I am, like, 100% officially retired. No daily job reporting, no conference calls, no site visits (well, at least not in the traditional sense … more about that later), so aside from letting Sheila know what I’m doing every day, my time is actually my own to squander as I see fit. So why does it seem that I’m always busy and never able to get to the “things” I should be doing?
Yes, yes, yes … being generally disorganized plays into that predicament. Sheila has recently begun to realize that she made a life mistake by marrying me, as my rapidly deteriorating appearance and general slovenly demeanor takes over. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration of sorts, but it gives the impression of the point I was trying to convey to y’all. (did you see how I slipped some Georgia in there? “Y’all”) (I keep telling Sheila that I’m all Georgia now, but she doubts that) (y’all)
Anyway, on to the topic(s) at hand, most importantly, time management. I start my day early, generally we’re awake by 5 am (yup, both of us, it’s one of our odd similarities in personal habits), so I have a good jump on the day. Of course, the first thing we do is have coffee in bed (first one up brings coffee to the other), then listen to our morning music mixes (usually, female jazz vocalists, sometimes classical) while we sit on the deck watching the day come alive. We have super cool bull frogs that make great sounds, mixing with bird chirping and other nature arising, so we love the deck time each morning.
Usually, by 7 am, showering and other personal grooming habits have been accomplished, so we’re ready for the day. This is where I start to run into organizational issues … Sheila still works and therefore still has responsibilities to fulfill each day, whereas I start to mentally process all of the things I’d like to get done. I ponder these over another cup of coffee while I do my daily anal-retentive checking of our banking status. That occasionally leads to me finding an inverted figure, like $39.46 instead of $39.64 (no, never a big $ amount, always some little stupid thing like that). Of course, I don’t find that until I’ve wander down the wormhole for maybe 45 minutes or so, all over $0.18 cents.
Oh, look,at that, it’s 9:30!
Uh-oh, 9:30 is when I bring Sheila a mid-morning snack if she is working from home (somewhat frequent if she is writing reports or researching). A snack can be homemade oatmeal (she LOVES banana-brown sugar, all fresh, naturally). Sheila will take 15 mins to snack and chat before getting back to work. After eat-chatting is over, oops … need to do the dishes and put everything away. That usually includes making sure our two dogs (the big nice one and the little crazy stupid one) go out, even though Bella, the big one, has been through the dog door about 40 times already.
On the deck I can find any of a variety of distractions … watering our beautiful plants (Sheila has been keeping a white poinsettia alive since Christmas!), making sure the birds have seed (because, you know, the forest behind our house doesn’t provide them enough of nature-derived nutrition), and usually, sitting down for a few with the dogs, just because I can … I’m retired!
Wow, 11:00 already … I’ve been up for 6 hours and haven’t done a thing that was mandatory … that means I need to start considering what to give Sheila for lunch. You see, that was my deal with her … while she is working I’ll do the cooking and shopping, it’s only fair since I have the time (hmm, or do I?). After lunch, a much more complicated affair than it needs to be due to my, well, being me, a cleanup and before you know it, it’s 1:30.
The rest of the day follows, more or less, that same type of pattern. Sure, there are music days when I have a studio full of musicians to deal with, and there are days when I go get manhandled by my physical therapist for a back-related issue, or other times when I may go with friends to the local firing range for gun handling training (yes, my mortified northern friends, I am learning to shoot), but overall, once dinner rolls around, my day is shot.
Now, I’m not expecting any one to feel sorry for me … I’m doing things I enjoy, I’m with my beautiful wife many times during the course of the day, frequently get to see the grandkids who live directly across the street, have almost zero stress (except for that darn $0.18!!!) and I’m in a gorgeous country home in northern Georgia. Nope, I expect no sympathy.
Things will change at some point in the not too distant future when Sheila retires. I’ve got a few years on her, so she is a little behind on the retirement schedule, but once she pulls the trigger I think things WILL change. Sheila is extraordinarily task-oriented … once she wants to start a project it gets started, and completed, without a lot of dilly-dallying around (I don’t think “dilly-dally” is a Georgia thing, but I’m not sure). That’s one of the character traits that make her somewhat accomplished at her job, and it’s also one of the most puzzling things regarding me … why, you ask, would she hitch herself to a disorganized mess like me?
One of the things we have just recently started to do is to sell some of the wildly cool stuff Sheila has gathered over the years at various auctions, estate sales and other public “come-buy-my-junk” sales. The difference with Sheila is that she actually knows what is good and what is junk, so we have some crazy neat stuff, mostly mid-century modern or older, that she has collected over these past several years. We just set up an Etsy shop online (VintageGoodesShop) to begin to market some of her treasures, and we expect to have it fully operational in the next month or so. I believe the hipsters nowadays call that a “side hustle”. The only hustle I remember was “Do the Hustle”, the disco tune by Van McCoy from 1975, and I want NOTHING to do with that!
My daughter, Laura, has been complicit in Sheila leaning in this direction. Laura has been in the vintage reselling business for several years, and it’s her full time job now (her part-time unpaid job is being our re-sale “consultant” LOL). Look for her online, all over the place, under “Vintage PussyCat Shop” or just go to her website for her Shops link.
In order to sustain a vintage reselling business, we’re going to need to re-stock pretty regularly. We have started, over the past 6 months in particular, attending estate sales with places that appear, on the surface at least, to have mid-century modern (MCM for the uninitiated) styles. Then it’s really a question of whether it’s quality goods, or just old junk. That’s where Sheila comes in, she has this uncanny knack for finding value in the oddest things. Something I would assume to be junk cosmetic jewelry she recognizes as high-valued, collectible, desired work. When all I see is a crummy old sweater, Sheila finds a designer item worth a ton of money. I don’t know how she does that, but it happens all of the time. Every rare once in a while Sheila may make a bad decision , but it’s really rare.
Attending these estate sales is a bit of an awakening; we wander through someone’s home, looking at all of their personal effects and deciding which, if any, of the items are worthy of our attention. It is odd to look through some guys ties and say, “This is nice, this is no good, that’s ugly, I’ll keep,this one, we’re selling that one” and so on as you sort through their belongings. In a way, it’s an invasion of their privacy to some extent, and it can be disconcerting.
Stranger still, we go to some estate sales that were “hoarder homes”. You know, those places you see on the 6 o’clock news or on DateLine or 60 Minutes. Piles and piles of … stuff … don’t know what else to call it … amassed in some persons home in a widely varying level of disarray. Sometimes it is just a pure volume issue, others exhibit horrendous housekeeping, some are down-right disgusting.
We try not to judge when we do these site visits (see, I didn’t forget to specify the earlier “site visit” reference … yea for me!!) because, “There but for the Grace of God, go I”. The justification for any one individual to live a life far different than mine is not mine to deem acceptable. We just do our best to look at what is there, make a decision whether it’s something we might find a use for (whether that be personal or reselling), and then move on. If it’s just too gross to go into the home, we simply walk away (we have found that if the event promoters/organizers are wearing masks, it makes good sense to just avoid it all together).
As Sheila edges closer to being retired I expect that some of my daily aimlessness will be properly corralled. But to be fair, she’s got a few focus issues herself, many times heading into a room for a specific thing and getting sucked into the vortex of “look at this cool thing!!!”. When that happens, she can get pulled away from her original goal and into a new thing really easy. Remember when I said, above, that Sheila is “task-oriented … once she wants to start a project it gets started, and completed, without a lot of dilly-dallying around”? Well, that assumes she doesn’t get side-tracked by some excessive coolness that she just uncovered!
Laura is happy happy happy to have another person to commiserate with about reselling. Laura is way ahead of where we are, or likely will ever be, in the vintage reselling world, and she is actively encouraging Sheila to get into the biz on a more permanent basis. Sheila has to keep reminding Laura, “You know, we’re trying to retire, not starting a new career!”
I never expected, when I started my “new life”, to experience the friendship between Sheila & Laura. Their common bonds and interests are somewhat incredible, a gift I never expected!
I am busy every single day, whether it’s purposeful or unintentional. It can be as simple as house chores, or shipping out vintage finds to buyers, or playing music, or attending Carter’s ball games, or any of many other great things. I’m more blessed than I ever imagined I would be!