“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.
“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.
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.
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.