In the spring of 2014, my husband decided not to do the job he loves anymore.
He had spent 25 years coaching high school baseball at five different schools, the last 15 at Destrehan High School.
At the time, I had been laid off from my full time job as a sports writer for the big city daily newspaper and was spending nearly all my time as a caretaker for his elderly mom. If you're a regular reader of this little blog, you know what a full time job that was. He felt a little guilty about putting the lion's share of the work on me but, truthfully, he just wasn't enjoying himself very much. Too many coaches in his dugout, too many runners on the bases of his mind, you know.
But shortly after the Coach made his decision and his announcement, his mom passed away. Well, he couldn't very well go back and say, "Um. Never mind," could he? So he retired. Not from his "other job" of teaching, mind you, just the baseball part.
But for the past five years, everyone I bump into has asked me, "How's Marty enjoying his retirement?"
I patiently explained that he was, in fact, still working for a living, still teaching special education students, just not coaching.
Then he went and got himself a summer job coaching a very good American Legion team and that started a whole new bunch of conversations.
"I see Marty came out of retirement!"
Then, over the summer, he finally did retire. For real. As a teacher. He got the jacket and the certificate (but not the money yet) and everything.
So now I'm getting a whole new bunch of conversations beginning with "How's Marty enjoying his retirement?"
To which I reply: "We are going to be divorced any minute."
You see, for the past decade, while you and I were watching all those funny videos on Facebook and You Tube, my husband was teaching students and/or coaching baseball. Up at 5 a.m. (every damn day) and at school for 6:30 a.m. and not home sometimes until 8 or 9 p.m., he didn't have time to check his Twitter or his Instagram and see what was going on in the world.
But boy, he does now.
See, God didn't bless my husband with woodworking skills or car fixing skills or, really, any kind of fixin' skills. He likes his grass green and his pool blue and that's about it. He doesn't have a shop or a garage, just a room with a bunch of his awards.
He does sleep in a little more -- usually until 7 a.m. -- and then he goes downstairs to sit in his cozy chair next to his cozy fire (once he gets the poodle out of it), and he spends the next several hours catching up on all the fun stuff he has missed over the last decade.
Remember the whale that was caught in the fishing nets and the nice guy in the boat used his pocketknife to cut him loose? The goofy kids who turned the airport escalators into a bunch of sporting events? The evolution of dance?
He's just seeing them. And he wants to show me, too.
Frankly, I'm getting a little tired of saying, "I've seen it."
So, while he sits in his chair in the early morning hours, I stay upstairs. I have a nice, warm comfortable bed and a friendly little poodle to keep me company. I also have a little work-at-home office up here, where I can watch the newest viral videos and whatever else I want.
Once I'm done with my "work," I go downstairs to hang out with him for a few hours. Then, when 9 p.m. rolls around and he's ready to call it a night, he goes upstairs and I take over the living room.
Hey. It works.
He does get a little antsy at times, though. He misses the camaraderie of his fellow teachers and some of his students. So, when he's bored he goes out and Uber drives for a couple of hours, giving tips and advice to tourists and locals alike.
As for me, I'm still only partly employed as a freelancer for the newspaper I used to work for and the one that bought it. I also work as a substitute teacher at the local high school, which means I'm the one getting up at 5 a.m. and getting to school at 6:30. And the first thing everyone asks me is, "How is Marty enjoying his retirement?"