Observations in Retirement

For 30 plus years my wife spoiled me in many, many ways.  Early on we decided to be a one income family.  I would pursue my career and produce the revenue.  She would stay home and care for the children and handle all the household issues.

What I missed out on was an appreciation for all the daily operations which were ongoing in the life of a home maker.  Only in the past 5 or so years have I participated in such chores as:  Laundry, grocery shopping, meal prep, bathroom cleaning, loading and emptying the dishwasher and other projects.

The first time I went shopping for groceries, I suffered sticker shock!  Wandering through the produce section was jaw dropping!  Tomatoes for 2 dollars a pound?  Bell Peppers for a dollar each?  Cantalopes at 5 bucks each?  Holy Veggies, Batman!!

At age 10, I worked every Saturday for 5 years at the Soulard Farmers Market in St. Louis for Mrs. Boenzle… hawking and selling her homegrown fruits, vegetables, home churned butter and fresh eggs.  Nothing was more than 50 cents.  Peppers were 3 for a quarter!  Sweet Potatoes were 25 cents a pound!

The sticker shock continued into the meat aisle.  When I learned the cost of beef, chicken and pork I was taken aback.  What happened to chicken at 29 cents a pound?  Dairy products today are reasonable but inflation has touched all areas of the grocery business.  Now I understand the value of coupons and the need to bring along a calculator as you shop.  I actually enjoy the experience of “getting the groceries” as long as my pension check has made it into our checking account!

I’m now doing the weekly laundry.  It’s just Patty and me and I don’t mind the chore.  However, I now understand my wife’s reluctance once the clothes are washed and dried….the FOLDING.  Very tedious.  And forget about the ironing!

Meal prep is a challenge.  Especially for a guy like me who traveled constantly with a company expense account.  At home I was NEVER in the kitchen.   Oh sure, I was the griller out on the deck from time to time.  Being in the kitchen was like trying to understand a foreign language in a third world country!  I could make toast and boil water but not much else.  In the past couple of years, Pat says I’m making progress.  I can throw together a nice salad.  Plus I’ve learned how to scramble eggs and make mac and cheese.  I know, you’re impressed right?

It’s the simple daily routines of life in retirement.  I have finally slowed down and stopped to smell the laundry (and the onions)!