CHAPTERS

A strange thing happened this morning. For the first time in our 34 year marriage the day after Labor Day neither my wife or I got up at ‘0 dark hundred’ to go to work. I am almost 61 and my wife is almost 58. Actually we have been rehearsing for this day for a couple of weeks now but for some reason Labor Day made it official. Yes too early in our lives not to be working, but I am not going to go into the gory details in this post.

We always knew that this day would come. The turning of a page in our book of life, the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. It is exciting.  And yet?

We have been preparing for this time in our lives for a couple of years now. Oh we will have to work as we truly cannot afford to retire but the days of killing ourselves for ‘The Man’ are over. My wife and I are planning on pursuing things that we love in life and make money along the way.

We have raised two fantastic children. One married with a child and the other unmarried and sorting out his path in life. And us? We are learning, or should I say relearning, how to be alone together in the same room. How to not necessarily fill the air with talk. That it is okay for us both to read and just be. Sometimes  one of us will look over, catch the other’s eye and will say, “What? Is everything alright?” Of course it is, we are just getting to know one another again. We made a spaghetti sauce the other day and for the first time ever I did not get out the mega pot to make a mega sauce (if we had some meat to put into it it would have been ‘gravy’) because we didn’t need a mega sauce. Our Costco membership just ran out. That became a topic of discussion. Do we really need to buy in that quantity anymore? No, we decided but aren’t ready to give it up yet. We both love the Costco Buffet. I spent a good part of the weekend in what has become my ‘happy place’ when not staring at waves at the beach, my hammock, and my wife spent her time doing art, reading, and just relearning how to chillax.

Today I was going to make a special day as it is the first one after Labor Day when she was not going to return to a classroom. But my plans changed. It was even more special than I could have ever imagined. Our daughter-in-law asked us to sit for our 6 month old, first Grandson while she and our son had to work.

Yes this new chapter in our lives is starting off just great. I can’t wait to see how the next 20 years turn out.

Deadhead1155                                                                                                                                                  September 6, 2016

 

BEAM ME UP SCOTTY.

Yesterday I thrilled you all with how my world tipped in 2015. Today my wife and I were out shopping and she made a remarkable observation concerning changes in our life.

Okay let me go back a bit and fill you in. I have been a hyper person for my whole life; a nervous person (although this doesn’t always shine through as I try to hide it). A person that is really a slob, but also someone who must have certain things neat and orderly. Everything must have its place or it screws up the Feng Shui of a room. On the other hand, I can lose something that is right in front of my face and blame it on the rest of the human race. I’m a person that has had ADHD before anyone had ever heard of it. It used to drive me nuts that while walking with my wife, in the woods, stores, beach, etc.,  I would have to slow down to her pace. She was the calming factor in my life. While the neurons in my brain were flashing here and there, setting off firework displays that would put Macy’s to shame, my wife worked for decades to slow me down so I could “smell the roses”.  Bless her for not leaving me for a Yoga instructor. I think that you have the picture.

 As I posted yesterday, our lives have changed drastically within the past year or so. It’s hard to believe that I am actually slowing down now to take in the world around me and watch the show. I don’t find it necessary to “be” the show all of the time anymore.  As John Lennon once said, “I’m just sittin’ here watching the wheels go round and round” and I find myself loving it. A work injury to my knee was the catalyst of all this change.  I see now that life is more then just working for the man to pay bills, sleeping, and starting all over again the next day.

 These days,  I  am the slow one, the one with the time to stand and figure out if an item in the grocery store really is the bargain that they want us to believe it is. I can sit on the gas line at Costco and not get aggravated at how long it is. Once the initial kick of my morning coffee wears off, I am content to lay in the hammock and read.  You can forget asking me a question, because you might just get an answer that you don’t have the time to listen to. One yarn leads to another and I am okay with this, and hopefully the feeling is mutual… In fact, regardless of what some people tell me, I am okay.  

This brings us back to today. My wife and I were shopping and suddenly she started to giggle. I asked her what she was laughing at and she replied  that she saw men following their wives around looking lost, beaten and downtrodden;  like they have just given up. She was laughing at the absurdity of it. I too used to laugh inwardly at these oppressed,retired men. Monday was dairy day, Tuesday was meat day, Wednesday was pasta day, Thursday might be frozen food day, and Friday, well who knows, maybe it was for things forgotten before the new circular even came out.

Many of these men looked so  miserable. Perhaps  it all started decades ago on a quiet night when the husband  announced that he was going out for a six pack and his wife asked those fateful words, “Honey, while you are out, would you please pick me up a box of tampons?”  He didn’t even realize it , but his transformation started at that very moment.

And today I saw them schlepping their wives pocketbooks around the store trying to be invisible, staring out into space, adding insult to injury.  Is this what I have to look forward to in my “Golden Years”?? Beam me up Scottie, for I am surely doomed.

AS THE LORD IS MY WITNESS, I WILL NOT, CARRY HER POCKETBOOK. A MAN HAS TO DRAW THE LINE SOMEWHERE!!!!!      deadhead1155

 

2015 THE YEAR THAT THE EARTH TIPPED ON IT’S AXIS

Like most people that write blogs I feel that it is necessary, or expected to do a ‘Year in Review’ piece. Originally I was going to do this strictly with pictures (and may yet tackle that) but so much has happened in the deadhead1155 family’s world that it is only fitting to do this the old fashioned way, with keyboard in hand and LED screen in front of me.   So here goes.

2015 came in with me sitting at home dealing with a work related injury to my knee. And this was after 2 surgeries and physical therapy earlier in 2014. Long story that won’t really be that interesting until an end is in sight. So after a quarter Century I found myself not heading out to work every day. This took some getting used to as I have been working since I was old enough to get working papers.  Suddenly I found myself trying to figure out what to have for dinner every night. This gave me an appreciation of what my wife had to deal with for decades. 

We then had a few harried months while our oldest son and fiance worked out their plans for their nuptials. This they did in a very unusual way. In May they got married, on the anniversary of their first date, on top of a mountain at a ski resort. Well I know that others have done this before, but many others, that wanted to ‘do it their way’ never did, and found themselves standing in a Church, Synagogue or Catering Hall, exchanging vows the way that their parents wanted it done. Ultimately it went off without a hitch and they will always have the memory of having done it their way. Bless them.   No sooner did we catch  our breaths from the wedding when we found out that we were going to be grandparents. Oh my. Neither of us felt old enough for that. But then again we didn’t feel old enough to have two grown children making their own way in life. Which brings me to our youngest son. He was living in California for a while and felt that the time for that wasn’t right so late in 2014 he returned home. We missed him dearly and although he was returning to find his path in life, deep down inside it was good to have him around again.  And when he got back we laughed, cried, and hugged. This carried over to 2015 and it was hard to watch him work two jobs to put money away (to try and move out again), struggle with the transition from boyhood to true manhood and all that goes with it.  But watch we did, and through it all we watched with some pride in knowing that he will be okay. I stopped teasing him about living in the guest house on the future Estate, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t forgotten.

My wife slowly got used to me being home when she got home, and I learned to give her the quiet time that she was used to before I was here all of the time. Over the summer she had the greatest gift a mother-in-law could ask for. My wife and daughter-in-law worked together running a pottery program at a Summer Day Camp where I think that the highlight of the day was stopping at Dunkin’ Donuts for that afternoon pick me up.

I spent the summer working at a Boy Scout Camp running the Scoutcraft area. What a learning  experience that was. They treated me really well because of my bad knee. The days were long and it was literally 7 days a week for 6 weeks. It was a killer but I loved it just the same.

In November I turned the big 60. And I survived. Okay so maybe I am a bit slower, my knee hurts still 2 years after the initial injury (and will forever, I think).  My betrothed and I sit and do  a lot of ‘Remember when…….’ or ‘Remember this……’. We learned that it is okay to sit quietly and just enjoy each others company. We quietly make plans for heading South to escape winter while at the same time making sure that we are around to watch our family grow bigger, and older, and share in their lives. The good, the bad, and everything that comes in-between.  I realize that although I have much to look forward to that suddenly I have much to look back on as well. Middle age? Came and went and I never bat an eyelash. My 60’s? Now that will be something else.

Earth RotationYes 2015 was the year that my world tipped on it’s axis a bit. No biggie, there is still gravity. And that, my friends is another story for another time.

 

 

 

A Healthy and Happy New Year to you all.         deadhead1155

Summer Love

This article I borrowed from the N.Y. Times.
Very touching and relevant.
Deadhead1155

3 Whirlwind Weeks to 10 Years Apart to Growing Old Together

image

By WINNIE HU

JULY 4, 2015

Julio Rodriguez was a seasoned flirt. Tall and handsome, he persuaded women to call him just by handing them a card printed with “you’re beautiful” and his number on the back.

Then, one steamy summer night in 1988, Mr. Rodriguez found he was the one being flirted with. He was managing a supper club in the Bronx. She was one of the guests. “I’d like you to make me a drink,” she said. He offered to get a bartender. No, she insisted, she wanted him. Slipping a $20 tip on the bar, she asked what time he got off.

“That’s my line,” he said, pocketing the money.

The woman’s name was Dolores Batista. After work, he headed to her red brick rowhouse in Throgs Neck, where she was waiting with chicken fricassee. “Vavoom Mama,” he recalled thinking. “I like to eat and I like a good-looking babe.”

Twenty-seven years later, Mr. Rodriguez, now 71 and a chef and cookbook author, is the one who makes the chicken fricassee. On a recent summer night, he tended the fragrant stew as it simmered on the stovetop while Ms. Batista, now 68 and an insurance agent for Allstate, stayed out of his way.

She leaves the cooking to him. Whatever he makes for dinner, her response is always the same: “Oh, my favorite.”

“This is the meal that brought us together,” he said, scooping the fricassee onto piles of white rice.

Mr. Rodriguez, whose specialty is Caribbean cuisine, shows his love with food. The first time he picked up Ms. Batista at the airport, it was winter and he had flowers in one hand, and homemade chicken soup in the other. He dedicated his first cookbook, “Doll’s Kitchen: La Cocina De Dolly,” in 2007, to Ms. Batista, whom he calls Doll. The cover has a photo of her as a young girl.

Mr. Rodriguez, a chef and cookbook author, grows herbs and vegetables in pots on the front porch of the couple’s home.

DAMON WINTER / THE NEW YORK TIMES

They are not married, but might as well be. He refers to her as “my wife” and said he liked the way they fit together when they held hands. She wears a wedding ring he bought for her four years ago, even though she turned down his proposal.

“We’re so incompatible that I always thought, it’s not going to last,” she said. “But it has lasted, and now I think, ‘Why bother?’ What would change really?”

They were, and still are, an unlikely pair, like chocolate-covered bacon. She married young and raised a son, then divorced her husband of 16 years after they drifted apart. Mr. Rodriguez said he had never stayed with the same woman for more than six months. He had an ex-wife and dozens of ex-girlfriends, two of whom were the mothers of his three sons.

“Willie Nelson and him have the same song,” Ms. Batista said. “‘To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before.’”

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“That’s what bachelors do,” Mr. Rodriguez replied.

At first, Ms. Batista thought he was charming, but their differences gave her pause. She broke off the romance after a three-week whirlwind of barbecues, salsa dancing and what he called “hot fun in the summer.” She told him she did not date musicians or nightclub managers because they were unreliable.

He was not used to being rejected. “I actually wanted to stay,” he said. “I wanted to create roots with somebody I liked.”

It took 10 years for them to get back together. This time, he made the first move. He had just bought a car and needed insurance, so he called her. She asked what he was doing for work. He had switched from nightclubs to real estate, clearing the first hurdle.

Mr. Rodriguez spooning out a bit of broth from a chicken fricassee he prepared. Ms. Batista made him the same dish the night they met. He does the cooking now.

DAMON WINTER / THE NEW YORK TIMES

She stopped by his office. “When I saw him, I thought he’s really looking cute still and we did have a good time together,” she said. “But I felt this was going to be trouble.”

She had one nonnegotiable condition: no other women.

He gave them all up and has not looked back. The pickup cards, the one-night stands, “that was B.D. — before Doll,” Mr. Rodriguez said. “I’ve been very faithful to my honey.”

There have been no more breaks. He moved into her house a year later, around 1999, and made it his own. He painted over the plain beige walls in marigold yellow. Mr. Rodriguez, who is also an accomplished artist, hung up his paintings of lighthouses, roosters and Caribbean shorelines. He planted cilantro, basil, chili peppers and Roma tomatoes in flower boxes on the front porch.

Mr. Rodriguez and Ms. Batista in their kitchen in the Bronx. Regardless of what he fixes for them to eat, her response is always the same: “Oh, my favorite.”

DAMON WINTER / THE NEW YORK TIMES

“They’re better together than apart, I think they both realize that,” said Ms. Batista’s son, Derek, 44, a personal trainer who lives with the couple. “It’s a union that just kind of works. Some people on the outside looking in would say, ‘I don’t know how they deal with each other.’ I see them every day. I see the little things — little things that Julio does or my mom does — little things that really are big.”

The differences are still there but not as sharp, dulled by years of give and take. He is a planner, she likes to be spontaneous. He has 36 friends saved in his phone contacts, she has more than that listed under the letter A alone. He can be too blunt, she said. She sugarcoats everything, he said.

At home, being tidy is important to him; to her not so much. They fuss over the refrigerator. For Mr. Rodriguez, who learned to cook while serving in the Navy, the water should always be in front of the milk because it gets used more often. The milk, in turn, goes in front of the juice. When Ms. Batista reaches in, he said, she messes up his order.

She rolled her eyes as he spoke. She brought up the time she had made hamburger patties for a barbecue. They were free-form and unacceptable to him.

“She made flowers, they were all different shapes and sizes,” said Mr. Rodriguez, who prefers to cut his patties with the rim of a water glass.

“Hamburger Nazi,” she said.

Underneath the daily annoyances is a bond that has grown stronger over time. Ms. Batista underwent treatment for breast cancer with Mr. Rodriguez at her side. Last year, when she moved to a new office in White Plains, he showed up to paint the basement and mow the lawn. And despite grumbling that she has too many friends, he makes a feast when they come over. He has been known to cover the kitchen table with 20 kinds of tapas.

Ms. Batista is quick to praise his cooking and his artwork. She helped him buy a used Jaguar sedan to replace his worn-out Lexus. He pays her back from his catering earnings, though she does not ask him to do so.

“I’m very spoiled,” she said, “but he’s spoiled too.”

Their friend, Carlos Aponte, 70, said he saw them as two strong personalities who clashed at times but who were willing to accommodate each other, even when it meant doing something that might not be comfortable.

“When Julio is frustrated and impatient, I see how tender and caring she is,” Mr. Aponte said. “And on his side, I see the love in the way he absolutely takes care of her.”

For Mr. Rodriquez, the home he has made with Ms. Batista has given him a stability he never had before. The youngest of 17 children of Puerto Rican farmers, he said his own parents split up when he was young. He treats Ms. Batista’s son as his own, cooking for him and once picking him up at 2 a.m. when his car had been towed. His three sons call Ms. Batista “Mom,” and pack into the house on holidays.

It is good they met when they did, both said, because they would not have been a couple when they were young. He was too flirtatious. She was not his type. He had a weakness then for women with long legs and black hair, he said, even if they were light on substance.

“She wasn’t the type of person I go after,” he said. “You don’t always get what you want. You get what you need.”

“And,” Ms. Batista reminded him, “I have other redeeming qualities.”