If She is Retired, Does That Mean I am Not?

13526343619177“No more excuses.”

Clearly, my wife’s declaration was aimed at me – but less clear was it’s meaning.

“No more excuses for what?” I pondered aloud.

“For letting the house go.”

“I agree,” I told her, “now that you are retired, you can do things you didn’t have time for while you were working.”

Her expression told me I was way off track.

“What then?”

“Since I am now retired,” she said, “I have time to make sure you do the things you are supposed to do.”

I was not sure what she was getting at. There are the things I do, the things I don’t do and the things I should do, but for the life of me, I can’t think of anything I am supposed to do.

“Like what?”

“The siding.”

Oh that.

My wife has been on me to fix the siding for years.

Our house is clad with log siding and it is a mess. Years of harsh sunlight have cracked the stain which has invited moisture to blister the logs. It looks terrible, so I will have to sand the bad areas then apply stain and a seal-coat.

But not now.

“I am retired too,” I informed her, “which means I no longer have to work.”

“No, it just means that now you work for me.”

She has a lot to learn about retirement.

Being new to it, she has embarked upon a flurry of activity, which I hope will not last long.

What she has to understand is that her giddy enthusiasm for retirement is nothing more than the fleeting euphoria that accompanies all new things.

It is like…

…the first dusting of snow.

…a whiff of fresh coffee in the morning.

…a new novel.

…puppy love.

These are all fleeting joys, but we in the modern world recklessly chase after them. We desperately yearn for the thrill of new things and even though we know in our hearts that they will inevitably dissolve into the same old same old, we try to convince ourselves that this time it will be different.

I am aware of this, and for now she is not. So if I truly loved her, I would allow her exhilaration to run its full course…

But must that come at the cost of doing the siding?

I weigh her joy against my misery.

“Uh, darling,” I eventually say, “I have meant to get to that, but I need to match both the stain and the sealant.”


“Remember the book the previous owner’s left us?”


“The specs for the stain and sealant are recorded in it.”


“So, the book is hopelessly buried in your hide-a-mess desk, the one you promised to clean and organize once you retired…”


It is not like I popped her bubble, but I could definitely hear a hiss.

“Guess I won’t be doing the siding for awhile, huh?”

The glare she shot me sent the cats scurrying for cover. “I’ll just think of something else,” she snapped.

Maybe so, but two can play at that game.

Author: Almost Iowa


61 thoughts on “If She is Retired, Does That Mean I am Not?”

  1. Hahahaha I think all men know this trick! My husband aimed a similar barb at me last week: he’s to get a few photos framed, but he reminded me that I was to get them printed first. So….

  2. Oh, I just love this! I am not retired yet, but last summer was my first ever summer off from teaching. I was euphoric. My husband was not, as I organized him (corralled?) into finally doing something with the garage. It was a big job. I suspect he will have jobs planned for me this summer. 🙂

  3. I remember when first retiring there was no giddy enthusiasm for activity, more of a shocked collapse and decompression phase. Nowadays it’s busy all the time – I wonder how I ever got anything done when I had to work for a living.

    1. A few years before retirement, I could not imagine not working. I loved my job – then I got switched to “special projects”. No decompression needed from that. 🙂

  4. I have no husband, I’m not retired, and the cat died — but I do understand matching stain. Avoid that task at any cost, no matter how uncomfortable the glare off those are-you-listening-to-me eyes!

    1. Even though I have the specs for the stain and sealant, I don’t have the specs for ten years of sunlight, rain, sleet and below zero temperatures. Like I used to tell my developers, just because it is technically correct, does not mean it is correct.

  5. Is it wrong of me to say that I sort of look forward to how this all plays out? And please believe me, the fact that my husband will be retiring in a year or two has nothing to do with my interest……..

    1. We all know how this will play out. 🙂 But I am sure your husband will enjoy his retirement. I think the people who enjoy it the most are those who have a passion for something to carry themselves through the years.

  6. On behalf of the Lazy Husbands, Boyfriends and Partners (LHBP) I wish you all the very best in your fight against chores! Godspeed comrade, godspeed towards the couch.

    1. Lazy Husbands, Boyfriends and Partners (LHBP)

      Our local chapter meets at The Pit. It is our local bar and despite what people say, it does not teeter on the brink of doom. Though one can clearly see it from there.

  7. “Guess I won’t be doing the siding for awhile, huh?”

    You coulda, shoulda oughta-of stopped right before this point, Greg. Just sayin’…

  8. Even though you know that there will be adjustments to retirement life, and you prepare as best you can, you still have to go through the fussy prickly exercise of adjusting.

    Take notes. It will make great blog fodder.

    1. fussy prickly exercise of adjusting

      Heck no, I just thrash aimlessly around until everyone and everything else tires of it. It may not be elegant, but it works.

  9. “I am retired too,” I informed her, “which means I no longer have to work.”

    “No, it just means that now you work for me.”

    BAHAHAHA Touche! Hope the cats recovered from that scary glare 🙂

    1. The cats were so seriously traumatized that the only thing that will heal them is an unlimited supply of top-shelf cat food. Preferably tuna.

  10. While she’s looking for the book maybe you need to get a couple of estimates to have it done and then discuss climbing and standing on ladders for hours at a time, the danger of it all, the damage to your retired body, the cost of materials, the cost of labor, you know, this could get you to the months when it is too cold to stain. 🙂 Retirements lists are long at the beginning of that era. Then as we age, the lists get shorter because we don’t want to do it or can’t and we sure can’t find anyone to hire, so it just stays on the list. But, always remember – a happy wife is a happy life. 🙂

  11. Wait a minute – since when have you ever won one of these games with your wife? Did something change? Or are you just more delusional?

  12. My husband is due to retire at the end of this year….and I have plans.
    Oh, so many plans for him.
    Your feeble attempt at shirking “the list” would not fly here mister.
    No siree….

    1. My wife used to be a manager. You can see where that might be a problem. Her job was to identify what must be done and then find someone to do it. Now, the only someone is me.

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