Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Bag Lady is cranky

That's what my sister told me yesterday, and it took me by surprise. Really.

It's been a month since we got home from Arizona. Here in Washington State the weather is cooler than normal for this time of year, and we've had a rainy time of it. We haven't planted our garden yet, though the soil is ready. I've not been interested in toiling out there under a cloud cover.

I've been doing some downsizing, some cleaning out, since we got home. In my closet, in the kitchen. My husband Art is the shopper and the cook, and he is also a keeper of things, so it's been a little touchy at times - even though redoing the spice rack got rid of nine empty bottles and relocated duplicates to the pantry. Did you know that spray Pam has a shelf life of 100 years?

A few days ago I got Art's consent to go through the pantry and remove the cans whose use-by date passed more than six months ago. There were about 100 cans, I think, from days when we were eating more canned food. These days we eat mostly fresh. It was hard even for me to put ten cans of expired baked beans in the sack for disposal.

We've also cleaned out cupboards and drawers in the kitchen. We have a couple of boxes of pots and pans and utensils and bowls ready for the Goodwill.

I like to do this stuff in the springtime, for some reason. Until Art and I moved in together 20 years ago that always happened. Not so much since then. And maybe because my schedule is a little light, I seized on the thinning almost as a mission.

I should also admit that about a month ago I upgraded the operating system on Art's computer and forgot to ask him first. I conscientiously upgraded his financial software but not Microsoft Office. I really didn't know he used Word. But then when he need to update a flyer for a picnic, he couldn't open the old version. I taught him how to email it to me and then I opened it. Still, I was a little embarrassed by the inconvenience to him. I usually remember these things.

One of the outcomes of my activities is that Art got silent. I hate it when that happens. I'm not usually sure what the problem is, and he usually doesn't tell me. I feel like a bad girl, like when I was a kid and my mother got silent.

Eventually I apologized for the operating system upgrade without consultation, and that helped.

In the meantime, though, nearly everyone around me got annoying. Conversations with others bugged me. I did a LOT of venting with my sister.

Finally she said, "Uh, you are cranky."

Thinking about it, I'm coming to realize I don't have enough to do right now that's meaningful and interesting and challenging. So I'm keeping my eyes open for new opportunities.

Today we made the final payment on our upcoming trip to Kenya. Time to start thinking about what to take. That will keep me busy part of the time.

But it occurs to me that maybe it's time to look for a part-time job. Maybe even one that pays. I'm hardly ever cranky when I'm busy.


Sally Wessely said...

I can relate. I need to be busy too. I've been cranky according to my husband. Let's face it. It is hard to be living in the house with someone 24/7, sharing space, and trying to not just take charge when that is what we did in the office, the classroom, or wherever it was we worked before we retired. I think that is the problem when my hubby and I lock horns.

Sally Wessely said...
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Ms Sparrow said...

I hope the sunny days of spring (it HAS to get sunny sometime!) will lift your spirits.

Teri said...

You may need 6 months in Arizona, you were very active there. If you have more cans of unexpired food and don't think you will be using them, donate them to your church food pantry - better than waiting for them to expire and then have to toss them. I never stocked up on food like that.

Terra said...

Oh dear, don't be cranky! If you want to be busy, contact your area volunteer center. I volunteer through my local library, and am matched up with a homebound senior and I visit her and take her library books. I am sure there is something ideal for you.

#1Nana said...

I think I've adjusted to a retirement lifestyle. I enjoy not being busy. If I have more than two things to accomplish in a day I get anxious. I'm lucky to be able to substitute. I can work when I feel like it, and not work when I'm tired of it. Hope you perk up soon!

Perpetua said...

I think the late spring doesn't help, Linda. We need sunshine. :-)

I've been retired for 6 years now and like Nana I enjoy not having much to do and being able to please myself. But my sister who retired 2 years ago has to keep busy and does a lot of volunteering. We're all different and have to find what works for us.

Arkansas Patti said...

Pretty sure sunshine and getting your hands dirty in the garden would help.
Had to laugh at silent Art. I use to be that way but it is so frustrating when the person you are ignoring has no clue what they have done.
You did go from a busy lifestyle to a captive one via weather. Hope the sun shines soon.

Olga said...

I know that cranky and out of sorts feeling. I get it when I feel things are disorganized and I have too much to do. It's good to have a sister who listens to venting.

DJan said...

I just got back from "sunny" California where three of the four days I had scheduled for outdoor activities were clouded out. The sun came out just as I was leaving. But it feels good to be home, and today I'll put on my rain gear and hike in the rain. I understand about being out of sorts. You are a doer, Linda, and need to be busy to keep yourself happy, I think. Keep on writing these posts, it's good hear from you! :-)

Janette said...

I donate the cans to the food pantry anyway. Most can labels these days are "best used by" instead of "expired and spoiled". Depending on the food- it is good long after "the date".
As for silent periods---they are what they are. The good thing about long marriages is they out last the silence.
Hoping you can find something new for your delight.

Rian said...

Linda, I don't know you except through your blogs, but it seems like you "do" an awful lot for a retired person. This is wonderful, but after traveling around and living in different areas, I would think that you are going through a sort of "vacation withdrawal"... all of a sudden you're home and not doing new and exciting things each day. (IMO) It will just take time to readjust.

Out on the prairie said...

We can't always be perfect, even though i often feel I am.LOL

Jackie McGuinness said...

I feel the same way. We got home two weeks ago and all it's done is rain.
We did all that downsizing and cleaning all last year in prep for our move to a condo. Then spending the winter down south, now I don't know what to do with myself.

Unknown said...

You have something wonderful to look forward to. That should help with the grumpies. I admire you and Art for your traveling spirits and being able to reach out and see the world.

Linda Reeder said...

Sometimes it's hard to find that balance, of having enough to do but not too much. I don't like having a blank planning calendar day, but I get cranky if I have too much to do. I wish I could hire you to come and clean out my kitchen. Even with nothing to do I never seem to get that needy for a task.

Galen Pearl said...

That's an interesting observation that you get cranky when you don't have enough meaningful activities to keep you busy. I think I get cranky when I don't have enough down time! Ha! We are a good combination!

Deere Driver said...

Hey Cranky!
Another reason to have some chickens? To feed the expired food to! That's where my cans and old boxes of foods go. The guilt is negligible then.

Find someone with farm animals that will be happy to trade you some eggs every so often. My neighbors unload stale creal and bread to the fish in the pond or the chickens in the barn. And they have fun doing it too!

Maybe start some seeds indoors. That gets me going!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I just chuckled at your pantry cleaning paragraph. I would't think of getting Terry's permission to get rid of anything, especially food. I get rid of stuff all the time. And then came the next line--you got rid of 100 cans? We don't even have 100 cans total in our cabinet (no pantry in our house). Now and then I'll take some canned goods to our church food pantry, but we keep very few canned goods around. Of course, I keep very little in the way of food around, trying to use up the food I buy. Now that we don't have to be at work each day, I can grocery shop whenever I feel like it. So, I wait until I use up an item before getting a replacement. I too am at that 3-year mark since leaving teaching. It's been a wonderful three years, nothing as exciting as yours with all your travel, and I am finally getting accustomed to doing what I want, when I want to do it. Lovely feeling.