Tag Archives: empty-nest

Exit Stage Left

The old saying—and the old tee-shirt—that advises that, “He who dies with the most toys wins” is totally wrong.

At some point in the not-too-distant future, my youngest will be off to college, I will retire, and my wife and I plan on moving to a smaller house. So now, I’ve got to figure out what to do with my eclectic, but vast, collection of treasures–before it’s time to move.

A few things have sold on eBay, but eBay has apparently lost its magic. Things either don’t sell, or sell at an embarrassingly low price (i.e., not worth the trouble to list it, pack it up, and ship it). Therefore, Goodwill thinks we’re their very best friends based on the number of donations.

I’m asking the kids what they want (If they don’t want it when you’re alive, why think they’ll want it once you’re dead—or moved?). The rest, that won’t fit into a smaller house, is too good to throw away or donate, but I have absolutely no idea what to do with it.

I’ve contemplated getting a Recreational Vehicle and spending my retirement years driving around the country and having a tag sale at each place where we stop. Another option would be to have an estate sale “due to a death in the family.” While it might seem slightly disingenuous, if I have the dog “play dead” I might be able to claim that it fits through a loophole. He’s family—more or less.

I could get three of those portable storage pods. That would take care of moving into the smaller house. When I actually die, (Heh, heh, heh!) I’d have one delivered to each of my kids’ homes so they would have to figure out what to do with the stuff all the treasures.

If you had ever seen their rooms when they were teenagers, you’d understand the subtle message and irony.

Murphy’s Law and Aging

Bob came into work the other morning, looking more unhappy than I’d ever seen him before; naturally I asked him why he looked so glum.

“I’ve worked hard all my life,” he began. “You know that as well as anyone. We cut corners and pinched pennies. We managed to raise three kids, giving them whatever support we believed to be important. They all graduated from college and their careers are all off to a good start—a real good start, if I do say so myself.

“For years, it was Burger-Helper, buying used cars that we then kept for ten or twelve years, and foregoing vacations. Neither my wife nor I minded; it was for the family. But after the kids had grown, we sold the house and moved into a brand new home. We designed it ourselves; it was a smaller place ideally suited to a couple. It had a beautiful master bedroom suite. The kitchen was equipped with professional level appliances—larger cooking area, smaller eating area.

“We enjoy cooking gourmet meals together—it gives us a great chance to just chat, so after slicing, dicing, and sautéing together, we’d sit together in the smaller dining area which seemed, well, romantic. Outdoor cooking is just as fantastic. The patio is built around a grilling system complete with mini-refrigerator, wine cooler, and a sink with hot and cold running water. All the things we had given up for so many years, we could now plan on enjoying: a beautifully aged, well-marbled steak accompanied by a lobster, gourmet cheese, a stuffed baked potato, freshly home-baked bread, fine wine, exquisite desserts and for me, with the political climate changing, perhaps even an after dinner Cuban cigar.”

“That all sounds wonderful,” I offered, “so why so sad?”

Bob took a deep breath. “I went in for a ‘routine’ medical visit—the ones I had often tended to skip for financial reasons in the past. The doctor ran all the fancy lab work and such, and then called asked me to stop back in for the results. That worried me of course. Fortunately it wasn’t to tell me I had cancer or whatever.”

“Then what was it?” I asked. At this, Bob sobbed.

“He told me all the years of eating cheap food had taken its toll. Forget the steak and shellfish—too high in cholesterol. The French advise ‘either cheese or dessert.’ My doctor says ‘neither cheese nor dessert.’ Bread and potatoes have too many carbohydrates, and I don’t have to tell you about the lecture I received about starting to smoke at my age.”

“Wow!” I replied. “You must have been devastated!”

“That’s not the worst of it,” Bob replied. “He said, ‘Guys your age all think they should be able to enjoy wine, women, and song. Go easy on the wine. You have a wonderful wife, so it’s woman
not
women, and, by the way, if you want to keep her—since I’ve heard you sing—I’d suggest you limit your singing to church.”