I ruined her life. At least that is what she told me. It had nothing to do with me ripping her from the arms of her teary eyed mother and dragging her half way around the world. It was much worse than that. Suzie-Q and I have been together for 45 years and married for 44 of them. Since she is typically cheerful and often tells me how handsome I am, (love is most assuredly blind) I surmised that she meant I disrupted her long established daily routine. For all of those married years, I went to work every day. Often the days were long and too often a day at work turned into a month or two. During that time she worked some outside the home but mostly she was and still is, thankfully, a homebody looking after important things including our son.
This summer past, I retired for the second time. You old Soldiers know that being a two time no-go is a bad thing so I am intent on not becoming one. I fully intend to survive and succeed at retirement this time. It is hopeful that Suzie-Q can also survive my retirement. We took a month’s time traveling. With vacation over, it slowly began to set in that I was unemployed. Then Suzie-Q had a rotator cuff repaired. I am about out of house projects, but before I can move forward into my final career (it is a secret and has nothing to do with the rumors about me being considered for a job on the Trump cabinet), I have to get her through her physical therapy and have her ready to move back into the starting rotation by spring. So, I have been hanging out – probably too much – and helping out with the house chores. Occasionally, my work passes the scrutiny of Household 6 (HH6). For the non-initiated, HH6 is the call sign for the household commander. It is the well-deserved term of endearment for the anchor of any military family. As I am sure my son would agree, most certainly the anchor of ours. My retirement has disrupted her routine for a time, but probably falls just short of ruining her life. She is a career Army wife. She will improvise, adapt and overcome. Or she will restrict me to the garage until I learn how to act.
Quite some time ago, I bought an Internet radio. Actually we are on our second one. I have pre-set a number of radio stations. Being of the hippie generation, my first choice was a 60’s rock and roll channel. Because now that I am retired, “time is on my side, yes it is.” This is the channel where Suzie-Q first heard here favorite 60’s tune. Can you guess it? Suzie-Q by CCR and that is why I call Mrs. Chom Su, Suzie-Q. After that a 70’s and 80’s channel, prime country, outlaw country, southern gospel and some talk radio.
Problem is I never hung out much in the kitchen. I was either working in an office 50 miles away or in the bunker. For the past 2 years, I worked from home. Down in the bunker, I listened to whatever I wanted while working. Working in total silence is not good for me. I need background noise to dissipate the tinnitus, sometimes it is music from the media player and often it is talk radio.
If you were a fly on the wall in our kitchen, Suzie-Q would chase you down and you would meet a fate similar to Larry the Lizard’s. What I meant to say was that if you were a fly on the wall in our kitchen, you would see Suzie-Q sipping her morning coffee and contemplating life with 60’s rock “groovin’ on a Sunday afternoon” playing in the background. Not long after, you would see her pop an exercise DVD into the player and imitate a herd of horses running around just above the bunker – not the sort of background noise I prefer. Later, when she is chopping up something or other or doing something at the sink her body moves to the music – all of the time. There is something disconcerting about a woman dancing around a pile of future salad vegetables with a butcher’s knife in her hand. But a word of caution, this is not the time to sneak up and goose her. Experience has taught me that most times are not good for that, but certainly a bad idea when she is holding a large sharp knife.
Being an old Soldier, time and circumstances permitting, I am accustomed to heading for the chow hall around noon. One such day, Suzie-Q was be-bopping around to her background music while putting some lunch together for us. Looking up at the wall clock I saw that it was just after noon. I switched the radio channel. She stopped moving and asked, “What is that awful music?” “That is the Rush Limbaugh theme song”, I replied. “Is he a new DJ? I never heard of him.” “No he’s not a DJ…” just as Mr. Limbaugh belted out, “Greetings, conversationalists across the fruited plain,”, and then I got the look. After 45 years, a lot can be communicated with a look. I gave here that smile she pretends to love so much and we went back to barefootin’ with Archie Bell. As usual, lunch was great. I thanked my Suzie-Q and slid my chair back right about the time the Animals were belting out “we gotta get out of this place…” so it was back to work in the bunker and listening to Rush. We are going to make this work, “if it’s the last thing we ever do, cause girl there’s a better life for me and you.”
© 2016 J. D. Pendry