The 4th is over. The house is cleaned of the chocolate flag cake little hand prints and the freshly cut grass covered little feet. The dog nose prints on the glass are gone, the kitchen cleaned from my “bull in a China Shop” food preparation, food flying everywhere.
The leftovers are almost gone with only one more night of tender barbecue ribs, almond flour fried chicken and crunchy broccoli salad. There’s one more piece of the gluten free cake for Tom to enjoy tonight after a 12-hour day of hard work in the heat. I look forward to placing it dead center on a his favorite white plate and handing it to him while he cools off in his comfy chair, TV in the background, Ancestry.com loaded up on his laptop, ready to go.
Tom doesn’t like for me to “wait” on him. He never asks me to get him anything. For me, it has become less of a gender role, but more of a being a caring and responsible partner in life, holding up my end of the deal. Retiring almost two years ago after 45 years of work I find my new “job” of homemaker, cook, blogger and travel planner rather rewarding.
I do laundry every day, washed, folded and ironed if needed. Each night, Tom took out his clothes for the next day’s work invariably choosing the same already washed and dried shirt among a dozen others, one that he wore the prior day.
I asked him last night if his co-workers noticed that he rotated only two shirts. He laughed, saying, “Guys don’t notice other guy’s clothes unless they are particularly unusual or fodder for endless jokes.” His two shirts are relatively boring. He’s not.
This morning as I padded around the kitchen, almost running in circles, I anticipated my big activity for the day; lunch with my old friend, Lynda of 36 years at Maynards in Excelsior situated on Lake Minnetonka, where she and I hung out in the 70’s (when it was known as T. Butcherblocks). We’d skillfully maneuver our big boats up to the dock, tied them up, and proceeded to order copious amounts of sweet drinks with umbrellas, later dancing into the night in the upstairs bar, chasing boys.
Both boat owners, we were proud to be women who could manage our meticulously cleaned and maintained 25+ foot cabin cruisers into a tight slip in “the front” of the dock, later heading home to our growing kids, our hard earned homes, our booming business and the responsibilities of the day. It was fun. We were young.
As we meet today to discuss our lives, she with her second husband, me with my third, we’ll surely chuckle over the changes in our lives; our grown kids, our grand kids, she and her husband Jim, living part time in China with two homes in California and now a home on Lake Minnetonka and, us on our path of seeing the world. We’re both digging into our “bucket lists.”
We both still work out almost every day, as we did then, enjoy healthy food, take care of ourselves and grumble over the ravages of time that inevitably heads our way. We accept that reality of aging as gracefully as we can. We both still relish a “cute” outfit and a brag-worthy bargain on a sexy pair of high heeled shoes, comfort being more of a prerequisite than it was in the past.
Life has never been easy for either of us, as for most. We worked hard for what we wanted and fumbled along the way. We experienced sorrow, health issues, disappointments and failures. We survived. We still know the words to Gloria Gaynor’s, I Will Survive, popular in our “day.”
It will be a lovely lunch, seeing an old friend, sharing our lives, ordering the delicious Seared Ahi Tuna Salad that I always order at Maynards, reminiscing about the past, anticipating the future that we both share in common in so many ways.
Later, when I return home, I’ll squeeze into a bathing suit spending a little time getting my usual hour’s worth of Vitamin D, finish a load of wash and anxiously await Tom’s return home. I’ll pour him a cold glass of sugar free iced tea and set out the white plate for him to enjoy the last piece of the gluten free chocolate flag cake.
I’ll ask him no less than three times if he’s ready for his cake and smile when he finally says “yes”, springing from my comfy chair to get it for him.
He never asks for me to get something for him, which occasionally makes “waiting” on him, all the more meaningful.