Our Chef for Today Has Just Retired

Being retired is a good thing for most of us. It's a mysterious world at first... filled with spaces of time which can be confusing. What to do with this afternoon or that evening? Many of us struggle to find meaning in days where Monday is no different than Saturday. How can this be?

We go through phases. Where is the alarm clock? Why do I have an alarm clock? Do I need an alarm clock? Can I hit the alarm clock with a hammer? You get where I'm going here. Things change. Schedules change. Those stubborn habits of ours have to change and in time, they do.

These changes happen right down to our core but some of them seem more resistant than others. The clock is a good example. We no longer have a clock in our room. We have a thermometer or at least that's what Mr. S says. It's on his side of the bed and I can't see well enough to know if there's a clock in there. He's sneaky like that. The only time we bring a REAL alarm clock into the room is when we have an early morning appointment. The clock is necessary because we now sleep until our bodies wake us up.

Mr. S has a body that wakes him up early. At that time he gets rid of built-up fluids and then heads for his recliner. Before settling in, he takes time to drink some water and turn on the coffee pot for me. Then he snorts and snores and snorks until I wake him up by mistake or his internal The Price is Right alarm goes off.

Grover and I are up about 8 am. I give Grover a treat, then he jumps and nests on the sleeping giant. I try to remain quiet and work at my computer. I wonder at times why Grover gets a treat for waking up and then remember my coffee.

So it goes. Each day seems much the same as the others but there are certain parts of our lives which change. A doctor appointment? Nope, that is not satisfying friends but we do it anyway. It is a pain in the patootie to get poked and prodded. Kids coming by? Well of course we love that but they go away. Television? You can only sit for just so many hours before you get what I call recliner butt.

It's the process of eating that keeps us going. It's at the very heart of being alive and is often recreation for the retired. If you are lucky enough to have money for groceries... you're blessed and you've got work to do. How can it get better? Most of our lives are all about planning meals, shopping, reading recipes, trading food stories with friends and most critically... who is the doing the cookin'?

What would our days be like without this set of chores? No matter what your home situation is, there's an additional factor. “Whose night is it to cook?” is a question that will always be greeted with more happiness than, “Is is your day to shower?” or the ever-popular, “It's the day we clean the bathrooms.” Being chef du jour is far more enjoyable than using rubber gloves and Clorox in the dark caverns of your toilets.

This may sound weird, but there are days around here when I don't want to cook. Cooking has become my retired life's work and there are days when I want to retire from that job. In fact, I think retiring for the day is OK but you need to practice honesty. If you promise your beloved homemade macaroni and cheese in the morning and wait until 3:30 in the afternoon to announce that the mac and cheese has turned into a tuna sandwich... well, friends, that's what we call cheating.

Yes, I admit to having done this, but I did put chopped scallion, fresh lemon and dill pickle relish in the tuna. A promise made in the Geezer Tribe is a debt unpaid. It should be noted that Mr. S has done this to me on several occasions because he is a rascal and I forgive him. We trade day off credits. He redeems himself by cooking in the Man Kitchen and giving me extra days off. In a home where going out for dinner is unheard of... this is a deal.

We are the lucky ones. We can still eat and take great joy from simple food.

This is a gift to be treasured... no matter who cooks.

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