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  Thursday January 29th, 2015    

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The art of dinging around (05/31/2009)
By Janet Lewis Burns
Friendly advice to those who may be considering early retirement: certain criteria make the transition more favorable than others. For instance, a natural born tinkerer can easily adapt to the prospect of dinging around for days and weeks on end. In fact, one usually doesn’t become a master dinger until retirement.

Usually said of the male gender, an accomplished tinkerer will spend hours taking a watch apart so he can put it back together again. He’s the guy with the bikes, vehicle body parts, snowmobiles, and golf carts cluttering his backyard.

Retired husbands who fritter time away are continuously getting into hot water with their significant others. When she sends him to the grocery store, he could very well end up missing for hours with melted ice cream in his scooter basket. He may not be the official greeter at the local get-and-go, but he might just as well be. The retired wife does her own frittering. She’s knitting her two-hundredth potholder and has had four garage sales in two months.

The obsessive housewife who constantly engages in Nervous Nellie “busy-ness” is flirting with premature hip replacement surgery. Often I’ve wished I could have back all the fruitless hours I frittered away, fussing and fretting over dust in corners, sticky fingerprints, spotted windows, and keeping everything in its proper place. What’s a little dust and lots of clutter among friends!

Dawdling in retirement can become a fanatical way of life for curious slowpoke types. Lollygagging is an extension of dawdling, good for your well- being at any age (when you can get away with it.) These easygoing minds wander right past the stressful stuff. With their heads in the clouds, those who dawdle together blather together. They go from lollygagging as kids to hobnobbing adults. What could it hurt?

Much like puttering, fiddling around is more like fidgeting. These types are extremely annoying in classrooms and in the cramped quarters of Volkswagens One particular remembrance concerning my son as an antsy kid took place at church services. During the handshaking part, I couldn’t help but notice him, as did everyone else, fidgeting and jerking frantically to remove his hand from his pants pocket, later telling us that his finger had been stuck in a hole in his pocket. I guess you had to be there.

I’m often guilty of blathering on and on. I guess one could label such types prattlers. My blabber-weary husband has mastered the defense of selective hearing. This may be one of retirement’s perks, worthy of consideration. That goes both ways, guys!

Often one discovers a spouse’s true character during retirement, and it isn’t always pretty! Hubby is geared up to go on more of those fishing and hunting trips now that he no longer punches a time clock. Wrong! It seems the tables have been turned – his dedicated, homebody wife now joins the girls daily for Happy Hour downtown, goes out playing bingo three nights a week, and throws her unmentionables on the bathroom floor. He, however has acquired an extended “Honey do” list.

With an abundance of time on their hands, senior citizens often hang out at the local café to catch up on the latest talk about town. Since well-seasoned memory banks are overdrawn, no harm is done. Even if we do remember the rumor, we likely heard it wrong and, besides, at this age everything is old hat anyhow.

E-Harmony bologna! Who says that a puttser can’t make beautiful music with a fussbudget, or that a tinkerer can’t appreciate a prattler? Retirement is a new beginning! Try it! You’ll like it!

Janet Burns lives in Lewiston. She can be reached at patandjanburns@embarqmail.com. 


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