What Were We Thinking?

It all started with too much time on Pinterest and Instagram.  If it weren’t for the Internet, I probably would not have known that my oak kitchen cabinets were very “dated.”  They were beautiful cabinets and very well made when we built our home 23 years ago.  But apparently, they became old fashioned while we were busy working and raising a family.  I guess retirement gave me time to look at them objectively and see the dings and scratches and…that they were outdated. 

We plan to sell our home and downsize next summer, so we have been looking at it more objectively to determine what we need to do to help it be more appealing for the market.  That is when I realized….horror of horrors, that we were the shameful owners of the dreadful, dated oak cabinets!  We investigated getting them professionally painted.  Too expensive.  Then Mr. U, also known as renaissance man, suggested we paint them ourselves.  How hard can it be?  I should explain that Mr. U grew up on a farm.  Give him some duct tape and bailing wire and he can fix anything.  He is never afraid to jump in and try a new challenge.  Me, not so much.  But we are retired and have the time, and it would save quite a bit of money.  So, Mr. U did the research and we headed to the paint store to stock up on painter’s tape, sandpaper, drop cloths and paint.  What were we thinking?

A work in progress.

We spent the last three weeks cleaning, sanding, cleaning, taping, numbering doors and drawers, cleaning, and finally, painting. I stick to my belief that the hardest part of painting anything is the prep work.  Our kitchen has been torn up this entire time.  That means we have been going out to eat a lot.  Too much.  As a matter of fact, by the time you deduct the cost of meals out, we may not have saved any money at all.   

Mr. U and I are in our 60’s and are getting a little too old to be going up and down ladders, crouching on our knees and standing on our heads to get to those odd spots to paint.  But slowly, painstakingly, we got it done.  And I really, really like them.  It lightens our kitchen up considerably.  Painting kitchen cabinets is not for the faint of heart and I definitely would not have tackled this project while working fulltime.  But heck, we are retired.  And there is the satisfaction of doing something yourself.  So, I am glad we did it…now that it is done. The verdict is still out on whether I would do it again. I will decide after my paint speckled arms and sore legs recover.

Finally finished. Sunflowers compliments of Mr. U’s garden.

I always find before and after pictures interesting, so here are a few.

About trends

The whole ordeal got me thinking about trends.  It surprises me that, even at my age, I am susceptible to styles and the ever-fickle marketers.  I don’t want to be swayed by the trend winds that blow in and out quickly. Then again, I do not want to be one of those retired people that is stuck in a favorite era and never changes her hairstyle, wardrobe, or household decorating style.  I want to keep things new and fresh.  Change is fun and keeps us from becoming stale.  If we do not change things up occasionally, we quit noticing or appreciating our surroundings.  We become dullened to the every day. I don’t want my home to become a museum that is tired and faded.  And I certainly don’t want to dress that way. However, I have been accused of that…

When I was teaching at our local community college, I would lecture for 2-4 hours at a time. That is a long time to be standing in front of an auditorium full of students, trying to keep them engaged on topics such as nephrology, cardiac care, the nursing process, or worse yet, pharmacology. It gives them a lot of time to evaluate stare at you. I get it because I always noticed a speaker’s appearance when I took a class or attended a conference.

At the end of each semester, the students complete an evaluation of the course and instructor. Instructors open these anonymous evaluations with trepidation, expecting comments regarding their teaching style, homework assignments, power points and test questions. Always comments on test questions. Sigh. So, it was with surprise that I opened one evaluation that suggested I dress more modern, for my age. She (I am quite sure it was she) added the back handed compliment that I “was attractive and should show off a bit.” Seriously?!? I shared this evaluation with my colleagues, and we got many good laughs over it for several years. The laughs were well worth the shot to my wardrobe. However, it certainly got me to thinking. I realized that I was wearing some cloths that really were several (too many) years old. I specifically remember a lovely red wool jacket, that was a hand me down from my mom. (That should have been my first clue.) It was high quality, but the cut and collar were definitely out of style. It went to Goodwill immediately. Apparently, my wardrobe also became old fashioned while I was busy working and raising a family.

While I do not need to jump on every trend… obviously, the experience made me realize that it is important to stay relevant and dress well for our age. When we are retired, it can be especially easy to forget about staying up to date, but our style speaks to the world about us. Older women, in particular, can become invisible. While that is sometimes convenient, I also want to be acknowledged and a vibrant part of life. Let’s kick ageism out the door!

As with most of life, the trick is to find the balance.   Stay abreast of new styles, look at them objectively and decide for ourselves what would be a fresh, fun change that we would truly enjoy.  I won’t be wearing hip hugger bell bottoms ever again, but I did just buy some wide leg pants for fall. Choose what speaks to us and expresses our own unique, but updated, style.  Because, ultimately, we need to please ourselves. 

The most exciting news on the home front!

Part of the reason we decided to paint the cabinets when we did was that we wanted to be close to home for a few weeks while we waited for grandbaby #3 to arrive. She finally made it into the world last Tuesday and she is absolutely adorable! Eight pounds of love, joy and happiness. It warms a mother’s heart to see her parents so happy and in love.

Being a grandparent is the best! We took a much-needed painting break and took grandchildren #1 & #2 to the lake for a sleepover last week. It made my heart sing to see them laughing and playing in the water.

Happy blogiversary

It is hard to believe that I have been writing my blog for one year now. I have written a post every week for 12 months. (Except this past week… on account of painting and the new grandbaby’s arrival.) Ironically, retirement life is really busy and sometimes it is hard to carve out several hours to write. I squeeze in time because I really enjoy the writing process; it has been a fun, creative outlet. But the best part is the connection with people. Other retirement bloggers have been so encouraging and kind. Of course, family and friends have as well, but they sort of have to. Smile. Thank you to the readers who have taken the time to read my posts, comment and follow along with me on this retirement journey. I am looking forward to what the next year has in store. Hopefully AI will not take over the entire writing world.

Cheers to the retirement years!