Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Retirement Style - Getting a Taste

When my retirement was delayed, I had to reschedule several doctor’s appointments. One of those caught up with me today. I knew it would tie up several hours, since it involved various tests. Rather than change it again or claim sick time, I took a vacation day—I have more than three weeks to use up. This gave me the opportunity to get a taste of what it will be like when I’m retired (in less than two weeks.)

First off, I didn’t keep looking at my watch as I cooled my heels in the waiting area, wondering when I’d get back to my office. This gave me the presence of mind to ask all the important questions of my doctor about the various tests and their results. My calm must have rubbed off on him, because he answered them in detail with amazing patience.

When I booked my follow up visit several months out, I didn’t have to check my calendar, and I took an appointment late morning instead of the first one of the day. No worries about meeting conflicts this July for me. No problem taking a big chunk out of the middle of the day. I was just one big “whatever” as the scheduler tossed a date and time out to me.

Since I would have the afternoon free, my husband arranged coverage in his store so we could go to a movie together. I think it’s been about two years since we’ve gone to a movie, and never on a weekday.

We have to be careful about seeing movies too often. My husband’s birthday is January 1 and early in our marriage we celebrated by going to two movies in a 24-hour period. At three the next morning, he woke me, complaining of chest pains. Soon thereafter, the fire department was carrying him down the stairs from our bedroom. He’d had a heart attack. We figure it was just too much excitement for him.

Today we grabbed a quick lunch, ran a few small errands near the movie complex and proceeded to the theater. Turns out we hit the mother load of retirement benefits. Wednesday is Senior Day at this theater chain, with prices just $4.50 all day.

They even gave us discount tickets for the snack counter. For “just” $6 we could get popcorn and a small beverage. Since we’d recently had lunch and I brought my own bottle of water, I said a polite thank you and stuffed those in my pocket. I remember reading recently that the snack counter is where they make the money, and that older people spend very little there. Supposedly, that’s one of the reasons so few movies are produced that appeal to older tastes.

Newsflash: you’ll have to go a lot lower than $6 even on Super Senior Day to get us to buy popcorn (unless it comes with dental floss.) And soda is the last thing we want to drink when we’ll be sitting in a dark room with the prospect of climbing over people’s legs to reach the aisle (and eventually the bathroom.)

The movie was over around 6 PM. We came home, fed the cats and had a simple dinner together while we watched the national news. OK. I admit it. I microwaved two Marie Callender meals that were on special last weekend for $2 each. But the point is, we actually had an evening meal together.

It was a nice preview of what retirement could be like. Now I’m sitting here, writing my blog post, enjoying a nice glass of red wine. I think I can get used to this.

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