Friday, September 20, 2013

Busy Being a Retired Home Owner


"I don't know how I had time to go to work."

All us retired folks have heard, and probably have said, a similar thing. The truth of it is what intrigues me. I "officially" retired about six years ago, Carol three years later. When I was gainfully employed, my weekdays were taken up with the job and weekends with household chores, a typical working class existence. Vacations were planned in advance and coincided with our work schedules. Now that our time is "our own," we spend it doing things we enjoy: volunteering with organizations we care about, and keeping up with friends through lunches, hikes, etc. Doesn't sound too overwhelming, does it? Well it can be. Example: We talked this summer about escaping in our camper for a couple weeks this fall. Looking at our individual schedules, it appears there are no two-week slots between now and February in which to sequester ourselves in the machine without reneging on some commitment or other one of us made.

 Let me admit that most of the hard commitments are mine: two writing retreats, in October and January; performing in a one act play a couple of times in November; singing with my group at a couple of benefits; handling photography chores and a post-race booklet for the SOS Triathlon; and presiding over Unison Arts Center board meetings.

And then there's maintaining our coveted corner half-acre: mowing the green stuff we laughingly call lawn, trimming edges with the trusty weed eater (a misnamed device that is quite effective at its job,) and hiring people to handle the things we cannot or chose not to handle ourselves.  Ah yes, and recognizing - often too late - that a major appliance needs to be replaced; purchasing said replacement over the objection of our repair guy, who hates all new appliances and would be jobless except his brother owns the local appliance sales store; and finally getting it installed - while whatever it is supposed to store, clean, or dispose of, eagerly awaits the result.

The current malfunctioning appliance is our built-in dishwasher (not us, the automatic one) which only marginally cleans dishes in spite of my having cleared the filter of debris, and which occasionally gets possessive of the dish soap, refusing to release it to the cleaning cycle.  "Why haven't you replaced it?" you might ask.  Good question.  Because the rain barrel repair was not yet complete.   Let me explain.  The answer actually is Carol.  Yes, Carol, my lovely wife, whose mind operates somewhat like a basketball hoop when it comes to household repairs.  Only one ball can go through the hoop at a time.  The rain barrel repair was incomplete, hence ...

Anyway, the rain barrels are now repaired.  Time to shop for a dishwasher.