By Terry Ledrew
The first thing to remember before retiring: Do not dump your spouse.
Most spouses are either still working. Or also collecting some kind of pension.
Are you listening?
That’s money times two.
Twice the income. Twice the vacations. Twice, two-times, the spending power, twice the cash to bail your kids out.
The other thing is, the same day you retire, your toilet will plug.
Your pipes in the basement will freeze.
On the day you retire, your roof will leak and your property taxes will go up.
Your dog will engage in retching motions on the rug, at that very hour.
The spouse that you wisely did not dump will not only help pay for, or fix all of the above.
He or She can be blamed for at least some of it.
When you’ve chosen to live life on your own, with a cocky smirk at co-dependance and coupledom, be prepared.
The freedom of eating crackers in bed, walking around the house in snowpants for five months, using your vacuum hose as a microphone at 2 a.m. belting out When a Man Loves a Woman, and brushing your teeth only when closing your mouth becomes a challenge…it all comes with a price.
When the toaster catches fire it wasn’t the cat who didn’t empty that little tray. If you have to ask what little tray, you’re already in over your head.
When one contractor tells you Jell-O instant pudding makes for a great roofing membrane and another advises that precambrian slate from Siberia is the only fix, the decision is between only you and Google. And Google is nowhere to be found when you went for the Jell-O. And it’s raining vanilla in the den.
When you rant at Jian Gomeshi’s opening sermon, the dog might LOOK like he agrees.
But he’s not really listening. He’s got a little poop-balloon over his head … another, of a rasher of some nicely-crisped bacon.
A SPOUSE, on the other hand, is obligated to engage, spar, argue … rub your neck, or change the frequency.
Yes, this IS about pensions. And it IS about retirement.
When I was young I dumped my spouse.
When I was young I raised my children on my own. Physically and financially.
I worked hard at my career, and raised my family, and saved nothing.
I have been very, very fortunate. CBC hung onto me, even though my favourite job of choice was bartender and partying with the band after closing time. I think, counting tips, I made more money.
But when CBC was done with me after three decades, at least I got the gold-plated handshake that those leaving after me will never even have the privilege of considering.
Lady Luck shone on me. She will not, for so many of the next generation.
How does this tie into not dumping your spouse you well might ask.
Maybe this way.
I have many friends on their second, even third marriages.
Oddly enough, their issues became similar to problems in their first relationships.
That dog is toast
I have friends who had difficulties in their first marriages.
But stayed together.
For the most part they’ve weathered whatever it was.
They seem, for the most part, happy.
They are the ones who now send me pictures of river cruises along the Seine.
Of themselves, their kids and grandkids in the motor-home on a family trip on the Trans-Labrador Highway.
Stay together at any cost?
But think on it … think long and hard.
And pass the plunger.
Someone’s plugged the toilet, again.
Dammed dog …