Retirement at last (or too soon?)

My first official day of retirement was June 15, 2012.

I spent one year in kindergarten, eight years in elementary school, four years in high school, four years to get my BA/teaching credential and twenty years later I got my MA. I taught junior high/middle school (Industrial Arts, History, English, Computers, Yearbook) for forty years.


My 40th year in junior high
My 40th year in junior high

My life no longer answers to bells (except for my wife’s alarm clock). No more thirty minute lunches; no more ten minute bathroom breaks. No more “potty duty”. Heaven. Brooks and Red, in the Shawshank Redemption, had difficulty adjusting to their newfound freedom when they were paroled; I have had no difficulty adjusting to mine.

For the first time in fifty plus years my life is no longer governed by the schedule set by Education.

I get to have coffee, take a walk along the beach, have some more coffee and breakfast, read the papers and do my crossword and Sudoku puzzles. Heaven.

Friends ask how I like retirement. I tell them that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be – it’s a lot better.

My wife still teaches and I still work high school games during football season (public address announcer), but there is no longer any pressure or tension. No testing, no discipline, no homework, no parents, no administrators (or lesson plans and color-coded seating charts). Ahhh.

When I retired, I told my wife that I wasn’t going to do anything for a year (this blog is as close to work as I get) and then decide whether I wanted to get another job. Maybe, substitute teaching. I don’t think so. This freedom is enjoyable and addictive; there is no dearth of activities; there is no boredom; there is no yearning for something meaningful to do. I like this.

Or, maybe, I do have a “job” – causing jealousy and envy in others.


Merlin and Magic – Our Burmese Boys

Merlin & Magic, our Burmese boys, in bed
Please, turn out the light

My wife and I have a pair of cats – Burmese cats. Magic is eighteen years old and Merlin is fifteen. Magic was purchased from a pet shop, which no longer exists and Merlin from a local breeder. Magic had a lot of sinus trouble when he was young and had surgery and Merlin was the runt of the litter. Magic was the laid back lord of all he surveyed and Merlin was the aggressor, unafraid of toppling the larger Magic. Magic wanted to be on your lap and Merlin resented being held.

My, how they have changed. Magic now prefers to sleep alone and Merlin wants to curl up with you. In the afternoon and evening Magic wants your lap; Merlin, vocally, urges you come back to bed so he can nestle against you and sleep. Merlin is now a bit “chunky” and Magic has lost some weight.

Magic now refuses to eat any but “wet” food (He likes to eat at four, am and pm, which is a lot of fun when the clocks are moved forward and back, or you are late getting home.) and Merlin eats both “wet and dry” food. Magic will only drink out of their water bowl and Merlin complains when the toilet seat cover is down because he likes the water from the toilet bowl.

Merlin & Magic, our Burmese boys, on the Cable Box
Yes, you want what? No.

And, at times, in the evening I’ll end up with both of them curled together in my lap sleeping as I nod off to dreamland before getting up out of my chair and going to bed.


Postscript: We lost both of the guys in February. Merlin was found to have inoperable cancer and was put to sleep; about ten days later Magic passed away, the vet says probably from stress, while undergoing a dental exam and cleaning.

My wife is looking for a pair of traditional Siamese kittens to “replace” the boys; she thinks that another pair of Burmese would cause her too much grief when she thought about Merlin and Magic. Me? I’d adopt a pair of rescue cats.

Now that the guys are gone, the house can be a lonely place when my wife is at work and the birds are quiet.