The deed has been done and the die has been cast! Today, in our monthly departmental meeting, I announced my impending retirement. A solemn air descended upon the room before the whole department erupted into a chorus of cheering. I can only surmise that my colleagues were so overcome by emotion, due to my imminent departing, that it so unsettled their minds and temper thus triggering their mass hysteria. I reassured my colleagues that it would not be for another three months as I had teaching commitments and owed my students my continued diligence and professional courtesy to see them through their final exams in ten weeks time. An audible groan ensured from the mass of imploring faces. Again I suspect an overflow of palpable emotion for this seemingly inappropriate outburst.
My wife, who is much younger than me, will retire at the same time. And it is my wife's predicament which has forced our hand. She suffers from a virulent and aggressive form of rheumatoid arthritis. Over the years she has suffered the painful indignity of 22 operations. She has had hip replacements, in the same leg, on three separate occasions. Subsequently, several ops were necessary to control rampant infection of the wounds. Because of the disease and the numerous anti-inflammatory medications, she is prone to infection which is hard to control. Various metal pins are scattered throughout both hands and feet and her shoulder joint has also been replaced. Apart from broken legs, a broken pelvis and broken ribs she has recently had two further ops on her cervical and lumbar spine. Again more metal pins and splints. She struggles to get out of bed in the morning and can only do so after a hefty dose of morphine. After a day's work, she slumps exhausted on the bed.
There is so much metal in her wracked body that she has to carry a special card explaining why she sets off the metal detectors at airports. At family gatherings, myself, my legitimate, and bastard offspring, amuse ourselves by throwing magnets at my long-suffering wife to see if they will stick. And if this is not enough, she has had to put up with me, over many years. Tis a wonder her natural flaxen locks have not turned gray.
The next two stages can be conflated. We need to tidy up the house and garden. Minor stuff for the most part. Carpets need to be deep cleaned and paintwork touched up. The exciting and perhaps scary bit involves finding a suitable property to live out our dotage. We have certain criteria which need to be satisfied: we would like a few acres of land where I can set up an archery range- don't want to shoot the proles as they wend their way past my property; police don't like it. I would also like a few chucks for the eggs and perhaps a goat/sheep to keep down the vegetation. A nice veggie patch where we can grow our own root vegetables and fruits would be ideal; I need a 'Man Shed' where I can consume home-brewed beer and work on my bow making projects; my wife needs a dedicated area/room/ annex to continue with a part-time dog grooming business. On Monday we are off to look at a couple of properties in the sunny Wairarapa. The weather is consistent and the summers are hot which is more than can be said for my present home of 'windy
'. That said, I do like living in Wellington as the city has a lot of charm and is culturally vibrant. Wellington
So there we have it. I'm about to embark on the next, and last stage of life. I will keep my enthralled readers up to date with the progress of my final quest. Arse.