To be retired or not to be retired ?

The title refers to my decision to retire from my current position after 20 + years of service. It’s not as if I don’t like my job (although, I don’t) it’s not that I have more than enough saved to live comfortably without depending on Social Security (which I don’t) it’s just that I am able to retire and get the heck out of the place, something I’ve wanted to do since before I even began. I’ll talk more about that once I’ve officially left the establishment for which I have toiled these many years. That way I can’t be punished for any “secrets” I may reveal.

Of course, since I’ve made my decision to retire, the stock market has gone down, prices have gone up and up and up and I’m afraid, no way else to put it. Actually, there are many other ways to put it but I will not go into politics…at this time. What I will go into is whether I will need to work a part time job two or three days a week to keep up with inflation. Since I just went grocery shopping yesterday, I’ll begin with food.

Groceries: My current position is with the Food & Beverage department at a local college, consequently I haven’t been overly concerned about food because I eat for free while at work, usually at least two meals a day. After my divorce 14 years ago, I’ve lived alone and only go grocery shopping once every four to six weeks, spending about $175.00 per visit, obviously this is about to go up. With this in mind, I stuck to my list more than usual, coming in at $167.00, (with a $20 book, love to read) leaving out various unnecessary items such as Spam (for the first time in decades) because everyone knows that the stuff is loaded with substances that are not good for you or anything else for that matter and of course…the price has gone up. Even though I’ve bought nothing but turkey Spam or “Spam lite” (I laughed out loud the first time I saw it on the shelf) in recent years, a person in their sixties should not be eating any kind of Spam (sniff). I also cut back on candy, only purchasing one bag of M&M peanut butter and one bag Reese’s dark chocolate “Thins”. I did buy the usual eggs (up $2.00 a dozen from a year ago. About the only thing that hasn’t gone up in recent memory is Carmex lip balm, still $2.84 for three). As all of us meat eaters know, anything that at one time walked, crawled or swam has gone through the roof of the chicken coop. A package of thinly sliced pork chops, a package of ground up dead animal and two packages of ground up dead animal stuffed into an intestine (UMMM) were my only selections from that aisle. After visiting the produce section, I headed to the checkout area to find only two registers open (it’s like the old joke “how many tellers does your bank have? Seven, except when it’s busy, then they have one”) Checking out didn’t take as long as anticipated, probably because I didn’t switch lines when the other one seemed to be moving faster, something I usually do and almost always regret, as inevitably the person in front of me finds some way of bringing the proceedings to a halt.

On the way home I stopped for gas and we all know how that’s been going lately.

Stayed tune for further updates on retirement:

Up until the past 20 years, my employment history was pretty spotty, mostly because after working at something for a couple of years, I’d get bored and move on to something else, oft times, nothing for a while as I enjoyed doing nothing for awhile. Which was fine when I was in my 20’s and living with my parents, not so much when they got a divorce and sold the house I’d been living in rent free. First, I moved in with my mother, which didn’t last long, then I moved in with my father and brother, sleeping on the couch of their shabby 2 bedroom apartment, while looking for the next big thing, which turned out to be working the overnight shift in a group home for developmentally challenged adults. This lasted about three weeks and ended after a night of being chased around the house by one of the clients and then chasing another (naked) client around the yard at daybreak, hoping that none of the neighbors had small children who rose early to play in the adjacent yards. When I finally managed to get the middle-aged man back in the house, two things happened. One, the phone rang, two, the smoke detector went off, scaring the clients and allowing the naked man to again escape and frolic once more around the yard. The voice on the other end of the line identified himself as the “executive director” and proceeded to ask me where I’ve been as he has been calling for the past half hour. I briefly explained what I was doing before saying “I gotta go” to which he replied “do not hang up on me” which of course, I did.

The executive director fired me later that morning, which was fine by me. More on my pre-final gig employment history at another time.

I’ve been using up quite a bit of vacation time since I decided to retire and would’ve used more until it was confirmed by H.R. that unused vaca-time, unlike unused sick time (of which I have 900 hours) will be paid to me in my last check.

Other than playing a few rounds of golf with my son and posting these words on my blog, I haven’t been doing much. A little extra cleaning of the apartment, and a lot of day time TV, which as we all know, has changed (for the good) over the years. No longer is one stuck with talk shows, game shows and soaps, although they are still available, as are reruns of pretty much everything from “Law & Order” to “That girl” to “Perry Mason” the latter of which is on at least 5 times per day, sometimes I tune in just to see what car Mr. Mason is driving, my favorite is the Caddy convertible he had in the first season, my dream car, which I probably couldn’t afford to drive in this era of $5.00 a gallon gas !!

One disturbing aspect of the different shows that I watch is the number of commercials seemingly aimed at a certain age group. These include laxatives, hearing aids, walk-in bathtubs (the Jacuzzi tub is the one I’d go with), hair replacement supplies, knee, ankle, elbow etc braces, as well as dozens of prescription drugs I’ve never heard of for ailments I’ve never heard of, all with side-effects that sound far worse than whatever ailment it is supposed to treat. “can cause swelling of the tongue and severe diarrhea” (among many, many other side effects). On the bright side, the tongue swelling will prevent eating, thus reducing the chance of diarrhea, a clear win-win scenario if there ever was one.

After spending a good part of the prior three days playing phone tag with the people who manage my retirement account, I finally set up a payment plan. $1000.00 a month after taxes until the well runs dry, which should bring me into the 70’s and leave me with Social Security, definitely will need a part time job and hopefully one of my offspring will have a house with a spare bed and bathroom by then. Or maybe I’ll be dead by then, it’s interesting getting old (er), I’ve been recalling incidents long forgotten, such as when I was about 9, my grandparents took my older brother and I shopping for new shoes and a winter coat. The coats were gray with a black fur collar, beyond embarrassing at school, we felt like mini-grandpas, all that was missing was his black fedora (which I claimed after his death and still have). The shoes were also mini-grandpa black lace-ups that just wouldn’t break in, hurt like hell, luckily there were new houses going up in our neighborhood, accompanied by lots of dirt, which turned to mud after a good rain, perfect for sucking the hated shoes right off my feet, lost in the quagmire, gone forever. “honest mom, they just came right off”.

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