Six Saturdays and a Sunday is what a colleague of mine said to me on the day I retired. I kind of laughed it off thinking that I would probably be busier than when I was working. At the time I had developed small business plus worked a part time job to cover the medical insurance on my children that were living at home. So, for a few years after I actually retired I did work a couple of different retirement jobs and I was pretty busy. My pension covered health insurance pretty well for my wife and I, but not the three children that were still living at home. It was necessary to work some part time jobs to keep up on their premiums. It wasn’t a bad thing at the time because my kids all had plans that would probably have them developing their own lives within the next few years.
After being retired and working a couple of years our family went on vacation to Disney World. At the same time the Affordable Health Care Act was enacted. I can remember setting on the balcony at the resort we were staying, with my laptop open and a cup of coffee; the condo we were staying in was on the third tee of a golf course belonging to the resort. You could hear the “tink” of the golf balls firing off the tee. I remember reading about the Affordable Care Act and I started getting interested in how it’s provisions could reduce my insurance obligation for my kids. As I pushed the pencil around a bit. I was floored! I mean almost literally, I almost fell off my chair.
My wife came out on the balcony to join me. It was very early in the morning, we had plans that day to go to the Magic Kingdom, but we were easing into the day. She looked at me and asked what was wrong? Then she saw me smile then asked: “Ok, what’s right?” (After 30 years that woman can interpret my body language and facial expressions as easy as reading a book)
I explained to her that I was reading about this Affordable Care Act and it seems that it would cause such a drop in the insurance premium on our children that I may actually be able to be done with working completely. She looked skeptical and then kind of laughed at me a bit, then asked, in a serious tone: “Does that mean I need to find a second job?” I told her: “No.” It fact you could probably retire too. She was even more skeptical at that point. I was paying almost $800 per month to cover my three kids. As it turned out when I checked with my insurance plan they would have to take my kids back as dependents. That dropped my premium to $198 per month.
Marie checked the math herself. She agreed and actually started to seem a bit enthused about the prospect of actually being retired. Being the supportive spouse she has always been she told me to go ahead an put my notice in when we get back home. That’s exactly what I did. (After my kids were put back on my plan)
Now to make an even longer story short I’ll just condense it by saying that after we got home I put my notice in and things went back to normal. Almost. Within a few weeks, my daughter had finished her college program and graduated and moved out. My youngest son came home with a tote bag, a hat and a coffee mug all with the US Navy logo on them. I asked: “what the hell is all this in your hand?” James being the very direct and stoic person that he is replied: “Oh, I joined the Navy.” I could hear stuff dropping in the den as Marie rushed into the living room uttering in a high pitched voice: “You what?” As James tried to exit the room his mom set him down and, well, you can figure out there was a whole nights worth of conversation over this move.
James going into the Navy wasn’t enough. A couple of weeks later Welly (short for Wellington) informed me that he was not going to finish college, he hated college. Ok I said, but I told him it wasn’t that simple. He had to have a plan. He told me he did in fact have a plan and that’s when Marie appeared in the room. (Sometimes this woman amazes me with her bionic hearing) He told us he was going into the Marine Corp. What?!?! Marie and I both uttered simultaneously.
Again another days worth of conversation. I really wasn’t sure if Welly was serious about this move, but when he told me he wouldn’t need a ride to school the next day as a Marine recruiter was picking him up around 10am, I began to think he was serious.
The next day at 10 am a car pulled into the driveway with a sergeant from the US Marine Corp in it and he introduced himself and now I believe my son is serious. He came home that night saying he signed up and in short order will be a Marine.
There are a whole lot of anecdotes to this story, but I’ll save them for another time. For now it’s just a matter of: SURPISE!! Eight weeks ago I thought I was going to be working part time jobs for at least the next three years and my kids would be around for a bit, but it all changed. Marie and I were looking at a completely empty house, my financial obligations cut in about half and living in a climate that did not suit either of us. So, what do you do? You move to Florida and that’s what we did. We’ve been here about 7 years now and every time we go back north to visit we are reminded why we left. Florida is now are home.
So, that brings me to today. What day is it? I actually had to check the calendar to be sure. Six Saturdays and a Sunday my old colleague said to me on retirement day, I guess he was right.