Karen and I made two radical decisions toward the end of the previous school year. After living in the same area for 22 years, we decided that it was time for a move and for me to retire. We sold our house, and found Karen another job teaching English 540 miles south in Lockhart, Texas which is 25 miles from where two of our kids live in Austin and much closer to our daughter, her husband and our granddaughter. I don't think that there are many states in which a person can move 540 miles and still be in the same state---unless it's insanity.
We finally were able to move into our new house six days before Karen had to show up for work at her new school. Being a new teacher, she was required to attend an additional two days of meetings along with five more days of mind-numbing teachers' meetings.
I had no meetings to attend, no insurance forms to fill out, no boring speakers to listen to, no skeptical principal reminding me that I was there for the kids, no robotic superintendent stating that he was excited about another school year, no list of duties, no business manager reminding me that I must fill out the proper requisition forms, no head of transportation warning me that I must fill out transportation requests at least two weeks ahead of time, nobody asking for volunteers for various committees, no financial representative, no rah rah ree speaker, no warnings about a limited number of copies I could make on the copy machine, no departmental meetings, no bells ringing, and most of all, no insolent eighth grade girls. I was free!
Immediately after Karen left for her first day of meetings, I discovered that I had a few decisions to make. Should I work on the yard, ride my bicycle, play golf, clean house, wash clothes, watch television, unpack more boxes, check my email, or write an article for Kathleen? Amazingly, I have been able to survive two weeks of living during the school year without attending any meetings. However, I am concerned that I might feel compelled to install a bell system in our house so that I won't undergo some sort of psychotic reaction resulting from bell ringing withdrawal.
I'm not sure what aspect of being retired is the most enjoyable. I don't have to fight my way through the lunch-line everyday and then devour my lunch in the short time allowed for in-taking food. Doing so many times caused my body to experience an excess of gas. Fortunately, my classroom had an outside door which allowed me to escape the classroom periodically. My occasional stepping outside sometimes resulted in questions from my students. I simply replied to them that I was checking the weather to determine whether or not I would play golf after school.
Concerning bodily functions, my bladder has become much healthier. I'm sure that it appreciates not becoming so swelled up as a result of my not being able to relieve it during class. Many times I had attempted to make the trek to the bathroom between classes only to be confronted by several students who had questions that needed answering or attendance slips which needed to be signed.
Of course being retired does result in a reduction in income. Mine was reduced by about thirty percent. I decided that if I couldn't find anything else better, I could substitute a few times each month to make up the difference. However, last weekend, I was able to win $100 dollars in a golf tournament. Possibly, I just need to sign up for more golf tournaments. Decisions, decisions---retirement can really be challenging.