Sunday 3 January 2010

Help! I have a newly retired husband?

Suggestions in the comments box below, please.

Cups of tea appear beside my laptop at regular intervals, with a biscuit balanced on the saucer and his 'next new project' to be discussed. My husband has retired from work. It's not that he doesn't support my writing, it's just that he's there... all the time. I used to be able to stare at the window for an hour or more if an idea needed thinking through, or sit at the computer all day if the ideas were flowing. Now we have lunch at lunch time, a set routine to the day and he's trying out things in the kitchen. A few weeks ago it was the making of pastry. Every afternoon my cups of tea arrived with tarts of varying texture and colour placed on the saucer. By the end of the week he was moderately satisfied with his dough technique but issued threats that trials would begin again just as soon as I'd bought more flour. He's a determined man. This week he cleaned out the kitchen cupboards. Yes, yes, I can hear you all slapping your cheeks in envy and amazement but, no, it's not as wonderful as it sounds. I can't find a thing.

It was the right time for Rod to retire. He struggled through last year trying to get into work while he was on the Valcade chemotherapy treatment. When he was not well enough for work he lay around feeling guilty. Even he agrees that he's earned a well-deserved rest. At the moment he's halfway through a course of Melphalan taken at home in pill form. As I commented in an earlier post, thankfully he's tolerating it quite well. He's been out walking Josh the dog most days and that's my benchmark for his fitness level.

Which brings me to another problem linked with his retirement. I hardly ever walk the dog anymore. I'm becoming increasingly unfit and I've put on weight. I could go with him but this way I get a full hour's concentrated writing time. I do miss the people. Dog walking is good for writers. There are so many fascinating characters on the park. If you have a dog they always want to stop and chat and there's often a whole pageful of incidents and observations to jot down in my notebook when I get home.

Of course I still walk Josh when Rod is having a bad chemo day but as I no longer walk him regularly I'm out of the routine. It's a real ordeal to have to pull on all those layers of clothing and go out, especially on a cold winter's morning. Josh is a big dog. He pulls me along on the ice and he always prefers to walk across the muddiest fields on the park. But as soon as I'm out there on my favourite field, surrounded by frost covered trees and birdsong, I feel totally exhilerated... Yes, you're right. Tomorrow I'll go with him. The writing will just have to wait.