My wife is retiring Friday. She’s just retiring from her job — not from being my wife (although Lord knows why she’s put up with me this long).
For the past month she’s been counting down the days. This morning she has two days and a wake-up. She’s actually going into her office Friday, but I’d be surprised if much work gets done. I’ve been invited to a farewell reception at 4:00 in the afternoon, so they’ll all be knocking off early for that. And with all the packing up, office-hopping for farewell hugs and such, I don’t expect she’ll break a sweat.
I’m actually pleased that she can retire. She’s worked hard over the years — as a teacher, a design consultant for a carpet company, a short stint as a church secretary (we called her The Church Lady), and for the past 12 years in customer service. She deals with stress better than I do. Perhaps that’s how she’s put up with me for nearly 32 years.
I expect adjustments will be forthcoming. As you might know, I work from an office in our home. I have my routines. I check in on Good Morning America, read the local paper, fix breakfast and a large pot of coffee, which I sip on most of the morning.
I crank up my computer, check e-mail, Facebook and national news. I pore over notes, from which I write stories. I post some of them to our Web page and file others for our print issue.
The house is relatively quiet. The cats may create an occasional ruckus and the garbage collectors rattle down the streets on Wednesday morning. My reveries are interrupted at least once a day by the FedEx or UPS truck. But for the most part, I am undisturbed.
How will that change with Pat in the house? Will I be tempted to join her in the den to watch the latest episode of The View? Will Oprah interrupt my creative impulses late in the afternoon? Will the Kardashians interfere with my conference calls? NO! NO! No way on God’s green earth will that ever happen.
I have a door to my office. I can insulate myself from the din from the den, so to speak.
I’ve suggested that Pat can prepare lunch every day when I’m in the office and not traveling across the Southwest in search of timely, reliable information about Southwest agriculture. She was less than enthusiastic about that opportunity.
I am hopeful, however, that from time to time she will accompany me on my jaunts across the region. She’s never been to Lubbock, Amarillo, Altus, or many of the other places I frequent frequently. I’d like to show her the Southwest I know, out where real people live and work, and introduce her to the folks who make my work so much more than just a job. They’re going to love her.
I want her to see the canyons, the rocky outcrops, the rivers that have no water in them. I’d like for her to see the roadrunners chasing bugs along Highway 380 on the way from Denton to Post. Maybe we can catch a flight of sandhill cranes creating an off-white island in an emerald field of wheat. I want to show her the Southwest I’ve come to know and appreciate over the last 12 years.
I also expect her to take over the cooking duties.
It’s been convenient over the past decade for me to cook when I’m not on the road. She works in Dallas and has to fight traffic going and coming, so I cook. I’m not good at it, but I manage. I look forward to better food.
But mostly I just look forward to her being around more. She’s good company. And I’ll enjoy the opportunity of having lunch with her most days — even if she doesn’t fix it.
Congrats Pat. You deserve it.