I live with the belief that I will retire in the next 20 years; it is a great hope of mine. I’ve heard that a lot of people retire and then just die because they have no purpose left in life. That is not going to happen to me. Gabe and I have a whole list of things we want to do when I no longer have to work. It’s a long list and after the past week, I worry we will never get to it.
I took the first week of the New Year off (highly recommended, by the way) and had hoped to take down Indoor Christmas on the 1st. Usually, I like to leave it all up for awhile but the house has been non-stop decorated for one holiday after another since October 1st and I was 100% ready to have it all back to normal. After Christmas was packed away, we were going to clean like crazy. I figured that would take me to the 3rd and then I could tackle my list things I wanted to accomplish after the house was clean and put to rights:
Well, guess what?
The Goodwill stuff only got packed up because I did laundry and had to put it away and needed space. I did manage to finish And I Shall Have Some Peace There: Trading In the Fast Lane For My Own Dirt Road by Margaret Roach and felt good about that, but everything else? Didn’t even touch it. And you know why? Because as we cleaned, all these other things that needed doing kept popping up.
I emptied the china cabinet, dusted and oiled it, cleaned the contents, then put it all back and found that I am missing 3 little garden party cups.
I know the set was whole when I moved in, but I don’t know if I put all the pieces in the cabinet, or not. That necessitated a trip to the Underhouse (like an undercroft only different because we don’t live in a medieval dwelling) to see if there was still a box of fancy dishes down there. I didn’t find one. Since the shed is a disaster zone, I couldn’t look out there but I don’t put things like that in the shed. After an hour of searching, I had to give up and just cry. This particular set is important to me and I hate knowing I’ve lost some of it.
Gabe got us a new bird feeder to replace the one that met with a horrible demise in a recent bear attack. It was taking up space on the living room floor so I had to fill and hang it and, in the process, was mugged for my birdseed by the local gang. Little bastards.
The amaryllis my mom gave me – it came as a bulb in a box – four years ago finally bloomed for the first time so I had to take a LOT of pictures of it. Every day. And I had to tell it how happy I was that it was finally able to show off and that it was stunning. That sort of cut into my cleaning and sorting time.
We celebrated Toki&Evie’s 5th birthday on January 3rd. We sang to them and gave them birthday food (Fancy Feast, something they NEVER get any other time of year) and presents (new treats and new stuffed mice) It was a good birthday for them but I can’t believe they’re five. That has nothing to do with cleaning, really, but it deserves mention because Evie told me to put it in here.
And once we were finally finished after FOUR DAYS!!! (seriously? how dirty are we?), we sat down and discussed the problems and gaps we’d found and what do to about them. This lead to a discussion of things that need to change. Here are some of the things we’ll be doing differently:
-The little tabletop water fountain I’ve got in the dining area will be used more often; I’ve had it running since I put it back out and it’s been a pleasant background noise. Also, I like to think the water that is surely evaporating from it is good for all the plants nearby. Win/win.
-We will plan meals. We ate well and on-time the entire week despite being horrendously busy getting dust and cobwebs in our nose holes. It wasn’t hard – the eating responsibly thing, not the dust in the nose-holes thing (though that wasn’t hard, either). If we can do it while on a mission to restore tidiness to our home, we can do it in a normal week.
-We are taking back the kitchen table! It’s not a parking lot, it’s a place to eat. No more gnawing food mindlessly on the couch in front of the TV and no more messy table top. We both want to lose weight and I have a feeling this will help (it’s far too easy to sit on the couch and just continue shoving food in our faces while we watch an entire season of some TV show or another on DVD)
-We are going to clean up after ourselves immediately. We’ll just clean as we go, all day every day, and then I won’t have to clean the house on weekends and we can do fun things, instead!
These sound like resolutions, but they’re not. They are the things we need to do because we are grown-ups managing our own household, because we care about our health and well-being and about our marriage. So…we’re just going to do them, new year or not.
Come Saturday, I was exhausted. So was Gabe. We sat around all day and read. It was glorious but I felt a twinge of guilt because I hadn’t done anything else on my list and I knew I wouldn’t because Sunday was devoted to meal planning, grocery shopping, and getting ready for Monday.
That’s when I realized how hard retirement will be and I wondered if we would ever get to our Things To Do When We Retire list. Maybe that’s the real reason people just up and die after retiring; it’s disheartening to know that you thought you were done working only to find you are just beginning. I think I’d rather some eternal rest, too, than a retirement full of finishing unfinished crap.