Keeping the House in Order

This long holiday weekend has been busy! In addition to the traditional activity of planning and preparing for Thanksgiving, my husband and I made a decision to buy a new TV. Since the new flat-screen HD sets have come down in price, and our living room is TINY, and since we have the money now and certainly won’t have as much after June — well, it was an easy decision. This will be our last TV, and it will be our Christmas gift to each other. We made a similar decision not that long ago when we bought a car. Our last new one.

As June and my retirement date come ever closer, it seems that there are lots of those kinds of decisions to be made, and this weekend I thought about it more. Part of the decision about the TV involved what we will put it on (we had decided against mounting it on the wall), and aha! We already owned the perfect piece. We had purchased an unfinished credenza a few years ago, with a different plan in mind, but never got around to finishing it, and then we abandoned that plan; thus, it had been sitting on our enclosed porch getting older and taking up space. It’s perfect for the TV — fits exactly right along the living room wall, and includes some storage cupboards and drawers — and it will open up the living room nicely to give us more of a spacious feeling.

The finished credenza

My husband sanded it on Friday morning, and when he was done I went to work. Classic oak stain, some “new london burgundy” paint for the door panels and drawer fronts, and by tomorrow morning, after drying overnight, it will be done. Two coats, and an extra coat on the top, and it looks great. It was during the process of painting, cleaning brushes, fine sanding, and staining that I was able to let my mind wander — a luxury in itself — and I made some connections between the preparation for retirment and (yes, this will seem weird) being pregnant.

Two of my colleagues at school have had babies during the last two years, and another friend out of state is presently pregnant. Thus I have been a cheerful participant in many recent conversations about that stage of life. It’s amazing that no matter how many years have gone by, a woman always remembers the details of being pregnant and having babies — all the planning, wondering, getting ready, acquiring the necessities, and then the joy of having that new person in one’s life. It’s a rite of passage into something new and exciting, and letting go of familiar ways that will be ever changed.

This year for me is much like that, and I am savoring the moments that I know are preparation for a whole new life ahead. It hits me at odd times — and I notice it more frequently as the school year marches forward. It happens both in school and at home, as it did this weekend. It’s both a pull toward something new and different, and a holding back, regretting that something familiar and loved will be left behind.

So this last year all comes down to getting ready, both materially and mentally, and putting the house in order. Like the huge paradigm shift of learning to become a parent, the shift of becoming retired requires a lot of getting ready, too. I shall keep the faith that the next stage will bring great joy that I do not yet understand. It’s a process. I’m glad I have this time, this year, for planning, wondering, and getting ready.

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About harleywoman50

I retired from teaching in June 2011, and now am enjoying the good things I never had time to do before: traveling, writing, and creative arts. I also work as an educational consultant specializing in professional development for teachers; in this capacity I teach educators about their personalities using the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Instrument). I teach a course on how to differentiate instruction using type in the classroom, and several other workshops. Life is good.
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4 Responses to Keeping the House in Order

  1. Cindy Washbourne says:

    Marilyn….As I read this, I felt like I had written it….of course the only reason that I could be sure that I hadn’t written it was because I would not have written it so well! We are doing the exact same thing…..last car, large flat screen TV…etc.. I have tried to avoid putthing the word last before these objects, but there is a sense of reliefe in knowing that when I purchase the TV and car, I won’t ever again have to waste time looking for the best deal in these items or go out on Black Friday to save a few hundred dollars. We keep our cars forever. We do the recommended maintainence on them and they keep going with very little trouble so when shopping for the “last” car, we read Consumer Reports, talk to people, and any other research necessary to make sure that the car we get will provide us with at least 10 yrs. or more of trouble free driving. I’m not so sure that I’m liking the wall space that is taken up by the huge TV and always swore that I’d never put anything so tacky in the house, but during baseball season and the next winter olympics, I think I’ll be glad we have the big black monster! It’s such a relief to me to be planning my retirement in two years instead of all the worry and uncertainties that come with planning a career.

  2. Carol Sweny says:

    Love the nesting analogy and the new credenza! But…I will tell you that my parents have been through at least two new TVs since they retired, each one bigger than the last. Particularly funny, was the time my sister described walking into their house and finding their chairs pulled into the middle of the room to be closer to the giant TV!

  3. K. Palmer says:

    Wonderful blog! I love your pregnancy analogy. Great job on the credenza.

  4. Carina says:

    That credenza turned out so nice! So did this post. Love you; thank you for thinking of me.

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