Tea For Two: Talking About A Retirement Side Hustle + 2 Story Updates

• • •

TEA FOR TWO, THAT’S ME & YOU

I’ve heard it said that most marital communication is the word *WHAT* being shouted between rooms.

I believe this to be true.

Especially now that Zen-Den, Esq., has retired, sort of.

You see, he retired from his main source of employment, a full-time job with benefits, and is now self-employed as an advisor wandering around at home, sometimes advising his former main source of employment while other times chatting it up with new prospects.

This is called a side hustle.

I am told.

So this means, from my point of view, that He Who Has A Side Hustle is underfoot almost all day long. Like a cheerful puppy. And because he’s accustomed to barking talking almost all day long, he has begun to NEED to tell me things.

While we are in different rooms.

Why just the other morning he shouted something to me from the kitchen while I was in our home study.

I said *what* of course.

He then walked into the home study and told me he had a few calls to take in the morning. After that he was going to organize the tea drawer where we keep, come to find out, 12 different teas*.

So you can see that He Who Has A Side Hustle is finding productive ways to occupy himself that for the most part keep him from pestering and annoying me all day long, and allow him to believe he is a valuable part of this household.

Because he is, of course.

* Knowing that someone is going to ask, the 12 kinds of tea in the drawer are:

  1. Ceylon Orange Pekoe
  2. Constant Comment
  3. Earl Grey
  4. English Breakfast
  5. English Teatime
  6. Green Tea
  7. Green Tea with Pomegranate, Raspberry & Strawberry
  8. Irish Breakfast
  9. Lady Grey
  10. Oolong Tea
  11. Peppermint
  12. Perfect Peach

• • •

UPDATES TO STORIES

1. We named the skeleton Earl. Thanks to everyone who offered name ideas. Y’all are funny. [Original story HERE.]

2.  After writing about how I accidentally acquired a bag of potato chips, Z-D was at Kroger using the U-scan. He used the barcode reader to ring up a six-pack of beer and it did, but then while placing the beer on the wonky wobbly bagging carousel he accidentally dropped the six-pack on the floor. The impact caused the metal caps on two bottles to loosen, spewing carbonated beer from the bottles.

Instead of going back to get a new six-pack, for which he paid in full, Z-D left the store with four bottles of beer. Thus he paid for something he did not get and thereby, I believe, restored balance in our relationship with Kroger. [Original story HERE.]

• • •

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

When thinking about retirement what is the first idea that pops into your mind? Does this thought make you worry or happy– or something else? 

If you drink tea, hot &/or cold, how many kinds of it do you have in your home? Are you about variety or uniformity?     

So what do you think, was it Kroger Karma that caused Zen-Den to drop that beer, making us whole with them again?

• • 💚 • •

Alumni Directories & The Art Of Mischievousness

Apropos of a delightfully snarky conversation with a friend…

FRIEND HAS RECEIVED AN INVITATION to her college reunion this fall. She has no interest in attending, but has the opportunity to be included in the alumni directory.

She would like that.

To do this she has to fill out an online form telling ye olde university details about who she is now. The form will not be accepted unless it is filled in completely.

Friend, like me, graduated from a liberal arts university. Hers, Methodist. Mine, Lutheran.

Friend, like me, majored in something to do with words. Hers, Romance Languages. Mine, English Literature.

Friend, like me, graduated from college and never returned to her hometown, instead choosing to make her way in the big bad world on her own.

Friend, like me, received almost no career counseling while in college. Instead she’s had many jobs, but none that suggest a specific title showing the summation of her work accomplishments*.

• • •

As always, Calvin asks the important questions

• • •

THE PROBLEM, AS WE SEE IT, is that Friend is unsure about how to describe herself on this ridiculous form that will ONLY be accepted if she fills in ALL the blanks.

Does she take the dutiful route and tell this university, where she received a great classical education but had no help finding work, about ONE of the things she’s done? That is, does she say she’s an Interpreter, even though she did that briefly?

OR should she be more irreverent, feeling no need to divulge anything specific about her work history to this institution that provided no career guidance. That is, does she say she’s a Woman of International Mystery?

I relate to this problem.

I know that when I’ve been forced to fill in forms like the one Friend is dealing with, I waiver between saying I’m a Writer or a Kept Woman. Both are apt, more or less, and satisfy the nosy computer system.

So what say you?

IF you were in this situation wherein you only needed to fill in the blank as a means to an end AND you felt no loyalty to the university from which you graduated…

Would your answer be sincere or flippant? 
And why?
Do you consider yourself mischievous at times?
And if so, how does that make you feel?

* If you’re a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher or an accountant [or whatever], you’ve not had to deal with this situation. But for those who have wandered through life working at various jobs, contributing to the GNP in our own ways, this can be problematic.

A Conversation About Curly Hair With The UPS Delivery Man

Our new front sidewalk, pristine and perfect.

THE Scene

I heard the UPS truck pull up in front of the house, mid-morning. I looked out the study window and saw the UPS delivery man step off the truck carrying a thin squishy envelope package for me [a t-shirt from Lands’ End].

He’s a nice guy, handsome, a regular in our neighborhood, and I’m a nice person so I walked out the front door and started walking down the sidewalk to meet him halfway.

Save him a few steps in the intense summer heat, ‘ya know.

Welp, I smiled and said “hello” while extending my left hand to grab the thin squishy envelope package, figuring he’d hand it to me. But instead he froze in place about four feet in front of me and just stared at me.

I followed his gaze and realized I had MY HAIR TIED UP on top of my head in what probably seemed to him to be an UNUSUAL style. I was wrong about that assumption.

THE CURLY HAIR BACKSTORY

When I can, like on days when I’m staying home, after I wash my hair I don’t use a hairdryer;  instead I pull my wet curly hair into a topknot held in place with an elastic.

Then I twist bandana around it in such a way as to tie up my hair. This way my hair dries off my neck AND it forms groovy, beachy curls in the process.

It’s AN OLD-FASHIONED WAY of styling your hair that back then involved clean rags, but now as an affluent suburbanite I use A BANDANA purchased at Walmart for $1.98.

THE CONVERSATION BEGINS

Curly hair, he said.

Yes, said I while trying to reach over to grab the package from his hand, but to no avail.

You do that when it’s wet, he said. It wasn’t a question, it was a statement.

Yes, said I whilst staring intently at the package in his hand, hoping he’d remember why he was here.

Huh, he replied.

A LONG PAUSE during which time I began to notice how hot it was outside standing on the sidewalk in bare feet in the direct sunshine. DAMNED HOT.

THE CONVERSATION CONTINUES

My wife does that with our daughter’s hair, he explained.

Yes, said I nodding my head in what I hoped was a conversation-ending gesture of understanding.

I thought she was pulling my leg when she said it’s what you do with curly hair. I had two sisters but they had straight hair, he continued.

Yes, said I.

They never did that, he confided.

Hmmm, said I wondering where this conversation was going to go next.

After another LONG PAUSE, during which time he further scrutinized my hair like I WAS A SCIENCE PROJECT, he handed me the package.

THE UNEXPECTED COMPLIMENT

The bandana is a nice touch. My wife doesn’t use one of those but it looks cute on you, he said.

Thank you, said I whilst pondering how out of kilter the Universe must be that I, a gray-haired woman of a certain age, had just been told my hairstyle was “cute” by a handsome 30-something man.

I’m going to suggest she get some bandanas for our daughter’s hair, he told me.

Good idea, said I.

And with that he FINALLY handed me the package and said “goodbye” as he walked back to his truck, SHAKING HIS HEAD IN AMAZEMENT, mumbling about how he couldn’t believe his wife hadn’t been joshing him all along.

~ THE END ~

PLEASE NOTE: I’m having difficulties leaving comments on some blogs and it’s incredibly frustrating.

I don’t know if the problem is in my browser or if it’s another example of gremlins in WordPress. The problem seems random. Rivergirl, yes. Nicole, no. Kate, sometimes. And so it goes…

Also, on random blogs I’m not consistently receiving an indication that there’s been a reply to my comment when there has been one. Another gremlin?

The Tale Of A Kind Young Doctor Who Was As Lost As I Was

I HAD AN APPOINTMENT FOR MY annual checkup with an eye doctor who’s part of a group practice. I’ve gone to him for at least 15 years. His office is in a building called The Clinic that is part of a large university hospital complex.

A week before the appointment I received a letter* from his office telling me that the free parking garage nearest The Clinic was closed. The letter explained in words where I should go for free parking.

I didn’t bother to double-check the directions online because I’m familiar with the area. The directions made perfect sense to me and they were spot on.

I got to the parking garage, no problem.

• • •

WITH LETTER IN HAND I DID as it said and exited the parking garage through the green doors, putting me at the intersection of two busy streets. At this point I was told to look for a particular building, presumably made possible by the generous donation of some rich people.

Let’s call this building THE LOVEY & THURSTON HOWELL III MEDICAL CENTER.

Standing on the corner I looked up and down the streets and I saw nothing that said THE LOVEY & THURSTON HOWELL III MEDICAL CENTER.

I mean, nothing.

• • •

I WAS ABOUT TO GRAB MY cell phone out of my purse when a kind young doctor crossed the street toward me and walked up to me. He asked me if I needed help finding something.

[That’s how lost I looked, a random doctor offered to help me.]

Waving the letter around I said, I’m looking for THE LOVEY & THURSTON HOWELL III MEDICAL CENTER.  

He said, the what?

I repeated myself.

We looked at each other. 

He politely asked, may I see the letter.

[I imagine he thought I was an older *confused* person.]

I said, yes and handed it to him.

He read the letter printed on official university hospital letterhead, looked up and down the streets, then said, huh.

We looked at each other. 

I shrugged.

He said, I’ve worked here 8 years and I’ve never heard of THE LOVEY & THURSTON HOWELL III MEDICAL CENTER.  

I said, I’ve gone to this eye doctor for longer than that and I’ve never heard of THE LOVEY & THURSTON HOWELL III MEDICAL CENTER.  

We looked at each other. 

[I’d stumped a doctor, which is kind of a memorable moment.]

• • •

BEFORE I HAD TIME TO SAY another word the kind young doctor pulled out his cell phone and started researching where the heck this building might be. This took longer than you might expect.

I waited patiently.

Eventually he looked up, smiling, and said, THE LOVEY & THURSTON HOWELL III MEDICAL CENTER is the original name for The Clinic.

We looked at each other.

Then we burst out laughing, turning our heads in unison toward the building directly in front of us on the other side of the street. The building we knew as The Clinic.

We looked at each other. 

• • •

I THANKED THE KIND YOUNG DOCTOR for figuring this out.

He said, your doctor is older, isn’t he?

I said, yes.

We looked at each other.

He said, I know him personally. The next time I see him I’ll suggest that for the sake of his patients, and other doctors,  he might want to NOT refer to The Clinic as THE LOVEY & THURSTON HOWELL III MEDICAL CENTER because no one knows it by that name anymore.   

I said, good idea. I’ll say something ** too. 

We looked at each other. 

And with a smile we went on our ways, better informed about the world around us.

~ THE END ~

* The doctor’s office had tried to email me but they had an out-of-date email address, so they sent a snail mail letter.

** I never said anything to my eye doctor because when I got to his office my mind wandered, distracted by two relaxed Federal prison inmates, in handcuffs + shackled ankles, surrounded by two stern guards. The foursome was sitting in the waiting area for appointments with some doctor in the group practice.

A Spring + Summer Fling: The One About Simplifying My Blog Posting Schedule

BUT FIRST I AM ELSEWHERE…

On Saturday Yvette at priorhouse blog posted an in-depth interview with me for her ongoing monthly series.  I was thrilled to be asked to participate.  Go HERE to read the interview.

• • •

Image via @positivelytherapy on IG

If you’ve been around The Spectacled Bean for a while you may remember that last year about this time I decided to change how often I’d post to this blog.

At the time I had nothing written ahead and I was staring at a blank screen.  [History is repeating itself today, btw.]  It seemed like an opportunity to ditch my weekly posting schedule and try something new.

Because why not?

Thus I decided to change my modus operandi and post once every two weeks, usually on Tuesday, during spring and summer.  To become a fortnightly blog— and isn’t that a grandiose way to describe something so simple!

To my amazement this relaxed schedule was an excellent idea during the warmer days of the year.  Muse was onto something good.  All my happiness chemicals kicked in to make me, well– happy.

I wrote my usual posts, just less frequently;  I continued to share the comment love elsewhere;  and then I goofed off.  I was productive enough, connected as usual, but more carefree than during the colder months when I’m stuck inside.

So I’m going to do the same thing this year.  If something works, stick with it.

Right?

I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read and comment here because y’all make blogging fun.  I wouldn’t have lasted this long in blogland if it weren’t for all my gentle readers + kind lurkers + wordy commenters.  You’re the best of all the rest.

Thank you.

And with that sincere compliment I shall go forth, doing less while pursuing my Word of the Year: ENJOY!

• • •

AND FINALLY THREE READER COMMENTS…

About being the weird one in the neighborhood:

“If I’m being totally honest I am pretty sure that I would fit the description of the wackiest neighbor. I say that because I’m the one that my neighbors laugh and wave at while I’m running down the road chasing my donkey, or taking a walk and have my son, three cats (of the 6) cats strolling behind me, my two dogs wiggling around my legs, and possibly a stray duck, chicken, or even a goose following as well.”

~ LaShelle

“There was a time, long ago, when I kept rotten uncooked eggs and threw them from my balcony onto the car when the driver hooted … if there’s one thing I cannot stand, it’s hooting. He was a hooter of note.”

~ Susan

“When I got to the door, my neighbor, a very kind woman said ‘I don’t know if you’re okay with this, but your kids are playing on the roof.’ My kids were 5 and 3. They had popped the screen out of a bedroom window and as I could hear them just fine, I thought they were in the room. But nope. They had climbed onto the front porch roof, used that to climb onto the garage roof, and then onto the roof of our second story home. When I got them back in the house and asked them what they were doing I was told they were playing flood.”

~ Katie