Bagels with peanut butter and some o’ that japaleno cream cheese

bagsnagger.jpgOne of the down sides about working full time is that I no longer have time to be “home alone”. I am only home hanging around during the day on the weekend now — that is, the weekends when I am *home* — and then I seem to have to share my house with, well, other people. People who often just kind of hoover around, not necessarily doing anything constructive. Cracking pistachio nuts. Turning the heat up to 90. Yes, really. 90. Just to get my goat. (When will she notice? Real fast, old buddy.) Playing all kinds of oddball music. ASKING ME WHAT I AM DOING!!!! Horsing around with the taxes. How much money did I make last year? Not much! (And you know it, so why can’t you just wait for the W2s so I don’t have to think/talk about it.) And talking about retirement accounts. My FAVORITE subject! I have to be perfectly fair here. The GG would probably not be discussing retirement accounts except that his ugly brother is also here hanging around. It is the weekend of the Planet Ann Arbor Folk Festival and the twinz of terror have front row seats. Along with Bill and Anne and Don and Bridget and Rich (?) and I can’t remember any more names right now. And so they are here h-a-n-g-i-n-g around, turning up the heat, playing weird music, cracking pistachio nuts, and talking about taxes and retirement accounts. And occasionally crashing out for a nap, thank the gods.

The fact that I do NOT like to talk about retirement accounts does not mean that I think retirement accounts are a bad thing. It just brings back some, well, interesting memories. I swear, my beloved father-in-law, may he rest in peace, should have gotten into the infomercial business. We’d go up to Houghton Lake for a weekend and there would be a sort of “topic” of the weekend. Like how to grow grass. Or fixing rickety, decrepit old lawnmowers. I can’t even begin to convey the number of boat/dock/hoist-related topics. The rule of 72s or 78s or whatever. Viaticals. (Remember those?) “Every housewife should know” stuff, usually about lucky-shucky. Retirement planning was probably about the most frequent topic.

The Gumper had the best of intentions. I know he worried about all of us kids and our sometimes rather wayward financial habits. He didn’t want us to end up being paupers. Heck, *I* don’t want us to end up being paupers either! Oh wait! I thought I was already a pauper! Anyway, I’m sure he thought we should be putting more money away for our dotage and he was probably right. And I knew that. Which is probably why it drove me so crazy when the subject turned to, “well, what kind of retirement plan do you have?” etc., etc., ad nauseam.

One of my favorite memories is from a summer day when the beach urchins and I stopped by the Houghton Lake cabin to visit Gumper and Sally Grandma. They were about five and seven (I mean the beach urchins, not the grandparents) and we were on our way up to Fin Family Moominbeach with my old red minivan just jammed with stuff. Clothes and books and art supplies and about a gazillion stuffed aminals. And a special delivery for Gumper that included an old rusty rake, a couple of shoe boxes, and some empty film canisters. We got to Houghton Lake and we were sitting at the kitchen table with the grandparents having a nice conversation. Until *somehow* the conversation veered dangerously into the dreaded territory of “what kind of retirement account do you have?” It was my fault. I forget what I had said but I somehow managed to start it. Lizard Breath — at *seven* — was right on it. She grabbed me and stage-whispered into my ear, “Mom! Change the talk!” Um, stop a runaway train? Hmmm. Somehow, I managed a subject change. Except that, to my astonishment, the grandparents jumped up and started emptying the refrigerator! “Here, take this [2/3rds rotten] cucumber! And how about this [slimy] green pepper!” And so on. Yawk!

It was okay. In the end it was a pretty even exchange, a rusty old rake, shoe boxes, and empty film canisters for a few rotten vegetables. I took the vegetables up to Fin Family Moominbeach and dumped them onto my uncle Don’s compost heap. Just another day in the life of Garbage Woman.

Don’t get me wrong! I miss Sally and Garth. They were wonderful parents-in-law and I always enjoyed spending time with them, especially at Houghton Lake. I know that all that retirement stuff just meant that they cared about us. And I LOVED the “every housewife should know” stuff. I wish I had that on video!

I dunno. Will we have enough money to retire on? I’m sure we could have and should have started earlier and saved more. But, on the other hand, I am nowhere near ready to retire yet. And I am *not* looking to go off and buy a condo in some hot, humid climate. The only non-vee-hickular air conditioner I ever want to deal with is that great big lake up there north of the Yoop. So we’ll see.

3 Responses to “Bagels with peanut butter and some o’ that japaleno cream cheese”

  1. Webmomster Says:

    …I could stand a *little* bit of “folks hanging around”, as long as it wasn’t interminable. The Dogz need Someone Else to pay a bit of attention to them – we are getting a little bored with each other, sort of. But!! I don’t want to have to go out to gather anyone up, either (like, if it meant getting in DGSLD and driving somewhere for hours on end, which is what I already do to go to work 🙁 ).

    As for lucky-shucky, I’ve helped The Ol’ Boy out with SO many lucky-shucky and con-de-struction and veeee-hick-you-lar prodjects that I can do a purty fair job All By Myself (then again, i guess I don’t qualify as “every housewife” either 😉 )….. assuming I have the Time and Psychic Energy 🙄 .

  2. Pooh Says:

    Just tell people that your retirement plan is buying Powerball tickets! Guaranteed to get a rise out of people who would talk about retirement plans.

  3. Webmomster Says:

    yeah, my goal is to find myself in the UP before too long … retired or otherwise…