Teach Your Children Well

I have been thinking a lot lately of developing a cleaning routine or schedule for when I retire.  I know some things will fall into a natural order once I begin to clean on a daily basis.  In other words, I will have to see what chores work best on which days.  Also, I’ve been remembering how my mother did her chores.  Mom had chronic, severe asthma; she had to clean daily to keep down the dust to which she was allergic.  So she would work a little while, rest a little while, and then work some more.  I have watched some home cleaning videos online and most of the “experts” do the same…work for 15-20 minutes, rest, then work again.  It seems my mother was an expert, a fact that does not surprise me.  Of course, most women of my mother’s era were experts of homemaking including, but not limited to, cleaning.  Most girls these days are not taught the art of homemaking (for it is an art), but they certainly need to be, in place of some of the useless blankety-blank stuff they are taught.

(Sidebar…Yes, I am in favor of traditional roles for men and women.  It’s the way God formed us.  The feminists think that means we believe men are better than women; we do not.  Men have certain strengths, and women have other strengths–we compliment one another.)

And since the public schools no longer teach proper home economics (cooking from scratch, sewing, cleaning, manners, etc.) it is up to mothers and grandmothers everywhere to re-assume the reins of educating our young ones.  Actually, all families schooled their own children before centralized education emerged.  “Home schooling” was not a novelty, but standard practice.  Don’t think for a minute that the school system has a vested interest in helping your young one to turn into a fine human being…most of them could care less.  They’re only looking at the numbers, like big corporations do.  Now, I am not saying everyone should yank their child out of school, indeed I am not.  We all pay taxes to help keep those public schools open, so let your child learn as much as they can there.  What I am saying is that you’re going to need to supplement the basic education little Susie gets from that public school with important lessons of your own.  How to cook from scratch, how to hand-sew, how to build a fire, how to vacuum and mop, how to wash and iron clothes, etc., etc.  These are important life skills everyone should know.  Just my opinion and I could be wrong…but I don’t think I am.

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The Clothes Make the (Wo)man

Having worked in an office setting for the last 37 years, I always needed what I call “dress” clothes.  Nothing fancy, but they had to be office appropriate; slacks, tops, shoes, skirts, etc.  I don’t have a closet full of clothes, mind you, but more than enough to get me through two weeks of work without laundering (if for some reason the washer broke or whatever).  When I retire though, I reckon 70% of that stuff can be donated, as I won’t need it anymore (–maybe 90%, if I give til it hurts).  Oh, I’ll save a pair of slacks and maybe a couple of skirts, in case of wedding/funeral/occasion/whatnot.  (Don’t say “save them for church”–I don’t go to church.**)  I think it’ll be nice, having my daily uniform consist of jeans, t-shirts, and aprons.  There was a time a few years ago when I wore long skirts every day, and I might find enjoyment in resurrecting that style again…once the heavy-duty cleaning and painting is done.  I’m simply relishing the thought that, being a stay-at-home-grandmother, my wardrobe is going to become super simple, and I am ALL about simple these days.

 

(**I believe in God, I consider myself a Christian; I simply do not attend or belong to a church.  No need to write me, or try to save my soul.  It’s already saved, thank you very much.)

The In-between Space

Currently I’m floating in what I like to think of an “in-between space”.  I have to wait to complete my application for retirement, have to wait for the first Friday in December (last working day), have to wait for a lot of things.  I’m in-between working and not working, and it’s sort of a weird place to be. Take Facebook, for example…I joined Facebook several years ago to kill time while I was waiting for something to do at the office.  As you can imagine, I have found and liked several pages pertaining to various interests.  Now however, I find myself hesitating to start following any new pages or groups.  Why?  Because I do not have an internet connection at my house.  We live in the country; internet connections are not cheap.  Besides, the spot where we live is not always conducive to cell phone service, so I’m not even sure internet service would work.  So after I retire, I’m going to have to use the wi-fi connection at my husband’s business (in town) if I want to browse around the ol’ interweb (which is a 20 minute drive one way).  Which, again, makes me hesitate to like or bookmark anything new.  I have to admit, the lack of immediate computer/internet access is one thing I will miss.

Now, on the other hand, I do not want you to think that I’ll be stuck out in the middle of nowhere.  I’m used to the 20 minute drive to town; it’s really not terrible.  Also, I reckon I won’t miss Facebook after a while because I’ll have plenty to do!  I’d rather be working on improving my home than killing time on Facebook any day!

The “lasts”

Today is my last “first day of a fall term”.  When you work at a university, as I have for the past 37 years, time is marked by the beginning and ending of terms, and the first day of every fall semester is always a major event.  I know I’ll be doing this a lot in the months to come, counting the “lasts”…the last time I do this, or the last time I do that.  I’m looking forward to them.  Yet I realize some lasts may hit me hard–the last time I unlock the office door, or the last time I leave the office–for good.  It’s all a part of making the adjustment to retired life.

Making a Plan

I’m 74 days away from never having to work again (outside the home–God willing), yet I am already formulating a plan of action for daily activities. I believe I’m one of those people who function better with a set routine. And while I plan to enjoy a leisurely retirement, I still intend to have a daily agenda. 

One of my primary goals is to get the house clean and keep it clean.  A clean house is important on many levels, not the least of which is that The Mister is allergic to dust mites, of all things.  I have not been the best housekeeper in recent years; when I have enough energy, I don’t have enough time; when I have enough time, I don’t have enough energy.  When I retire though, I can work on the house a little at a time, rest when I need to, then do a little more.  The house also needs to be painted–the inside walls, I mean.  Would you believe our house is 36 years old and the walls still have the original paint on them?  Thank goodness it’s a good neutral color! And the kitchen wallpaper…bless my poor mother. I’ll post a picture of it in a later post. This was my mother’s house before we moved in–the house was built in 1982, and the wallpaper is definitely a throwback to that era! So all that will have to come down and the walls painted. I’ve never stripped off wallpaper, but I can learn. (Luckily The Mister worked years ago as a painter/wallpaper hanger, and he knows all about that sort of thing.) I’m thinking the kitchen wallpaper-stripping/painting job will wait until next summer, when The Princess (i.e. granddaughter) can help me. The rest of the rooms though, I could start on as soon as December. The great thing about retirement is having flexibility to do what I want when I want.

Retiring is Hard Work

Last Friday afternoon (8/10) I told The Boss I had decided to retire at the end of the year.  If he was surprised he hid it well.  He wanted to make sure I was retiring because I want to, and not because of something bad happening in the office.  Not sure why he asked that, unless it’s a legal thing.  *shrug*  Anyway, he and I had a nice little chat, and that was that…the beginning of the end, per se.  On Monday morning (8/13) I told the next two people in line over me, and then sent out an email to my co-workers.  There were some “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO” reactions, but no one has threatened me with bodily harm if I try to leave….yet.

Now I’m busy making lists, trying to remember everything that needs doing before I leave in December.  I think I have most of the work I do well documented, (to assist whoever takes over for me) but I still need to review all of the directions for all the jobs.  I’ve got to officially apply for retirement at the state level, but I can do that online.  I’m so afraid I’ll forget to do something important (like apply to start receiving a pension check!), but I know it’s just a simple case of nerves.  There’s a check-off list I have to schlep around to various departments; people have to verify that I don’t have any outstanding bills and such, but I won’t need to do that for a couple of months. The Mister and I have decided to get our own medical, dental, and vision insurance rather than take what’s offered through my (soon-to-be) former employer, so those plans must be in effect by January 1, 2019.  At this point though, there’s just a lot of waiting involved.  Even at this early stage though let me tell you, retiring is hard work.  Now I know why some people just keep working–in some ways it’s a lot easier!

My Dream Job

(Note: I wrote this in September of 2017.  Here we are, only one year later, and my dream job is very near.  God is good, all the time!)

What is your dream job?  Often we ask young children what they want to be when they grow up.  They respond with whatever is on their mind at the time–ballerina, fireman, farmer, a mommy, a teacher.  I never knew what to say.  Even in high school, nearing graduation day, I would simply respond with, “I don’t know.”  I had no desire to obtain a college degree, neither did my parents encourage me that direction.  I think their intent for me was to get a job and get a husband.  We’re talking about the 1980, folks, when not every high school graduate HAD to have a college degree to get ahead in life.  But no, I never really wanted to be anything specific.

It would be many years after The Mister and I married when I suddenly realized that I finally knew what my dream job was…a HOUSEWIFE!

You read that right, I want to be a housewife.

You have to realize, I’ve been working (outside the home) full-time for 35 years.  It’s been my job that provided The Mister and me with health, dental, and vision insurance.  It’s been my job that put food on the table and clothes on our backs when The Mister was disabled and could not work for 10 years.  And believe me, even on bad days, I thank God for my job; I really do.  But I long for the day when I’ll be able to retire and stay home.  To be able to keep my house clean…cook the meals and have dinner on the table when The Mister comes home…to not have to wait for the weekend to have time to get the laundry done.  I would have time to start sewing again!!  Oh, it makes me smile simply thinking of those things!  Some of you are thinking I’m weird and old fashioned, but I don’t care.

Realistically though, that is probably not going to happen anytime soon, if ever.  It just doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me to do that.  So what do I do?

I don’t need to pray about this; God already knows my heart.  He knows about my dream job.  Heck, he knew about it before I did–he knows everything, man!  I reckon he could easily make it happen for me…IF it was meant to be.  But it’s important to remember that sometimes God says NO.  God is in control of everything, and there’s a good reason he denies us–reasons that we may never know.  (That’s where trusting God comes into the picture.)  And sometimes too, God’s “no” only means “NOT YET”.  Maybe I need this level of human interaction that my job provides, that I would probably otherwise not get.  Maybe I wouldn’t be as active as a housewife as I think I would.  Maybe we couldn’t live as cheaply as I think we could on one salary.

God knows everything, man.  He sees everything that’s going to happen in our lives, and I think he tries to put us in good places beforehand to prepare for the circumstances that are coming together at this very moment.  Sometimes we fight God and end up someplace…well, not so nice.  Someplace we would never have seen if only we had allowed God to guide us…when he said NO.

That’s why it’s important to listen to God, man.  It’s fine to read the bible and pray and sing hymns and all that other stuff.  But we also need to just shut up and be still sometimes, and wait for God.  You may not hear his voice, but I bet you’ll feel his answer in your heart.

So what am I going to do because God told me no?  I’m going to be content where I’m at.  I thank God every day that I have a good job, and a good boss, and good co-workers.  And if God feels that I should continue working outside the home until I die, then that’s what I’m going to do.  Because like any good father, he usually knows what’s best for me.

Philippians 4:11-13English Standard Version (ESV)

11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.