On Sunday morning I spent some time consolidating storage units. For the last three years we have had two of them, one in tight pack (in other words if you opened the door stuff would fall on you) and the other loose pack (meaning there was just enough stuff that I couldn't get it all in the tight pack unit). During that time both were at least half filled with stuff that isn't mine. A little of that stuff was from a friend who needed to take a few items out of her house to make room for more items she inherited from her mother. Most of the half however is from my children who seem never to have the room to store all the stuff they have accumulated over the years at their own places, and asked if we could just store it for "awhile" until they got organized.
That awhile has been going on for about 10 years now.
However, low and behold, one of my kids came and got some stuff on Saturday, so I thought that maybe I could cram it all into one unit so that I could reduce my storage bill by half. As I stacked and restacked, I started looking at what was there; things we haven't used or even seen in the great world of disorganized stuff that exists in our life. After a couple of hours of work, and the decision to take a few things home that I could find nooks and crannies there in which to stuff it, I was done and we had been successful. My evaluation of the stuff however, was the same. Over the years of paying for storage units, much of what is there we could do without and the other half we could have easily bought with the money we have been spending each month.
My wife suggested that we go to lunch somewhere, probably because I hadn't had much to eat that day. Ask anyone who works with me or lives with me - a hungry Rick is an ornery Rick.
So we stopped at a local restaurant and the first thing I noticed was a bus stopped there with a lot of old people standing around (old in the sense that they looked retired and on tour, unlike me who is old and still working). Most of the guys there were in shorts, many wearing black socks and dress shoes with those shorts. This is not a fashion trend that falls into my category of "looking good."
Of couse who was I to talk. I had on old holey jeans with a dirty and equally holey t-shirt to match, and a filthy baseball camp on my head. Still, not showing my chicken like legs that have come upon me as I have aged made me feel somewhat superior to these other old guys, many of whom are probably younger than me. I mentioned to my wife the fact there were so many men showing off skin.
"You know, when you retire that is the retirement uniform in the summer time," said my wife. "You'll look cute with those kahki shorts and black socks and dress shoes."
Then she mentioned how much I had talked about retiring lately. Well financially, retiring for me soon has just about as much chance of happening as my wife letting me buy that 2009 Harley Davidson Nightster I have been looking at in shops along the Wasatch Front. The idea of me riding a two wheeler again after all the years of me falling off of dirt bikes in my 20's and 30's horrifies my family.
"If I have to dress like that I will never retire," I said. "Shorts and my bare legs do not go together. They haven't since I was 14."
"I don't know," she said. "Not much has changed about you since you were 14, especially in the common sense department."
I was mortified. Here is the woman who loves me questioning my ability to make decisions. However, no one knows me like she does either. I had to take that into account, but of course I didn't have to take it seriously.
"I had enough sense to marry you didn't I?" I questioned. She smiled and the conversation quickly changed.
Later, as we left the restaurant I watched all those guys load onto that tour bus. I got in my truck and sat there for a few minutes seeing them filter out of the restaurant door and climb up those steel stairs. I had to think about their lives and how nice it would be to not have to go to work each day. More important however would be having the time to do many of the things I have always wanted to do, without worrying about a schedule or thinking about what needed to be done at work the next day or when the weekend was over. I found myself envying them. I could force myself to wear shorts.
And afterall, it is only a summer uniform.