Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Here's an UNEDITED preview of my next book;

 Comments are welcome - don't worry about spellings or grammar - I pay an editor to do that


First a point or two, I am writing this from my point of view. I am a man. I’ll try and see things from a woman’s point of view. Sometimes that is impossible. There are a lot of factors involved in being retired. I’ll try and cover them. However I am not an accountant. I am not a lawyer. I am not an MD. I’m just a poor dzhlub trying to figure it all out.

One thing, I am Jewish – many points I see from a Jewish point of view. I’ll try and make it known. Talking about Jewish stuff, I will throw in a Yiddish word here and there. I’ll define them the best I can when I use them. A dzhlub is a downtrodden jerk. Aren’t we all?

The Brave New World

Every day, five days a week, for as long as I can remember I followed the same pattern. The alarm would go off. I would get out of bed, trot onto the bathroom and do my morning ritual. That ritual included cleaning up, shaving and brushing my (short) hair. Then I would put on slacks, a dress shirt, a tie and cufflinks. I would grab a cup of coffee, my wallet, phone and keys. I would put on the appropriate jacket and head out the door. Given my build: no neck and short arms, The one affection that I allowed myself was custom shirts, Full button down collars, no shirt pocket and monogrammed French cuffs. I had the shirts starched heavily. I noticed that when I started wearing these shirts, I was treated with more respect. Without them I was just another “fat guy”.

Then one day poof. It was all gone. The shirts, tie and suits gather dust in the corner of the closet. I woke up when my body woke up. I rotate two or three pair of jeans. For dress wear I put on Chinos. I wear golf shirts and athletic shoes every day.  I stopped carrying a phone and stopped wearing a watch. I was happy with that life style for about a month and then it got boring. I examined my life in detail and made some changes.  This book will discuss those changes.

For a long time your life has belonged to someone else, at least five days a week. For that first month (or so) of retirement you could not help feeling guilty. You had to do something productive with your life. If you’ve read any of my other books[1] you know that I’m a list-maker I will start my “Laws for Retirement Survival.”

Law 1 – If it’s not fun, don’t do it.

I had to have a shrink tell me that. She didn’t use those words, exactly, but she sure as hell implied it. You have worked all your life for others. You have grown children who are – or should be – on their own. You and your S.O.[2] now have the opportunity to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Why else did you work some forty years? Think about that: No Meetings, No reports, No putting up with imbecilic supervisors of moronic subordinates. Yes you still have to take out the trash and load the dishwasher; but what about the other 90% of your time?

I got involved in an amateur theater group doing something that I normally enjoy. Well, the lady leading this group is a jerk. After she took over I realized that I was having no fun. In the community that I live in there are many other things to do. I belong to a writers group. Everyone, even me, is treated respectfully. Divergent ideas are discussed, but they never get personal. Yes they get heated. But it is never personal. I can and do enjoy this. I had two activities that I enjoyed. One was fun one was not fun. Guess which one I quit?

Law 2 – Get up and try something new

I haven’t ridden a horse in about fifty years. I do not intend to try. When I was in high school I had to take woodshop. I made a board. I did not enjoy making a board; I will not ever do it again. Do you see what’s coming? I don’t enjoy falling off of a horse. I don’t enjoy endlessly running a piece of sandpaper over a piece of wood. Over the decades I have written a few papers. The last class that I taught enabled me to write the textbook. The community that I live in has a wonderful par-3 9-hole golf course. A lot of people like golf, I think I’ll try it. I tried it and did not enjoy it. I tried it and did not like it.  And then is the fact that I live in Colorado. I could go climb 14ers[3]. I never liked hiking I never will.

I know what I don’t like. I tried a few things new and didn’t like them but I joined a writers group. Hey I enjoy writing. I spend about 4 – 5 hours a day at the keyboard. When I have a chain of thought I can to non-stop for a long time. If you go to Amazon.com and enter “Howard Flomberg” you will see my books. Go ahead – I’ll wait. Dum-de-dum, lalala, boopy-doopyodoo.  OK, you’re back now? I am slightly insane, in a fun way. Writing allows me to exercise that insane side of me as well as the serious side of me. While writing is not exactly new – It’s something I enjoy. I tried it and I like it.
When I was a teenager music was the center of my life. I played guitar – hung out in Greenwich Village and soaked up the folk scene. I was in a small garage rock group. Then I got serious about being a grown up and the guitar got hung up in the closet. After I retired the guitar came out of the closet. I play it and love it. However this might not be the time to take up Sky Diving; but if that’s what you really want to do, go for it.  Former President George H. W. Bush skydives.


Law 3 – Spend money on yourself and your S.O.

I have to save for a rainy day. Look outside – it’s clear and sunny. It may never rain again. Get the hell out of the house. Buy the S.O. a new outfit. My S.O. refinished the living room – it was not cheap but she is happy. Believe me, there’s nothing worse than living with an unhappy S.O.

My kids were trying to decide on who got whose parents to take care of, me and my wife or my son’s Mother-in-law. They flipped a coin and the loser got me.  If I need someone to take care of me, I’ll spend my last few days in my Daughters back closet. Some time ago I noticed that I was having more and more senior moments. I got concerned and asked my doctor about it. Now let me explain one thing my doctor is a Jewish Mother. I gravitate towards Jewish Mothers. She laughed at me and said – Why worry. If you get Alzheimer’s you won’t know who you are. Enjoy the trip.

Right now you can take a vacation. Right now you can go to the mall. Do it now. You might just get lucky and die sooner than later.

Spend money on yourself and your S.O.

Law 4 – And if there’s no S.O.?

[1] And if you haven’t you will! Promise?
[2] In this day of Political Correctness – I’ll try and avoid words like Husband or Wife. S.O. seems to  be acceptable – it stands for Significant Other.
[3] 14ers – a 14,000-foot mountain
I haven't been here in a long time - My last book - stumbling through the 60's is in final edit. My next book - On being Retired is being written.