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My Parents Need to Retire From Retirement

June 30, 2013

When I decide to stop working, I want to be young enough to enjoy NOT WORKING and I do not want to croak immediately upon leaving the office for the last time. I have read obits about men who have worked their entire life – only to retire and keel over 2 weeks afterwards, poor saps. I plan on leaving my responsibilities behind while I am still fairly young, and then living the luxurious high-life that my monthly SS is gonna provide. If that is not enough money, then I am going to supplement my income being a wall-paper stripper.

When I do retire, I actually want to retire. My parents, on the other hand, are not of that mindset. The FIRST time they retired, they began an antique business. In my mind I imagined traveling to Europe, purchasing antiques, and selling enough of them to pay for the travelling, but that is not exactly what happened. My mom turned their little retirement business into a REAL BUSINESS. They went to antique shows, had places in antique malls, and did eBay. I think they actually worked MORE hours in retirement than they did when they were gainfully employed. If they worked any less hours, I think my mom would have been disappointed. This is just how she operates. She is not the type who can just go with the flow – in fact I can sum her up in 3 simple words: HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL (and all the warm-fuzziness that the title implies.) My Dad, on the other hand, is super laid back, happy to sleep in until noon and do crossword puzzles the remainder of the day (and that is a busy day). I can sum him up in 3 simple words also: HIGH SCHOOL COUNSELOR.

So, when these two decided to retire again, I was really excited for my dad them to slow down and enjoy life a little bit. They became snowbirds and decided to live half of their time in a retirement community in Arizona. I was so happy for them! Now they would have a chance to relax, get some sun, drink exotic blue-colored beverages and spend the twilight of their lives enjoying each other’s company. I was completely delusional. There is NOTHING retiring about Retirement Communities.

My husband and I went down to visit my parents and have a little bit of R&R away from our office. We were looking forward to catching up on our rest and getting some sun during our visit. It was going to be a great way to combine a visit with a vacation – and we were counting down the days until some well-deserved down-time. My mom and dad picked us up at the airport at 9AM and promptly took us to the largest pile-of-crap flea market one can ever imagine. It was really big. Huge. Obnoxiously LARGE. AND, to top it off – every 4th booth had the same crap! To make it even more awful, there were LOTS of slow old people and families pushing strollers that further extended our shopping experience. After the third building (there was still more identical crap to be had!!) we begged off and asked to head to their place to rest. My mom grabbed a couple of battery-operated card-shufflers and a tastefully (??) decorated vinyl toilet decal and we headed to base camp.

I call it base camp – because the rest of our trip was like a highly-regimented military operation. We. Never. Stopped. EVER.  After unpacking, my parents wanted to “show us off”. It was more like “Bring and Brag”. My husband and I were paraded like show ponies to all the other parents that had their children and grandchildren visiting them that week. After that, we went back to their “park model” (that’s what they call their weird little Hobbit houses) changed clothes, and went to a dinner theatre to watch a John Denver tribute. I was sitting next to a couple who kept extolling the virtues of all-things-republican between rousing renditions of “Grandma’s Feather Bed” and other JD hits. (All I could think was: WHAT KIND OF FRESH HELL IS THIS???) Eventually we collapsed on a ½ inflated air mattress and passed out .

Day Two. Rise and shine! We were going on a day trip to the Superstition Mountains! It’s a bazillion degrees – but if we wait until a reasonable hour to get up and get going – it will be two bazillion degrees so we have to go NOW!!! It was lovely, but hot. (Did I mention it was hot??) After a day in the sun, we went back to base camp to shower, change and go to Happy Hour! Happy, happy, happy! Then we went to the HORSE RACES!! Wow, you exclaim! Horse Races – how fun! Well, let me tell you about retirement community Horse Races…. They are unlike any horse races you have seen. Essentially 6 people (usually a mix of single ladies and unsuspecting visiting relatives) are given a cardboard horse on a stick, and a dice decides which horse –  and how many steps the horse takes. This is NOT a fast-paced activity.

Wonder who won??

Wonder who won??

The most fun is when the MC (my dad) announces the payoffs (calculated by my mom and her team). It is hysterical. My Dad: “Horse #1: The payout is $9.” (This is a low payout. The crowd is not impressed.) My Dad: “Horse #2 – and this is a big one, folks… $14!!” (The crowd rumbles with approval.) It goes on like this for a couple of hours. My husband and I excused ourselves after a couple of races to go relax – ONLY to be discovered (later) by my parents and forced to go play cards with a bunch of their friends.  They didn’t want us to feel left out.  (Lucky us!!)

The entire week we were there passed this way. Bingo, Pool Parties, Craft Shows, Parades, Shopping, Dancing, Tours, Aerobics, Poker Games –  the stream of retiring was never-ending. AND there was all the gossip!! There were sluts, and gigolos, and busy-bodies, and drama-queens – and that was just my parents! (Thank you, Thank you! I’ll be here ‘til Thursday – Don’t forget to tip your waitresses!)

Anyway, you get this idea. I was able to lay out by the pool and get some sun for a total of 1 hour and 15 minutes. There were no blue beverages, and certainly no opportunity to relax. When my husband and I finally arrived back home – I realized that I was far more relaxed and rested working than I was in their idea of retirement. But, if it keeps them young – then who am I to judge? And really, the opportunity to listen to a man – who looks and sounds disturbingly like John Denver – while enjoying a night out with ones parents, may not be relaxing, but it is special.

AND my horse won a $15 payout. My parents couldn’t have been prouder.


I don't think I could look any happier....

I don’t think I could look any happier….


From → Blog

  1. Fuad permalink

    lol, sounds that your parents wanted to include you in all the great activities!!!
    But it is great that there are communities full of activities for senior as the one that you commented in Arizona….
    Your post reminded me one cartoon book that talks about how life can be active after retire:

    If you visit your parents again good luck on your next horse race!!! 🙂

  2. Dale Chesnut permalink

    I thought I would learn how to enjoy retirement by studying how your folks did it, but I gave up that idea when Sue started dancing on the table and Bob was waving a glass of cheap wine around shouting, “Here’s looking up your old address!” I just couldn’t force myself to look up her old address. Aside from that, they seem to have an appropriate amount of fun down there.

  3. Will Williams permalink

    OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHH….my day has just been made reading The Judgmental Blogger.

    I just loved it!


    Ya’ll have a great 4th!

  4. Will Williams permalink

    As I always say…………if I get to 67…………retire….and die……I will be PISSED!!!!!!!!!


    OK…….getting ready to read………with my peanut butter toast and a glass of milk!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. It sounds like you had ALL the excitement you can handle, Rhonda. You better not retire until you’re 80. 🙂 Love the horse races picture of you! You look truly miserable under that uncomfortable smile!

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