The Retiree by Jerry Hoem

We lived in the Old South for five years. It’s hard to believe, but the weather seemed to be better down there; nobody in South Carolina has a snow shovel. Nobody carries a snow scraper in the car. Nobody there knows what fourbuckle overshoes are. (Hardly anyone here does.)

Some of the problems we returned to are the result of the aging process, but some seem to be weather related. It’s a good thing I’m retired—again—because I wouldn’t have time to go out of the house at all if I had to go to work. We spent two years in Connecticut as basic training for Minnesota before coming back, but Minnesota can shock anyone. While we were there, they had a record yearly snowfall of 124 inches. We lived in a townhouse. Someone else moved snow around for us.

All that leads up to the problems we have getting out for groceries or medical appointments, the only two things we really need to do.

Here’s how it goes, typically. I’ll ignore punctuation, and just indicate 1 for her and 2 for me, because I’m retired and lazy.

1 – I’m going to the store. Wanna come along?

2 – What? (She repeats.) Sure. Seen my glasses?

1 – On the end table. Get your hearing aids too. (I do.)

2 – Is it cold out? Are you wearing your boots?

1 – What? (I repeat.) Yeah, but you drive because it’s snowy on the driveway.

2 – I’ll scrape off the snow on the hill. (I do, for half an hour, in my winter coat and slippers.)

1 – (Hearing me return) I’m going to the bathroom. Get your boots on.

2 – Okay, but I have to go to the bathroom, (but I don’t put on boots because I have trouble bending to tie them, and I’d rather wear shoes, so I do).

1 – She goes out and locks the door, so I unlock it and go out, while she goes to the garage with the shovel because I didn’t shovel the garage steps.

2 – Did you put my toothpaste on the list? (She says no. She needs an onion. I say I’ll remember.)

1 – Put my purse in the car. I’ll get the mail. Get me at the top of the driveway. (She goes.)

Well, we eventually get to the store. She forgets the onion, I forget the toothpaste, we end up with two bags of oranges, some breakfast bars, six plastic bags of other essentials, and a sore back that yesterday’s exercise class exacerbated. Someone at the store said it’s going to snow again. And we didn’t think to get anything chocolate.

No big deal. All we have to do is once again put on the boots, coats, shovel the driveway, go to the bathroom, write down what we need, and drive through the ice and mud again. Tomorrow.

I really think Minnesota is trying to break that 124-inch Connecticut record.

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