Thursday, August 2, 2007

Making a House a Home

Okay. So this morning Hub and I began recycling this same conversation that keeps coming up so frequently in the last few weeks. Hub is searching for a way to find motivation in his retirement; an environment where all has changed and all is different.

There are no longer defined tasks. There are no promotions, no monetary rewards, and often no verbal accolades. So, in his attempts to come to grips with a lifetime of working as a Big Boss in the workplace, every once in a while he sinks into the muck of ‘why do I groom my lawn if it is only for sporadic visitors and a few close neighbors?’

And it’s a good point. With retirement we are suddenly out of our element. We have moved beyond the corporate world of competition and tangible rewards. And that sudden jerk in our reality has left us bereft of the purpose, meaning, and motivation that life once had.

So in desperation, and I do believe this IS desperation, he looks at the lawn and says to me, “If one of my old girlfriends happened to stop by, I could not let her see my lawn looking like this!”…and then away he goes to groom the yard.

I laugh, but finally this morning, I said. “That ‘old girlfriend’ thing you so often use for motivation has me stymied. So first I have to ask, When are you expecting her to come?”

He laughs and says, “That’s just the problem, I don’t know.”

I laugh too. And secondly I say, “I have to ask, if you go into a really clean spotless house or a well manicured yard, do you think more of those who live there?”

He was totally honest. “No,” he said. “I don’t. But I definitely think a whole lot less of those who don’t make an effort.”

That was a response agreeable to me. So that settles the yard issue, so I already knew where we would be going next – to the house discussion. And I was right. I’ve got pretty good intuition after all the years I’ve spent with this man. But its not all old hat, because usually with the expected comes some kind of new surprise. The surprise was I found his comments on the house agreeable as well.

“I like a clean house,” he said. “But I like it to reflect that it is lived in, that it is a comfortable home. Like my Mom’s always was. Neat and tidy, but homey with that bit of knitting by her chair, recipe magazines near at hand, and some extra cake in the pan on the counter.”

So there you have it – free advice from the Expert…on how to find motivation to groom the lawn and how to make a house a home.

So in conclusion, I guess I won’t be dusting or vacuuming today. I just realized there are cookies on the counter but there is no knitting by the chair.


Pauline said...

I like Hub -

You two sound like a happy pair. When he's done the lawn there, send him down. And if you want company for knitting and tea, I'll mosey on up :)

Joy Des Jardins said...

You two seem to know exactly what you're doing. Not withstanding the normal minor irritation or flaw...whatever formula you have works; and I love reading about it.

Roberta S said...

Hi pauline, that would be so much fun. We'll tour the garden and have some beet tops, maybe borscht with loads of fresh dill and new potatoes and peas drenched in butter and we'll talk about all those aspects of poetry that are such a mystery to me. And then we'll sit on the deck, and chant poetry in grand fashion. Then we'll wind up the evening with Hub's "40% fortified rhubarb wine." Sounds like the best kind of day to me.

Whoops...too much said. Now everyone will want to come.

Roberta S said...

Hi joy, obviously if pauline and I are going to chant poetry, we'll need your presence as well. (I bet you even do awesome rap when no one is listening.)

I'm glad you enjoy reading about the truly mundane situations in my non-exciting existence. Thanks for visiting and helping me believe that somewhere in my crazy rants are things to be enjoyed.

Matty said...

Get the house clean....just think at any moment an old boyfriend could walk up the path! And make sure the Expert has the lawn mowed.
Have a good weekend.

Roberta S said...

matty, obviously in this kind of environment the thought has crossed my mind that an old boyfriend could walk up the path. But somehow it doesn't matter to me whether all is tidy or if I'm in a total houk (mess) long as I am smiling and I will be fact, I'll be laughing my fool head off. :D

Dick said...

There is, of course, a serious issue underpinning this thoughtful little meditation, Roberta: demotivation in retirement. Such is the suffocating pressure of work culture that when it's suddenly lifted by retirement the couple whose joint lives have been subject to it for so long become completely disorientated. Compounded by empty nest blues when the final offspring fly away, it can be devastating.

Clearly not the case with you two! But what a tragedy for those for whom the adhesive in the relationship has been for so long the routines of work & family.

Sorry - that was a rather sombre note after so positive a post!

Roberta S said...

Don't be apologizing, Dick. I like to believe a light-hearted rant can provoke thoughts about more serious issues.

So a hearty Thank You for the comment. You are very observant and it does us all well to think beyond ourselves whatever the context.