The Fine Art of Semi-Retirement

The Crankee Yankee is fully retired, and has been for a few years. He divides his time between repairing and renovating our circa 1953 house, planting and tending our raised bed gardens, being part of his model railroad club, and being a terrific grandfather, plus my husband and best friend.

I, on the other hand, am semi-retired. I work on site two days per week and work remotely from home on the other three days. I’m a technical writer, and have been for years.

So, that said, there is a great pleasure in having one foot on the ‘almost retired’ club yet still work. For instance, when I’m home, I can take breaks to make lunch, run a few errands, paint my toenails, hem a t-shirt while I’m waiting for an answer on a manual, tend to the cats, do some laundry, and so on.

I also have time to join the Crankee Yankee in the early morning to have a cup of fresh coffee on our porch. Sitting in our rockers, enjoying the birdsong and the freshness of a new day–it’s a great start. I have the time to appreciate the beauty of our gardens, where the herbs, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, cukes, spinach, radishes and onions are already popping up. Still to be planted are the peas, leeks, lettuce and beets. One garden on the other side of the driveway is dedicated to a bed of garlic, which is now gifting us with delicious scapes.

In preparation for the bounty of vegetables to come, I made two big pans of roasted vegetables last night for dinner, and they were absolutely delicious (see the *recipe below).

Being semi-retired also means that I have more time for family and friends, which I deeply appreciate. As a long-time technical writer, I can tell you that manuals usually are needed either all in a big bunch, or one every so often. This allows me to adjust my schedule for family, friends, doctor appointments, and so on.

When I was younger and working full-time, I found that I missed a lot–I made my job my priority, and I now see how that can become a dangerous habit. Of course we should treat our jobs seriously and perform it the best we can; that’s what we’re paid to do. But our families, our friends, our neighbors, our community–these are all important, too.

We just found out that our oldest neighbors, John and Dottie (both in their 90s), have had some trouble recently. Dottie fell and badly injured her hip (thankfully not broken) and is in a rehab facility to recover. John, who is very deaf (even with hearing aids) still is out and about, walking their little dog. They have three grown children who visit regularly and are helping out, but we were worried about them. One neighbor has made it his business to bring meals over to supplement John’s Meals on Wheels. We have asked him to let us know when we can help out, too.

Our little neighborhood is important to us; almost like family. This, our family; my parents, the Crankee Yankee’s daughter (my stepdaughter) and her family, our friends and of course our pets are all precious to us. Being semi-retired gives me a new chance to be more present with them, to enjoy them more and to reach out as I can.

So now that I am semi-retired, I take new joy in being able to have that first wonderful cup of coffee on the porch in the generous light of morning with my Crankee Yankee. We know and appreciate this neighborhood and all in it. We are grateful for the symphony of cardinal song and those of all the nesting birds and their new families. We even get to see the odd rabbit or two in the field across the street, and now and then we’ll see one of “our” raccoons high-tail it across the street in that odd and funny humpbacked way they run.

Who would have thought that this stage of my life would become one of the sweetest times in my life?

*Oven Roasted Vegetables

Mix the following together:

Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, rosemary leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper (just mix up as much as you think you’ll need for the amount of vegetables you plan to use).

Cut up zucchini and summer squash in thick slices (I like to cut the squash in half, then cut long slices about 1/2″ thick), mushrooms, red and green peppers, purple onions, whole cloves of garlic (trust me, you’ll want TONS of these–they roast up so sweetly!), plus anything else you feel like adding in.

Spray your biggest pan with cooking spray (or line it with aluminum foil and then spray to save yourself some cleaning!), stir up the cut vegetables with the oil and vinegar mix til the vegetables are fully coated, then dump it all in the pan. Roast at 475 degrees for 30-40 minutes; check them and stir once or twice. No matter how much you think you’ve made, they will get eaten up FAST!

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