We’re in the midst of a huge transition at our house, and for a change it has nothing to do with Catherine’s stages of growth.
On Wednesday, Basil retired from 35 years with the US Postal Service, leaving his official badge and 15-lb. keyring behind.
I will no longer be able to hand him birthday packages for nieces and nephews to mail from work (after driving around with them in the back of his car for a day or two). Or text him to bring home stamps.
We also will no longer endure the 3:30 am alarm clock, his ridiculously early bedtime, calls at all hours of the day and night because someone is sick, a letter carrier was in a traffic accident, the building alarm has gone off … yet again.
And yet, it comes with growing pains. We’re not sure what the next chapter will bring. He needs a good long break, for sure, after which he’ll need to find some way to keep busy and help pay the tuition bills that will start arriving on our doorstep next year.
Meanwhile, however, it’s been just one day and I might have to run away.
After sleeping in to the ripe old time of 7 am yesterday, he was up and at ’em, under foot in the kitchen, asking if I wanted to go out for pancakes.
Um, no. Someone in this house still has to work.
I’ve been working from home this week, so after I settled in at the dining room table, he joined me.
And talked the whole time he worked his way through a pile of mail that had accumulated there.
“Don’t you get house-atosis?” he asked, while I typed away on the laptop.
Um, no. Working.
He finally went out and about for the day, treated himself to a movie (and came home with savings cards for all three of us), went to his mom’s for lunch, spent time at the library, ran some errands and returned home late in the afternoon, letting Catherine practice her driving on the way home from SAT prep class.
Then he joined me at the table again and read me the entire paper.
And sections of New York magazine.
(Thank God working in a newsroom for 20+ years taught me how to block out noise and activity. Shh. Don’t tell him, though.)
Later in the day when I mentioned I would be going food shopping today, he pouted when I didn’t invite him to join me. (I know better: if he tags along, it will take forever to get done, and he won’t stick to the list.)
I stumbled on yet another sticking point when I returned from teaching Jazzercise: The TV remote is no longer mine and mine alone. After years of choosing my own primetime lineup, I was last night treated to the bunny hop of TV viewing — a little “Big Bang Theory” mixed with “Law & Order SVU,” punctuated by random acts of searching just as I would start to settle in to a plot line.
Clearly, some training is in order.
Meanwhile, Catherine declared, “Dad, you’re going to be like Mr. Crabs from Spongebob. He retired and did everything he wanted to do in two days. Then he was bored.”
Nope. That won’t happen.
The legal pad-sized honey-do list awaits.