Sunday, October 30, 2011

Couple's Retirement

I can't wait to retire!  I've only got. . . forty years, maybe more if I depend on Social Security to fund it!  I wonder what it will look like.  I remember a man I worked for several years ago.  He was getting ready to retire and we all suspected that he'd be flying his little Cessna quite a bit.  One day, one of my colleagues asked him, "What will your wife think of you being home all day?"

"Well, just because I'm not going to work, doesn't mean I'm going to stay home!" he said.

He was just going to start doing all the things he had always wanted to do, but never had the time.  This isn't really about him, though.  It's about Mrs O and me.  What will retirement look like for us? We're pretty traditional.  I work and earn a paycheck.  She works 24/7 caring for our boys and me: tons of laundry, cart loads of groceries, hundreds of meals.  If she got paid for all she does, she would surely have a six-figure salary!  I'm glad we went the traditional route with our family.  Our boys are reaping many benefits!  It is a ton of work, though.  I see that every time Mrs O goes off and I care for they boys myself!  So, if it's real work, what does real retirement look like?

This is an interesting thing for us to evaluate right now.  After changing jobs, selling a house and relocating to a new area, we are evaluating our new retirement options.  I have to admit, until now I hadn't figured a maid or dining out into my concept of retirement.  It doesn't necessarily have to look like that, perhaps we would just downsize and rent instead of owning a home so that someone else could look after the outside and we could both care for the smaller inside space together.  The point isn't that we have to do it one way or the other, but I do want us to retire together.

In our new, revised retirement plan I want to include Mrs O doing all the things she has always wanted to do, but never had the time.

Note to self: Retire together!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Momma's vacation. . .

A couple of days ago, I had a GREAT idea!  It turns out that it would have been even better had I come up with this idea 5 days prior.  Better luck next time!  The good new is, there will be a next time!  Let me explain:

I was on vacation with my family last week.  It was great!  We started out with a weekend celebrating our anniversary.  Then, we took the kids and explored the town we've inhabited for the past five months.  The museum, the Science Center, an orchard--lots of fun options.  Friday morning, I was lounging with the boys and and enjoying the break from my usual Friday work routine.  I realized that Mrs O was up and around doing the same things she always does.  This was not unlike any other Friday for her.  Well, I was home.  So, she was caring for one extra boy all week!  My wife needs a vacation!

I started thinking about all the things I know about Mrs O.  I was thinking about things that we could do that would make it feel like a vacation for her.  I know that she does not love the task of planning meals.  It's an endless mental puzzle to figure out how to make something tasty for grown-ups and tolerable for kids while trying to make sure that everyone gets a balanced diet.  EVERY day.  THREE times per day.  Seven times, really, if you count all the snacks. . . did you ever notice that pre-schoolers are kind of like Hobbits?  Anyway. . . 

. . . so, I decided that we should make a plan to go out to eat more on vacation.  


That really was my first thought.  

Then, I realized that I could do some meal planning and grocery shopping before the vacation and make the meals.  You should have seen the look on her face when I told Mrs O my plan!  Imagine how she would have felt if I had thought of this before our vacation instead of the end when we only had three days left!  

Like I said at the beginning, there WILL be a next time.  And since I have all this time to think about it, it's going to be bigger and better than just a few meals and groceries:

Laundry.  Groceries.  A free day for Momma to go out. . . by herself!

It's beginning to sound like a bit of work, but I think I can do it.  Afterall, this is the stuff she does week in and week out.  And if it is a ton of work, and I am worn out at the end of my vacation, then I can go back to work and rest!

Note to self: Momma needs a vacation--probably more than I do!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Two's company.

Mrs O's anniversary bouquet!

I know, I didn't get that expression quite right.  Or, perhaps they didn't get it quite right--whoever 'they' are.  Three's company, four is a crowd. . . well, sometimes things get crowded in this family of four!  See, this past weekend my parents took the boys for the weekend so we could celebrate our seventh anniversary.  Alone.  Together.  Just the two of us.  We didn't go anywhere. . . well, not far.  We stayed at a little B&B here in town.  We explored the chocolate shops--bourbon truffles!  Tried some new restaurants: Wild Eggs for breakfast, Cafe Mimosa for pot stickers and crab rangoons, and Coco's Chocolate Cafe for more chocolate!

We've recently relocated, and it had been a long time since the two of us had a weekend away.  It was only recently that we got back into the habit of date nights.  It's taking a while to get settled back into a routine.  We'd like to think that it should always be spontaneous, but sometimes life just prevents the spontaneous, so we have to make a plan to stay healthy and enjoy spontaneity when it happens.  An anniversary is the perfect reason to plan a few days away, even if 'away' isn't far.  We billed it as a chance to explore our new town.  It turned out, that we also got to learn a little about each other as well.  New town.  New job.  New surroundings.  Life just changes you, doesn't it?  Sometimes, I don't even realize how I've changed until I start explaining it to Mrs O.  It's amazing what a little conversation can do!

Note to self: Take time to make time.