Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What I'm doing during my retirement -- part I


I retired last June from the University of Delaware after 27 years of service. The year has flown by amazingly quick. I've had illness & crisis in my immediate family, illness and death in my immediate circle of friends, marriages, pregnancies and births in my kids' lives, and the usual ups and downs of a full life.


The most life-changing event though was moving out of 402 S. College Ave and into 811 Hilltop Road, both in Newark DE. 402 was a huge, ramshackle, unfinished seven-bedroom dwelling where 1-3 baths worked during various years.where Bill and I raised our family from 1986 to 2008. I called it a "Fight Club house" -- if you've seen the movie, you know what I mean, think of where the Edward Norton character went after his yuppified apartment blew up. I also used to liken it to Dr. Who's tardis -- from the outside it looked modest-sized, because you couldn't really see the addition through the trees. Once you stepped inside, though, the rooms went on and on and on, upstairs and downstairs, everything connected in a big circle with two different stairways.

811 Hilltop is a four-bedroom house with finished walls and ceilings, three working bathrooms, where the colors of the walls match the beautiful window treatments left by the last owner, and a stone patio sits surrounded by beautiful landscaping.


It is my dream house, the one I never really knew I wanted. I took a friend through it the other day and was waxing eloquent as we moved from room to room, saying "I love my house!" and laughing with sheer joy. At the end of the tour, he said, "Well, it's like the house I grew up in," all the ordinary comforts he had taken for granted but I had never experienced.


I never imagined a material possession could bring such a giant leap in the quality of my life. I feel like I'm always on vacation here.


But as my friend Kyle noted, the house itself is quite ordinary. So rather than show you pictures of the house or the grounds, I will show you our resident foxes.


We thought we had just one fox, but Bill captured the two of them, an older female and a young kid, probably mother and child. Maybe there are more little foxes hidden back in the grove of trees from which these emerge.


Oh, and we have tomatoes planted, and peppers, and my basil and chives are thriving. We had gardens at 402 S. College, but not for awhile, not since the kids were much younger. With two working parents and seven growing children, putting in a garden each summer fell to the back of the list of things To Do.


I love my house. I love retirement.


One of my kids is going through a crisis at the moment. That puts a pall on everything. Or tries to. But I am keeping the faith.


I love my life. Thank you, my Creator, my Redeemer and my Sanctifier. Blessed Trinity, You are resplendently beautiful even in your awesome and mysterious silence.

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