Recalibrating Life

Photo by Samson Katt on

This is the first day of the rest of my retired life and just like Douglas Adams, I discovered, “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

My blog is so tardy I gave myself a detention and for good reason, there’s been a run on words and my creativity is out of gas.

I know, I know, my plan was an entire day of total and complete relaxation as a celebratory repose after years of endless toil in the field of education.

Yes, that would be my education.

“Sometimes doing nothing makes way for everything.” Hiral Nagda

With absolutely no plans to foul my tedium, I’m basking in a new noncommittal lifestyle. This is intentional because, despite all the available evidence, I do have options.

Larry is thrilled as you can well imagine.

There I am, snuggled as if a beloved dog in my excessively comfortable bed, sipping Folger’s coffee brewed exclusively via the Laundry Room, browsing Facebook Marketplace for used Pelotons while Larry paces the remaining space in our conspicuously crowded room, trying to spark my interest in his lengthy todo list.

Unsuccessfully ignoring him I say, “honey, I’m on a permanent coffee break.” Mind you, he hasn’t fully accepted that I am no longer employed, and he stares at me as if I’m speaking a foreign language.

Is this a difficult concept?

I didn’t think so.

While I bask in the theoretical ability to relax, there have been strange men in the house since 7:00 am, cutting tile, installing lighting, and generally milling about banging on things. Not that I’m complaining but it’s disorienting and disruptive to my tedium.

I resist putting on a mud mask as I don’t want to scare off the workers. I do what I can.

As a backstory, you all might not remember that I cleared out the entire kitchen, family room, hall closet, and dining room BY MYSELF! If memory serves I literally begged for assistance but was met with avoidance, nonchalance, and outright dissent.

Can I just say PAYBACKS A BITCH.

Now it’s time for Larry to clean out his private office (outrageously disordered man cave) and Dante to clean out his private room (picture The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey). The two of them had months to do this mind you but waited until THE DAY BEFORE they start refurbishing the floors to get organized and now they’re scrambling while I file my nails, reheat my coffee, and sigh noncommittally when approached, “honey my rash is acting up, I really shouldn’t exert myself.”

It’s been a little over twenty years since the floors have been done. I’d say they’re due. The only rooms in the house with carpet are the guest room and the master and of course the patio. All these spaces are now haphazardly stacked with mattresses, frames, trunks, couches, tables, lamps, bookcases, desks, bedding, closet doors, and such.

The dog is clearly perturbed, pacing endlessly, panting, and obsessively licking his paws. Larry does much the same but bites his nails instead of all the licking. The two of them are making me anxious.

Not that I’m complaining. Our vision is taking form and it’s quite exciting to say the least.

Yesterday (FYI, yesterday was about a week ago) was tough and I learned something new about myself. Nothing good, just knowledge, which might be useful in the future.

I don’t like goodbyes, especially at my age, and by the way, I’m easily influenced by the agendas of those around me. Translation; I cry, it’s not sweet little tears, it’s an ugly cry ~ loud, wet, messy. Oh, and I can’t stop, so that can be problematic.

Notre Dame hosted their annual good-bye luncheon, with endearing speeches from the principal for each retiree, accompanied by gifts, cheers, and those “I’ll probably never see you again,” hugs. It was very touching but I spent the entire time holding back a lump in my throat the size of a golf ball. A person can only take so much.

When I walked through the door, Larry didn’t even have to ask, he gallantly handed me a tissue and glass of wine!

I used to think I made things happen? That’s such a fallacy. I make things happen in a vacuum created by those around me, this is different than being a change maker, which would be excelling at not being sucked into the neurotic vortex of others.

Call it what you want, regardless, it’s not creative, it’s obliging. They’re different.

As the day unfolds my best-laid plans fail to materialize, I’m forced from my bed into the servitude of others who shall we say were dilatory in their responsibilities and now require my assistance.

I thought retirement would be a permanent coffee break but I was wrong, it’s more like brewing your own coffee as money, opportunity, and time slips right through your fingers.

I’m Living in the Gap, resting on my laurels, care to join me?

Speaking of slipping through things…

I realize my blog is a week late and I have lots of excuses but I’ll not bore you with all of them. I have an addendum to this post because I wrote this last week, the day we were hustling to get the house cleared out, the day after my good-bye luncheon, the day we were were leaving to spend the weekend with Pete and Jan, and my concept of a permanent coffee break had to be completely reconstructed.

Driving away from our empty home, with most of our dusty belongings stacked in the back yard, and our son Dante acting as guardian, I felt uneasy.

They moved up the refurbishing of the floors up by two days and that put a kink in our plans as we were counting on Sunday to finish moving everything out. We somehow managed but Larry’s back is now acting up, I’m not only sore but have unexplainable bruises all over my body, and Dante did all the heavy lifting.

So we spent the weekend trying to recapture our youth in the most amazing adult amusement park the world has to offer, Lake Tahoe, and I always come away with a new perspective. Our dear friends go out of their way to make the weekend special but this time Jan and I opted out of many of the activities, preferring the back deck lounging in our sweats to boat rides, parties, and bar hopping.

In an ensuing discussion about this stage of life, Jan said, “We worked really hard raising the kids, providing for our family, and now I want to enjoy the time we have left.” I asked her about her priorities and she said, “companionship, plain and simple.”

I plan on exploring the concept of companionship in my next post, so remember to check back some time in the near future, God only knows what will be commandeering my writing time.

Sunday morning we head home to collect the dog, check on the house, and head up to Clearlake for the rest of the week while they continue to refurbish the floors. After being stuck in heavy traffic for five hours, we arrive at our house feeling agitated. There is blue tape blocking all the doors as if a crime scene. It’s a little surreal.

Dante emerges from the room in the back of the house and scares the shit out of me as I’m peeking through the dusty windows checking out the floors. He took the dog to Larry’s parents as there was no room in the house for him putter.

To set the scene a little better, the only two rooms not being refurbished are the master and guest room, both have doors going out to the patio, so they are accessible, but on opposite sides of the house which is shaped like a U. We need to get into the house to resupply our wardrobes before we head out for another week but we have no way of getting into our room.

Except…for one small window in the back of the house.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

The next thing I know Larry and Dante have lifted me eight feet into the air and are attempting to shove me though a one-foot by one-foot opening. I want you to appreciate, maybe even savor the full picture of a sixty year old woman, being forced to act as if Houdini.

Doesn’t work for me either.

I squeeze my arms, head, and upper torso through the tiny space as if a dog jumping through a hoop but halfway through I get stuck.

I start panicking, imagining the 911 call, “yeah my Mom is stuck in a window,” and they arrive to the alluring picture of my ass and legs dangling precariously off the side of the house. I felt as if John Jones who got stuck in the Nutty Putty cave in Utah and I’m absolutely positive I’ll never get out.

Larry and Dante are laughing like schoolboys as they attempt to push me through the opening as if one were trying to push a fat finger through a small ring. It requires a lot of twisting and maybe some butter.

I shift my hips perpendicular to the opening and somehow manage to slip through, landing roughly headfirst onto the bed. It was not pretty, elegant, or applaudable.

No pictures were taken, praise be to God.

After wrestling a stray mattress away from the French doors I let the hooligans into the room, we restock our bags, kiss Dante goodbye, collect our dog at Larry’s parents, and embark on another three hour drive to the lake.

How’s your week going? Entertain me in the comments!


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  1. Wow. Entertain? I gave my best furry friend Bella a bath today. My son had to trap her in the bathroom and lift her into the tub, then abandoned me. I really needed a few extra arms but I managed to get her bathed, rinsed and slightly dried. My plan was to let her do as she’s been doing for the last few weeks and stretch out in the room so she would finish drying. Nope. First chance she got she bolted outside and began rolling in the dirt.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Rebecca! I love how your son abandons you right when it would have been advantageous to have his assistance. Your dog sounds much like mine, loves rolling in the dirt, undoing my visions of a clean dust-free life, dog included. Thank you for putting a smile on my face! All my best to you, C

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks LA, no truer statement has every been said, “things never end up how we imagine,” but often, not always, they come up as if an unexpected tulip in an arid environment. Pure bliss. Love your optimism LA, I needed that today, C

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I love this so much Kim, I’d take swimming over laundry any day. And you don’t stop there, you go on to my other two favorites, Netflix and reading. Oh way a day you’re having me friend, I’m reveling in it with you, C

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Cheryl! Another great read – I laughed out loud picturing you climbing through the window 😂😂😂. Anyway – Rest on those laurels ! You have earned them ! Next time you go to Tahoe stop by and say hi ! Would love to catch up and spend some quality companion time with you 😘👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Melissa! I do miss you, I miss walking down the street with a chilled bottle of wine, busting through your door unannounced, and chatting until the wee hours of the morning! Those were the days! Now I crawl through windows! So much for resting on my laurels. And yes, I think we need to get a date on the calendar for a visit! We have a lot of shenanigans going on until mid August (weddings, Tony, and Kelley visiting). I’d love to catch up, early fall might be good, my love to you and Mike, Cheryl


  3. I think maybe retired means after you’ve exhausted yourself working hard all your days, you then get to stop working a job and work even harder sorting out what you didn’t have time for when you were working, ergo, re-tired. I’m still working a job so am dreading it 🤣

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Fraggle, I think you’re right! I’ve left so many things unattended while working, it’s going to take decades to unravel! But there will be a lot more time to write! Yippee! Although I’m setting a boundary on climbing through small high windows in the future. Does your day job include photography or is that separate? You’re so talented I’m hoping you’re passing on your knowledge to aspiring photographers? Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Mazel tov on your retirement. Fraggle is spot on. I have been retired for 2 years now. I have spent more time cleaning and purging in that short time than I than I ever imagined possible. I am finally slowing down and accepting the realization that I do not have to push myself to get everything done right away. I am still working on things, but trying to enjoy more than pressure myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lauren, I have been following your projects and activities for quite some time now and you have done an enormous amount of work. You’re an inspiration! I agree, you don’t have to get everything done today. You deserve a little pleasure mixed in with all the projects! I’m looking forward to retirement and the opportunity to dive into some projects I’ve been putting off for years. All my best to you, C

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m not sure anything I have to say could be as entertaining as what I just read. Getting old is for the birds, but retirement sounds nice. At least the part about the coffee and the beautiful lakes. The bruises and the window dives… that sounds more like teen shenanigans. Sounds as if you’re not old at heart, just at employment and that is a great thing you have stumbled upon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mamalava, good to find you again in the comments. I agree the aging process is baffeling indeed because our minds never seem to align with our bodies. I am drawing the line at window diving in the future, very grateful there’s no evidence in the form of pictures, and that I survived at all. Thanks for taking the time to read and join me in the comments, all my best, C

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You had me worried when you described going in the window head first… and I was relieved to read that you had a bed under it on the other side. And I guess it is a good thing that you didn’t take a liking to it. Burglary is the only way I can think of to make use of such a skill! 😀


  6. Happy retirement! Okay I don’t think I can top your ass and feet dangling out of the window. LOL
    But my week is getting down and dirty as I get my front yard work done.


    1. Thank you Donna, I’m still adjusting to the fact I no longer have a job, and that thoughts leaves me sort of giddy! Good for you, getting the yard in shape. I enjoy putzing in the yard but major changes I find daunting. Hope the weather stays cool while you labor, it’s going to hit the 100’s tomorrow, you can bet I’ll be in the lake! All my best, C

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Being retired while my wife is still working (albeit only 20 hours a week now) I can feel a definite tension. She thinks I should basically do ‘everything’, because I am at home all day. On her days off, she does next to nothing except lie on the sofa looking at Facebook, stating, “It’s my day off, I need the rest”.
    I was going to complain about a 6-hour power cut here last night, but after reading about your traffic jams, and having to be pushed through a window, I can’t compete! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Pete, I hear you, there is definitely a tension brewing as you say, but at this stage of life (without all four kids at home) the work load is much reduced. I’m confident we’ll find a satisfying compromise between our work, hobbies, and household obligations. I read about your power outage yesterday, that certainly put a damper on things. We have rolling black outs in California when the weather is hot, it’s an attempt to avoid fires, and frankly our infastructure can not keep up with the power usage during the hot summers. This is when I’m thankful for the cool lake! Warmly (literally), C

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m so happy for you, Cheryl–so much time to think and write without all the impingements (however gratifying and rewarding those impingements may be). Your time is so much more your own now and I suspect many good things will come of it. And so what if your post is a little late–you’re writing for a very. kind, understanding boss, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there Mary Ellen, always a joy to see your name pop up in the comments. Thank you for the happiness you send. I am adjusting to my new circumstances with all the grace and polish of a newborn calf, my legs are unstable, and I’m feel the need to nurse? I very confident this too will pass and I’ll be able to find my pace with only a little mooing! Looking forward to our call, much love to you, C


  9. Being squeezed through a small, high window?? Nah, I can’t entertain at that level. 😉 Ohh Cheryl, you’ll soon be wondering how you managed to fit in educating at all…enjoy your time at the lake. ❤ Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jane, thanks for joining me in the comments, at least we don’t have to squeeze through a window to get here! I agree, working is already becoming a faint memory and it’s only been a few days! Sending you much joy and love, C

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I loved the part about you shimmying through the window. And I am glad the fellas were decent enough not to take pics. About a year ago, I slipped while walking our dogs at our “cabin in the woods”. I looked back for a little help from my husband and he was laughing and taking pics to send to our kids! Good thing I have a great sense of humor! Hoping you get your “coffee day” soon! Best Wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Leigh, thanks for joining me in the comments, so glad you enjoyed my “Houdini” escapade, I’m lucky to have survived and there was no hard evidence to deal with! It is a good thing you have a healthy sense of humor! Your husband sounds a lot like mine. As I was landing on the bed I heard Larry telling Dante “too bad we didn’t get some pics of that.” Rude! The “coffee days,” are coming for us all, but in the mean time I hope the rest of your week is an absolute joy. All my best, C

      Liked by 1 person

  11. So much change. Soo many wonderful endings coupled with soo many beautiful beginnings. But really, for the things that matter most in your life? Has anything really changed at all? 😉


    1. Hello Chris, always good to hear from you!
      Change is currently upstaging all those “beautiful new beginnings”! It’s a shit show around here! But you are ever so right, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Here’s to enjoying the simple pleasures in life and staying cool! xxoo, C


  12. It would have been hilarious if someone called the police to say you were breaking in through the window! 🤣😂🤣 BTW there is no retirement, you will be busier now than when you worked.


    1. You know, I went back to find this post because someone mentioned the window scene and I couldn’t exactly remember what went down. And then I found your comment here that I failed to respond to! After reading the post I realized it was a crazy week so my apologies for overlooking your comment. And Diane if they would have called the police and claimed I was breaking and entering I would have been shot in the booty! And you’re right, retirement is not for lounging, I’m busier than ever! Hugs to you, C


    1. Hi Cynthia, thank you, so far I’m loving retirement! My plan is to spend more time writing and hopefully publishing a short book of lifestyle essays. I’m new at publishing so that will be a challenge! All my best, C


  13. Sounds like retirement is off to a crazy start! Congratulations on surviving this challenging school year and calling it a wrap. I hope you get plenty of long coffee breaks in this new chapter.


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