This was my Facebook status a mere five days after Fred's retirement began early last year. He was restless, he complained, he wanted something to do. His retirement was my curse to bear, but it soon turned into a blessing.
A knee injury I had sustained the previous year worsened with use, and I was forced to undergo extensive surgery. "Ethel's Nine Weeks in the Wheelchair" was nominated for best comedic short. The many scenes where tornado sirens were going off and Fred was trying to maneuver that decrepit wheelchair through mud, gravel, and driving rain to get me to the basement were hilarious, but nothing compared to the glare he met when he suggested that next time he rig a harness and pull me down the basement staircase, like hauling a big ol' bluefin tuna to the scales.
Yes, he got more than he bargained for when I was further sidelined by a blood clot in that knee, which broke apart a week later and settled in my right lung. Let me tell y'all, a pulmonary embolism is nothing to sneeze at, and when you have two of the little buggers, and the CT contrast dye sends you into anaphylactic shock, well, lesser women have not survived. But my pampered princess crown was still shiny and new, so I just told St. Pete he'd made a little boo-boo, and he let me slide.
Me and Pete...we got it like that.
I was just beginning to master the mechanics of a cane when Fred was bitten by a brown recluse spider and ended up spending three days in the hospital, where he drove the poor nurses crazy with his never-ending supply of bad hospital jokes and his stubborn refusal to take his condition seriously. That spider left him with a small crater in his heel and partial memory loss. But still he took care of me.
All those spring storms caused extensive damage to our roof, and the all-day hammering of the roofers brought about a mass exodus of brown recluse spiders from our attic. When one scuttled across my bedroom floor in broad daylight, I told Fred I didn't care what it might cost, we were hiring a pest control service NOW. What a blessing! Since "the bug man" began his regular visits, I have seen only one live spider in the house, and it was doing the death dance.
So I hastened it. Put it out of its misery. Dr. Kavorkian isn't the only one with compassion, you know.
Symptoms of pulmonary embolisms and asthma can be similar, so it's understandable that I don't know when the embolisms dissolved and the asthma began. But no sooner had my doctor diagnosed asthma than I was hospitalized following a severe asthma attack. Steroids seem to be the only thing currently keeping my breathing in check, but steroids have an annoying little side effect: you gain weight. They help tremendously with breathing, but you gain weight. They keep pain levels at low to non-existent...but you gain weight. They give you energy...but you gain weight. LOTS of weight.
Okay, I'm beginning to depress myself, so let's get on with the good news.
Fred isn't the only one who retired recently...I did, too! The cash-strapped Post Office offered VERY SMALL INCENTIVE early retirement to employees who met minimum age and years-of-service requirements, and I took that offer and ran with it. I didn't care that I was getting a buyout of only 15% what similar companies were offering their employees. I just wanted and needed out.
Being retired means more than just choosing whether or not to remain in your jammies all day. It also means you get to pick up the nieces from dance class and piano lessons, take Aunt Millie to the hairdresser, sign when the UPS man delivers Johnson Henry's new computer, and watch that the little Crenshaw boy doesn't climb over the fence to get in the neighbor's pool. And keep Zoey when she's running a fever, and pick up new grandson Andy at daycare on Tuesdays!
That's right, I have two grandchildren now. Zoey is two, and Andy is four months. And they are the light of my life.
Zoey is a little charmer who has her grandpa wrapped tightly around a petite finger. She is utterly feminine, enjoying her manicures and pedicures, and her favorite color, of course, is pink.
Andy is a happy cherub who changes every day.
Lots of you have asked about Willadean. Since I retired, I don't have daily contact with her anymore, but I do keep up with her. There will be plenty of stories to follow when I resume blogging. In the meantime, I just saw a picture that reminded me of her, and I pass it on to you.
So, what have y'all been doing?