retirement bliss…

So far my husband’s retirement has been a dream for both of us.

I have to pinch myself when I realize my husband will no longer be gone 13 hours a day anymore…leaving at 7 a.m. and returning at 7 p.m.

Decades of that routine can be wearing on a marriage. Thankfully, loving and liking carried us along the oft-times bumpy road striving to meld two lives into one.

It helped that we’ve always been best friends. 

As best friends we began with much in common. With the passing of years we grew even closer…as expected when couples share their daily lives almost 24/7…by phone, email, or text message. And voice mail when nothing else works.

These days I don’t mind that hubby’s gone a few hours a week as a consultant with his former employer. I’m sure his ego is buoyed by the fact that he’s still needed and wanted. Nothing wrong with that. Everyone needs to feel valued. And not just by his spouse.

Anyway, it gives me a chance to blog. Something for which I feel valued apart from being a wife and mom.

Another wonderful by-product of retirement is being able to do whatever, whenever. There’s no end to the day.

Driving home from a day browsing through antique stores late Sunday afternoon, I thought we might stop for dinner and a movie. Almost midway through that thought I got a sprinkling of Sunday blues.

I use to get that all the time when I worked…the Sunday blues.

Sunday afternoons were a downer for me. Mondays meant another five days of work before I was again free to do whatever I pleased…for a whole day-and-a-half. 

I hated Sunday afternoons.

Almost immediately, however, I remembered my husband no longer HAD to go to his office on Monday. Hallelujah!!!

Too tired from walking in and out of shops all day, I decided spending the evening at home with hubby would suit me just fine. He agreed.

A little hiccup in an otherwise smooth couple of weeks of retirement occurred last evening.

My husband was invited to join a friend and a few other neighborhood men, at a local wine bar for drinks and conversation. We agreed it would be nice to meet other retirees.

A couple of hours later when my husband returned home, I learned the three other men were far from retired. They were probably only in their 40s.

While it was fine getting to know them, my husband decided he had little in common with those young whipper snappers.

For starters, the men were planning a 15 mile run which they intended to complete in 2 hours. From the look on his face, I saw that my husband was probably picturing himself flat on his back not far from where they began their run.

Without skipping a beat, and with a hint of mischief in my voice, I said ” You should run with them. Just think, even if you pulled up the rear, you’d be doing great!

Hubby’s reply?

…yeah…not so much.

………hugmamma.

best friends ‘neath the papaya trees…

As a youngster growing up on the Island of Maui, I had a best girlfriend with whom I got into a lot of mischief. We never went looking for trouble, yet trouble always seemed to find us.

Take the time Lee and I went in search of stray kittens. It was either her cat or mine that had given birth to a litter. We were sure the kittens had been  sequestered nearby. We searched in and around both our houses, scouring the surrounding shrubbery as well, and my mom’s greenhouse. It only seemed natural that the cat would want to keep her young safe from prying eyes and worse, bothersome children.

Not finding our prey, my sidekick and I ventured into uncharted territory, a neighbor’s yard.

An elderly, Japanese couple owned the property which backed up against both ours. Separated by a tall, wooden fence, we could only glimpse the tops of their papaya trees.

Proceeding cautiously, we crept onto virgin territory.

Stepping gingerly between rows of vegetables foreign to me at the time, we mewed softly hoping for a response. It didn’t take long when, to our delighted surprise, one white kitten scampered across our path and out of sight. Darting to and fro we tried to pick up its trail. With the noon sun beating down upon us, we paused to find respite in the shade of the papaya trees.

Relaxing my guard I leaned back against a papaya tree, wrapping my arms around its scrawny trunk. Lee and I soon found ourselves laughing giddily. Chasing after kittens in the neighbor’s yard seemed deliciously naughty, and tons of fun. 

As if on cue, we heard someone stirring inside the house.

Preparing to flee, the tree moved with me as I straightened up. My heart dropped to my toes when I realized that the tree had come loose from its hole in the ground. With mouths agape and eyes darting toward the front of the house where the owners would soon emerge to see what was afoot, Lee and I hadn’t a clue what to do with the tree. Sounds of a door slamming and footsteps in the carport catapulted me into action. With arms still wrapped securely around its trunk, I leaned the papaya tree against another of its kind nearby. 

Without looking back, Lee and I bolted out the side gate through which we had entered. We took refuge on our side of the tall fence, too scared to talk. Hunkering down in fearful excitement, we could hear soft voices grumbling. I’m sure they weren’t saying “Hot diggity dog! Just what we wanted…a broken papaya tree!”

While we were never found out, my friend and I never trespassed onto the neighbor’s property again. We did, however, manage to find ourselves entangled in other such uproarious adventures.

Crazy escapades were just part of our childhood, Lee’s and mine. We were just lucky that way…I guess.

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what friends are for…

…especially best friends to whom you’re fortunate enough to be married.IMG_5146

A friend from the past, someone with whom I spent fun times when I lived in New York many, many moons ago, recently mailed me copies of photos she’d found while perusing her albums.

At the time hubby and I were probably in our late 20s, early 30s.

The memories of our early married years came flooding back as I gazed at those pictures.

I remembered the ups and downs which most young couples endure. That we made it to 43 years, and counting, is a testimonial to the love we’ve shared since we first laid eyes upon one another. Well, maybe it was lust which turned to loving and just as importantly…liking.

Appearances have a lot to do with individuals being attracted to one another. However, personalities that mesh, and having things in common, also figure prominently into the mix. As time passes, the latter two may even acquire equal status with good looks, if not surpass it altogether.

In his younger years I thought myself lucky to have my own Elvis Presley look-alike. Suffice it to say some girlfriends agreed with me, as did total strangers. Some even making a play for my husband. While on a business trip to Chicago, my husband said one woman told him if he ever returned he should look her up. Duh?!? Excuse me!?! 

June 2011 00010Even older women gasped at my husband’s good looks, one realtor asking me how it was that I came to marry him. Obviously she considered me a plain Jane by comparison. I didn’t hold it against her though, because we bought our house with her help. And I really did like her.

An executive with a company my husband had been employed by in NYC, hired him into a management position when she joined another organization. That was the beginning of the awesome career my husband has enjoyed these last 35+  years. And the woman, now in her 70s or 80s has remained a friend, in touch from time to time.

While my husband remains as attractive to me as when we first met, his caring ways are what I find most appealing now. I was reminded of them once again as he helped me through these last few days, as I strove to recover after fibromyalgia knocked me off of my feet.

We help each other, hubby and me…

…isn’t that what best friends do for one another?…

………hugmamma.Imported Photos 00151

 

growing older…together

Just celebrated my 63rd birthday…

Having my daughter with me to mark the passing of another year was by far the best present she and my husband could’ve given me. She for wanting to spend it with me; he for making her trip home possible.

Though 37 years her senior, my daughter and I relate to one another as if we were contemporaries. We chat, we gossip, we giggle, we laugh, we tease and joke, we toast and advise one another, we discuss men and relationships and friendships, we talk politics of which we’re in agreement.

Shopping together is like hunting for treasure. Finding clothes for my daughter is a breeze since youth and a dance career keep her marvelously fit. Past my prime, with my body in constant need of a tune-up, repairs or a major overhaul, clothes that fit is a hit-or-miss venture for me. Mostly it’s a dead-end street. Nonetheless, we have a blast whether or not we return home with anything to show for our to-ing and fro-ing.

My daughter keeps me young. While in Pittsburgh with her a few weeks ago where she danced with a friend’s contemporary company, I kept her theater hours. Finding somewhere to dine at 11 p.m. every night was a challenge, as was rising early the next morning to breakfast before she headed off to do run-throughs for that night’s performance.

We kept up the pace the following couple of weeks while she was home visiting.

Most nights my daughter and I would watch old movies together, while nearby my husband caught 40 winks, head back, jaw relaxed, snores streaming from his open mouth.

Sleeping in very long was never an option for my daughter and me. There was so much we wanted to do…8:15 a.m. exercise classes, chiropractic and doctor appointments, visits to favorite haunts as well as discovering new ones, errands, shopping, playing with our pets, family walks in the evening.

When did my child become my best friend?

It’s been less than a decade since I was parent and disciplinarian. Unlike some who preferred to be friends with their children, rather than mothers, I relished being guardian and teacher to my only child. I wanted to make the most of what seemed a miracle birth after 16 years of marriage.

I was no Blessed Mother, but I gave the job my all. Love and communication were my tools of choice. Still are. Something I took away from the oft times difficult relationship between my mom and me.

Today I reap the rewards of a foundation well laid.

Growing older and wiser…and more in love with one another as the years pass…

…my daughter and me…

………hugmamma.