"Honestly, at this point I think your blog exists largely to taunt those who still work for a living."
A comment prompted by my last post. Harsh. What the commenter doesn’t realize is that being retired is no day in the park.
Unless, of course, you want it to be.
I am often asked how I fill my day. My friends ask because they feel that I’ve abandoned them and desperately need to know that I'm bored shitless. Strangers are just curious how such a dashingly good-looking young man could deal with not having important and productive things to do.
How do I fill my day? It’s a good question and one that I often have a hard time answering. Mary simply says “He fishes,” but there’s more to it than that. At least I think there is.
So, today, I’ve decided to keep track. I’ve purposely picked today because there’s nothing special going on to falsely impress you; no place that I need to be. It’s just another everyday Monday.
At least I think it’s Monday. I have problems with the whole day-of-the-week thing because, typically, it doesn’t matter a whole hell of a lot.
Anyway, here goes.
Three hours wading the Haw, pitching assorted bugs under the overhanging trees, unproductively. Summer’s finally baked the river into submission and perhaps it’s time to look elsewhere until September when the bass begin to reanimate. But it’s a nice way to start the day, fish or no.
Return home and spend a couple of hours moving mulch to the north slope – whittling down the twelve-yard pile (the second one) that sits at the end of the gravel parking pad.
Crank the chainsaw and section a fifteen-foot white oak trunk to be split later. Four others remain, all harvested during the clearing of a neighbor’s paddock, but it’s gotten too hot to mess with them. They’ll still be there tomorrow.
Retire to the side porch, strip to the skin, and sit and watch the hummingbirds dive-bomb one another around the nectar feeder. Text some friends about fishing tomorrow, giving them the bad news about the absent Haw bass, while Carolina wrens, goldfinches, nuthatches, phoebes, and titmice struggle to supplant the family of piggish mourning doves on the safflower tray. An incoming red-bellied woodpecker scatters them all, like bowling pins - the thunder of the departing doves’ wings, deafening.
Hang my fishing gear to dry. Toss my soaked and dirty clothes into the wash. Shower.
Eat some lunch - a BBQ chicken leg from the night before, some strawberries, and three scoops of vanilla ice cream.
Clean my mess on the deck. Gear, tools. Notice some tarnish on my Orvis Power Jaws forceps and polish them with a little Bar Keeper’s Friend. Thought I’d paid too much for these things several years ago but they’ve been everywhere, fresh and salt, hung around my neck for countless hours, and have become a fishing touchstone for me.
Make some sweet ice tea.
Sit on the porch and read, William Gibson, ice tea by my side, until Mary returns home from a celebratory lunch with a friend. (Happy Birthday Joanne!) She’s followed shortly by our neighbor Robin, necessitating that I scramble and put on more than my boxer shorts and Sanuks. Damn.
The girls make fresh basil pesto. I pour more ice tea and let the ice melt while I take a nap. Mid-day naps are the single most wonderful thing that retirement allows. I snooze, interrupted occasionally by the whirr of the Cuisinart and warm-hearted laughter that drifts from the kitchen.
Mary and I wander down to the pond and float for an hour or so, socializing with what neighbors show up. The usual suspects generally arrive around 5:00 to wash away their workday in the cool, deep waters. Your neighborhood probably has a pool. This community has the pond.
Home again for another quick shower and to start some rice for dinner. The next hour is spent checking the local weather, coming and going between the laundry, stove, and computer, penning a post for the blog, playing with some pictures.
Dinner (black beans and rice, homegrown diced tomatoes with CSA onions, and a shot of Texas Pete) in front of the TV - which we watch entirely too much of. At least we avoid the commercials. DVRs are heaven-sent. The Newsroom (HBO’s fantastic new series, the first ten minutes of the pilot are not to be missed), The Finder (the final episode, cancelled, dammit), and White Collar. Mary thinks Neal’s scruffy beard is cute. The jury is still out on mine. Been out for years.
Load the dishes into the dishwasher, take the dog out one last time, a final cursory look at my email, and head for bed. The Tempur-Pedic feels perfect after such a long, rigorous day.
That, then, is how I spend a typical day. Not terribly exciting, eh? So, in response to the cruel accusation that I use this forum to taunt those who continue to work, who continue to keep our economy alive, who continue to lead active and productive lives, I have but one word.