Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I’m a creature of habit, and I’m willing to admit that my habits may not all be completely healthy ones. I don’t know if it’s always been an aspect of my personality, this tendency I have now toward hermit-like behavior, or if it’s a development arrived at through necessity.

I suppose the fact that I’m happiest at home with only the fur babies for company is a natural result of living with the daily reality of arthritis. When every step and ever movement is painful, it’s natural to want to limit those steps and movements. And while I do wear a step counter every day, and I do aim for four thousand steps a day often achieving or surpassing that number, it’s much easier walking around my house than it is trying to navigate the outside world.

It’s also easier not wearing a smile every minute of the day, which is me at home. The puppy and the puddy are fine with my ordinary every-day, non-smiling, writing-jammie clad self. They’ve not issued a single complaint—as long as I keep the treats coming, they’re happy. I have my routine, something I refer to as “multi-tasking”. That just means that I don’t let myself sit too long at my computer before getting up and applying myself to the housework. My husband works outside at his job, but is on his feet for a good part of the day now, which is always the way it is for him in the last few weeks of the year. Once he comes home at the end of each day, he may nap or he may play at his own computer, but the only thing I ask of him is that he set the table. He’ll do the supper dishes, or not, depending on the day he’s had. I’m fine with that, even though it means I have to pick up the slack when he opts out.

My beloved reminds me that he has less than a year now until retirement; I remind him that retirement does not mean doing nothing around the house. This is an ongoing discussion between us—a negotiation, if you will. He’s all, “I’m not leaving one job to pick up another,” and I’m all, “so does that mean I get to retire, too, from feeding you?”. As I said, a negotiation. I believe we’re close to settlement as he agrees that taking a couple of hours every morning to help out isn’t so onerous a prospect, after all.

I think I’m in the catbird seat here, as he hates cooking with a passion—but loves eating nearly as much as that.

It’s going to be an interesting dance the two of us will be doing once he is officially retired from the EDJ (evil day job). Someone asked me just last night if I was looking forward to his being home full time. The question gave me pause, as I didn’t really know how to honestly answer that and come out looking like anything other than the worst kind of bitch.

On the one hand, and really, most importantly, I’ll be glad he no longer has to push himself, doing what for him has become increasingly more difficult with age. I’m glad that he’ll no longer have to go in every day and face a job he no longer loves, working for a company he no longer respects. He’s looking forward to his future, and I want him to have that.

On the other hand, I am going to have to learn how to share my domain. I know it’s a dilemma faced by every couple in this situation. I recall my old High School history teacher, married for over forty years. Within a year of his retirement, his wife divorced him. Since the man had been my husband’s history teacher for one semester, I remind him of that case as well.

The secret is going to be in compromise—not a dirty word for either one of us. We’ll be embarking on new territory, after all, very much like we did when we first got married forty-four and a half years ago.

But unlike then, we’re a little more mature, and a little less quick to take offense these days. I’m thinking the bumps in the road ahead of us will be solid, but minimal.


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