Retirement Blues

Attila had two consecutive days off work! Monday was a statutory holiday in Canada, leaving us with Sunday and Monday to spend in any way we chose.

We visited the little house in the city, leaving the country house mid-afternoon on Saturday, after Attila arrived home from eight hours at work, and arriving at the little house after dark. Sunday was consumed with catch-up shopping. Attila needed clothes. He selected some shirts and socks, while I walked about the store looking at other items. My input on clothing issues is counter-productive when it comes to Attila’s clothing choices. It is best to leave him to his own devices.

While shopping for clothing we received a call from Terra, who was at our little house in the city for a visit. So, off we went home to meet her. She had company for the weekend, and fit us into her busy schedule while her visitors were out shopping. While Terra and I visited, Attila took himself off to search for a new pair of shoes. Terra stayed until he returned to show off his spiffy new footwear, and then she was off to begin meal preparation for the crowd at her house. She returned the next day for a slightly longer visit, when her shift at work ended. Terra and Lares don’t get weekends off either.

After Terra was on her way, we went grocery shopping.

All the walking on concrete floors was challenging. I limped along without complaint, but was increasingly uncomfortable, and eventually my back began to spasm. That evening I was extremely tired, I was in pain, a dull pain, and had difficulty moving about. So, I decided to take ibuprofen, hoping to curtail the inflammation. Within twenty minutes I felt a lot better. I slept well, with respite from the pain. In the morning, I arose and began my day. About an hour into the morning routine I stopped suddenly and thought, “my knee does not hurt”! And so it was, I was walking about without pain, without the aid of painkillers.

My knee is not completely back to normal, I must still baby it a bit; no sudden moves or turns, no running, no working on ladders, etc.. I have decided to decline all work until my knee is completely healed.

The vegetable garden at the little house in the city is doing very well. We have had adequate rain to keep it healthy, without watering. We picked almost a dozen cucumbers, from our one cucumber plant. They are so very good, slightly sweet and crispy. I made a Cucumber Salad, which we both enjoyed very much. The tomatoes are growing by leaps and bounds. When we planted them they were very small seedlings, about five inches tall. Now they are waist height and bear some unripe fruit, and a lot of blossoms. We planted some “Indigo Rose” tomatoes, they are very interesting, the fruit is shiny and black. Our hot peppers are thriving, but the green peppers are slow. The rhubarb seems to have a new lease on life, which we attribute to Attila’s application of manure.

The flower gardens are thriving as well. The clematis is still blooming. The giant marigolds are a riot of brightness. The day lilies and the Hostas to either side of the front steps are in full bloom. The portulaca has spread to fill the planter in the front of the house, and there is a profusion of red blooms. Flowers are so cheerful!

On Monday, while Terra was at work, Lares dropped by to deliver a bag of beets with greens, from their garden. He was happy to give them to us, as he does not care for beets. We, on the other hand, love them. He was on his way to work, so after a short and pleasant exchange of greetings he went on his way.

Attila managed to get the lawn cut at the little house, and to weed the gardens. I am not much use these days for either of those tasks, not with a bad knee! I do like to weed the garden. The lawn mowing is very challenging for me at the best of times. Our lawn mower is the lowest end model available. There is no self-propelling about it, no easy-start, and the wheels are wobbly plastic things that fall into, and get stuck in, the crevices and unevenness of the yard. The last time I mowed the lawn with that lawn mower, last summer, I had to stop so frequently that it took almost a whole day to accomplish the task. Luckily the high growth period for the lawn is over for this year, and the lawn mowing can easily be left to Attila.

I am planning a lone visit to the little house in the city this month. There are things I would like to accomplish there, such as beginning the process of staining the front step that Attila build last year. I have my eye on parging the external concrete wall, above ground level, a cosmetic job, which will have a big impact on how the house looks from the street. While I am away there are things Attila would like to tackle, such as securing our firewood supply for winter heating, and removing some dead tree trunks (not suitable for firewood) that are visible from the house.

I learned something new while visiting the little house in the city. The first was that Wild Parsnip has invaded the area, and that it can burn the skin in a similar manner to Giant Hogweed. Terra made a point of telling us about this. We did notice the wide swaths of Wild Parsnip growing along the highway on our drive down, and we wondered what it was. Now we know! It would be a good idea to always have protective clothing in the vehicle, in case of there is ever a need to get out of the car at the side of the road.

The sun is shining, the breeze is rustling in the leaves, the birds are singing and swooping… summer is a nice time of year here at the country house!

The Canadian made soup pot we acquired last year has been very busy since we arrived home in the country. Last night I cooked pasta in it. Then I rinsed it out, half filled it with water, which I brought to boil, to cook the beet greens that we got from Terra and Lares. This morning it came back into service to cook all of the beets, both those we bought from the farm two weeks ago, and the those we received from Terra and Lares. Then the pot was rinsed, and I sautéed onions and garlic in olive oil, then added stock, raw potato cubes, and cubed cooked beets for a hearty soup for our dinner tonight. Can you love a stainless steel pot, well, if it is possible, then I do!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 11:00 AM EDT Tuesday 5 August 2014
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 20.2°C
Dewpoint: 15.8°C
Humidity: 76%
Wind: N 5 km/h
Humidex: 25


“Retirement at sixty-five is ridiculous. When I was sixty-five I still had pimples.”
George Burns (1896 – 1996)

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Maggie, knees are tricky things and it’s good to read that you’re going to give yours the best chance to heal completely. Tincture of time can be a slow cure, but sometimes it’s the only one really available.

That wild parsnip stuff sounds awful–as did the giant hogweed when Attila was attacked by it. Such truly nasty stuff! I’m grateful we don’t have it here.

TopsyTurvy (Teri)

I was trying to figure out where I was missing the discussion on retirement blues, but maybe you found more interesting things to talk about. 😉

Knees are so troublesome at times. What I’ve ended up doing is taking 600 mg of ibuprofen before engaging in activities I know might trouble my knee. I find it often stops any pain and also keeps inflammation down so the knee can continue to heal. Only thing is you have to be careful not to over-extend, as you could cause damage without realizing it.

Thanks for the info on Wild Parsnip. I’ll now keep my eye out for it. Very grateful for the warning about it’s ability to cause burns.

I’m smiling about your love of your soup pot. You remind me of DH. He has one large enameled pot that was his mother’s and used for corn boils, stews and soups. And he has two very nice Le Creuset pots that were his grandmother’s. All three are our go-to items for any kind of specialty cooking, from boiling BBQ ribs to making soups.


I hope your knee soon recovers completely. The soup sounds tasty. (I too like my shiny (steel) things, beauty with functionality!