It’s All Uphill From Here

On Thursday, I was in the middle of a meeting. While I was listening intently as one does, I shook my shoulders slightly to loosen them up. I realized in that moment that my shoulders weren’t the only thing that was loose because I had forgotten, after almost 40 years of getting dressed in a specific order, to put on a bra. I was shocked but also strangely comfortable. Luckily, I was wearing a flowy top and we’re currently in the middle of a heat wave so it wasn’t apparent to anyone else but me. At least I hope it wasn’t. But still, it was a little confounding that for the first time in living memory, I had unintentionally forgotten to don a foundation garment:

Me (shimmying): I just realized that I forgot to put a bra on this morning.
Ken: Nice. But seriously? It’s not even the weekend.
Me: I know. So weird. I’ve never been so footloose and fancy-free at work.
Ken: See? You announce your retirement and the standards immediately begin to slip.

And yes, it occurred to me that my wardrobe mishap may be a subconscious result of my intention to retire from the secret agency at the end of September, an intention that I made public last week. I love my job, don’t get me wrong, but Ken’s retiring at the end of June, and we have a lot of plans. I have writing to do, he has photographs of trees and clouds to take, and we both have the antique business to maintain. (Just kidding about Ken’s photos—he’s an amazing photographer but he DOES take a lot of tree pictures–see the one below titled Sunrise). If you want to see more examples of his awesome photos, search for him on iStock—his last name isn’t hyphenated and it starts with the W part). Then there’s travelling—eventually. Our anniversary cruise, the one we couldn’t take last year, also got cancelled this year, so here’s hoping for the fall, or at least January.

Sunrise

And then to double down on my subconscious reaction to retirement, on Thursday night I dreamed that I went to a retirement workshop, but it was about FUNERAL PLANNING. I was seated between a really young boy and a very grumpy older woman, and we were given categories to make decisions about like “Materials” and “Location”. I distinctly remember examining a brochure and thinking ‘I’ve never been a fan of dark wood but this Mahogany looks pretty sweet.’ Then the woman next to me said, “For Location, make sure you specify high ground, and watch out for salt levels. High salt content causes you to decompose faster.” When I woke up, I researched this and it’s patently untrue. According to Google, bodies decompose faster in fresh water than salt water, although I get the high ground thing. I don’t want my beautiful mahogany casket to turn into a boat. Plus, since Ken will be building me a mausoleum, I want a room with a view. But all of this is beside the point, which is ‘Why the hell am I equating retirement with death?!’ I mean obviously, the bra thing is a metaphor for freedom but choosing a coffin? Then again, I’ve heard that the Death card in a tarot deck isn’t really an indicator that you’re going to shuffle off the mortal coil, but more about moving from one state of being to the other. So I guess if that’s true, I’m fully invested in the transition from work life to a life of leisure. And on Monday morning, I will stare into my bra drawer, pick out the prettiest one and sigh.

Here also is a picture of the cemetery at the top of a hill that I mentioned in the video I posted last Wednesday. I got a couple of requests so here you go. I bet there’s room up there for a mausoleum…

Schrodinger’s Pants

On Friday morning, I was having a bit of a sleep in, because I’d taken the day off. Ken still had to work, but he’s retiring at the end of June and likes lording it over me a little with his plans to spend the summer building sheds while I’m slaving at the computer. He came out of our walk-in closet wearing a shirt and boxer shorts.

Ken: Should I wear light or dark coloured pants with this shirt?
Me: You work from home. Why are you even wearing pants?
Ken: I always do. But on my last day of work, I won’t. I’ll have my retirement party, then at the end, I’ll get up, disappear into the West and everyone will say, “Hey, he’s not wearing any pants.”
Me: That’s the best retirement gift you can give THEM— Schrodinger’s Pants. All they know is that at any given moment over the last year of your career, you were simultaneously half-dressed and fully-dressed.
Ken: I’m an enigma.

And speaking of enigmas, I saw this online on Friday afternoon.

The first three words I saw were Ranch Dressing, Poison, and Crabs and now I’m a little freaked out because a) I made Ken go to the corner store on Wednesday TO GET ME RANCH DRESSING so what’s next—I have a severe shellfish allergy so is anaphylaxis on the menu this weekend? Also b) if you look at all the words carefully, the majority of them are quite violent and the whole exercise just went from fun to mildly threatening:

Chainsaw
Danger
Sword
Clown
Shim
Poison
Nordebeaste
Crush
Pills
Secret
Quicksand
Demon
Rat
Apologies (which I assume is sarcastic)

The post was introduced with the sentence “It’s that time again” and the following emojis: a laughing face, a face gritting its teeth, a skull, and a demon. So did a serial killer design this list? And then there was this comment below the word jumble: “Chainsaw, unicorn, and music…a perfect trio!” and I will leave you to picture that person’s week all on your own.

In other news, I haven’t provided a quilt update for a couple of weeks because I’ve temporarily given up. I was halfway through row 9 when my 1936 Singer machine literally fell apart, so I borrowed my mother-in-law’s sewing machine and apparently it was built by NASA and I need to learn astrophysics to use it. “Why don’t you read the User Manual?” I hear you ask. Because it’s a generic User Manual for several different models and not a single instruction or picture is for the model I have. So now all I can do is wait for Ken to retire and learn to use it so he can sew more clothes for his marionette, and then he can make Youtube videos that I can follow. And when he does, he may or may not be wearing pants.