One Wife's View of
"Semi-Retirement"

"Life, as I Know It, Is Over!"

by Kathy Coogan


My husband is moving his office from downtown to home. Semi-retirement, they call it. Lots of changes are occurring for him. New phones, filing systems, email addresses and all the paraphernalia required to do what he does, even on a reduced scale, are shifting.

He says he’ll have more time for leisure. At least that’s the idea. But something tells me that teaching an old “Type A Dog” new “Type B Tricks” will be – umm - interesting. I anticipate some barking and growling as the training process commences. The threat of banishment to the Dog House will remain on the table.

Part of this life-change is the physical move which is my ballgame. It's what I do as the owner/manager of rental property. I should have kept my big mouth shut! Silly me, I bragged how much I loved a big project. But whoa - this has been a BIG project.

Deciding what to move from the city out to the ‘burbs has been a multi-step process. Hubby had to look at every file that he ever touched. His choices were: store, move, or the new hideous, essential requirement - shred.

Shredding is the only sure-fire protection against sneaky people and requires disassembling every blasted file, removing every darned clamp, clip or cover. Small blessing that staples are deemed safe for the stupid shredder.

Wives who volunteer for Shredding Duty should have their heads examined. After five days of bending over file cabinets, making a record of the name of every file to be shredded and dismembering the files, I had a back-ache, a stiff neck, crossed eyes, paper cuts, staple scratches and no fingernails to speak of. My IQ had shrunken to double digits. And any affection I once felt for my husband was somewhat diminished.

On the home front, room had to be made for all the cr--, I mean stuff, that was coming in. The basement area had to be rearranged for the incoming salvoes of materiel. Two days in the catacombs was sufficient to clear out space and to develop a deeper grudge against my spouse. He was “busy at the office.” I know, I know, I volunteered. Grrr.

The plus side of all this folderol was my magical discovery. Less than a mile from our house in this lovely golf course community is The Dump. Of course the County doesn’t call it that. The sign reads, Recycling Center. But dump, it is, the place where you dump stuff.

All you have to do is organize your cr-, oops, sorry again, stuff and you can leave it in a big metal bin for some Fairy God-Person in a big truck to cart away. The knowledge that I had some place that would make all my long-stored junk disappear was uplifting. Goodwill and St. Vincent DePaul got the quasi-good stuff.

The movers came last week. These last few days have been spent putting things away, my husband’s job. It has been necessary for me to lay down a single all-encompassing Ground Rule. It is this: I will help in any way I can, because I want to. I will even bring you coffee. But the first time you treat me like an employee, you’ll hear, “Golf course or TJ Maxx, here I come.” My girlfriends are on speed dial.

A Companion Piece

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