering, "How does anyone find anything around here?" -- all of this would help him relax and feel good about the changes I'd made to the routine he's worked out for himself over the last three decades. It certainly would not have him grinding his teeth to the gums and ordering contraband Valium off the Internet.

Oh, well. We all know I'll never get to share a special day like this with my beloved. At least not until he retires. At which point, I'll be sure to join him in his workshop for some quality time together.

"Hey, honey?" I'll say. "Come over here and let me show you how I'd kick those holes in the wall."


Kazzy said...

Gid used to take it more personally when I got frustrated on days he "worked from home." Now I come right out and say, "Hey, why don't you go to campus and do that?" And he smiles and grabs his keys.

And when he came home from a 6-week tour of India about 7 years ago and followed me around the house for a week, all worn out and skinny and bearded.... I about lost it!

wendy said...

so funny....I think you could so totally make his federal agent duties flow so much better.
Maybe you should surprise him and be a fed yourself
then you could kinda be like
Mr. and Mrs. Smith (the movie)
They not only kicked holes in walls ...they blew things up.
I think you'd LIKE THAT

Dixie Mom said...

I almost started sweating over this post....very real I tell ya.
We have been going through a forced retirement...unemployment for a year. I have a lock on my office door.

Melanie Jacobson said...

My husband only goes into the office three days a week. However, we have a firm "do whatever you want and I'll say nothing" policy, so it works.

Jessica said...

My love likes to come up with job lists for I need another job list!!

AS Amber said...

Yeah...I certainly don't need an audience for all the stuff I do. Or don't do. It's bad enough when the kids do it to you!

I just want to play Words without feeling like I should be looking more productive. Yes, I know the house is falling down around me but I've got a triple letter/triple word situation going on here and I need to FOCUS!!!

tammy said...

Seriously, will any of us still be married after our husbands retire? I don't know I'm going to get through it.

Lara said...

Since I'm married to a professor who doesn't have to actually be at school all the time, he drives me nuts working from home.

I showed up at his office a couple semesters ago because one of my students had cancelled, and I sat there and ate my lunch and bugged him. Now he gets it, and is much more willing to just drive the three minutes to campus to do his work even though he'd rather stay at the kitchen table in his pjs.

I'm just so much more productive when he is GONE! As much as I love him. :)

Beka said...

When I first saw the title, I thought, "What could she possibly be going on about?" ...I do share this vision though! Thanks for putting words to my sinister feelings!

L'Editrix said...

Oh, bless you! Bless you! I'm tempted to spend all our hard-saved retirement money just to keep a certain hard-working someone from following me around, reading over my shoulder, and asking me to click on articles I'm not interested in "just to see." ARRGGHHH! Or asking me what's for (whatever meal is looming), and grimacing at the answer (my standard answer is now "ensalada," because he has no idea what it means). Or worse yet: Doing laundry (I'll do it when I get around to it), while muttering under his breath that he doesn't have anything to wear (in his jam-packed closet.) How will we endure thirty, forty years of this?

Rebecca said...

LOL!!! good thing I have lots of kids, I can put off that disaster waiting to happen for a long time!

Baltzers said...

That was awesome.