Retired together for better or worse?

My wife Joyce retired this week after working and enjoying 35 years in the banking business in Ponoka and central Alberta.

HAMMERTIME

My wife Joyce retired this week after working and enjoying 35 years in the banking business in Ponoka and central Alberta. On the weekend, we quietly celebrated her birthday, her retirement, and our anniversary, and now we will start a new adventure and work very hard on adjusting to living together 24-7 in our comfy condo cocoon.

In the past few weeks, she received lots of best wishes, good luck, and congratulations from family, friends and many of the great staff members that she has had the privilege of working with during her career. Among these tributes was a delightful card with a wonderful message, which Joyce and I would love to share with all of those who are retirees, as well as those who will make the big move into the ‘leisure mode’ in the future:

Relax and

Enjoy the ride

Try something new

Imagine the possibilities

Remind yourself to play

Expect adventures

Make new plans

Entertain a few wild ideas

Nap without guilt

Take time just for you!

While being semi-retired for the past 12 years, I have got used to being ‘home alone’ on most weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All of a sudden, that will all have to change as we both have to patiently retrain ourselves to happily head into our next chapter of still sweet and saucy ‘mostly wedded bliss’, and for sure, it will work out just fine. In our new day to day contract, here is how Joyce and I will hopefully adjust along the way:

●We will now go out and visit the children, our family, and our friends a whole lot more, and stay as long as we want, even a week.  We might even have enough extra energy and time to babysit the grandchildren, as long as they are in bed by 8 p.m., and bring enough toys along to keep them busy. We have vowed that we will never become ‘grumpy grandparents’ and that what happens at gramma’s always stays at gramma’s.

●As far as the daily chores are concerned, I will not lose my long time assignment as ‘boss of the vacuum’ and resident ‘dust devil’, but now we will share all those household duties on ‘our time’, but I have no doubt that the work schedule will be under her control. Maybe, just maybe, my dear wife will now have a little more time and patience to give me cooking lessons (my favourite meals) at the age of 72, as well as teaching me to pay the bills on line. Some of Mikey’s toughest day-to-day adjustments will certainly be picking up after myself,  putting the toilet seat down, sharing the car and going to the grocery store in the middle of the week.

● Do you really think it will now be possible to sleep in, at least until 7 a.m., and stay up later, even though we may have to ‘nap’ in the afternoon? Whatever the case, we can now shut-off every alarm clock in the house, spend more time on the phone, and can eat in or out and snack whenever we wish.

● Will our entertainment schedule change very much? Not really…television will continue to be yours-mine- and ours, with her programs seen from the couch in the living room, and ‘my games’ in my tiny little office with the door closed. Being married to a banker all these years, I know she will keep our budget in line and stretch those seniors’ pensions to the limit,  but I have no doubt that there will now be a substantial ‘roll-back’ in my allowance.

● Together, in harmony, we plan to walk a lot, to plan some holidays, to go to church together, to share the chores, to put together a retirement bucket list, and to assist others by volunteering in the community as much as we can. As in all successful relationships, in order to survive, there has to be some give and take and compromise to succeed. While she is doing water aerobics and yoga, I will go bowling or to the game with the boys, we will both seek out our own hobbies, and mine, of course, is writing these fun columns in the Ponoka News. If things get a ‘little testy’ around the house, we have quickly learned to give each other some space and some quality time alone, and don’t be too upset if she doesn’t always want to go where we want to go, and vice-versa.

● Unfortunately around our little nest, I am not and never will be much of a Mr. Fix-It or handyman, but if the internet or the duct tape doesn’t work, I will call the kids or the brother-in-law instead of blowing an old gasket! I am, however pretty organized, as long as I have post-it notes and the wonderful company and the support of my wife, the mother of my children, and my best friend for many fun and magic years to come.

Joyce and I extend these same good wishes for all of your adventures in life together, and no matter what may happen along the way, please look ahead to another day, and then just go ahead and have a great week, all of you.