When I announced I was retiring, the most common thing that people said after, “I’m jealous,” or “I wish I could retire,” was “What are you going to do on Monday morning?
As is so often the case, things don’t always go as planned. When I woke up at 5:00 am, it was not because I’m tuned in to the rhythm of work, it’s because the cold that’s been hovering on the periphery for the last three days has reached it’s peak – my throat is sore, my head is congested, and simply put, I’m sick.
At 7:30 am, I crank the electric blanket on high and head outside so Hannah can take a break. She is completely oblivious to the fact that it’s a mere twenty-three degrees outside. As she runs back and forth around the front and back yards, I push my hands deeper into my pockets. I’m surprised to see some of the chickens outside of their coop – surely they should be inside snuggling. The rest are eager to get out as well – apparently I’m the only wimpy one here at the farm.
After filling Hannah’s bowl, I climb back in bed – so warm and toasty – and get back to my book, Roots & Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons, by Christie Purifoy. It’s the perfect read for this season in my life and I’m enjoying Christie’s journey as she moves into an old farmhouse called Maplehurst.
Finally it’s time to leave the comfort of my bed to make some porridge from steel cut oats. This is a luxury that never happened on work days – it takes thirty minutes to cook, plus time to let it cool until it’s just right. As I sip lemon and echinacea tea, I feel a wave of gratitude that I don’t have to go to work and power through the sore throat and sniffly nose as I navigate phone calls, meetings, and email. While going to work sick was not required or even expected, it’s what I did more often than not.
The beauty of co-housing and community is that every task is easier, lighter, because there are so many people to share the load. There are six adults and two littles cleaning, decorating, and setting up for the upcoming Thanksgiving celebration. There is even time for sipping several cups of imaginary tea with my little cousins. Hannah has joined in the fun, she’s found a rope toy and a ball, and best of all, someone who’s willing to throw it over and over. She also ate a small amount of play dough, but it was the home made kind and I’m sure she’ll be fine. Much better than the rabbit carcass she found the day before . . .
We’re settling into this new life, Hannah and I, and it feels good to take things down a notch. There are still things to do, but things don’t feel urgent or insurmountable, they seem manageable, at least for today.
My aunt trash talks me until I agree to try some fire cider that she put in a jar to ferment three weeks ago. The smell alone is enough to clear the sinuses! It looks deceptively like orange juice, but it tastes a lot like pickle juice. After adding honey, I down a couple of shots and really do start to feel better. Let’s hope that this evil cold is behind me so I can enjoy Thanksgiving sniffle free!