There’s a Strange Man in the House

What’s that?

I listen, heart pounding.

Bumps in the house tell me I’m not alone.

It’s midafternoon. I shouldn’t hear these until 5:30.

But the noises morph into big footsteps. He’s walking my direction.

I grab the nearest weapon. A sofa pillow?

Not much help.

But that’s all right.

The “intruder” is my husband.

For the umpteenth time, I forgot that after 40-plus years of family medicine, Dr. Hubby has hung up his stethoscope.

We celebrated this new life chapter the way I expected. A fun retirement party. Kayaking. A steak dinner out. A camping trip he’d dreamed of for a year.

But now, official celebrations are finished. Though Hubby is teaching college part-time, my retiree is basically a homebody.

Friends tease about my handing him a honey-do list, covering the past four decades. But he has compiled his own list, one he tackles each day with the joy of a 10-year-old let out of school.

He is retired.

I am not.

Having worked full-time at home for 20-plus years, I have developed my own schedule — which includes a sacred, after-lunch siesta.

Though he respects my personal space and timetable, just the presence of all this relentless energy disrupts my nap aura.

Meanwhile, Hubby has even washed his truck. Downright unnatural.

Even more unnatural, he suggested a shopping trip.

Shopping?

I would have insisted on a psychiatric evaluation, except that he would have demanded I undergo one, too.

So, my new daytime life floats as if in a world of levitation. The garage door goes up and down, lights flick on and off, and food vanishes into thin air. Broken appliances fix themselves, laundry folds itself, and dishes fly from the dishwasher into the cabinets (Love this!).

However, the calendar misplaces half its dates. “Is this Tuesday or Wednesday?” becomes a subject of serious breakfast debate. With new freedom, actions we thought built into our DNA — such as brushing teeth and putting out the trash — disappear as if the Social Security Administration waved a very odd magic wand over us.

After a week of getting his bearings, Hubby commented, “I really like retirement, but this flexibility thing is hard.”

Strange, but true.

But with a strange man in the house, what would you expect?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Do you think you’ll like retirement for you and/or your spouse? Why or why not?

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