"I'm retired - goodbye tension, hello pension!" ~ Anonymous
When we wake up each morning, it is to give thanks: to see another morning sunshine; to share another meal together, being able to eat it anytime we feel hungry; to hear two pups clamoring for “walkies” in the big park just a few blocks away, to be able to cocoon in our own home; to bank social security checks on a monthly basis; to hold hands when we venture to the movie matinees; to stay in contact with friends via social media on our Nooks, Kindles, laptop and desktop computers; to share vacations and holidays with beloved family.
This was a year of change for me when I retired in June 1, 2012. For 45 years I had left home in the early dawn hours to attend school; for 16 years I had gone to an “office” job, usually working huddled in a cubicle doing the bidding of other folks. It was an amazing change to suddenly find myself free from lesson plans, multitasking, 20 minute lunch breaks, enforced schedules, bathroom breaks not on my body’s schedule but regulated by a bell system, and often meaningless tasks that did not contribute to the good of mankind.
For Will this was a year of trying to rebuild strength and restore a healthier heart rhythm. After two years of heart problems, leading to two frightening bouts of congestive heart failure, after ten years of failing joints due to egregious arthritis especially in his knees, and a general loss of agility and strength caused by the heart, the arthritis and aging in general, Will found himself unable to maintain the level of activity he had expected in his own senior years. He tried to take the pain and inactivity in stride, but often found himself frustrated and cranky.
In December we learned that he is a perfect candidate for a pacemaker which we have scheduled for a January 2 install. We hope and pray that that his incredible team of doctors are correct in that this will give him renewed energy and stamina. For him the New Year promises to bring some of the happy changes I garnered in 2012 when I retired.
We traveled three times. One was a short two day jaunt to Branson, MO to shop the outlet malls; we only stayed overnight and didn’t take in a single show. In the autumn, we traveled to Williamsburg, Virginia. Will’s sister, Wendy, flew across country to meet us and we drove through the Chesapeake Bay area, finally landing back in Annapolis at Will’s brother-in-law’s wonderful beach house directly on the bay. Unfortunately, Will’s dwindling health made the trip less successful than we had hoped, but we enjoyed the time together, watching ships sail past on the Bay while playing Hearts on the beach house veranda. Soon we will take our third trip, the annual Christmas trek to Houston. It wouldn’t be Christmas if we didn’t get to spend time with our favorite family member, Wendy.
Sweet Gus, eight going on eighty, had all his teeth except three removed during 2012. At first he was highly disgusted with both the vet and us for taking his gnawing canines, but eventually the lack of infection and pain in his mouth brought the gentle boy around. Little Luie, the blind Schnauzer, continued to bump and romp his way through life, making sure both his papa and mama got plenty of park exercise, whether they wanted it or not.
We met with many and varied doctors this year. Twice Will was hospitalized in Research. He underwent hundreds of tests. I also got my own Medicare card and chose my advantage plan. We offered up huge thanks to the Medicare Gods that continue to fund all this medical mumbo-jumbo. We joined the Research Medical Center Brookside Campus Health and Fitness Center. Will had his own physical therapist while I participated in water aerobics three times a week in the best pool in the city (water temps are never below 86 degrees). Most weeks we had at least one doctor’s appointments; often it was two or three. Still, each time we were met with more information and a clearer picture of how we should proceed.
The old pink Lincoln continued to run. The bungalow on Lydia got a foundation boost and new siding, windows, and gutters. We donated all our business clothes to the City Union Mission Thrift Store. Will happily surrendered his chef’s hat while I labored to cook three meals a day without salt. I continued to blog fairly regularly at Milly’s Muse and both Will and I have Facebook pages where we catch up with old and far-away friends. We joined our KC friends in attending a few concerts but Will’s health prevented us from our usual enjoyment of the classical music season that has bloomed in our city with the opening of the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts.
Our friends and family have been incredibly supportive during 2012 and we certainly owe them a huge “thank you” for all the love (and special dinners) they have offered up with open arms. Our doctors have worked individually and as a team to see that our health concerns are both acknowledged and acted upon. We feel incredibly lucky that we are able to go into retirement with hope that our future will be long, happy, and healthy.
Blessings, peace, joy, and keep the faith –
Will, Melissa, Gus, and Luie
September 28, 2012 – Will, Wendy, Melissa celebrating Wendy’s birthday at High Tea in Annapolis, Maryland