So tell me: West and Wewaxation

My parents are semi-retired.  They visit their grown children when they can, and try to combine these trips with very specialized iteneraries.  For instance, they made a tour of exhibitions of the work of their favorite artist, Charles Burchfield

image source

(The title of this particular piece is “Sun Emerging,” but, like most of Burchfield’s work, it ought to be called “Damn!” or “Wowza!” or “Help!”)

And a few years ago, they visited Lost Cove, Tennessee, of Walker Percy fame.  We also got a postcard from a full-scale reproduction of Moses’ tabernacle, which the Mennonites built in Lancaster, PA, for some reason.

My parents take pictures at various glitzy tourist traps:

and their photo albums on Facebook have titles like:   “Fungus”;  “Lichen”;  “More lichen.  We like lichen.”  My mother’s description of one outing with my father was as follows:

What he didn’t mention was that I was scared for him because his sense of balance was off since the spinal cord tumor, car accidents, and several surgeries, and I didn’t think the narrow edges of cliffs and stone bridges with no handrails were a good place for him to be. I even had to bargain with him to get him to agree to use one of the tree branches I found for a walking stick. At age 66! You can’t tell a man anything. I kept thinking, between Hail Marys, “I’ll have to arrange to have his body shipped back home, and then drive back from Tennessee all by myself–and the car key was locked in the trunk!

Ahh, west and wewaxation at wast.  I don’t know if this is how they pictured their retirement (or even whether they expected to have one at all).

My husband and I are anticipating something more like this

photo source

for our own retirement.  There is also some talk of living in either a yurt or something made of adobe, but I forget why.  I think we also somehow plan to live in Greece or the outskirts of Rome, and one of us is going to have to learn how to play the guitar finally, or at least the harmonica.  It will sound good to us, despite our age and palsy, because we will be pretty drunk.

So tell me:  what are your retirement plans?  If you could do anything at all, I mean?  Or, if you are already retired, is it working out the way you hoped?


  1. I would really like to live on my own island. Of course, I will need electricity and running water. I will make do without government, taxes, obnoxious people.

  2. A yurt sounds pretty good to me right now – and I’m pretty sure we are still decades away from retirement. Just think how quickly you could clean house!

    My husband and I have fallen in love with the Texas Valley (down at the border, McAllen, Pharr, Mission, etc.). We dream of retiring there – flip flops all year long, never putting on a coat again, all the avocados we can eat, and staying buzzed on margaritas and full on Tex Mex for the duration.

    Either that or build a little hobby farm right here on the Oklahoma plains. Goats and chickens and all that. That’s actually only my retirement dream – hubby thinks I’m nuts. So here’s to widowhood! (KIDDING.)

  3. Thoughts of retirement consumes my husband, who longs for it the way people long to win the lottery. Meanwhile, my father, at age 65, seems horrified at the prospect, and has said on more than one occasion that he’ll be found dead in his office chair someday. Retirement is a real lens into how you view your everyday life, I think.

    For me, barring money woes, I would like to live near my children and be a part of my grandchildren’s lives. I’d like to be outdoors in the sunshine a lot, I’d like to cook and eat leisurely meals, I’d like to be in a boat club and row on the Sound. I’d like a chance to spend time w someone who relishes life and new experiences. And every single day, I think I’ll start w scrambled eggs, a bloody Mary, and toasted buttered country bread.

  4. I would love a small cottage on a beach in the Caribbean. But my hubby hates hot weather, so I guess that’s out. As a second choice, seeing the country from an RV doesn’t sound half bad.

  5. Retiring to our country/beachside estate sounds like a great retirement to me. We’d also have to buy a motorhome to road trip and see the country. That and to drive to CA where the liquor is half the price of Washington state.

    First, though, we need to acquire said estate and bury enough cash in the front yard on which to live on into our golden years.

  6. For our retirement, we plan on sleeping. Waking up late and taking naps will also be part of the program. Beyond that, we haven’t really had the energy to plan.

  7. My husband and I probably won’t retire. I’m fairly certain the second we get out of debt, we are going to drop dead.

  8. My Dad retired about 18 months ago. He’s still fumbling around to find what works for him. Last week he joined Costco. That wasn’t it.

    I don’t know exactly what my retirement will look like, especially since I am a homemaker (can we retire?) but I’m going to aim for more than joining Costco.

  9. Since I’m pretty sure that by the time we’re retired, I’ll be in menopause, we’re planning on lots and lots of ‘every day, any time of day’, to quote Creighton.
    Can you tell we’re in the depths of avoiding and crazy, irregular cycles?

  10. France or Italy. Some tiny town where no one can find us. 😉

    Although on the last ‘future goals’ sheet our bank had my husband fill out (?), in the ‘what is your retirement plan’ box, he wrote ‘death.’ So I’m pretty sure we’ll be sticking to that.

    Good times.

    Oh, and my deepest sympathies, Faustina. That’s one of the main reasons we’re preggs all the time!!! We can just forget about it for a while. Whoohooo!

  11. what i’m wondering is if you will get to hitch a ride in the back of that thing or do you have to run alongside? Maybe a scooter? 😉

  12. I think about this all the time. My retirement plan is a cabin half-way up a mountain somewhere with no machines or technology. Outhouse, well, oil lamps, wood stove, etc. And a generator to power my computer and wireless modem.

  13. Sell the house, buy some sort of camper/trailer thing (with plumbing), and live in each of our someday-grown kids’ driveways for 2 months out of the year…

    I just have to get my husband to agree to it.

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