Much to do…Retirement isn’t a free lunch….Photos from dinner in the souk…

A complimentary bowl of spicy olives is served when dining at Arabe restaurant.
There’s never a day that passes that doesn’t require tasks related to our travels. In reality, it’s comparable to a full time job. Fortunately, we don’t mind doing most of the tasks. Although, it’s easy to lie in bed early in the morning thinking about everything that must be handled, we try not to make ourselves crazy or worried with the responsibility of accomplishing them.
The overlook to the shops below from Terrasse des Espices Restaurant.

Let’s face it. There’s no free lunch. We all have many tasks in our daily lives continuing well into retirement, if not until the end of our lives should we be so fortunate to be able to continue to do our own tasks. 

For most of our readers, daily household tasks and maintenance preoccupy a good portion of each day. Add the responsibility of handling medical insurance, medications, health appointments, paying bills, grocery, and other shopping, visiting family and friends who are ill or in nursing homes, and entertaining family and friends, it is exhausting.

Complimentary bread sticks are provided at Arabe restaurant.  The price of cocktails is high in Morocco, as much as US $10 per cocktail. As a result, Tom doesn’t bother to drink any alcohol. With us dining out three or four times per week, him not drinking could easily be saving us over US $100 per week.

Although we have eliminated some of the above items from our “to do” list, since we no longer have a home, we have other tasks to perform that replace them, mostly wrapped around our continuing travels.

In other words, being retired is not being “retired’ from anything other than going to an outside job each day. The perception that many younger still working people may have is that life is free and easy. Ha! It’s hardly the case.

A pigeon we spotted while dining on the rooftop.  Their cooing sounds permeate the air in the riad each day, along with the crowing rooster who crows every 5 or 10 minutes.

Although at times I consider myself in the retired category, I am far from retired. I work half or more of each day with our website, writing, editing, taking photos, and generally being continually aware of the creation of the inspiration for the next story. That’s hardly retired. The fact that I enjoy doing so is incidental.

Add the financial management, record keeping and the daily task of handling of the budget, logging each penny spent, my days are full, leaving a little time for playing Gin with Tom, watching a few shows and of course, getting out to explore.

This is the usual crowd we must maneuver each time we go out to dine, get cash from an ATM, roam around the Big Square, or to exit the Medina in order flag get a taxi. 

This morning I spent an hour placing our few pills into our pill cases. Tom’s case holds two weeks of pills. Mine holds four weeks. The end result is that I have to do pills every two weeks. Now, this should be an easy task. I take a few prescriptions and Tom takes one. Adding the few vitamins and probiotics we have left and it seems that it shouldn’t take so long.

But, as time has moved on, we’ve used all of our US prescriptions and are now into the one year’s supply of the those we’ve purchased from ProgressiveRX, a reputable online pharmacy company. (They don’t take insurance).  Each pill they dispense is individually wrapped in foil requiring a huge amount of time to get each pill out of the right wrapping.

As we dined at Le Jardin, Mr. Turtle stopped by, hanging out for “crumb patrol.” Of course, we complied with his request for vegetable tidbits from our plates as he stared up at us, which he savored with delight, quickly snapping them up. He rested between bites at my feet.

Today, I unwrapped over 100 pills for the six weeks total of pills I placed collectively in the little cases. As I’ve aged, good grief, I’ve noticed my fingers are not as adept as they may have been 40 years ago. Small handiwork is not my forte. 

Also, several years ago I had surgery on my right thumb and it’s basically useless. Try unwrapping those tight little tin foil packs when right-handed and the right thumb doesn’t work. What a time consuming ordeal.

Mr. Turtle and his companion, another male, scour the floor of the restaurant all day, as customers come and go. The staff feeds them their usual diet of fresh greens but they particularly seem to like the cooked vegetables from our plates.

After performing this task this morning, I thought, “Why don’t I unwrap them all and put them in the plastic bottles I saved from the old pills?”  Simple reason. As we are stopped by airport or cruise security, we’ll fare better with them in the labeled foil packs than in the white plastic bottles I saved that I plan to toss before we leave Morocco.

This morning, I performed the pill task earlier than usual after being awakened at 5:00 am by the crowing rooster next door. He’s obviously going nuts now that its spring, continuing to crow throughout the day, until dark. 

Fresh produce is offered for sale at Le Jardin including these pretty oranges.

Looming in our minds has been the car and flight we still need to book for leaving here in 27 days which invariably proves to be a lengthy process when making every effort to get a good deal. We postponed booking these two items as we considered the possibility of leaving a few days earlier. Now, that we’ve re-framed our thinking, we’re content to stay until our departure date of the 15th of May.

In addition, we still have four more family members to book for Hawaii as we continue to watch rates on a daily basis. We plan to have their bookings completed by the first week of May.

Notice the two buds growing behind the flower.  Photo taken from a tree in Le Jardin a restaurant we’ve found that stays open at all hours.

Yesterday, we created a detailed spreadsheet listing all the places we’d like to visit in the next year including prices and details of possible cruises and the flights to travel to those locations, the cost of rent, rental cars, and other expenses. As a result, we created a budget for the next year. It feels great to have accomplished this task.

When realizing that the cost of our “wish list” was more than we’re comfortable spending, we knew that the next step in the process was to whittle it down to an acceptable level. That it itself is a time-consuming process.  However, that business-related part of me still enjoys creating and updating spreadsheets. Good thing. It’s definitely not within Tom’s skill set or desire to learn.

A hand-carved head on display at Le Jardin.

Assigning tasks to each of us helps to avoid redundancy. At the moment, Tom is researching future travels while I document his research. This works well for us. I’m researching the remaining flights for our family, while Tom keeps checking our booked cruises for rate changes. (If prices drop, we get the benefit of the lowered price, if done so prior to 90 days before sailing).

As a result of the division of tasks, neither of us, ever feels there is an imbalance in responsibility, very important in keeping peace when together around the clock. Resentment over the balance of responsibility is often a source of disharmony in relationships which has never been an issue for us.

As I shot this photo of this parakeet in a cage at Le Jardin, she shook her tail feathers.

Without a doubt, I spend more time “working” each day as I write and post photos. But, the fact that it is a pleasant task, doesn’t make it feel as if it’s work.

As much as life for retirees may seem like a walk in the park, most of yours and our days are filled with tasks and responsibilities, none of which we can easily ignore or postpone.

This guy refused to awaken from his nap while I took these photos.

Maybe next time our hard-working, still working, family members or friends comment about the “easy” lives of retirement, they can ask us how we spend our days. Then, perhaps, they may realize it is not as simple or easy as it appears. Sadly, they eventually find out how difficult it is when we get so old that we can no longer perform our own tasks, and they have to take over.

It’s for all of the reasons we must grab at every moment we can, finding joy, pleasure and meaning in our lives.  And, it’s for this very reason, that we find ourselves in Morocco in spring of 2014, living life to the fullest, the best way that we can.

Photo from one year ago today, April 18, 2013:

Photo Tom took from our balcony at sunrise, as our ship made it’s way to Sam Juan, Puerto Rico where it spent the day. For details of this date, please click here.

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